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Apr 26, 2016 4:30 PM

Can We Use Sativa Strains for Treating Pets?

What should you do if you see that your lovely pet is suffering? Traditional medicine is not always safe due to the side effects. But what about natural products based on CBD—can they help the problem?

Medical Sativa Strains for Treating Pets

Dogs and cats cannot explain to us what exactly they feel and what aches in their body, and if there is something wrong, you will want to try to alleviate their pain right away. Recently, new natural products based on cannabis ingredients appeared on the market. The label says that these products can treat a wide range of health problems, from anxiety to cancer. The chemical compound CBD is used in these products as the primary ingredient that is supposed to repress the transmission between nerve cells and alleviate pain.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns people to be careful with what they are buying because, as it often happens, drugs that were not approved by the FDA may have absolutely different chemical composition than it says on the label.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes that there are not enough scientific studies on the issue, and therefore, it is difficult to say whether marijuana-based products can really help animals, and if they can, what is the safest and the most effective dose of such product.

Not all veterinarians agree to use hemp-based products for treating animals. Even though the medicine they use now is not always perfect, at least they know exactly how it works and what to expect. With non-FDA-approved products you just leave things to chance and hope that it will not worsen the situation.

However, those veterinarians who risked to try CBD in their work and got positive results are more optimistic about the issue. Dr. Sarah Brandon believes that it is just the matter of time before CBD efficiency for treating pets' illnesses will be officially proved.

Apart from veterinarian practice, Dr. Sarah Brandon and her husband Dr. Greg Copas run Canna Companion, a company that manufactures cannabis-based products for treating pets. During the previous two years, they were collecting data of numerous unofficial tests of their product, and later this year, they are planning to make a presentation at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum in Denver.

They also hope to do official clinical trials, so they have already discussed the possibility of conducting the studies on the base of some universities. Right now they are waiting for the reply from the University of California, Davis, the University of Kentucky, and Tennessee State University.

Copas started using sativa weed strains for creating treatment for pets about fifteen years ago. First, he treated his own pets, then he and Brandon tried the hemp-based treatment on the pets of family and friends, and then on the animals in their vet practice (all the pet owners were informed and agreed to this treatment voluntary).

So far, Canna Companion offers the capsules of 205 mg with ground hemp for small doses and 600 mg for extra large doses. By the end of the year, they also plan to start manufacturing products with a higher amount of hemp for treating horses and cattle. All the products have a very low dose of THC to avoid any psychoactive effects.

Brandon and Copas do not promise miracles, they say that like any treatment, it is not a cure-all. CBD treatment is efficient against joint pain, arthritis, and some other illnesses, but it is better to use it together with other medications and therapy.

In New York City, Dr. Stephen M. Katz, a veterinarian and founder of Therabis, also offers marijuana-based treatment for pets. He has been working on his formula for the last ten years and assures that it helps against allergies, anxiety, joint immobility, and pathological scratching. Right now his treatment (sachets with 3, 5, and 7 mg of CBD) is available only for dogs, but later this year he is planning to make new products for cats.

The Therabis product is not certified yet, but this year, Katz will work with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in order to test his product officially.

Not everyone is satisfied with only the CBD treatment. Alison Etwell, the founder of TreatWell, offers two kinds of tincture, one has a 20:1 CBD:THC ratio for treating mild pain, arthritis, and anxiety, and the other has a 1:1 ratio for severe pain and cancer. She said she had a lot of experience with treating animals with serious illness, and she found out that for some conditions just CBD was not enough.

Both TreatWell tinctures come in sizes of 75 mg and 300 mg. Etwell believes that treatment in the form of tincture has its benefits as it is easy to give it to pets by simply putting a certain amount of the liquid on the side of their mouth.

So, as you can see, treatment with the help of cannabis-based products can have its own benefits, but as of today, it is up to the owner whether to allow using it for alleviating their pet's suffering or not. In any case, it is not recommended to give hemp-based treatment without first consulting with the vet.