Dr. Katherine Kramer has made headlines about veterinarians in Canada denouncing the use of cannabis CBD in pets.
"It's interesting," she tells the Straight by telephone from her office at Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital, where she has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2011.
"Many veterinarians say publicly, 'No, there is not enough research' or 'We can not use it, it's illegal', but privately they're saying it differently."
In For the last five years, Dr. Kramer talked to her clients about the benefits of CBD, although the BC veterinary college says that there is too little research for veterinarians
"We are limited by the laws and, according to the college, we should not recommend or prescribe what I do not, "says the veterinarian, who uses a combination of Western medicine, veterinary acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat pets that come to the clinic.
"But especially in Vancouver, [cannabis] is so prevalent that most of my clients come in and already have something they want to use."
Kramer says that when that happens, she sees it as her job as advocates of the animals to advise their owners about the use of CBD, which products are ideal and what side effects can occur.
"I can count on one hand the number of animals that did not do well CBD," she says. "Over the last five years, I have had many, many happier stories than toxicities or problems with them, and I can not imagine practicing without them at this point."
While clinical research on pets and CBD has just begun, According to Kramer, there is no anecdotal evidence that cannabinoid can effectively relieve dogs and cats suffering from a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, anxiety, and epilepsy.
She also points out that there are a number of conventional medicines used by veterinarians who have not been studied on domestic animals, and in these cases, suitable pet cans are simply extrapolated from the recommended human dose.
One reason she says that so many pet owners are curious about the compound is that their pets often do not tolerate the side effects associated with regular medication. In other cases, it may have a synergistic effect, making standard medicines more effective.
"If we have a seizure patient who has three seizure medications weekly, we can add the CBD to it and reduce the seizures and hopefully reduce the medications they're on," says Kramer. [1
Kramer admits that the market for cannabis-based pet products is not regulated. As a result, quality control is often overlooked by manufacturers and it can be difficult to figure out which products are best
"Many of the treats on the market are unlikely to be harmful, but they can not be helpful," she says. "There are some local products that I found really worthless."
Kramer tells her customers that they are mainly looking for CBD products for human use, as they are manufactured by the manufacturer from Vancouver, Isodiol, in higher concentrations of CBD than most pet products.
Smaller animals could benefit from Green Island Naturals Medico Pet Pets Tincture, but Kramer says that someone with a 100 pound dog would need a fairly large dose of the diluted product containing two milligrams of CBD per milliliter.
While she says that infused dog treats in CBD are often too low to be helpful for patients with serious conditions like cancer, she is a fan of a local company whose line of dog biscuits lives up to conditions like anxiety and arthritis.
"I started working with Creating Heller Days because I like all the other ingredients they put into their goodies – they do their due diligence, try to get quality control and analysis," she says.
It fails to propose anything that comes in capsule form, after a few cases where participants inadvertently delivered THC capsules to customers instead of CBD-containing ones. (While she says that CBD is largely safe for pets, THC can cause serious discomfort to pets.)
"That's why I brought a few patients to the ER," she says. "Once I've had such a pharmacy experience, I'm done, I can not send someone to you in good faith."
Kramer understands that she may be the exception among veterinarians, but she says Pet owners should always alert their vets if they are considering giving their pets CBD. They are afraid that their vet might advise against it. If a veterinarian has enough questions about CBD treatment, Kramer says, they will do the research. She hopes that someday she will be able to go to her pharmacy shelves to issue a Health Canada-approved CBD product that is controlled and safe, but says it will not happen if not operated by pet owners.
Despite the controversy around the topic, Kramer's success stories are enough to make any pet lover tearfully. In many cases, she has seen sick pets spend up to a few extra years with their owners.
Her first patient, who consumed CBD, an 18-year-old cat, had a return to appetite, could not take opioids and live comfortably for a few more years. In her favorite story, Kramer remembers a lab with lymphoma whose owners had already booked the appointment to euthanise him.
"He did not eat and did not want to do anything," says Kramer. "But one dose of CBD, and the next morning he woke up, grabbed his leash and dragged his owners to Stanley Park for a walk, and he lived another six months."
Katherine Kramer will host a discussion on pets and CBD at the Georgia Straight 's upcoming event Grassroots: An Expo for Cannabis Curious. Tickets can be found on the Grassroots website.