BY- Anna Dawson
Studies released in 2021 continue to show the benefits of CBD supplementation in dogs. Our four-legged friends provide us with some of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. So when dogs fall ill or develop long-term health conditions, it makes sense that owners are willing to do anything they can to help.
Pet CBD oils and treats have grown in popularity over the past few years, as owners look for new methods of supporting their pets. Extracted from hemp plants, CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound that creates a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect in dog’s bodies without making them high.
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While there are thousands of positive reviews of pet CBD products from owners online, CBD’s rapid growth has left regulating bodies struggling to keep up. Despite its widespread usage, pet CBD is not currently recognized as a treatment by official bodies such as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
A surge of new and interesting findings from scientists are now posing the question of whether CBD should become an official, prescribable canine treatment, Pixabay
For human use, where CBD has an even longer history, only a small number of products have been given the go-ahead for official, medical use – mostly as treatments for rare forms of epilepsy. But that doesn’t mean that no research has been conducted into the benefits and possible risks of CBD for dogs. In fact, there has been a mounting base of evidence for CBD use, with researchers from various institutions exploring whether CBD offers a new treatment avenue for common canine conditions such as anxiety, arthritis, and seizures.
A surge of new and interesting findings from scientists are now posing the question of whether CBD should become an official, prescribable canine treatment. In February this year, a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports found that CBD supplementation may reduce aggressive behavior towards humans in shelter dogs. Researchers looked at the effects of CBD on 24 dogs over 6 weeks, concluding that shelter dogs were less aggressive towards humans when given CBD, with no adverse effects.
Another recent study funded by American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation found some interesting results about CBD and cancer in dogs. Researchers tested the effects of CBD on in vitro canine cancer cells. They found that CBD significantly slowed the growth of canine cancer cells, pathing the way for future research on whether the cannabis extract may be a future paired treatment with traditional chemotherapy. These latest studies add to a growing list of scientific research on the benefits of CBD for dogs with two of the most common canine inflammatory conditions: arthritis and seizures.
Researchers tested the effects of CBD on in vitro canine cancer cells. Pixabay
Researchers writing in the journal Pain in spring 2020 tested the effects of CBD on dogs with joint pain and arthritis. They found that CBD was not only able to improve the mobility and wellbeing of dogs (as judged by vets and owners), they also recorded positive effects in dogs for over 10 days after CBD treatment was stopped. A similar study from summer 2020 found similar positive results when it tested the effects of CBD combined with other treatments on canine arthritis. Based on their findings, researchers recommended a longer-term study on the possibility of including oral CBD in a multimodal approach to treating canine osteoarthritis.
In terms of studying CBD’s effect on canine seizures, Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has been leading the way, running several clinical trials testing CBD on dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. In these studies, researchers concluded that dogs taking CBD twice-daily over the 12-week study experienced a median reduction of 33% in seizure frequency. Despite all the positive results, however, it’s important to point out that science still has a long way to go before giving pet CBD the official greenlight. Mainstream drugs and prescribable supplements often have hundreds of large studies to back up their efficacy by the time they reach the drug store.
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Part of the reason for this cautious approach is the need to check for potential side effects. Interestingly, the wide usage of pet CBD in the general public is already partially revealing the side effect of CBD products. While most dogs don’t experience any ill effects from taking a CBD product, nausea, diarrhea, and drowsiness have been observed by some owners. A small number of dogs using CBD in studies have also shown elevated liver enzyme activity. This raises the question of whether CBD may not be appropriate for dogs with pre-existing liver conditions.
Another reason that scientific agreement requires a large number of studies is that some results will differ from the norm. For example, in January 2021, a study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association looked at how CBD affected dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. After treatment was completed, the study found no difference between the condition of dogs treated with CBD versus the dogs in the control group. But while it may be several more years before research into CBD for dogs reaches a conclusion, it’s clear that the vast majority of current results are highly positive. Because of this, expect the studies to continue and CBD’s popularity among owners to further increase.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence, promotes some commercial links.)