West Lafayette, IN – When the research road is often a long, indirect path, the milestones along the way call for celebration. Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, in part with the Comparative Oncology Program at Purdue Veterinary Medicine, conducted an eight week study in 2020 using Healthy Hemp Pet Company CannaDrops to study the pharmacokinetics and toxicity in dogs.
The results are paving the way for further investigation of CBD in dogs with cancer. This is a reason to celebrate for both Healthy Hemp Pet Company as well as for oncological research in dogs as a whole.
To give this study context: research using hemp or cannabis in dogs is very new to the research field. While cannabis studies on lab mice have taken place since the 1960’s, it was only in 2016 that a Pharmacokinetic study in Colorado State University was the first to demonstrate that the level of CBD in dogs could be measured in their blood. As such, these initial studies are slow, and need to identify many variables for further study, one of those variables being: how much CannaDrops is too much, and how can you tell?
One Variable at a Time
Before researching CBD on dogs suffering from cancer, the research community needs to define more variables by first researching its effects in healthy dogs. The objective of this Purdue study was to find the upper limit of dosage for CannaDrops in healthy laboratory dogs. The upper dosage limit is also known as the maximum tolerated dose (MTD).
Further oncological research needs these upper limits from this specific study in order to safely conduct a future study on the product’s effect on dogs suffering from cancer. While this first step is to test the effects of hemp extract on healthy dogs, this study sets the stage for further studies in dog oncology and hemp extract.
The study tested the blood samples of three laboratory dogs after administering them with an oral dosage of 2mg/kg of CannaDrops, containing full-spectrum hemp oil. The concentration of CannaDrops has 4.36% CBD and 0.12% THC; CBD concentration of 40.5 ng/ml. By nature of using full-spectrum hemp, getting the cumulative health benefits of the plant, THC is inevitable. However, CannaDrops and all Healthy Hemp Pet products have under .3% THC, which is the limit for legality in all 50 states.
Why Full-Spectrum Hemp
Many studies, including one study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2018, found the health benefits of full-spectrum hemp outweighed the health benefits and of CBD-only isolates. The synergistic effect of using the whole hemp plant (rather than isolates) is referred to as the entourage effect. The 2015 study found that as the dose is increased with whole plant extract, the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties increased.
Meanwhile CBD-only produced a bell-curve of effectiveness, which is an undesirable outcome in medical treatments for relief that corresponds with dosage. The desirable outcome is for an increase in dosage to increase effectiveness, rather than tapering in a bell-curve scenario.
Conclusion––Upper Limits Identified and the Side Effects Are Reversible
The 2020 Purdue study found, from planned dosage escalation and weekly serial physical exams on blood counts, serum chemistry panels, urinalysis, and US-guided liver biopsies, the main adverse effect found by reaching the 12mg/kg dosage level was––in colloquial terms, runny doo-doo, and as the study calls it, stage 3 diarrhea. The diarrhea was resolved with supportive care.
In short, the adverse effects of the upper dosage limit are mild and reversible. The MTD was found to be 10 mg/kg.
Finding that the side effects of are reversible is setting the groundwork for safe CBD studies in dogs. The maximum tolerated dosage will also lay the foundation for further research in the use of CBD for dogs suffering from cancer.
The study indicates that further investigation is needed for the potential interaction with commonly used chemotherapy drugs and CBD.
While more research is on the horizon, these first steps are a meaningful start towards the safe and diligent research of full-spectrum hemp with dogs.
Discolosure: Healthy Hemp Pet Company funded the research, but did not have any input on the study design or approval of the abstract/manuscript (which can be accessed here).