It feels like cannabidiol (CBD) is popping up in all nowadays, from workout equipment to skin care. Unexpectedly, the cannabinoid has been pitched to several inhabitants as a near-magic cure-all and pet owners are no exception.
The psychoactive but non-intoxicating hemp-derived chemical was administered for disorders like pain, arthritis, and stress in dogs and cats — but with hardly any scientific proof backing CBD for pets, most veterinarians are cautious of this treatment.
But that is beginning to change. A new study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Chemical Medicine (UPSVM) is partnering with Denver-based cannabis manufacturer Dixie Brands, Inc. to establish the very first scientific analysis of the efficacy of a cannabinoid treatment administered to ease pain and other signs of puppy joint-immobility.
Kimberly Agnello, an associate professor of surgery at UPSVM, is the study’s researcher.
“There are many different products that are sold out there and we really don’t know which ones are helpful, how much to give, or even how safe it is to administer it at different dosages,” Agnello advised Philly Mag.
“We want to validate whether this is actually helpful and if it’s something we should be recommending. Up until now, there haven’t been too many great studies showing that CBD is beneficial in helping to relieve pain in people or dogs with arthritis.”
Agnello’s group will examine dogs suffering from osteoarthritis so as to prove that CBD remedies lead to improved patient outcomes. The puppies will be broken up into three classes — one that is administered a Dixie Brands affiliate-developed CBD formulation, one which is going to be administered CBD just, and one which is going to be given a placebo.
Agnello claims the analysis is going to be the largest-scale puppy /CBD trials thus far, and might be the first important double-blind trial for puppies (meaning neither investigators nor pet parents understand that canines have obtained which medicine or placebo), though it is not the first time she and her investigators have attempted to research CBD affects domestic animals.
“We actually tried to do a study using CBD years ago but due to regulations around having it here and the fact that it was listed as a Schedule I substance, it was very difficult for us to do the study,” she explained.
“Because while it doesn’t contain THC, it is developed from the same marijuana plant,” she clarified. “Now that those regulations have become less strict, it has been easier for us to do the study.”
Agnello thinks that the study may also help people with arthritis, as most mimic arthritis in rodents — but dogs who’ve been diagnosed with gout have more similarities, physically and emotionally with respect to lifestyle, to humans.
“Dogs truly develop arthritis in a similar way to humans and they experience similar chronic pain, she said. “Unlike a mouse that lives in a lab, dogs live with us and are exposed to the same toxins in food, in the air, and in the environment. So, they’re not only similar in the development of disease but they have a similar lifestyle to us. We see a lot of the studies we do as translational studies because the information could also be useful for future studies in people.”