Kieren Anderson was looking for a way to relieve the anxiety his pet pooch, Lola, experienced every time they took her to the groomers, which was “quite often”.
- A growing number of pet owners are using products containing cannabidiol or CBD to keep their pets calm and pain-free
- It has a wide variety of applications including for fur and skin, arthritis, anxiety, and even epilepsy and depression
- There is a push to make CBD products more freely available for both pets and humans by lifting legal restrictions
“She absolutely hates it and we have done a number of things to the point that the vet actually had to sort of sedate her to groom her,” he said.
The northern Illawarra, NSW, resident then discovered cannabidiol — CBD as it is commonly known — and a few drops before the car journey seemed to do the trick.
“So now I just try to give her some CBD oil and that seems to calm her down a bit and that’s my way of negating that issue,” Mr Anderson said.
Mr Anderson now also sold the product, so convinced was he that CBD could be used to treat a wide range of ailments.
“CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory so it treats a number of things from arthritis, because that’s obviously inflammation of the joints, to anxiety as it definitely has an effect on the mood,” he said.
It was a familiar topic for veterinary products wholesaler Peter Brunskill who was pushing for a more educated approach with a new cannabidiol he had on the market.
He said CBD produced from hemp oil was legal for animals, while humans needed a doctor’s prescription.
Mr Brunskill also said CBD had virtually no ability to make you or your pet high because it contained little or zero tetrahydrocannabinol — commonly known as THC.
“For some of these products to be sold in Australia it needs to have a maximum of 0.3 per cent of THC in it, so that means an animal or person would have to drink gallons of oil to have any hallucinogenic effects and that’s not going to happen,” he said.
“The oil that we sell is really rich in plant-based omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals.”
Australia behind other western countries
Mr Brunskill said it was only a matter of time before Australia went down the path of overseas countries, such as the USA, where regulations for CBD and THC use on humans had significantly eased.
“In the past 12 months it has absolutely ramped up. With President Trump signing the US Farm Bill, it has become more of a mainstream product and legalised,” he said.
It was one of the reasons why the Commonwealth-funded Australia Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence was stepping up its activities.
The centre with researchers based mainly in Newcastle and Wollongong looks into both CBD and medicinal cannabis containing THC.
Post-doctoral research fellow Jessica Mills said, because of growing and accumulating evidence about its benefits, the centre was in the process of planning a new trial for next year.
“At the moment the evidence in humans is relatively limited because there have been several trials done in epilepsy, some in anxiety, and there are studies in depression being conducted, but we need to do more in order to consolidate our understanding of it,” Dr Mills said.
She said the regulatory environment in Australia would change, gradually making both CBD and THC products more readily available. But it would take time.
Dr Mills said the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) had recently flagged changes.
“Because of the growing interest and because of the accumulating evidence, there is a movement towards making it a bit more accessible for people who need it.”