Adopted after six weeks, Jenelle Hamilton’s 8-pound Chihuahua mix, Apple, has always been excited. But in August, when Hamilton, who works in public relations, was out on business more frequently, the dog’s behavior became alarming. Along with her excessive barking and compulsive fur licking, Apple refused to eat and paced the front door for days.
Desperate for relief, 39-year-old Hamilton, who lives in Beverly Hills, decided to try CBD treatment after reading about its benefits on a lifestyle blogger’s Instagram story. “I knew there wasn’t a lot of research, but I’m a holistic person,” she said.
Hamilton ordered FOMO Bones dog snacks online. To begin with, she gave Apple, who is now 2 years old, half of a bone-shaped treat. Within an hour, the dog was “totally chilled,” she said. “The difference was day and night.”
That evening she gave Apple the other half and soon after found the little dog devouring nibbles from her bowl. “She had the nibbles, which was good for her because she doesn’t have much appetite,” said Hamilton. Nowadays Apple keeps their appetite and good spirits upright with a daily FOMO Bone, cut in half. “She’s a completely different dog now,” said Hamilton. “She seems happier.”
Other Los Angeles pet owners who use cannabis-based products to treat their sick dogs, cats and even horses have confirmed the positive results. They use CBD tinctures, capsules, and topical creams for the same ailments as humans, including anxiety, seizures, digestive problems, arthritis, and pain. The motivation is also the same; Medicines either have undesirable side effects or they don’t work.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis plants, but unlike its cousin THC, it doesn’t get you high. General CBD products made from the hemp variety of cannabis are legal as long as they do not contain more than 0.3% THC. However, the only approved medical use for CBD is for treating seizures in two rare forms of epilepsy in children.
Still, some local pet owners swear by it.
Andrea Cullipher, 48, a jewelry designer who lives in Burbank, gives her 10-year-old basset hound Axel Tessera Naturals CBD oil, which is dripped onto a piece of bread every morning to help ease his degenerative joint pain. Despite taking pain and inflammation medication prescribed by a veterinarian, Axel’s tail was still drooping and he couldn’t walk more than a block without resting.
Andrea Cullipher prepares a piece of bread with 0.75 ml of CBD oil for her 10-year-old Basset Hound Axel. She says daily treatment will help relieve his degenerative joint pain.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
When Cullipher’s hairdresser mentioned that CBD had helped her arthritic dachshund, she hoped it would work for Axel too. It did. “His tail is up and he has noticeably more energy,” said Cullipher. And she’s since cut back on his pain medication.
Montana Lee, 30, credits CBD for healing her ragdoll cat Zeus. With long, silky hair and bright blue eyes, Ragdolls are known for their relaxed temperament and loving nature. But Zeus was so hostile and aggressive that Lee’s friends called him “Satan Cat”. “I could never have a roommate or anyone else,” said Lee. “Everyone was afraid of Zeus. My sister still has a scar on her leg where he scratched her. “
Within two weeks of taking HolistaPet CBD treats and drops, Zeus became a kitty. After a year on CBD, he kindly drove nearly 1,300 miles in the car with Lee when she moved from Canada to California to work earlier this year. Zeus no longer hisses or scratches visitors. He even allows Vancouver residents to pet him overnight. “He’s a completely different cat,” said Lee.
California is the only state that has laws that specifically allow veterinarians to discuss cannabis with customers. But the law still prohibits veterinarians from prescribing, administering, or administering cannabis.
Veterinarians may be in a tough spot when it comes to endorsing CBD, but others who work with animals are excited. Malibu-based dog behaviorist Robert Cabral recommends CBD to clients for the treatment of a wide variety of ailments. Nancy Katzman-La Prairie often gives CBD to the homeless dogs and cats coming through her Scrappy Paws rescue service in Santa Clarita. (Pet owners should inform their veterinarian about their use of CBD, as it can lead to undesirable interactions with other medications.)
While THC can be harmful to dogs – many have vomited in veterinary clinics after getting into their owners’ stores, CBD is generally safe, said Dr. Elizabeth Mironchik-Frankenberg, veterinarian and founder of Veterinary Cannabis Consultants. “Still, there is a stigma,” she said.
That’s partly because CBD research, especially in animals, is so limited. “CBD shows promise, but it’s too early to make a recommendation,” said Dr. Lisa Bartner, veterinary neurologist at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital who studies the effectiveness of CBD treatment in dogs with epilepsy.
While THC can be harmful to dogs – many have vomited in veterinary clinics after getting into their owners’ supplies – CBD is generally considered safe.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Lisa Johnson Mandell, a journalist who lives in Valley Village, is already convinced it will work. Mandell’s 5-year-old Labradoodle, Frankie Feldman, was diagnosed with the condition last year and treated with phenobarbital and Keppra by his veterinarian. Concerned about the potential long-term effects of the pharmaceuticals, Mandell has gradually replaced one of Frankie Feldman’s pills with drops of Biofit360 CBD tincture. He’s been seizure free for months. If this continues, Mandell plans to replace another Keppra pill with an extra drop of CBD in another month. “I hope to get it, if not entirely from the Keppra, at least a lot less,” she said.
Jordan Roberts, 38, a paralegal who lives in Valencia, credits Farmacopeia CBD drops for her family’s Great Dane, Toby, who got through seven rounds of chemotherapy with no adverse side effects.
During his colon cancer regimen, “Toby actually gained weight because my father gave him a drive through McDonald’s driveway for a hamburger and fries after each chemotherapy session,” said Roberts. “He had to go on a diet after that.”
Once hard to find, new CBD animal products are springing up like weed. And they’re available everywhere online, at pharmacies, and many pet stores, including all 17 Healthyspot locations in California. Even at Rising Lotus Yoga Studios in Santa Clarita and Sherman Oaks, CBD pet drops are top sellers. Co-owner Claire Hartley uses her chosen brand, CBdistillery, to treat her terrier Lila’s anxiety and digestive issues.
The flood has proponents like Dr. Mironchik-Frankenberg wants the FDA to act and establish guidelines. Without regulation, it’s hard to know if a product is responsibly formulated and labeled. “CBD may not work for everyone,” said Frankenberg, “but you have to ask yourself why it didn’t work? Does the product you are using have a measurable amount of CBD? “