The discussion about administering medicinal cannabis to pets is spreading around the country and more people are giving their dogs CBD derived products everyday. On social media people are posting videos of their dog having seizures, people giving the dog drops of CBD oil and then you watch as the canine’s convulsions slow and then stop. People can manipulate video though and so everyone remains doubtful of just how helpful cannabis is to pets or whether it is just another phase of the trend in marijuana’s current popularity. The American Veterinarian Medical Association, or AVMA, is now taking research on the effects of cannabinoids on animals seriously.
Colorado is one of the pioneer states for the legalization of marijuana having started offering adult-use cannabis for sale in 2014. Colorado remains a major focus of attention in the world of cannabis and one particular veterinarian in the state got the message after countless number of her clients and others inquired about whether marijuana would be right for their pets. Dr. Stephanie McGrath out of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is an assistant professor and neurologists taking the reins on cannabis research on dogs. Since 2016 she has conducted two studies on the effects of CBD on dogs suffering from epilepsy and osteoarthritis provided to her by Applied Basic Science Corp. (ABSC). They funded her research as well.
“People were starting to use marijuana—or they had friends or family who used it—for medicinal purposes, and they called CSU a lot asking if we were doing any research, if we knew it was safe, and where to buy it,” Dr. McGrath said. “We could see this is a much-needed area of research, and whether it shows CBD helps or not, it’s still very important since people are giving it to their pets.” Dr. McGrath contacted ABSC CEO David Moche about studying his company’s product. “I told (Moche) how, as a scientist and skeptic, I have no interest in using your product unless you want to do this correctly,” she recalled. “We’re going to make sure it’s safe, I want to know exactly what’s in it, and I want to do clinical trials. I wasn’t just going to administer this product to my patients and watch what happens. Fortunately, he was open to it.”
In particular, Dr. McGrath’s research on the effects of CBD on dogs with epilepsy seems to have been very promising. Cannabis has also shown the ability to help people with epilepsy as well it seems. The FDA even approved a drug called Epidiolex, which is intended to help reduce seizures in people, and is the first ever marijuana derived drug approved by the FDA and the first to ever be approved for Dravet Syndrome. Dr. McGrath received a $350,000 grant from the American Kennel Club to continue her research on how CBD can help dogs suffering from seizures. The American Veterinarian Medical Association has also received a request from the FDA to continue research on cannabis and AVMA has also put together a guide on cannabis and its medical properties for pets that is exclusively available to AVMA members. Las Vegas dispensaries often offer cannabis products for pets as well and more pet companies are producing CBD products specifically intended for dogs. Like everything else in cannabis research, there is still a great deal to find out.