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Researchers in the US are studying the effectiveness of cannabis for treating dogs with epilepsy and arthritis.
The research at Colorado State University is examining the benefits of canabidiol, a non-psychoactive substance derived from hemp.
Kreg Adams remembers the horrifying night his dog Buster fell.
“Buster on the first seizure did not start screaming but you know the mouth shakes and they shake violently,” Adams recalls.
Like a growing number of people in U.S. states where marijuana has been legalized, Adams turned to cannabis to try to relieve his animal’s ailments.
Adams saw instant results: “Within about 45 minutes of giving it to Buster I could see a difference, it was just a whole different dog.”
Buster is part of a Colorado State University study that’s examining the benefits of canabidiol, a non-psychoactive substance derived from hemp that has no high-inducing THC that’s found in marijuana. It’s still considered an illegal drug _ which has limited the research.
“I think a lot of people are either up against legal issues at their institution or nervous,” says Stephanie McGrath, the lead researcher of the study looking at CBD for treating epilepsy and arthritis in dogs.
About four dozen dogs like Buster are participating in the pilot study, that’s funded by pet medication maker Applied Basic Science Corp. While dog owners report miraculous results, the study is monitoring the impact of taking CBT compared to half the dogs who are being given a placebo.
“There is a placebo effect and that same placebo effect is actually present in dogs as well. The dogs obviously don’t know that but the owners. So when we ask owners, we have what we call a caregiver placebo effect,” says researcher Felix Duerr.
Researchers check the dogs’ brains for deformities, to ensure there are none that could be an underlying cause of any seizures. At the same time the owners keep a log of the seizures their pets have.
To check for arthritis, researchers measure how much weight is placed on each paw when walking across a specially developed tread tracking pad.
“When they put less pressure on the paw then that means that they’re more painful,” Duerr says.
Results of the study are expected next year.
“The overall goal, the really long, long term goal would be to translate it to human medicine,” explains McGrath.
Veterinarian assistant Luke Beyler is not part of the study, but he gives his 14-year-old dog CBD oil to treat arthritis and anxiety.
“For the last year he hasn’t wanted to jump in my car, but then after just a couple days he’s already jumping in my car again, which is to me a big thing,” says Beyler of Robby.
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