Monday, 14 November 2016

Non-Psychoactive Cannabidiol Drugs for Dogs: Assessing its Efficacy and Legality

The medicinal qualities of marijuana have been recognized for centuries with its use as a medicinal product being documented in Ancient India, China and Egypt as early as 10,000 years ago. In recent years however, marijuana was proscribed by the government, with the rare exception of its use as a medicinal product under the designation medical marijuana. In 2015, about half of all States had legalized the use of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana has been used in different forms to manage diverse medical conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), neuropathic pain, cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis; with the affected persons experiencing symptom relief. One of the forms in which medical marijuana is used is targeted cannabinoid therapy, which usually uses cannabidiol (CBD) oil for managing child epilepsy, for which it has been noted to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures.
There still remains controversy about the use of medical marijuana in managing both childhood and adulthood medical conditions, mostly because there is no conclusive empirical evidence of its incontestable medical efficacy. Nonetheless, further exploration continues, and in both United Kingdom and the United States, clinical trials have been approved for cannabidiol treatment of childhood medical conditions.
Despite its exploration for use in managing human ailments, there has been little conclusive research on the therapeutic efficacy of medical marijuana in managing health conditions affecting canines, which is among the most popular pets. Even so, a relatable study published in 1988 showed that the protective index of medical marijuana was quite high. The study which also researched its mode of action, as an anticonvulsant drug in dogs, found out that it works the same way as the conventional drugs; phenytoin and phenobarbital.
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Regardless, one dog owner, David Bourgouin, has testified that CBD has helped his 11-year old dog, Reef, to get better following an injury that led to the development of a painful cyst. Reef was injured when it was jumping a fence, and the resultant cyst that formed grew to be as large as a lemon ball, and it was located between the chest and the front leg. Apart from being painful, the cyst also limited the range of mobility. Surgical excision of the cysts would have cost $6,000; and this drove Bourgouin to seek alternative therapy.
During an interview with NBC, Bourgouin reported that he knew about Cannabidiol (CBD), and that he purchased it for Reef at a facility based in Carlsbad, CA. He explained that this was an informed decision as he had correct knowledge about CBD. Reef ended up experiencing pain relief, among other great results, that allowed it to regain its functional status, and it can now play and run around again.
According to Amber Hopkins - a veterinary anesthesiologist, who is a member of the Veterinary Medical Association of San Diego County – the health improvements observed in Reef are not unexpected. She said this during an interview in NBC, in which she further explained that cannabinoids can benefit sick animals as they have shown the potential to manage conditions such as nausea, epilepsy, and pain.
Even though this form of therapy is beneficial to animals, and its prospects promising, veterinarians are still not allowed to prescribe, or recommend to any person the use of medical marijuana. This prohibition is enshrined in the Federal Law and veterinarians risk legal proceedings, and even loss of practicing license, if they contravene it. Hopkins elaborated this further during her NBC interview, and she stated that this is because there is a lack of conclusive scientific evidence regarding the medical efficacy and safety profile of the drug, as well as the appropriate dose regimens. Therefore, until convincing efficacy and safety studies are done, and the dose regimens for animals are well-defined; veterinarians are still bound by law not to subscribe medical marijuana for managing health conditions affecting dogs.
Even so, medical marijuana has been used to manage a neurological condition in a canine. In 2014, the story about a 5-year old Spaniel, of the Cavalier King Charles breed-type, named Georgia, who has been diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disease called syringomyelia, was shared by CNBC. Syringomyelia is characterized by the development of painful cysts in the spinal cord of the affected animal. Apart from causing neurological disabilities characterized by limb paralysis, back stiffness, and muscle weakness; syringomyelia also causes loss of sensation, especially sensation to heat and cold. The owner of the dog, Kelly Conway, explained that she had sought treatment for Georgia, but that the condition was not responsive to the traditional medications. This forced Conway to seek an alternative. While exploring alternative oprtions, Conway came across CBD that had been made from industrial hemp, and she decided to use it to treat her dog.
During her interview with CNBC, Conway testified that Georgia responded relatively well to CBD treatment, and that her (Georgia) health improved significantly. Conway even described CBD as a miracle drug that cannot be belittled as it enabled her dog to become whole and healthy again. She remarked that Georgia is now relaxed, happy, and free of pain; and this has really amazed her.
Similar successes of cannabinoid therapy in managing medical conditions in dogs were reported by the Huffington Post in 2013. According to these reports, cannabinoid therapy was occasioned by both cure of the medical conditions, and symptoms relief with the affected dogs experiencing pain relief, as well as proper relaxation of muscles and joints. For instance, Doug Kramer, a veterinarian based in Los Angeles, described how he used cannabis to treat his Siberian husky for post-surgical complications, occasioned by pain and lack of appetite, following a surgery that removed cancerous tumors. Doug credits CBD for relieving pain and allowing his dog to eat again; and thus enabling the dog to live for an extra 42 days.
Despite lack of conclusive scientific evidence, there are still veterinarians who call for, and support using cannabidiols for treating pets. This also calls for further exploration of its therapeutic efficacy and safety profile.
It is still difficult to determine the most appropriate dose of CBD for pets. Therefore, CBD must be administered to pets by an experienced veterinarian who has prerequisite knowledge about the medical applications of CBD. Moreover, medical marijuana meant for human consumption must never be dispensed to pets as its active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has psychoactive properties that can cause the pets to experience adverse, or even harmful, adverse effects. 

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