In December 2018, the Farm Act 2018 was incorporated into the law. It removed hemp, defined as Cannabis sativa L. With less than 0.3% dry weight of the psychoactive cannabinoid substance Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) according to the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This legislation removed significant research barriers to both academic and commercial research on cannabidiol (CBD), as well as legal barriers to growing and harvesting these crops, and to refining and selling products containing CBD to the public. CBD has been recommended for use in a variety of conditions in dogs, from anxiety to epilepsy to cancer. Aside from a handful of small studies looking at the use of CBD oil in dogs, there are no data on veterinary use. Most of the information available is case studies and / or anecdotes.
In the July 2019 article “Know Your CBDs” in the Whole Dog Journal, author Catherine Ashe, DVM discusses the three main studies on CBD that were available at the time. To date there have been very few publications on the effectiveness of these products in clinical settings. However, this is not due to the lack of scientific interest in CBD uses. Researchers look at it from different angles: is it effective? How does the dog’s body absorb, synthesize, and metabolize CBD (also known as pharmacokinetic analysis)? What is the Recommended Dosage for Different Diseases in Dog Patients?
Research can take a long time – sometimes years! Potential veterinary medicinal products need to be investigated at different levels to assess their effectiveness and safety. And it’s only been two years since the Farm Act lifted the restrictions that prevented previous research on CBD. But fascinating and important results are beginning to occur.
The basic research necessary for the growing field includes two new studies evaluating the pharmacokinetics and safety of CBD use in dogs. Overall, both studies found that CBD was well tolerated with a favorable safety profile.
- Vaughn D., Kulpa J., Paulionis L. Preliminary study of the safety of escalating cannabinoid doses in healthy dogs. Front Vet Sci. (2020) 7:51. Overall, the study concluded that dogs tolerated increasing the dose of a CBD product well and had only mild side effects. It also provided comparative evidence that CBD was safer and more tolerable than doses containing higher concentrations of THC.
- Fernandez-Trapero M., Perez-Diaz C., Espejo-Porras F., de Lago E., Fernandez-Ruiz J. Pharmacokinetics of Sativex (R) in dogs: Towards a possible cannabinoid-based therapy for dog disorders. Biomolecules. (2020) 10: 279. The study examined Sativex®, a phytocannabinoid-based drug marketed for the treatment of spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis in humans for use in dogs for the treatment of central and peripheral pathological conditions. The study found that Sativex was administered sublingually in a single dose or in multiple doses® Naive dogs were well tolerated and gave the expected pharmacokinetic profiles that were similar to the results of previous pharmacokinetic studies.
Another original research article published earlier this year looked at how CBDA, the acidic precursor to CBD, works compared to CBD, THC, and THCA, the acidic precursor to THC. Many products contain small amounts of all four compounds; It has been widely believed that CBDA has great potential both on its own and in conjunction with CBD. Before this study, CBDA was not the subject of much research. This study was funded by ElleVet Sciences and used an ElleVet product. Under the direction of Dr. Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine with assistance from colleagues at the University of Florida found that CBDA is both more easily absorbed and retained in dogs compared to CBD, especially when given with a lecithin. Delivery oil based. CBDA has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, and this superior absorption and retention holds great promise in the veterinary field.
- Wakshlag, J. et al. Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol, cannabidiolic acid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and related metabolites in dog serum after dosing three oral forms of hemp extract. Front. Vet. Sci. (September 04, 2020).
Two recent studies evaluated the use of CBD to treat osteoarthritis pain in dogs:
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, in collaboration with the CBD brand Medterra, conducted a 4-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 20 large dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Each dog was randomly selected to receive either a placebo or one of three different CBD options. The study found that CBD significantly reduced pain and increased mobility in the dogs who received the higher doses of CBD or who received it in a liposomal formulation. No significant adverse effects were observed. In comparison, the placebo group and the low-CBD group showed No Improvement. Since these dogs in the higher dose group still showed improvement 2 weeks after stopping the administration of CBD, it is believed that the CBD treated the underlying inflammatory problems.
- Verrico, C, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of daily cannabidiol for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain in dogs. PAIN. (September 2020) 161: 9; Pp. 2191-2202.
Scientists from Colorado State University conducted a 90-day pilot clinical study to investigate the effects of a full-spectrum product containing hemp extract and hemp seed oil on 37 dogs with chronic maladaptive pain (primarily due to osteoarthritis). Thirty-two dogs completed the study, 30 of which showed evidence of improved pain management. At the time of registration, 23 dogs were taking gabapentin; With the addition of CBD, 10 of these dogs were able to stop taking gabapentin and another 11 were able to reduce their daily dose.
- Kogan, L., Hellyer, P., Downing, R. (2020). The Use of Cannabidiol-Rich Hemp Oil Extract to Treat Pain Associated with Osteoarthritis in Dogs: A Pilot Study. AHVMA. (Spring 2020) Volume 58.
Also conducted by Colorado State University, which leads much of the veterinary research on CBD, was a study examining the effects of CBD on the cells of canine and human glioblastoma (a particularly virulent form of brain tumor). The experiment “showed that CBD slows the growth of cancer cells and is toxic to both canine and human glioblastoma cell lines. It is important that the differences in anti-cancer effects between CBD isolate and extract are negligible. “The cancer-fighting effects of cannabis are not yet known, but this study suggests that CBD can damage the mitochondria of cancer cells. It is hoped that “this study will form the basis for future preclinical studies and randomized controlled clinical trials to provide evidence of effectiveness cannabis Treatments for many cancer subtypes. “
- Baram L. et al. The heterogeneity and complexity of cannabis extracts as anti-tumor agents. Oncotarget. (2019) 10: 4091-4106.
- Effectiveness of cannabidiol for treating epilepsy in dogs (recruitment phase)
The aim of this study at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital is to evaluate the effectiveness of CBD in treating canine epilepsy. Each participating dog is randomly given either CBD or a placebo for 12 weeks and then switches to the other drug for another 12 weeks.
- Coming soon: Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine “Effects of CBD Products on Dog Anxiety”
Other research to watch:
Canopy Animal Health conducts research on the safety and effectiveness of CBD in pets at academic and private research centers in Canada and the United States, and is actively investing in CBD research for the treatment of anxiety, epilepsy, and symptom management associated with chemotherapy. Osteoarthritis and joint pain and inflammation.
Read Next: Which Dogs Shouldn’t Get CBD?