Cannabis is used to relieve tiger and elephant pain – 02/07/2024 – Science

Cannabis is used to relieve tiger and elephant pain – 02/07/2024 – Science

Like many captive elephants, Nidia suffered chronic foot problems. Fissures formed in the 55-year-old Asian elephant’s foot pads, and her nails split. Painful abscesses persisted for months. She had lost her appetite and was losing weight.

Quetzalli Hernández, the veterinarian responsible for Nidia’s care in a park in Mexico, was desperate. So she decided to turn to cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-intoxicating therapeutic compound found in Wannabis.

For help, Hernández turned to Mish Castillo, veterinary director at ICAN Vets, a company dedicated to veterinary education and research on Cannabis In Mexico. As far as Castillo knew, no one had given Cannabis medicine to an elephant. But he and his colleagues chose to do this, hoping that it would reduce Nidia’s pain and stimulate her appetite, an effect they had observed in cats and dogs, for example.

They started with a low dose and later set the amount of CBD based on Nidia’s weight, which she took daily with a piece of fruit. Calibrated by weight, the dose is equivalent to one tenth to one fortieth of what Castillo administers to dogs or cats. However, it worked.

The first sign that the treatment was effective was when Nidia developed a serious case of hunger. Within days of starting to use CBD, she went from eating just a third of her food to practically everything, and sometimes even repeating it. In five weeks, she gained about 250 pounds.

After he started eating, his behavior changed. “She was always known as the grumpy one — she used to kick in doors,” Castillo said. “From the first week to ten days of treatment, she started leaving her enclosure more quickly and was in less of a bad mood.”

The abscesses began to heal, likely as a result of the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. For months, pain in her feet had prevented the elephant from walking down a small hill to a water source in her enclosure, forcing her keepers to water her in buckets and with a hose.

As her condition improved, she began visiting the water source again. “She just kept getting better,” Castillo said. “We were surprised that this happened at a low-response dose, which led us to want to get this information out before veterinarians start overdosing other species using the dog or cat dose.” The correct dosage depends on specific differences in metabolism between species and variability between individuals, he added.

A Cannabis medicinal product for humans is legal and commonly used in several countries and US states. But its adoption in veterinary practice has lagged behind human medicine. Dozens of scientific studies point to the potential of Cannabis in the treatment of seizures, pain, anxiety and fear, especially in dogs. Growing evidence from countries like Mexico, where veterinarians can legally administer the plant or its compounds, suggests benefits in a variety of other conditions in species as diverse as parrots, turtles and hyenas.

But despite promising discoveries, there are challenges to introducing Cannabis in veterinary medicine: confusion about the law, drug-related stigma, lack of education, and dearth of peer-reviewed studies. In most countries, including the United States, prohibitive or incomplete legislation also makes it difficult for veterinarians to study the Cannabis and adopt it into your practices.

“People are very interested in alternative therapies that work better” and have fewer side effects, according to Stephanie McGrath, a veterinary neurologist at Colorado State University who studies Cannabis medicinal product and serves on the scientific advisory board of Panacea Life Sciences, a manufacturer of CBD products. “We really should be directing resources to support research so we can have a better understanding of how we should use this medication.”

Laws in places like California began to pave the way for Cannabis veterinary. And a small but growing number of international veterinarians have come together to bring the Cannabis to conventional veterinary medicine through education, research and activism.

“Countries are moving at different paces with regards to regulation and legalization,” Castillo said. “But we can work as a global network of veterinarians to move forward together.”

A Cannabis contains more than a hundred chemical compounds, but CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the molecules whose therapeutic effects are best understood. While CBD does not noticeably alter consciousness, THC is responsible for the “high” associated with smoking or ingesting marijuana.

In several vertebrate species, these molecules interact with the endocannabinoid system, a network of nerve receptors, molecules and enzymes that keep the body’s other organ systems stable.

When used medicinally, the Cannabis “supports the support system,” according to Casara Andre, founder of Veterinary Cannabis, a Colorado-based group that provides education and certification for animal care professionals and consultation services for pet owners and the cannabis industry. Wannabis.

Several countries now legally allow veterinarians to prescribe and administer Cannabis. In terms of research and adoption, however, Mexico is emerging as a world leader. Since 2019, Castillo and his colleagues have trained nearly 1,500 veterinarians in the medicinal use of Wannabis.

Veterinarians discovered that the Cannabis can be combined with conventional pharmaceutical medicines to improve the results of these medicines. And in some cases, when used alone, it has outperformed existing medications, according to Emma Delaney, a pharmacist and sales manager at CBD Vets Australia, a company that provides education and Cannabis medicine for veterinarians in Australia.

Although things are moving slowly, Castillo said, each year brings more research discoveries, training courses and mentoring programs, as well as international collaborations.

Castillo and his colleagues, for example, are preparing to publish another case study on the use of CBD in a ferret named Macarena. The ferret fell from a fifth-floor balcony in 2017, causing severe spinal trauma and chronic pain. The animal was treated with opioids, but persistent discomfort led it to mutilate itself. “Basically, he chewed off his own back legs because of the pain,” Castillo said.

Veterinarians amputated his back legs, but Macarena continued to show signs of distress, including biting his abdomen.

Four years after the fall, Macarena found relief with CBD. With a CBD dose set according to her weight, she stopped mutilating herself. She gained weight and became more active, Castillo and her colleagues said, and was able to stop using opioids.

Macarena died in September due to old age. Until her death, she was in good spirits, according to researchers.

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