CBD: Medicine or Myth for animals? By Dr Elaine Cebuliak

There is much work being done on the use of medical marijuana as a medicinal plant that has been used for centuries for medicinal value.

Although not a panacea for all ills, this natural healing, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory plant is showing promise to reduce the use of addictive opioids (in humans) works well as anti-seizure therapeutics, and synergistically acts to help cure cancer, provide pain relief (analgesia) help with irritable bowel, and other chronic illnesses.

In February of 2016 The Australian Parliament passed a measure Wednesday legalising medical marijuana. The amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act

https://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/17/asia/australia-medical-cannabis will allow cannabis to be legally grown for medical and scientific purposes in Australia.

Many of our clients are sourcing CBD oils directly from several companies both in Australia and overseas. In combination with other natural therapies, we are seeing extraordinary results for cancer, epilepsy, skin and even gut disorders.

An holistic veterinarian colleague and friend has been doing much of the initial work – for many years- championing the use of medical marijuana.

His name is Dr Robert Silver, DVM, MS, CVA, the chief medical officer for Rx Vitamins, a small animal veterinarian in Colorado. It is important that low or no THC is part of the cannabinoid product.  The CBD product is very safe.  Here is a link to an interview with Dr Karen Becker, showing how safe this medicine is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y690LtyjvFc

Dosage- in America, Amsterdam, Australia (see Dr Janet Shloss and other countries ongoing therapeutic trials are being processed and documented. Prior to recent studies, the generally accepted therapeutic dose range for CBD in animals has been 0.1 to 0.5 mg/kg twice daily, but you can go as high as 5 mg/kg twice daily, according to Dr. Silver and Cital. A Cornell study shows that dosing as high as 8 mg/kg is safe,1 but this is not very cost-effective or practical, says Cital, who notes that dosing has been updated to 0.1 to 2 mg/kg twice daily based on now-available canine and feline data.

Pain management

Lower doses of CBD are generally adequate for neuropathic pain, but higher dosages are often necessary for conditions causing chronic pain and inflammation such as osteoarthritis (OA), says Dr. Silver.

Dr. Silver has been finding 0.5 mg/kg twice daily to be effective, and he reports that other veterinarians also find lower doses to work well for patients with pain. “It’s worthwhile to start at this lower dose, which may provide a successful outcome, in order to reduce the cost and amount of hemp extract to be administered,” he says. The use of CBD together with opioids may allow a reduction in opioid doses, as CBD indirectly stimulates opioid receptors, producing an opioid-sparing effect, he says.


Cannabinoids appear to be able to fight cancer, possibly through the induction of cancer cell death, anti-angiogenesis and some anti-metastatic properties, these experts say. Cital reports that an in vitro study looking at three different canine cancer cell lines was just completed by Joseph J.

Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, at Cornell University, with results expected out by 2020. Dr. Wakshlag is also working on a quality of life in vivo study. While Dr. Silver cautions that many claims surrounding CBD and cancer are, so far, not based in evidence, he also says researchers have discovered the presence of receptors on tumour cells for cannabinoids. He knows of a veterinary oncologist who was treating a lingual mass using non-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) CBD as a sole treatment (0.5 mg/kg twice daily).

Six weeks later the mass was reduced to nearly nothing.

One of our colleagues, Dr Ross Perry – a Bird Specialist, was dying of stage 4 prostate cancer several months ago. Here is a You Tube my good friend and photographer made of his story: https://youtu.be/jnq0zq7H7No

He combined medical cannabis with natural therapies and went from death’s door (seriously, as explained by the hospital) to doing quite well.

Another anecdote involved a dog named Olive with an appendicular fibrosarcoma whose owners did not want to amputate. Non-CBD-containing nutraceuticals were used first, with success, for one year, and then the tumour started to grow again. The patient was started on a 1:1 CBD:THC product, and within 90 days the tumour had shrunk dramatically. In another account, a dog with an undifferentiated nasal carcinoma with bone lysis was treated with a non-THC CBD product (0.4 mg/kg twice daily), and the tumour shrunk significantly over six weeks of treatment. The dog was still in remission 14 months later.


Dr. Silver describes a Colorado State University study of CBD for refractory epilepsy (2.5 g/kg twice daily) in which some dogs experienced a 40% reduction in seizures—not a very impressive result, Dr. Silver says.

A new study at a higher dose (4.5 mg/kg twice daily) is taking place now, but it’s too early to draw valuable conclusions. Still, he says, for uncomplicated seizures that aren’t frequent or are well-controlled with anti-convulsant drugs, veterinarians and pet owners are finding that 0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can control seizures and, in some cases, allow for reduced doses of anti-epileptic drugs.

We have seen reductions in seizures with this and in combination with a Ketogenic diet and acupuncture some very beneficial results can be obtained. A diagnosis is helpful first, as some seizures are caused by brain tumours, and a multiple pronged approach for treating cancer should be utilised for these, although Medical MJ is probably quite safe, a low THC product will give less psychogenic side effects, and certain strains such as Charlotte’s variety maybe more efficacious.

Future hopefuls

There’s lots of enthusiasm for the therapeutic use of hemp products, even those with THC, for medicinal human and animal use. There is a long list of potential future usages, including eye drops for glaucoma, tumour injections, stimulation of bone growth, safe sedation for puppies and young animals, anaesthesia induction, inhalers for lung cancer (CBD may have pulmonary cytoprotective properties), pain relievers from certain parts of the plant, antifungal and antimicrobial bedding for animals, treatment for chronic cystitis in cats, use for chronic dermatitis in dogs and cats, and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, among others. Another use for hemp products is bio-waste clean up—they’re able to absorb pollutants from the environment and can be used to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases.

Another product that is perfectly legal and very safe is PEA, it also combines with cannabinoid receptors and has been very useful for controlling pain, and inflammation- both for our nurses and our patients. We dispense these together with other natural products as required, such as corydalis, or Chinese herbal formulae. Contact our clinic for a consultation for further help. https://www.animalwellness.com.au

Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Dr Elaine is a highly experienced holistic vet and pioneer of Animal Wellness in Brisbane. She also assists with many charitable projects in Australia and in Bali.

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