More and more pet owners are turning to medical cannabis to help relieve their pets’ pain or to treat whatever medical condition their pets suffer from. However, there is very little scientific information on whether CBD or cannabidiol really works for animals and whether they have adverse side effects. Thanks to the United States federal government, which, according to researchers and veterinarians, has gotten in the way of clinical trials. In fact, just last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that CBD, along with other cannabis extracts, is classified as a Schedule I substance under its new drug code and is therefore illegal.
This classification also means that CBD products and cannabis in all its forms and extracts are considered to have zero therapeutic benefits, as well as dangerous and harmful to our health, with a high potential for abuse.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also warned companies selling cannabis products, whether online or via veterinary hospitals and pet shops, that they are violating the law by offering unapproved new drugs for animals and has even threatened them with legal action.
This is the reason why scientists are urging the government to push for more research on medical marijuana for dogs.
The policy-making body of the American Veterinary Medical Association stated that it wants marijuana declassified in order to facilitate opportunities for research on the substance’s human and veterinary medical uses. It also asked the organization’s board to explore coordinating with other stakeholders toward meeting this goal. The board is just waiting for a recommendation from two group councils.
According to the board’s chairman, Michael Whitehair, their main concern is about pet owners extrapolating dosages on their own and medicating their pets without proper guidance from a medical professional. This, he said, is an important reason why research should be continued.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine were conducting a study on the effects of CBD on dogs suffering from pruritis and osteoarthritis but had to stop when the DEA released its latest cannabis policy.
Meanwhile, Dawn Boothe, of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, awaits federal approval to commence a study on the effects of cannabis on dogs suffering from epilepsy. The DEA’s classification of CBD as a Schedule I drug has created a major roadblock for researchers.
Boothe said that she has everything ready in order to start her study early next year. In fact, the only thing she needs is the green light from the federal authorities.
Michael DiGregorio, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s clinical trials center, pointed out that the ambiguity of the federal law has brought their study to a screeching halt.
The DEA has said that it was assigning code numbers to CBD and other cannabis extracts and products in order to better track them, as well as to comply with global drug control treaties.
DiGregorio also complained that researchers who are seeking the federal government’s approval to conduct studies on CBD are required to provide certain data. However, he contended, that the data is not normally available before the study is done. He said that if researchers do not have the data, they also cannot get the registration to work.