Veterinary CBD?

    October 17, 2022 2 min read

    Veterinary CBD?

    Even the casual shopper will know that there is an abundance of CBD-infused edible products on the market for dogs. They’re sold as remedies for anxiety or pain, as a rule. It would seem reasonable that dogs would benefit from CBD if humans do, given that mammals all share an endocannabinoid system. It’s for that reason that animal studies for human benefit start with mice. 

    But mice, dogs, and humans are not the same, and systematic study of CBD in our companion animals is very limited. Preliminary safety data does suggest that CBD is well-tolerated in dogs, but there is no substantive literature at all on safety or on therapeutic effects in cats. Oral supplementation of CBD is known to elevate liver enzymes in both species, though the pharmacokinetics of CBD appear also to differ between the two species. What is more, there are intra-species differences as well in pharmacokinetics, tolerance, dosage, and safety of CBD. This variability, between and within species, should not be surprising, either. Chocolate, grapes, and macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs; onions, garlic, and chives are bad for cats; Ivermectin prophylaxis for heartworm is canine-safe overall, but not for collies or sheepdogs. We cannot be sure that CBD is suitable for dogs, or cats, to say it simply, without testing it in dogs and cats. 

    To date there are only 6 randomly controlled trials of CBD in dogs: 4 on osteoarthritis, 1 concerning epilepsy, and 1 having to do with behavioral disorders. These studies used CBD oil in monotherapy or in combination with other drugs. All but one included a placebo arm. CBD reduced pain and increased activity in dogs with osteoarthritis in 3 studies, reduced the frequency of seizures in the epilepsy trial, and mitigated aggressiveness in the behavior trial.  

    These are promising results, but they are a scant dataset. The study designs were heterogeneous, and there were intrinsic risks of bias in each. CBD, at least in dogs, does appear well tolerated, with mild adverse effects. But more trials, with more animal subjects, and with additional species are very much needed before we can be sure that CBD is good for our animal companions. 


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    The foregoing is a report on trends and developments in the cannabinoid industry. No product described herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or syndrome.