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When Carol Gardner brought her English bulldog Max Daddy home for the first time, the Portland resident noticed how her new pet was hobbling around in pain. “He couldn’t walk because his joints were deteriorated,” the 72-year-old says in an interview. “The vet had given him Prozac so he was really out of it.”

When Gardner heard about how CBD, - one of the 104 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, - can help sick pets, she quickly bought some CBD products and gave them to Max Daddy. “It was like night and day,” Gardner remembers. “He’s a happy dog and now his legs are like pogo sticks, when before he really couldn’t move.”

Before pet owners reading this begin to pen an angry letter, on how cannabis can be poison for pets, rest assured Gardner had no intention of playing Russian roulette with Max Daddy. CBD, which is non-psychoactive, has recently been shown1 to be therapeutic for pets with pain or arthritis.  

A July 2018 study2 by Colorado State University in Fort Collins discovered cannabis can significantly reduce the frequency of seizures in epileptic dogs.

Also in 2018, a joint Canada-Israel study on CBD and pets reported in an August press release3 that in a study of 16 dogs afflicted with pain issues, “only one did not benefit from the CBD treatment.”

Researchers found that pets did not require a lot of the compound to feel the effects of CBD. “The ability to effectively manage pain with such a low CBD dosage as used in this study and over such a short treatment period is statistically significant,” said Robert Jackman, Scientific Project Manager for Liberty Leaf.

Veterinarians in companion animal practice recognize the necessity for more research to evaluate the effectiveness of cannabis in animals. Dr. Ian Sandler, a Toronto veterinarian and CEO of Grey Wolf Animal Health, says, “Cannabis-based products have therapeutic potential in animals and we are starting to see that in some studies. Our company is working diligently to prepare clinical data to substantiate the use of these products.”

He goes on to say that veterinarians and pet owners have a lot of questions such as “How can cannabis help our pets? Where does cannabis fall on the pet treatment cascade? How does this product help a dog experiencing mild pain vs. severe pain? How will cannabis products benefit animals beyond products that are already on the market now?”

In the U.S., treating sick pets with CBD is proving to be a budding business. Julianna Carella is the CEO and founder of Treatibles, which makes CBD-filled treats for companion animals such as dogs and cats. “We’ve had pet owners use our products for their horses, their domesticated skunks. Even a sea lion and a bear were given some of our products,” Carella adds.

She hopes both governments and veterinarians open their arms to CBD as a medicine for pets, which has been an uphill struggle so far. “If vets are being threatened with their licenses being revoked if they even suggest cannabis to pet owners, then I fear those owners will go to dispensaries out of desperation and they might get something harmful for their animals,” Carella notes.

Gardner also got into the cannabis-pet-treats business, naming her company after Max Daddy. She advises curious pet owners to follow the advice of what many cannabis users have heard when they first inquire about edibles: “Go low go slow. Give your pet the minimum amount to see how they react and then go from there.”

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full
  2. https://denver.cbslocal.com/2018/07/16/csu-cbd-oil-dogs/
  3. https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/liberty-leaf-announces-completion-of-cbd-research-study-on-canine-pain-management-691252831.html

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