• 9 Investigates pot for pets

    By: Karla Ray

    Updated:

    Story Highlights

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Humans aren’t the only ones in the middle of the medical marijuana debate.

    Some pet owners are using it in animal treats as a pain relief treatment for dogs and cats.

    In April, 9 Investigates reporter Karla Ray reported CBD oil, the supplement derived from marijuana or hemp plants, is sold everywhere from health food stores for humans, to now animal groomers for pets.

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    While the products are popular, there isn’t a lot of research about how the oil works.

    The new trend is catching on, especially in some doggie day cares.

    “We have small dogs, big dogs, from little Chihuahuas all the way up to a Doberman boarding with us,” Rocky’s Retreat owner April Cox said.

    Different breeds have different needs.  Cookie, a foster dog being cared for at Rocky’s, is a perfect example.

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    “He probably would've been euthanized, because of his hip dysplasia.  The veterinarian said he was most likely hit by a car, and was never healed,” Cox said.

    Cookie is fighting back from that would-be death sentence, and CBD oil is part of his daily routine.

    “He's starting to come out of his shell and not have so much chronic pain,” Cox said.

    Cox drips the cannabidiol onto Cookie’s food once a day.  The oil contains no THC, meaning it won’t cause a high, but research on exactly how it could heal is relatively sparse.

    “I would love to see more research,” said Dr. Deneen Fasano, a holistic veterinarian.  She also uses CBD oil on her patients.

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    “Mostly for arthritis, seizures, diabetes, those things I’ve seen the best benefits,” Fasano said.

    The few studies that are underway, including two clinical trials at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, are too new to draw conclusions.

    “Dosing is a question, (and the) quality of the different products that are out there. There's really no regulation on that, as to how much is in there, how they're getting these levels, what other things are mixed in with it.  There's not a lot of research on that,” Fasano said.

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    Research or not, Cox believes the proof is in the pooch.

    “Obviously, the science is good to back it up, but sometimes that's a little bit behind,” Cox said. “They really want to test it, and test it; and prove, and prove, and prove; and sometimes, things just work.”

    The Drug Enforcement Administration considers marijuana extracts Schedule I drugs, so research on possible benefits to CBD oil in use of pets is minimal.

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    A policy-making group that oversees veterinarians across the country has asked the government to allow more research.  Until then, a lot of traditional vets won’t even talk about CBD as an option.

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