Leonardo Giraudo
Leonardo Giraudo
Pharmacovigilance Compliance Expert
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Potential Future Applications of CBD in Veterinary Medicine – What Can We Expect or Hope For

Potential Therapeutic Applications of CBD in Pets and Food Producing Animals

Cannabis is used for the treatment of several human conditions. Its use in veterinary medicine is still very limited, however, there is evidence in literature supporting its safe and effective use also in animal diseases. In recent years, scientists have studied the application of Cannabidiol (CBD), as monotherapy or in combination with other drugs in dogs, for three different applications: as an analgesic for osteoarthritis, as an antiepileptic, and as a treatment for behavioural disorders. As reported in the resulting articles, the CBD significantly reduced pain and increased activity in dogs with osteoarthritis, reduced the frequency of seizure due to epilepsy, and reduced the aggressive behaviour in dogs. In the last year, CBD was also studied for human application through various animal models. For example, a study that involved rats with neuropathic pain reported reduced pain sensitivity and inflammation; another involved mice with Alzheimer’s disease that showed improved cognitive function and reduced neuroinflammation; one more involved rats with spinal cord injury, which had improved motor function recovery and reduced inflammation. A final study involved rats with post-stroke inflammation, who experienced reduced neuroinflammation and improved motor recovery. 

Although promising results were identified, studies were heterogeneous and presented risks of bias that required caution in the interpretation of findings. Therefore, while there was some evidence to support the use of CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis to reduce pain and increase activity, limited evidence against epilepsy and behavioural problems was found. An important aspect is that CBD was well tolerated with mild adverse effects. More Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) showing high quality of evidence are needed, including greater numbers of animal subjects, additional species, and clear readout measures to confirm these findings. 

The application of CBD in food producing animals has not been studied by the scientists, but it is possible to think of its application for all neuroinflammatory pathologies or those associated with pain conditions. In recent years CBD has also been studied for its antimicrobial and antifungal activities, opening possible future applications in food producing animals where antimicrobic resistance has become a global problem. to be quickly resolved.  

The most promising application for the coming years is related to dog and cat diseases, such as osteoarthritis, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and neuroinflammation. However, further studies are needed to conclude a therapeutic action of CBD for each of these conditions, as well as for decreasing anxiety and aggression in dogs and cats. Herein, we summarize the available scientific evidence associated with the mechanisms of action of CBD, including pharmacokinetics, safety, regulation, and efficacy in ameliorating various health conditions in dogs and cats. 

The hope is that pharmaceutical companies will begin studying Cannabis more in-depth, taking an approach aimed at marketing the first drugs with the applications cited in this article. 


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