The use of cannabinoids is a topic carrying a set of rumors. Dr. Dawn Boothe explains what this trend means for veterinary medicine.
Authorities have a complex relationship with cannabinoids. Very different varieties, multiple names (hemp, marijuana, cannabis, etc.) and safety issues have led to confusion and reconsideration of the value of this plant.
Dr. Dawn Boothe, a veterinarian in internal medicine and pharmacology at Auburn University, is excited to explore the possibilities of using cannabinoids to improve pain management and the quality of life of veterinary patients. As part of a Quick Knowledge Cup, Dr. Boothe talks with Dr. Natalie Marks about what we know and what is being done to learn more.
What are cannabinoids?
Among the various cannabinoid-based products available, those that a veterinarian prescribes to patients are industrial hemp and not cannabis.
According to Dr. Boothe, it's fair to talk about cannabis and industrial hemp as two different products. Legally defined, industrial hemp contains 0.3% or less of THC, which is the psychoactive component of the plant. Cannabis products are less reliable when it comes to knowing the levels of substances such as THC and CBD, resulting in unintended side effects.
What studies have been done in veterinary medicine?
Although there are numerous studies on the effects of cannabinoids in humans, the number of studies conducted on cannabinoids in veterinary medicine is limited. While we are able to extrapolate some aspects of human clinical trials with respect to pain management, anxiety, and cancer treatment, we still have a lot to know.
One of the reasons for the lack of clinical trials in veterinary medicine, says Dr. Boothe, is the fact that the DEA has named CBD, one of the most popular cannabinoids, a Schedule 1 substance. This is where the definition of industrial hemp allows an opening. Products derived from industrial hemp are not Schedule 1 substances and will be easier to use and prescribe for veterinary professionals.
A recent study from Cornell University has demonstrated the effectiveness of CBD products in the treatment of osteoarthritis. In the state of Colorado, the use of CBD has been studied to treat epileptic dogs. And in Auburn, where Dr. Boothe works, they plan to do a study on the quality of life of dogs. This validated study will track cannabinoids in dogs with chronic diseases during 4 at 6 months.
Thus, clinical trials of cannabinoids in the veterinary field are rare. A key element of these clinical studies will be to ensure that products tested in clinical trials are the same as those used in practice, as these products are highly variable.
Can we give it to our pets?
It is important to note that just because cannaise is now legal in the United States for recreational or medicinal purposes does not mean that it is legal to use it for veterinary patients.
That said, clients often ask if they can give CBD-based products to their pets with chronic pain. According to Dr. Boothe, although no product on the market is (yet) legal, customers can probably give it to their pets.
However, due to the variability of these products and the lack of regulation, customers need to understand that they have no confidence in the amount of CBD or other components contained in the product. In fact, the dose is probably too low, says Dr. Boothe.
For example, "gummy bears" containing CBD contain 5 mg per candy. The drug recently approved in the United States, Epidiolex, contains an initial dose of 2 mg / kg and can be up to 25 mg / kg twice daily. So, this 5 mg gelatin may be beneficial for a Yorkshire, but that would be another story for a Labrador.
When discussing a substance with exciting potential and many unknowns, one must be careful. Remember that cannabinoids manipulate a very integrated physiological system in the body, and this is something to be aware of.
Dr. Boothe recommends caution because of the limited knowledge we still have about these products, but is optimistic about the good that this plant can potentially do for patients around the world.