CBD For Dogs Research Gains Ground

By Susan Tasaki, August 2019, Updated June 2021
new cbd research for dogs

For people and their companion animals, enthusiasm for CBDenhanced products and medical applications far outruns evidence-based confirmation of their benefits. That is, however, slowly changing as legal hurdles  to investigating the cannabinoid are becoming slightly less difficult to leap.

In late May, the FDA launched its first-ever hearing on CBD products with a long list of questions, including one of the most crucial: do they work? In  the case of epilepsy—both human and canine—recent studies indi- cate the answer is yes.

Last year, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based prescription drug for the treatment of hard-to-treat seizures in both  children and adults; its effectiveness had been tested in an international randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. This  year, results of a pilot study con- ducted by veterinary neurologist Stephanie McGrath at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital  were published in the June 1 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association;  the report noted that 89 percent  of the dogs treated with CBD had fewer seizures. (Enrollment in another, larger trial is currently open; contact CSUNeuroTrials@ colostate.edu for more informa- tion.)

Aside from epilepsy, CBD’s capacity to relieve conditions such as arthritis pain, anxiety and inflammation continues to be studied, and some of the results seem promising. It’s worth noting, however, that at this point, most  of these studies are being carried out on human, rather than canine, subjects. 

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 98: Summer 2019

Susan Tasaki, a freelance editor and writer, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.

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