BEND, Oregon. Dr. Byron Maas studies a supply of marijuana products for dogs that covers a shelf in his veterinary clinic. They are selling well.
"The up and moving" is for the joints and for the pain, "he explains. "The Calm and Quiet" is for really anxious dogs, to remove that anxiety. "
People eager to alleviate the suffering of their pets increasingly turn to oils and powders that contain CBD, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. But there is little data on whether they work or if they have harmful side effects.
That's because Washington has been on the path of clinical trials, say veterinarians and researchers. Now, it is being pushed to eliminate the barriers, so that both pets and people can benefit.
These barriers have had more than a chilling effect.
When the Federal Drug Administration announced last year that even marijuana extracts with CBD and little or no THC – an intoxicating component of marijuana – is an illegal drug from Schedule 1, the University of Pennsylvania stopped its clinical trials. The Colorado State University is moving forward.
The US Food and Drug Administration. UU He has warned companies that sell marijuana products online and through pet stores and animal hospitals that are violating laws by offering "new, unapproved animal drugs." action.
But, seeing potential benefits of CBDs, the policymaking body of the American Association of Veterinary Medicine said last summer that it wants the DEA to declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug "to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses ". He asked the board of the national veterinary organization to investigate work with other interested parties to achieve that goal. The board is waiting for a recommendation from two group councils.
"The concern of our membership is to worry about people extrapolating their own doses, looking to medicate their pets outside of the scope of the medical professional," Board Chairman Michael Whitehair said in a telephone interview. "This is an important reason for us to continue the investigation."
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a conservative Republican, became an unlikely champion of this push when he presented a bill in September that would open the way for more clinical research. Although Hatch said he opposes the recreational use of marijuana, he wants drugs based on marijuana, regulated by the FDA, produced for people with disorders.
"We lack the science to support the use of medicinal marijuana products like CBD oils, not because researchers are not willing to do the work, but because of bureaucracy and excessive regulation," Hatch said.
Dawn Boothe, from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University, is awaiting federal approval to begin a study of the effects of marijuana on epilepsy dogs. The classification of marijuana products containing CBD as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin and LSD, creates a "significant, important, important and terrible obstacle" for researchers, Boothe said in a telephone interview. .
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine studied the effects of CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis and pruritus, until the DEA published its policy statement.
"The ambiguity in this process has really brought us to a halt," said Michael. DiGregorio, director of the university's clinical trials center. "It's an investigation that needs to be done, because there are many CBD products."
When he clarified that CBD extracts of marijuana are List 1 drugs, the DEA said he was assigning a code number to those substances so that it is better to follow them and comply with international drug control treaties.
DiGregorio complained that investigators seeking federal approval to study CBD products must provide certain data, but that data is not normally available until the study is completed.
"If you do not have the data, you can not get the record to do the work," he said.
On a recent morning, Maas took a break from seeing four-legged patients at the Bend Veterinary Clinic. With a stethoscope hanging from his neck over green brush, Maas said his clients have reported that CBD helps relieve pain, arthritis, anxiety, loss of appetite, epilepsy and inflammation in their pets.
"Unfortunately there is not much research, especially in animals, in CBD compounds," Maas said. "The research is really necessary to help us understand how to actually use these compounds in our pets."
Veterinarian Janet Ladyga of the Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic, also in Bend, said she does not recommend marijuana products because of the unknowns.
"We do not have many tests at this time, so we do not know the toxicity or the safety profile … and we do not have any good evidence to show if it's safe or effective," she said.
The study at Colorado State University aims to provide some data. The approximately two dozen dogs in the arthritis study and the 30 in the epilepsy tests receive CBD oil or a placebo. For the study of arthritis, activity monitors are attached to the collars of the animals, to determine if they are more mobile when they are taking CBD.
Lead researcher Stephanie McGrath said she hopes the results will be a springboard for more time and more diverse studies, and that they provide useful information for human medicine.
"All the medications we took were first given to a dog," said DiGregorio of the University of Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Boothe said he had everything ready to begin his study in January, and was waiting for the green light from federal officials.
"I do not know what is taking so long," he said.
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