Increasingly I get asked about “alternative therapies” for medical conditions in pets and one that has become much talked about recently is CBD (cannabis oil).
There are lots of positive anecdotes on the internet about its use in pets and therefore owners are, not surprisingly, interested.
The reality for us vets is that CBD is not yet a licenced veterinary product and, because we prescribe medicines that are licenced for use in pets or medicines with years of research behind them in human and animal use, CBD-containing products simply do not have enough evidence on safety and effectiveness to justify their use.
Research into CBD remains in its early stages and if you want to read a really well researched and sensible article on the subject then go to www.skeptic.org.uk and read the article written by Robyn Lowe on the CBD claims and evidence. I cannot summarise the whole issue in just one of my columns, but here are two take home messages:
Firstly, there is a misconception that all things that are “natural” will do no harm and only good – this is simply not true. Research is on-going but early tests into CBD shows that it could have adverse effects on the liver, immune system, reproductive system and more.
Secondly, because this is not yet a licenced product, it is highly unregulated. Recent samples taken from over the counter purchased CBD have revealed huge variations in quality and, indeed, an alarming disparity in how much active ingredient is contained compared to dangerous elements of the cannabis plant.
A few impressive stories online do not justify the use of a medicine that is not fully tested and not yet regulated, so please, proceed with caution when it comes to Cannabis Oil.
Alice Moore is a vet at Castle Veterinary Clinic, Dorchester and Weymouth.