An Aussie company is trialling medicinal cannabis products on pets. Picture: iStock
An Aussie company is trialling medicinal cannabis products on pets. Picture: iStock

Vets who will give your dog marijuana

MEDICINAL marijuana for pets is one step closer to becoming a reality as an ambitious Aussie company kicks off clinical trials across NSW and Queensland.

CannPal's radical new treatment for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis will be available at 12 vets across the two states. Recruitment for the trial has now commenced and the company expects about 60 pooches will participate.

The trial drug - containing two cannabis-derived active ingredients - hopes to control pain and inflammation associated with the degenerative bone disease without the side effects associated with traditional medication.


The clinical trial is looking for dogs suffering from osteoartheritis. Picture: iStock
The clinical trial is looking for dogs suffering from osteoartheritis. Picture: iStock

The clinical trials follow the company's announcement last year that it was partnering with the CSIRO for 15 weeks in order to test whether "microencapsulation technology" would enhance the delivery of hemp- and cannabis-derived products.

CannPal founder and managing director Layton Mills told News Corp it was still evaluating the findings, but added one of the most interesting outcomes from phase one of the research program was how dogs handled the two active ingredients - tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)

"We analysed various different cannabinoids and ratios, at various concentrations in both fed and fasted dogs, and we analysed blood samples over a period of 72 hours. As a result of that robust research, we now have a much better understanding of what happens when a dog consumes cannabinoids," Mr Mills said.

"The data from this research indicated that THC and CBD have the potential to control pain and inflammation in dogs."

CannPal founder Layton Mills. Picture: Supplied
CannPal founder Layton Mills. Picture: Supplied

The clinical trial will be a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study meaning participants won't know who is receiving the placebo and who is getting the treatment. Mr Mills believed CannPal was the first company globally to undertake such a study using both THC and CBD on client-owned animals.

Upon its conclusion, the company would need to submit an Investigational New Animal Drug application with the Food and Drug Administration/Centre for Veterinary Medicine in the US.

"However unless there are favourable changes to cannabis regulations for animals in the short term, it's likely that it could still be a couple of years before this product is available commercially for dog owners," Mr Mills said.

He added CannPal would soon commence a separate study on a hemp-derived CBD product that could help dogs suffering from dermatitis conditions. Because it lacks THC, it could be for sale in Australia much sooner than the osteoarthritis drug, Mr Mills said.

CannPal’s new trial drug. Picture: Supplied
CannPal’s new trial drug. Picture: Supplied

Collaroy Veterinary Services in NSW is one of six clinics in the state taking part in the trial. Owner Peter Prendergast said the experimental osteoarthritis treatment would soon be on his shelves.

"I believe it's got promise, as it does in people where it seems to benefit people in palliative care and those who suffer from refractory epilepsy," Mr Prendergast said.

"I think it will have its place in medicine for animals, particularly when it comes to pain relief."

Mr Prendergast, whose clinic will be looking for about 10 four-legged trial participants, hoped it would have fewer side effects compared to traditional medications.

"Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories aren't kind on the gut," he said. "They can also compromise the liver and kidneys."

The vet said while some people accessed hemp oil for their pets through "various sources" but products often varied greatly in quality.

"With a properly-conducted trial, we'll get a good feeling for the best dose rate," he said.

He added dogs submitted for the trial would undergo comprehensive testing to ensure they were legitimate osteoarthritis sufferers, and experiencing symptoms such as limping, slowness getting up, and reluctance to tackle stairs or to jump.

The trial will run for eight weeks and participants will need to provide the treatment twice it day. It will also involve vet visits and phone calls.

More information can be found here.





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