The question of using medical cannabis to improve the health of your pet is a complicated one. Here's what the science says. But there are a few things to be learned from the science of cannabis and dogs and cats, even as the field emerges from decades of neglect. But the main question is, what's the science behind the use of cannabinoid for pets? Following decades of neglect in research, there is little to.
Giving Dogs to Cannabis & Behind Science Cats The CBD and
What You Need to Know. Hemp is the cannabis source used for CBD-rich products for dogs, according to Coile. Hemp is low in THC below 0. CBD works toward homeostasis in the body. Essentially, this means the body is in a normal and healthy state, according to veterinarian Michael Petty. CBD affects the endocannabinoid receptors, which are located in both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. These receptors are critical as they function to maintain body homeostasis.
CBD is deeply involved in those endocannabinoid neurotransmissions in that they upregulate and downregulate neural transmissions as needed to maintain that homeostasis, according to Petty.
Pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, only stimulate upregulation or downregulation, making it possible to move body systems out of their homeostatic state. CBD addresses a variety of pet ailments. Does Fido get anxious going to the vet? Going on an airplane? Does Garfield have a regular upset stomach or have stiff joints?
Just like humans, pets suffer from a variety of issues. As a result, pet owners are increasingly using CBD for medical and behavioral issues such as chronic pain, arthritis, inflammation, seizures, digestive disorders, anxiety, mood and memory. CBD can also increase appetite and support the healing process after a surgery. He asked the owner to try the second oil before giving up. After the switch, "that dog came trotting in for the two-week follow-up, and the owner was thrilled," Wakshlag reported.
In another case, within three days of starting her dog on CBD oil, the owner was "in our office, crying, thanking us for giving her her dog back," Wakshlag said. Overall, the research showed "a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity" with no observable side effects, Wakshlag said.
The experience made him a believer. In a video posted on the ElleVet website, Wakshlag predicts that CBD will "change the face of pain management probably for years to come.
But first, it has to be widely accepted as a legal product for veterinary use. Bills are pending in at least two states — California and New York — but to date, no state has given veterinarians explicit authority to discuss cannabis as medicine, much less recommend it.
The combination led his hospital administration to stop further research, he said. AVMA spokesperson Sharon Granskog said the group was unaware that its report on cannabis influenced Cornell to stop a research program.
The purpose of the report, she said by email, was "to help veterinarians navigate the complex issues and questions around the therapeutic use of marijuana. Asked why the report does not mention the Agricultural Act of provision for industrial hemp, Granskog said other laws are more germane — namely, the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, enforced by the U.
McGrath, the Colorado State neurologist, said the AVMA historically has taken a conservative posture on cannabis but she was heartened to receive an invitation from the association to speak about her research at its annual convention in July.
McGrath credits robust support from Colorado State in making her research with veterinary patients possible. When she consulted a member of the university's legal staff at the outset, she was told, "Heck yeah, you can do studies. Just make sure it's hemp product so it's less than 0.
I would personally not feel comfortable at all exposing myself to the potential legal repercussions. Conducting pioneering studies on cannabis is nothing McGrath ever aspired to do. Then in , voters in Colorado and Washington made marijuana legal for recreational use, marking a trend toward liberalizing attitudes on a drug that had been accepted for years in a number of states for medical use.
Today, 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, according to Governing magazine. McGrath began fielding calls from local veterinarians and pet owners asking whether the plant's apparent medicinal effects in humans extended to other species.
She looked into what was known on the topic. Considering that people were likely to try products on their animals regardless, McGrath thought that "with a substance that is seemingly pretty harmless — specifically, CBD — and potentially how beneficial it could be, it seemed crazy that there was no research to support that.
Her interest piqued, McGrath mused, "I wonder if I could be the one to do this research, since nobody else seems to be? About that time, a physician acquaintance in Colorado, Dr. Alan Shackelford, had begun to explore the anti-convulsive effects of CBD after being implored for help by the mother of a 5-year-old. The child had a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome that caused her to have near-constant seizures. Initially reluctant, Shackelford was persuaded by the mother's desperation.
With the doctor's referral, the mother obtained a cannabis extract derived from a strain said to have high levels of CBD. She gave it to her daughter. The child "went from grand mal seizures a week to none. She had a seizure one week later, but the frequency was notably diminished. The girl's experience was detailed in a CNN documentary, " Weed.
Epilepsy is the most common neurologic condition in canines, and standard drugs don't work in 20 to 30 percent of cases. David Moche, an entrepreneur who'd done real-estate deals in what he calls "the medical marijuana ecosystem" of California. It was an Israeli chemist who isolated THC and discovered that it acts on the brain by mimicking a neurotransmitter, a pioneering step toward recognizing the body's endocannabinoid system.
In Colorado, Shackelford and Moche established Applied Basic Science and set out to obtain scientific validation of prospective products. This should not be a marketing game. You're dealing with a pet who is the most loyal, trusted, best friend. She detected no harmful effects.
The finding applies to the specific product given and cannot be extrapolated to CBD products in general. The same is true of the testing done by Wakshlag at Cornell. The safety data enabled McGrath's research team to apply for and receive approval from the university's Institutional Animal Use and Care Committee for a study on client-owned animals — pets. Felix Duerr, a sports medicine and rehabilitation and surgery specialist, to handle the arthritis portion.
Duerr had had no particular knowledge of cannabis, and believed that any study proposal involving cannabis would be stalled in the legal gray zone. Moreover, he was accustomed to inquiries from businesses chasing cures. I give them a rough estimate of what a real clinical trial costs and 95 percent of the time, they never call me again.
The study involves 24 arthritic dogs, each of whom receives CBD oil for six weeks and a placebo for six weeks. Effects of each are measured through analysis of the dogs' gait, radiographs, activity monitoring and owner questionnaires.
Because the research is double-blinded, Duerr doesn't know yet how well the CBD works versus the placebo. He anticipates seeing answers in May. To inquire about enrolling a dog in the Colorado State University clinical trial investigating the efficacy of cannabidiol in treating epilepsy, contact the research team at csuneurotrials colostate.
McGrath's pilot clinical study examining the effects of CBD on 20 epileptic dogs, now winding down, is double-blinded, too. McGrath expects to see the data in a few months. Meanwhile, her research team has begun vetting prospects for the larger AKC CHF-funded study; they aim to enroll 60 patients. The subjects will be dogs for whom conventional epilepsy drugs don't work well or cause unacceptable side effects. The patients must be able to visit the clinic at Colorado State frequently.
That requirement has not deterred out-of-state dog owners. At Auburn University in Alabama, Boothe, the clinical pharmacologist, has had more difficulty getting her clinical work off the ground, owing to the legal morass.
Alabama is one of 20 states where marijuana remains illegal for any purpose, although the state in created an industrial hemp research program overseen by its agriculture department. Boothe's research is slowed by the DEA posture that cannabis-derived products, including CBD, are subject to the same restrictions as marijuana with substantial THC content. The DEA position compelled Boothe to apply for a federal permit for research involving a Schedule I controlled substance, the classification under which marijuana along with heroin, LSD and other narcotics falls.
The legal landscape is dynamic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, announced plans to introduce the Hemp Farming Act of to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances. Meanwhile, Boothe said, her research team is doing work that doesn't involve them directly giving patients CBD.
For example, they're measuring the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the body tissues of normal and abnormal animals as a means of understanding the biological effects of cannabinoids. They're also offering free therapeutic drug monitoring of cannabinoids in the blood of pets receiving any cannabis product. Once they are able to work clinically with cannabinoids and animals, Boothe said one question her team will try to answer is what dose is needed in dogs, cats and horses to achieve a therapeutic response, and how best to deliver the dose.
With growing support for research, Boothe said she's feeling much more optimistic about the prospect of obtaining reliable, science-based information about the potency of cannabis as medicine for veterinary patients. After a moment's thought, she added, "I think five years might be reasonable. Boothe is continuing to seek independent funding for research because she knows that involvement by commercial interests can detract from the credibility of findings, rightly or wrongly.
Without continued and wider support for research, Boothe said, veterinary medicine stands to be left behind. There's no doubt in my mind that cannabinoids are going to prove [to be] important therapeutic interventions. What remains to be seen is for what conditions and the most appropriate doses and ways to use it. I'm convinced we need to get on this train, because it's going to go with or without us, and I'd rather it be with us.
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