CBD AND ANIMALS
CBD AND ANIMALS
CBD products designed for human consumption have been on the market for years in some countries. They are used by some to treat conditions such as pain or insomnia, but regulations have raised safety concerns.
Studies of CBD products are ongoing and last year, two cannabis-based medicines, used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, were approved for use by the NHS in England.
An increasing number of studies are being done on the effects of CBD on animals, the largest number of studies have been done on dogs.
CBD & DOGS
As more and more humans use marijuana to aid chronic illness, pet owners are turning to medical marijuana for dogs. Unfortunately, the science on the topic is a little behind the times. Emerging research, however, is promising. A 2018 study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that treating dogs with two milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight successfully eased pain and appeared to improve the quality of life for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Epilepsy is another area of interest in veterinary medicine. Back in 2017, the American Kennel Club announced that it will be funding a large-scale clinical trial on CBD treatment for canine epilepsy conducted by researchers at Colorado State University. While the trial is still underway, the research team announced promising preliminary data in the summer of 2018. Amazingly, 89 percent of the dogs receiving CBD treatment experienced a reduction in seizure frequency , Colorado State University reports.
CBD & CATS
There is even less research on medical cannabis for cats than there is for dogs. Many of the medicines prescribed to dogs can also be given to cats in similar dosages.
It is important to use caution if experimenting with CBD products for your cat. Cats and dogs are two distinct species, and while they share many common medicines, there is always the possibility of a negative reaction.
CBD & ELEPHANTS
The Warsaw Zoo’s four elephants became three in March, following the death of Erna, the largest female and elder of the herd.Erna’s death left Fredzia in mourning, putting her under stress.
Since then, zoo keepers say Fredzia has displayed signs of stress, as she struggles to establish a new relationship with her female companion, Buba. It can take months or even years for elephants to cope with the loss of an elder and restore a sense of harmony within the herd. While distressing for Fredzia, this emotional turmoil has presented Warsaw Zoo with an opportunity to test an experimental new treatment.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, is derived from a cannabis plant compound.The oil is thought to stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine, messenger chemicals in the brain, which can help combat depression.The zoo’s elephants will be the first animals to be given the CBD oil, as they are prone to stress and at the same time relatively easy to monitor. Given her recent behaviour, Fredzia is thought to be the ideal candidate for the study.
The first stage of the trial has already been completed. It involved collecting faeces, saliva and blood samples from the elephants to monitor their cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced in the bodies of humans and animals in stressful situations.
The CBD oil will be administered directly to the elephants’ mouths or mixed in with their food. Their health will be regularly checked through blood tests. Although derived from cannabis, the oil does not cause any feeling of intoxication. That’s because the oil does not contain THC, a psychoactive component of cannabis.
Dr Czujkowska said that, to her knowledge, the project was the first of its kind to monitor the cortisol levels of elephants before and after they have taken CBD oil.
CBD & HORSES
As of this date, there are few, if any, research studies that use horses as subjects. But I expect this will quickly change as more and more companies are selling CBD for equine consumption. In the meantime, anecdotal responses are highly favorable. From first-hand accounts of horse owners, hemp-derived CBD appears to stimulate the horse’s ECS in the same way it does humans. It is well tolerated, without any euphoric or adverse effects.
There is very little scientific information on how horses respond to the CBD. Veterinary research has favored dogs when it comes to testing the effects of cannabis medicines, so not much is known about how non-intoxicating compounds like CBD affect the horse. But, that hasn’t stopped innovative companies from creating their own CBD supplement lines for horses.
The FEI and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) have strict rules regarding medicating horses before events. Recently, the USEF announced that as of September 1, 2019, positive test results for cannabinoids will incur violations.
Since it is THC that is detectable by a blood or urine test, it is highly unlikely for a positive test result to occur since hemp-derived CBD contains only minute amounts of THC. Nonetheless, it is possible, so it is best to discontinue its use 7 to 10 days before an event. Even if you choose a CBD isolate or broad-spectrum product (which does not contain any THC), it is best to err on the side of caution by stopping before an event.
To ensure a clean, safe product, it is best to buy CBD that has been tested and offers a Certificate of Analysisposted on the company’s website This document shows how the company meets and adheres to product specifications and standards of production.
Some other things to pay attention to with CBD products:
- Check the label for accurate CBD content per dose.
- Choose a product from an organic source.
- Look for percentage of THC on a provided Certificate.
CBD has a favorable safety profile. If overdosed, it can have some mild effects. These can include drowsiness, decreased blood pressure, dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhea. If you or your animals experience any of these, you can cut back on the dosage. Long-term use appears to be safe, though further research is needed.
While the legal status of cannabis products continues to play out, it is critical that we continue to push for quality scientific data to support therapeutic evidence. Just like in human medical cannabis circles, the veterinary side of things will continue to evolve, looking for specific cannabinoid and terpene profiles for various ailments or ECS support. As scientists, consumers, and animal lovers, we must pressure cannabis manufacturers to produce products following good manufacturing guidelines, use safe ingredients for animals, and be transparent with what is in their products. To that end, manufacturers should suggest dosing regiments based on science instead of anecdotes. We must also pressure local governments, mainly state veterinary and pharmacy boards, to adopt legislative language to allow veterinary professionals to discuss, recommend, and, in some cases, prescribe cannabis product for our pets. Lastly, we must encourage the veterinary profession to educate themselves on this topic.