No pet owner can bear to see their beloved companion suffer. So dog owners will be interested to hear that there is growing evidence – albeit limited at this stage – showing that CBD may help to calm some of their pet pooch’s pain.
A team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, in collaboration with Medterra CBD, conducted the first scientific studies to assess the potential therapeutic effects of cannabidiol for arthritic pain in dogs.
And the study showed that in dogs diagnosed with the condition, CBD treatment “significantly improved quality of life as documented by both owner and veterinarian assessments”.
A trial on using CBD for epilepsy also showed a “significant reduction in seizure frequency,” for the dogs in the CBD group.
However, the proportion of dogs in both the cannabidiol and placebo groups which saw any progress at all was similar.
Meanwhile, a study on the impact of CBD on dogs with osteoarthritis showed it can “help increase comfort and activity”.
Elsewhere, according to the American Kennel Club, while there is no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, “there’s anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, as well as helping to control seizures”.
Its chief veterinary officer, Dr Jerry Klein, said cannabidiol is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation and anti-anxiety impact.
But for anyone considering giving CBD to their pet, they should be aware that no safe dosage levels for animals have been approved.
Indeed, in the UK, companies are not allowed to sell CBD products designed specifically for pets. However, vets are allowed to prescribe human cannabidiol products to animals.
Anyone wanting to try cannabidiol on their dogs is advised by experts to start out with small amounts and check with your vet first.
The picture is slightly different abroad.
Last month, the Washington Post published a lengthy article on the growing popularity of CBD for pets.
It quoted evidence from the Brightfield Group that in the US – where restrictions have been eased – the pet cannabidiol category grew 946% in 2019, with well known faces Martha Stewart and Mike Tyson developing their own dog CBD brands.
This was despite the paper carrying warning from vets urging caution due to a limited amount of research carried out so far.
Medical cannabis and CBD have also become a part of pet health insurance in Europe, according to Jane Mansfield writing on the Health Europa website.
So what is the verdict of owners who have tried giving CBD to their pets?
The website ‘Cannabis For Pets’ was started by Blake Armstrong who said Rosie, his family’s Golden Retriever, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He wrote that “CBD really changed Rosie’s life,” significantly improving her pain so that she had “the best possible quality of life in her last year with us”.
And testimonials on the website include stories from other grateful owners who have detailed how their dogs have seen a marked decrease in suffering after being given cannabidiol.
And it is not just dogs where research is being conducted into the possible benefits of CBD.
A young, female African elephant at Warsaw Zoo is being given the product after becoming stressed following the death of the eldest in the herd.
The zoo wants to see if cannabidiol will reduce Fredzia’s anxiety as part of an experiment.
So while the number of studies carried out remains limited at this time – with more set to take place, including on cats – there are signs that CBD may produce benefits for dogs.
But remember, you should always speak to a vet first before giving your pet any cannabidiol product.