Treating canine pain with medical cannabis
Will legalization clear the air for pet use?
When I first met Ralph, I was amazed by his friendly demeanour and composure. Still, there was something about him that intrigued me. In getting to know Ralph, I learned that he suffered from arthritis, inflammation and mobility issues.
Ralph has a chronic condition that had previously been treated with the usual pharmaceutical cocktail of painkillers and adjuvant therapies, most of them ineffective and riddled with side effects. I learned that the shine of his wet nose, the perkiness of his furry ears and the slobbery pants of excitement were due to his use of medical cannabis. Ralph is a fourteen-year-old black lab whose owner had opted to treat him with cannabis-derived, nonpsychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) oil. Ralph obtained better symptom management with fewer side effects through the use of medical cannabis rather than traditional pharmaceutical options.
Like Ralph’s mom, pet owners throughout the city are turning to both hemp- and cannabis-derived CBD oils to help ease the health symptoms of their loved ones.
Currently, medical cannabis access is restricted to human use. The College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) has issued statements on their website saying that “Veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.”
One Toronto-based physician and cannabinoid therapy expert, who asked to remain anonymous, uses cannabis-derived CBD oil to treat his or her pet’s seizure disorder. Bukki, a nine-year-old Yorkie has had a significant reduction in seizures since beginning his cannabis treatment three months ago.
Those wary of the potential legal repercussions of diverting cannabis oil prescribed to human patients are choosing hemp-based CBD products instead.
Erin, the proud owner of Mu, an eight-year-old labradoodle, used a hemp-derived CBD oil for her pooch to treat associated pain and inflammation resulting from a hip dislocation.
“His rehab therapist was really happy with his quick recovery, which took just three weeks,” says Erin, who has gained knowledge about the therapeutic benefits of CBD oil through her interaction with human patients who have legally been prescribed medical cannabis.
However, according to one Toronto veterinarian specializing in holistic medicine, hemp-based products are less effective and require much higher dosing than cannabis-based ones to manage symptoms. This increase in dosage, which is sometimes 10 times the recommended dosage, results in additional financial burdens for pet parents.
“CBD cannabis sativa treatment plans work better” says Dr. Nancy (a pseudonym), a seasoned veterinarian looking to help her clients and animal patients use cannabis in a safe and effective manner.
Mu, a Labradoodle who takes hemp-derived CBD oil for pain and inflammation