Dr. Michael Petty, DVM, is the author of Dr. Petty’s Pain Relief for Dogs: The Complete Medical and Integrative Guide to Treating Pain (Countryman Press, February 2016). He is a veterinarian and certified veterinary pain management expert and acupuncturist. As the owner of the Arbor Pointe Veterinary Hospital and the Animal Pain Center in Canton, Michigan, he has devoted his professional life to the care and well-being of animals. The Animal Pain Center which is a referral facility treating acute, chronic, and post-surgical pain and conditions with the use of acupuncture, rehabilitation, myofascial trigger point therapy along with more traditional pharmaceutical interventions. Within this sphere of care, he has expanded his knowledge to encompass the most up-to-date and compassionate treatments available.
Remind us – how does Cannabidoil work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is involved in those endocannabinoid neurotransmissions to help maintain homeostasis, both up and down regulating neural transmissions as needed, to help keep the body in a normal and healthy state. The fact that it both up and down regulates neural transmissions means that it’s actions are always to move the body toward a normal state. Most pharmaceuticals only stimulate up regulation or down regulation, making it possible to move body systems out of its normal or homeostatic state. Because CBD works toward homeostasis, it doesn’t move things in the wrong direction, making unwanted side effects rare. Acupuncture is another treatment example known to have the same type of homeostatic action as well.
What are the effects of CBD in humans?
Known actions of CBD in humans include the down regulation of anxiety, noise phobia, epilepsy, inflammation, emesis and anorexia among other actions. It is also worth noting that CBD is not addictive it is actually anti-addictive and in humans can be used as adjunct treatments to
addictions such as tobacco, alcohol, opiates.
What about the use of CBD in animals?
There is almost no research on the use of CBD in animals. Therefore, those vets who choose to recommend or dispense CBD must do so based on information from anecdotal evidence: one of the worst types of evidence to rely on. As a pain practitioner, I carefully consider using treatments that have come with little or no research behind them, as long as there does not seem to be reports of serious adverse events. But I bare in mind that if I am willing to utilize unproven treatments, I must also be prepared to discard those same treatments when unacceptable side effects or adverse events present themselves.
How does CBD help osteoarthritis?
CBD reduces inflammation and pain, inhibits release of TNF (inflammatory cytokine) and reduces neuropathy.
Have you used CBD?
I have encouraged many of my clients to use CBD to treat the pain of degenerative joint disease and other chronic conditions. Even with proven treatments such as NSAID therapy, the results are often mixed. No different is the use of CBD for the treatment of pain with mixed results.
What signs have clients seen that have used it?
For those patients where it has worked, my clients have reported a decrease in pain, improved sleep patterns, increased appetite and improved attitude; all leading to an overall improvement in quality-of-life. Again, these clinical impressions are not research and do not carry the weight of well-done studies, but they certainly offer up hope for an additional treatment for pain.
What else can CBD be used for?
Most commonly it is being used for pain, but also for anxiety, seizures, anorexia, vomiting and as a sleep aid.
Is all CBD the same?
The extraction process can have a profound effect on the amount of CBD that is bioavailable. Cold Press extraction of Hemp produces low CBD, CO2 extraction is the most effective and safest extraction method (it is a similar method to decaffeinating coffee) but also the most expensive method.
Some companies buy their hemp from Chinese sources, which are often associated with high concentrations of heavy metals and pesticides. US hemp is high quality but not allowed to be used
Commercially. European hemp is the best and safest option.
Some companies have no quality control and wildly varying concentrations of CBD, including no CBD (see here for the FDA report on tests they ran). It is very difficult to learn which company has the best product and even what the concentration of their product is. I have reached out to several of the more popular companies selling CBD products to get basic information about quality and testing, but no one has ever called me back.
Are there any exceptions?
One exception on the horizon in the USA may be a product being produced for Peak Performance Veterinary Group. It has a CBD concentration of 100 mg/ml in a coconut oil base, and has been tested for purity and contaminants. It is also a full spectrum extraction, which means additional cannabidiol substances such as CBDV, CBC, and CBG are also present. For more information on their product go to peakvets.com
So what CBD would you recommend?
The important thing is to make sure anyone dispensing it will tell you (A) the exact strength of CBD in it, (B) the percentage of THC, which should be very low and (C) that it is assayed by an outside lab and they have the proof. It is one thing to say what is in it, it is another to be able to prove it.
How do you use it?
Future research and experience will give us more information on the dosing levels and intervals. Current recommendations for oral dosing for CBD in dogs and cats are 0.02 mg/kg to 0.1 mg/kg given b.i.d. According to James Gaynor, DVM, ACVAA, of Peak Performance Veterinary Group, most dogs do well at 0.05 mg/kg b.i.d. and in cats 0.025 mg/kg b.i.d. for pain management. It is worth noting that it may interfere with ivermectin so recommendation is to discontinue CBD for 2-3 days.
Is CBD legal in the UK?
CBD is derived from hemp and it does not contain any THC which is the psychoactive component of cannabis which means it can’t get you high. It had been legal to buy in the UK but since 14 September 2018 CBD has become considered a veterinary medicine which means that marketing authorisation is needed to sell, supply or advertise it. There is currently NO authorised CBD products for animals in the UK so the answer is NO, IT IS NOT LEGAL to buy CBD in the UK.