Australians spend over $12 billion a year on looking after our pets, with vet fees being of the biggest expenses. Sadly, medication for our fluffy friends can also have awful side effects, such as nausea, loss of appetite, depression and internal bleeding.
That's where animal-focused pharmaceutical CannPal is hoping to change things. Working with the CSIRO under its Kick-start program, the company is researching ways to avoid these negative effects with medicinal cannabis.
The CannPal website talks about the science behind the research, stating that all mammals have biological and neurological systems that can receive and process nutritional cannabinoids.
"The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, nausea, mood and memory without some of the side effects that are commonly associated with current treatments for animal health."
"Cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are naturally occurring compounds present in trace amounts in several plants, most notably (though not exclusively) in cannabis. Cannabinoids have been cultivated for thousands of years, in part because they uniquely interact with the ECS."
The CSIRO reports that this therefore makes cannabis a good choice for treating the likes of arthritis, cancer, joint skin and digestive issues in pets.
This makes it a great choice for combating symptoms in pets resulting from diseases such as arthritis and cancer; as well as other joint, skin, and digestive disorders.
Of course, not all bodies and disgestive are made the same — so the medication has to be specifically developed and optimised for different animals.
The CSIRO are researching new production processes to help with this optimisation — including its patented MicroMax technology, which creates a powder containing high levels of cannabis oils.
"MicroMax is a microencapsulation technology, meaning the powder can be optimised and analysed down to the particle level, to ensure the most potent and easily manufactured product possible.," says the CSIRO.
"In this case, we’re looking to see if MicroMax is an effective way to mix cannabis oils with other beneficial oils in a way that maximises the amount of medicinal cannabis that can be included, and protects its potency all the way from manufacture through to when it finally gets absorbed in a pets’ stomach. Using MicroMax means it may be possible to determine where in the stomach the powder dissolves, to ensure maximum effect."
So far no timeline has been placed on when research will be complete, let alone when we may see these products hit the mainstream market. However, the dog selection process for a NSW trial was completed back in March 2018 with dosing occuring in early April. The site states that the blood sample analysis was expected to be completed in May.
The study was reportedly carried out in two phases — including eleven dogs for phase one and forty-eight for phase two.
CannPal has also been granted export permits by Health Canada as well as entered into a manufacturing contract with Jaychem Industries Ltd ion New Zealand.
We look forward to hearing about the test results and hope that the medication will help people's beloved furry family members in the future.
You can watch a video explaining the endocannabinoid signaling system right here: