Promising Research on the Use of CBD to Treat Canine Cancer
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many chemicals identified in the Cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as hemp. It has been used for palliative care in oncology, but recent studies in humans and rodent models show that it may have direct anti-cancer effects. Since there is little data on the effects of CBD in canine cancer, investigators at Cornell University are studying what happens to canine cancer cells when they are exposed to CBD alone or in combination with common chemotherapy drugs (AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) Grant 02643-A: Examination of the Effects of Cannabidiol on Canine Neoplastic Cell Apoptosis/Autophagy and Potential for Chemotherapy Resistance or Sensitivity). Results were recently published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology 1 and offer hope for canine cancer patients.
Cell cultures from different canine cancers (osteosarcoma, mammary carcinoma, and lymphoma) were exposed to various concentrations of CBD alone and in combination with the common chemotherapy drugs doxorubicin and vincristine. CBD oil caused a significant decrease in cancer cell reproduction in all cell lines studied. Use of CBD-rich whole help extract was able to reduce cancer cell reproduction at lower concentrations than CBD oil alone. This is likely due to the ‘entourage effect’ where the mixture of numerous chemicals seems to work in concert to produce a greater effect. The phenomenon needs more study though, since different cancers have different receptors for these chemicals and not all cultured hemp plants contain the same amounts of these chemicals. CBD in combination with the chemotherapy drug vincristine also decreased cancer cell reproduction in a synergistic way – or with greater effect than either chemical alone. When CBD was combined with doxorubicin, the results varied depending on the concentration of each chemical used.
This study documents the anti-cancer effects of CBD alone and in combination with chemotherapy drugs. It also provides hints as to the mechanisms and pathways that CBD influences in canine cancer cells. Additional study is needed to better understand these mechanisms and define safe and effective dosages for dogs. Whether CBD is used as a primary treatment or to manage the side effects of chemotherapy, additional knowledge will allow for safer and more effective use. CHF and its donors remain committed to exploring new and better treatments for canine cancer, like CBD. Learn more about our cancer research at akcchf.org/oncologyRPA.
1. Henry, J. G., Shoemaker, G., Prieto, J. M., Hannon, M. B., & Wakshlag, J. J. (2020). The effect of cannabidiol on canine neoplastic cell proliferation and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation during autophagy and apoptosis. Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, e12669, e12669. https://doi.org/10.1111/vco.12669
(02/07/2022) (09/10/2021) (05/03/2021)
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Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.
Help Future Generations of Dogs
Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.
Using CBD Oil For Dogs with Cancer: What You Need To Know
Many of us are unfortunately all too well aware that cancer is a killer, but did you know it’s the leading cause of death in dogs ages ten and older? From risks to costs to decisions we’re never prepared to make, helping our dogs with cancer leaves many of us lost and confused. But we want you to know that experts believe about half of all cancers are curable. However, this is only if they are found early and given the proper treatment. To help, we will be covering several major cancers common in dogs. We’ll go over the early signs and prevention of cancer. Last we’ll talk about how we can help dogs with cancer manage the side effects from common treatments like chemotherapy.
What is CBD Oil and How Does It Help With Dogs’ Cancer?
Known more formally as cannabidiol, CBD is a cannabis-derived liquid that offers a myriad of health benefits for dogs with cancer. When cancer strikes, dogs are left to battle very draining side effects. It can become strenuous to fight cancer daily, but CBD can help make the journey a bit more comfortable.
Just as people use medical marijuana to assist with health-related pain, pet CBD oil can be used similarly.
In a way, CBD is like medical marijuana for dogs that have cancer without the intoxicating effects. CBD helps with dog cancer in two main ways…
- Provides symptom relief
- Botanical extract supplement treatment options
One of the most appealing characteristics of CBD for dogs with cancer is that it may help promote pain relief for dogs experiencing discomfort. There are many different side effects of not only cancer itself but of the methods of treating cancer in dogs, too. It can be incredibly difficult to watch our pets struggle with both cancer and the treatment for it, but rest assure pet parents, CBD may be able to provide a wealth of benefits.
The symptoms that each dog encounters will be unique to each dog, but some of the most common symptoms of canine cancer are:
- Raised bumps under the skin
- Difficulty breathing after exercise
- Hard time breathing at leisure
- Snoring or signs of sleep apnea
- Unusual scents coming from the mouth
- An odd-smelling coat
- Open wounds that won’t heal on their own
- Little to no appetite
- No interest in eating favorite snacks
- Excessive sleeping/naps
- Low energy and disinterest in surroundings
- Inability to urinate like usual
- Clear signs of pain in your dog
It’s necessary to remember that this is not a cancer treatment. For emphasis, CBD cannot treat cancer in dogs. It will not stop cancerous cells from growing, nor will it halt the progression of metastatic cancer cells in dogs. Instead of being a treatment, CBD is a way to relieve the not-so-great side effects of going through cancer treatment.
From chemotherapy and radiation to possible surgical removals and amputations, treatment options for dogs with cancer can become quite intense. CBD can be thought of as a healthy coping mechanism. By supporting pain and minimizing discomfort, CBD helps keep your dog comfortable while going through the motions of cancer treatment therapies.
When dogs become cancer-free after fighting cancerous cells in their body, they enter a phase known as remission. The hope is that your dog will stay in remission for the rest of their lives. Now, just as CBD cannot treat cancer, CBD for dogs with cancer cannot prevent your dog’s body from growing cancerous cells in the future.
As amazing as this is for cancerous dogs, please consult with your dog’s veterinarian before administering CBD to your pet consistently. Researchers and scientists are still trying to fully understand how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system of dogs. Abbreviated as the ECS, the endocannabinoid system is an internal network — similar to the immune system or the lymphatic system, to name some examples — that focuses on breaking down cannabis compounds.
Types of Cancer in Dogs
Not all canine cancer is the same. While these are not the only five types of cancer in dogs, we’re going to zero in on the most common cancers seen in dogs every year. These five types of cancer in dogs are:
- Bone Cancer
- Mast Cell Tumors
Osteosarcoma in dogs is a type of cancer that originates in the actual bones of dogs. Cancer is most often discussed in terms of surrounding tissues, but bones can develop cancerous tumors as well. Bone cancer arises when cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts start reproducing rapidly to the point where it becomes an abnormal production rate. From there, the cancer cells form a conglomerate known as a malignant osteosarcoma tumor.
Canine hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of the blood vessels. As a malignant form of canine cancer, hemangiosarcoma can spread to other parts of the body. It doesn’t help that the tumors make a home out of blood vessels because they naturally move throughout the dog’s body. Most often, cases of hemangiosarcoma are seen in elderly dogs as well as middle-aged canines. In terms of breeds, smaller dogs are less likely to come down with hemangiosarcoma as it usually affects medium-sized to very large dogs.
Lymphoma in dogs stems from an abnormal production of cancer cells in the lymphocytes of dogs. Also known as the white blood cells, lymphocytes are leading players in canine immune systems. They are massively vital in the making sure your dog’s immune system is strong enough to defend your dog against infections that threaten your pet’s overall health. The well being of your dog has much to do with lymphocytes, so lymphoma can be daunting as it threatens white blood cells.
Mast Cell Tumors
Mast cell tumors are made up of cancer cells formed by abnormally produced blood cells. These tumors also happen to be the most common form of canine cancer. When the cells become deformed or otherwise transformed from their normal state, they mass produce and become malignant. These tumors are very opposed to treatment, mainly because they grow back very quickly. Not only that, but they have a high propensity for metastasizing as well, so the earlier the tumors are detected in dogs, the better!
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that manifests as dark spots on your dog’s coat. Unlike many cases of canine skin cancer, melanoma tumors are evident from the outside. It’s best to locate and treat melanomas as soon as possible because they can grow to become quite aggressive in a concise timeframe.
What Kills Cancer Cells In Dogs?
Cancer cells are incredibly difficult to kill without hurting the healthy cells around them b because the seven the best treatments that we have currently, struggle to distinguish between the good and the bad cells.
In some cases, such as skin cancer, the cancerous cells can be surgically removed without damaging the healthy cells. However, for most cancers, cancer drugs that damage the DNA and RNA of cancer cells, rendering them unable to divide, are needed. The clever aspect to cancer drugs like chemotherapy is they are attracted to killing cells that are in the dividing stage. While our healthy cells divide, cancerous cells divide uncontrollably at a rapid pace, resulting in tumors or masses. So while our best cancer drugs do unfortunately kill healthy cells, they significantly kill more cancerous cells.
Is CBD Legal for Dogs?
Something that uncontrollably comes to mind when talking about CBD is the question of legality. Is CBD legal? And if so, are there parameters surrounding hemp oil for dogs? The last thing you’d want to do when trying to improve your dog’s quality of life is to break federal or state-level laws.
So, let’s take a look at the information surrounding whether or not CBD for dogs is legal. Technically, CBD is legal in every state within the United States of America. However, the one caveat is that the CBD and all related CBD products must be derived from hemp plants, not marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana are part of the cannabis family tree, but there’s a severe difference between the two plants.
In short, hemp plants are cannabis plants containing no more than 0.3% THC, whereas marijuana plants contain much greater THC concentrations. The fact that CBD must be hemp-derived in the USA works perfectly well for situations involving pets because CBD extracted from hemp is the only kind of CBD suitable for dogs.
What Effects Does CBD Have on a Dog?
CBD has a calming sedative effect on dogs with cancer. CBD is known for its healing effects, so soothing an anxious mind, minimizing the physical manifestations of stress, and calming an otherwise antsy dog are three examples of CBD’s effects at play. CBD does an excellent job of providing dogs with peace and tranquility during situations that would typically elicit the polar opposite emotional responses.
Hemp CBD oil works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating other regulatory systems like the nervous and immune systems. This is why CBD oil and other CBD products can help with pain and inflammation. There is some thought that the endocannabinoid system can influence cancer cells by slowing their growth or hindering their ability to divide. However, our understanding of this is very young, and right now, it’s probably not much. As such, we never recommend CBD oil or another CBD product replace a cancer treatment advised by your vet.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects for Dogs?
Many people view the sedative nature of hemp CBD as being a positive effect on dogs that have cancer. CBD doesn’t usually make dogs tired unless too much oil is administered. When this happens, the relaxing effects of cannabidiol for dogs can be viewed as a negative side effect, especially when it’s not conducive for your dog to fall asleep.
Let’s say you’re taking your dog in for a follow-up after a recent chemotherapy appointment, but your dog happens to get very anxious in doctor’s offices. So, to combat the anxiety on top of the pre-existing physical discomfort from the chemotherapy, you decide to administer the oil to your dog. If you miscalculate the dose and give too much CBD to your dog, your dog will end up walking into their appointment in a deep slumber.
This is a moment in time where a seemingly positive effect of CBD turns into something inconvenient. But thankfully, this is an example of how the downsides of CBD oil for dogs with cancer are very minor. And it’s entirely preventable, too. Make sure you read the instructions and recommended dosing directions on the side of your CBD container for dogs. CBD dosages are based on body weight.
In the large majority of cases, the biggest side effect a dog may experience with CBD is little to no benefits at all. However cancer, along with common cancer treatments, can really wear down the body and ECS, causing a long list of side effects that CBD has commonly been shown to help — from loss of appetite to pain.
When discussing your dog’s treatment plan with your vet, make sure to include CBD in the conversation if you’re interested in using it or another cannabis product. CBD oil is one of the common food/supplements that can mess with CYP enzymes and their ability to metabolize certain prescription drugs. Like others, this usually occurs with higher than normal dosages. Most dogs with cancer respond well to CBD, and it fits into their treatment plan without any trouble or side effects of its own.
Are There Different Kinds of CBD for Dogs I Can Get Prescribed?
A prescription is not necessary for purchasing pet CBD oils. Buying this for canines with cancer has never been easier thanks to online companies like Innovet. Now, pet owners can buy CBD more efficiently than ever before. As pet owners, all you need to do is visit the Innovet website, select the products you think will benefit your dog, and complete your purchase!
You have the option of broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD for your pet owners. Either is fine, with full spectrum being the most widely used form of CBD oil for dogs and cats. Both broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD are legally required to contain no more than 0.3% THC. This amount of THC pales in comparison to the 20-90%+ items you’ll find with marijuana products. This is why CBD products can’t cause a high when following hemp laws.
How Can I Get A Hold of CBD Oil?
Are you eager to get a hold of this for your dog? Look no further than the inventory at Innovet Pet. We have a wide array of CBD products for dogs with cancer to choose from, including:
- Canine cannabidiol oil
- CBD oils and creams
- And more!
Our CBD oil comes in full spectrum and broad spectrum. Our broad spectrum CBD oil is great for the biggest of dogs who require large dosages of CBD to see the improvements in health they need.
Is CBD the Best Option for My Dog?
When looking into companies that sell pet CBD marketed towards dogs, it’s essential to look at the quality control and overall process behind the making of CBD. You want to ensure that the CBD is tested by third-party laboratories to guarantee the CBD is of high quality.
Locally sourced hemp plants are best, so seek out CBD that is sourced in the United States. Last but not least, avoid CBD products containing preservatives, additives, by-products, or anything else.
Our full spectrum CBD oil for dogs is organic, hemp-based cannabidiol oil, which we source from the U.S. states of Colorado and Oregon. We create our CBD with your dogs in mind, meaning it’s 100% safe for your canine companions to consume. As a full-spectrum CBD product, the entourage effect ensures that your dog is getting the most out of every drop of oil from Innovet Pet.
Our products are manufactured in the U.S., but we trust our friends in Belgium with the hemp carrier oil that goes into Innovet CBD. Everything about our pet CBD for dogs is legal in the U.S. so that you can place your orders online without any hesitation! Did we mention our CBD is entirely natural?
That’s right! There’s not a single pesticide, GMO, by-product, additive, or preservative in our CBD for dogs. Because we think hemp is amazing enough on its own, we choose hemp seed oil as the required carrier for CBD oil. In fact, not only is hemp wonderful enough on its own, hemp seed oil is the smarter choice vs. MCT oil that lacks nutrition and is high in calories.
Read more about our CBD oil for dogs by checking out our inventory.
Besides our CBD oil, we have our dog treats, hemp-based creams, and capsules, great for help with loss of appetite and general health along with pain and inflammation.
We want to stress the importance of not using CBD oil as a sole treatment for cancer. CBD oil may have anti-cancerous effects, but research about how significant is unknown. CBD is great for improving the quality of life when a dog is undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy. However, it is not a replacement for it.
CBD Oil For Dogs With Cancer
Looking to learn more about CBD oil for dogs with cancer? If you have access to social media, chances are you have seen someone online discussing how CBD oil helped their friend, neighbor, dog walker, or mailman with cancer. It is easy to write it off as anecdotal evidence, but is there something to the claim that CBD can help with tumors and cancer? And if so, should you give your pet who has cancer or tumors CBD to help their body fight the cancer?
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Benefits of CBD Oil For Dogs With Cancer
To understand how CBD affects cancer, it’s important to first understand a process known as apoptosis, or natural cell death. Apoptosis is a completely natural process wherein cells that are damaged, or no longer useful, die . Cancer cells do not die on their own ; they do not undergo apoptosis. Which is why they are able to continuously spread unless we do something to stop them.
That’s why the endocannabinoid system is so critical in the body. Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system ; us, your dog, your cat, even lions and tigers and bears, oh my. The endocannabinoid system’s purpose is to bring the body back to balance .
As cancer progresses, cancer cells reproduce faster than the endocannabinoid system can handle. It’s no longer able to bring the body back to balance without some type of assistance. The cancer cells begin to spread throughout the body at that point; a process known as metastasis.
Research on CBD Oil For Dogs With Cancer
In a recent study, researchers conducted a study to determine how effective cannabis is against canine cancer cells. The study compared CBD alone to a combination of common chemotherapy pharmaceuticals. The study found CBD significantly reduced canine cancer cell growth.
In a promising study conducted in Canada, research was conducted to investigate CBD’s ability to treat canine urothelial carcinoma (bladder cancer). The study analyzed the difference in efficacy between the traditional standalone treatment, chemotherapy, versus chemotherapy and CBD together. The results showed that CBD for bladder cancer not only reduced cell viability and induced cell death in the canine urothelial cells on its own, but worked even better when combined with chemotherapy.
This study was done in vitro, which means it was done outside of a living organism. Further studies in vivo (within a living organism) are warranted, so that we can investigate how exactly this combination will be most successfully implemented in a clinical setting, and also to be able to transfer this into the human clinical setting. However, due to the nature of cannabis, in terms of its continued vilification by governments domestically and across the globe, researchers are limited in their scope. Until cannabis is de/rescheduled on the federal level, research cannot be done on living organisms (such as clinical trials on people). For now, as much preclinical work is being done as possible to create the foundation for clinical research when cannabis is descheduled federally.
The extent of the research being done on cannabis’ effect on cancer cells is only growing, and new research showing the benefits continues to emerge. As time goes on, and the demonization of cannabis lessens, more research is done proving cannabis (CBD, CBN, THC, and its other compounds) has a huge effect on cancer cells, and improving existing cancer treatments. We already know that CBD triggers apoptosis, stops metastasis, and has a positive effect when used with chemotherapy, but new research is constantly emerging regarding specific cancers and cannabis therapy.
According to research, CBD can:
- Prevent tumor growth (via apoptosis)
- Trigger death of cancer cells (via apoptosis)
- Prevent the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors (angiogenesis)
- Discourage the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another (metastasis)
Most importantly, it helps with your pet’s quality of life!
Dosing CBD Oil For Dogs With Cancer
The first thing to do is spend some time determining the dosage that will be most effective for your pet. Despite common misconceptions, dosing CBD has very little to do with your dog’s size and weight. Dosage is most effectively determined with consideration for each animal’s unique physiological condition. This includes characteristics such as their endocannabinoid system, age, metabolism, disease process, current ailments and other individual health factors.
During the first few weeks, we recommend a trial and error method as you monitor your animal’s response and determine optimal dose. The old saying “start low and go slow” is extremely applicable when considering full-spectrum hemp extract for your animal.
Hemp extract is extremely safe, even at high levels . The most common, however unlikely, side effects you may see are sleepiness or loose stools/diarrhea.
For the fastest and most thorough absorption, lift the lip and apply dose directly onto the gums. If added to food, the medicine may not be as effective and can take significantly longer (30-45 min.) to reach the bloodstream as it works its way through the gastrointestinal system.
Split the recommended daily dosage into smaller doses throughout the day (micro-dosing) for best absorption and to keep it in the bloodstream. The medicine peaks at 2 hours and is gone from 4-6 hours. Make sure to shake the bottle before each use and always keep away from heat.
Vets Using CBD Oil For Dogs With Cancer
Of course, all of the studies in the world wouldn’t mean much if reputable veterinarians didn’t trust them and have their own evidence to prove that it works. Because of this, I asked Dr. Trina Hazzah, DVM, DACVIM, CVCH, a veterinary oncologist at VCA Animal Hospital in Las Vegas (one of the largest and most respected veterinary hospitals in the world) if she uses CBD on her patients.
The short answer: Dr. Hazzah has used cannabis with her patients and has seen great success.
Success Story: Hammer
“Years and years ago, there was a little dog named Hammer,” says Dr. Hazzah. “He was a Jack Russell, and the owners came in and the dog had three cancers at the same time. He had low-grade lymphoma, bladder cancer, and an oral squamous cell carcinoma.”
Dr. Hazzah discussed all of the options with Hammer’s parents, and they decided the quality of life was most important. They focused on targeted therapy, which was effective for about six months until it seemed to stop working as effectively.
“Around the five or six-month mark, the oral cancer started to get so large that it took up his entire face,” says Dr. Hazzah. “The bladder cancer was getting worse, lymphoma was static. The owners went over the options again, and one of the things we discussed was cannabis. As an integrative oncologist, I felt that I should guide them through the process to make sure it was safe. The dog was less than 20 pounds, so he had 1 mg of THC and 1 mg of CBD, twice a day, along with targeted therapy.”
Within two to three weeks, Hammer’s owner said his eye was starting to open a little bit more. A month after starting the cannabis regimen, Hammer came in and Dr. Hazzah could not find the oral tumor at all.
“Not only could he open his eye, but when he opened his mouth, I just saw a little redness,” says Dr. Hazzah. “The tumor was not there. Hammer was happy, and this was just 1 mg. This goes back to my theory that it wasn’t the amount, it was what the cancer needed.”
Success Story: Nina
It’s been eight months and my 8-year-old, Nina is thriving on a strict regimen including a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, Full Cannabis extract with high THC, mushrooms , and diet. She’s already breaking records, and because of this, I want to share what I did with you.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets.