CBD Research for Pets

Hemp extract is the new frontier, and for many it simply seems like the next gold rush for companies looking to strike it rich. But, as more research is conducted, the positive uses of full spectrum hemp extract and cannabidiol (CBD) for pets is being revealed.

As with any treatment for your pet, evidence-based treatments are vital, which is why studies into the numerous effects of CBD on pets are ongoing. While the FDA has yet to approve CBD or hemp extract, it is worth noting that the FDA typically does not approve many supplements or medications in the pet industry. Regardless of the FDA’s stance on CBD products, research is continually finding that hemp extract can be life saving for pets and people alike.

What is full spectrum hemp extract and why is it important? 

Full spectrum means that all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that can possibly be present, are present. While there are thousands of cannabinoids and terpenes present in each plant, and it is not possible to preserve every single one during the manufacturing process, full spectrum means that none of the cannabinoids were purposefully removed.

Full spectrum means that all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that can possibly be present, are present. While there are thousands of cannabinoids and terpenes present in each plant, and it is not possible to preserve every single one during the manufacturing process, full spectrum means that none of the cannabinoids were purposefully removed.

One of the reasons full spectrum is so important is because the cannabinoids and terpenes all work together to enhance each other. This effect (called the entourage effect) makes it possible for different cannabinoids to interact to achieve maximum effects.

A study conducted by UNICAMP in Campinas, Brazil found that full spectrum, CBD-rich extracts are more beneficial to people and pets when compared to a CBD isolate. In fact, the study states:

“Adverse effects were more frequent in products containing purified CBD than in CBD-rich extracts. CBD-rich extracts seem to present a better therapeutic profile than purified CBD, at least in this population of patients with refractory epilepsy.”

Cannabis Safety Study

In a study conducted by Colorado State University, 10 mg/kg/day or 20mg/kg/day was administered to dogs for 6 days. CBD was tolerated in the study population. There was an elevation in serum ALP in 36 percent of patients, and all other blood parameters were normal. Six of the 30 dogs had vomiting and all had mild diarrhea. 11 of 30 dogs experienced erythema of pinna and 10 of 30 dogs experienced nasal and ocular discharge. These effects were significantly safer than many side effects of prescription medications.

Absorption Rates 

Unlike many traditional oral medications, research has proven that CBD is effectively and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. A study conducted by the Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel concluded that: “CBD was observed to have a large volume of distribution [in dogs studied].”

In a study conducted by the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, dogs were found to have a substantial amount of receptors in their endocannabinoid system, specifically in the spine, which allows dogs to more effectively use CBD.

Studies supporting CBD for arthritis and chronic pain

Research has consistently shown that CBD can help humans who suffer from osteoarthritis, but it is also a promising treatment for dogs suffering the same ailment.

Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine recently conducted pharmacokinetics study on cannabinoids for dogs. This 8-month double-blind study was the first of its kind for Cornell and studied dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. Dogs in the study saw a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity, with no side effects. In fact, the study concluded the following:

“Pharmacokinetics revealed an elimination half-life of 4.2 h at both doses and no observable side effects. Clinically, canine brief pain inventory and Hudson activity scores showed a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity (p < 0.01) with CBD oil. Veterinary assessment showed decreased pain during CBD treatment (p < 0.02). No side effects were reported by owners… This pharmacokinetic and clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.”

Another study titled “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs” found that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with Osteoarthritis.

A study published in 2006 in Current Neuropharmacology also states that CBD has therapeutic benefits for both people and pets suffering from chronic pain and acute chronic pain episodes.

Compounds found in cannabis that reduce inflammation are abundant and diverse. The most abundant phytocannabinoids in cannabis, THC and CBD, both have strong anti-inflammatory properties, while CBC, CBG, and THCV have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. Cannabinoids act as anti-inflammatory agents by inducing apoptosis, inhibiting of cell proliferation, suppressing cytokine production, and inducing T regulatory cells. Apoptotic mechanisms induced by cannabinoids in immune cells include activation of CD95 to induce Bcl-2 and caspase cascades in immune cells. Cannabinoids have also been demonstrated to promote the production of anti-inflammatory interleukins such as IL-10 while inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α in a CB1-dependent fashion (Klein et al. 2000).

Additionally, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is currently conducting clinical trials to better understand the effects of cannabis on osteoarthritic dogs. The study will take 12 months and results are expected to be published in 2020.

CBD as a viable treatment for seizures

In a 2017 double-blind study conducted by Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, neurologist Stephanie McGrath assessed the short-term effect of CBD on seizure frequency in 16 dogs. Dogs in the trial were randomly assigned a placebo or a hemp-derived CBD treatment for 12 weeks. Nine dogs received CBD while seven were given a placebo. All of the dogs in the study suffered from seizures.

Through the study, McGrath found that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. Additionally, McGrath saw a significant association between the degree of seizure reduction and the amount of CBD concentration in the dog’s blood.

This was not the only study to find CBD to be a successful anti-epileptic supplement for pets. Yamazaki University of Animal Health Technology in Japan conducted a similar experiment wherein three dogs who suffered epileptic seizures were given hemp-derived CBD for eight weeks. Researchers found a decrease in seizure intervals in two of the three dogs studied. The dogs were given varying amounts of CBD, and the dog who received the lowest number of mg of active CBD showed little to no improvement, while the dog who was administered 1700 mg showed the highest level of improvement. Of note: the same study’s findings show that the dogs showed a decrease in barking even when other dogs nearby were excitable.

CBD for anxiety, stress, and sleep issues

CBD is known primarily as an anti-anxiety medication for both people and pets for good reason. A study published in Current Neuropharmacology states:

“CBD seems to be a promising drug for the treatment of [panic disorders].”

2013 article published in Neuropharmacology also found that:

“In addition to modulating basal anxiety states, recent studies suggest an important role for the endocannabinoid (eCB) and glucocorticoid systems in the modulation of emotional states and extinction of aversive memories in animals.”

This means that CBD can help in facilitating extinction of aversive memories which treats PTSD and anxiety or panic disorders in people and animals.

Research is also promising that CBD is a viable treatment option for sleep disorders in people and pets. A 2019 study published in the Permanente Journal found that CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system and can improve the amount and depth of sleep in those suffering sleep disorders and CBD is better tolerated than other psychiatric medications.

A 1993 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that pain relief, reduction of anxiety, and reduction of inflammation were the most common reasons for the use of cannabis in dogs, and when tested in animal models, CBD was shown to have anxiolytic properties (Zuardi and Karniol 1993), as confirmed in a number of studies in humans.

Cardiovascular Effects

CBD specifically has been found to have direct effects on arteries, influencing vaso-relaxation, which is clinically observed as a mild hypotensive effect when CBD is administered. CBD has a protective effect against the vascular damage caused by hyperglycemia, as with type 2 diabetes, diabetic angiopathies, and systemic inflammatory processes. It is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD that mediate these benefits (Stanley et al. 2013).

CBD has been found to have anti-arrhythmic effects in an in vivo rat model of coronary artery occlusion which may not be mediated through the CB1 receptors found on myocardial cell membranes, but may have other non-receptor-mediated pathways that allow its control over cardiac rhythm (Hepburn et al. 2011).

Nutrition and GI Tract

Research published in Nutraceuticals in Veterinary Medicine titled “Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine: Cannabinoid Therapies for Animals” states that hemp oil is a significant source of proteins and essential fatty acids, including gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Of note: the same study found that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in dogs to treat cancer, improve sleep, prevent obesity and metabolic diseases, resolve anxiety and stress, treat inflammatory conditions, improve pulmonary and cardiac conditions, and acts as a neuro-protectant.

An 8-week project of THC rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 10 to 11 patients with active Crohn’s disease as compared with placebo, without side effects (Naftali).

CANNABIS AND THE MICROBIOME

From “Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology” Published in Inter Neurosis, 2018:

  • THC alters microbiome balance and prevents obesity
    • CBD has both anti-inflammatory and bacteriostatic effects in the gut
    • CB2 levels correlate to Lactobacillus concentrations and negatively with potentially pathogenic Clostridium species.
    • Orally administer lactobacillus induces mRBA expression of the gene that encodes for CB2 receptors (CNR2)

Hemp to help with tumors and cancer

One of the primary uses of hemp extract is to treat cancer and tumors. Research conducted by A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, Departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Pharmacology, Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Center in Molecular Toxicology, Vanderbilt Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center concluded that “The antiproliferative and apoptotic effects produced by some of these pharmacological probes [CBD] reveal that the endocannabinoid system is a promising new target for the development of novel chemotherapeutics to treat cancer.”

Another study published in 2018 found that CBD inhibits the growth of cancerous cells in mice with pancreatic and bladder cancer. Not only did CBD inhibit cancerous cell growth, but also proved to prevent future cancerous growths in the mice treated with CBD. The conclusion of this study noted that CBD could be a viable option to treat cancer in both humans and animals.

To learn more visit www.CBDDogHealth.com.

This article will be updated as research is continually conducted and published. Below is a list of resources, research, and studies with additional information regarding full spectrum hemp CBD and its therapeutic uses. 

Resources: 

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About Angela Ardolino

Angela Ardolino is passionate about animals and has dedicated her life to providing all-natural relief to of pets of all ages and breeds. Ardolino has worked with animals for over 20 years and operates Fire Flake Farm, a rescue farm in Lutz, FL. A medical cannabis expert, Ardolino holds a degree in the therapeutic uses of cannabis from the University of Vermont School of Medicine and is the founder of CBD Dog Health. Combining her background in broadcast journalism and her passion for pets, Ardolino is the host of a pet-centric podcast, “It’s a Dog’s Life”on CannabisRadio. Additionally, she is the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and spa. Ardolino has five dogs and up to 10 residing on her farm who she is fostering or boarding. Visit www.AngelaArdolino.comand www.CBDDogHealth.com to learn more.

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