Veterinary treatments often follow developments in medicine. Could cannabis-derived medicines be the latest trend to jump the divide?
Does your pet quiver with nerves? Have you got an arthritic Alsatian? Or a poodle with pruritis (itchiness)? According to some, cannabis products might be the answer to alleviating your pet’s woes, but little is known about how they work and what effects they might have.
Colorado State University (Denver, USA) has two ongoing trials examining the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of osteoarthritis and epilepsy in dogs. In the crossover studies, the dogs receive placebo or CBD oil for six (osteoarthritis trial) or 12 weeks (epilepsy trial) before switching groups for the same number of weeks.In the osteoarthritis trial, x-rays document arthritis progression and a monitor tracks the dogs’ levels of physical activity throughout treatment. Dogs in the epilepsy trial are assessed through daily seizure logs completed by the owner. The group hopes that the studies will provide some much-needed information on the safety and efficacy of CBD for pets, and provide a stepping stone for further research. But what of funding? According to study leader Stephanie McGrath, private companies and sponsors are currently the only way to obtain funding for studies on CBD.
Until more is known about veterinary CBD treatments – a potential slow process due to regulatory hurdles – McGrath advises pot-pushing pet owners to ensure that their product of choice is safe. The Certificate of Analysis that comes with the product should list the THC content (if any) and identify if it is free of pesticides or other impurities.