AUSTRALIAN researchers are looking to medicinal cannabis as a way to treat horses, dogs and cats suffering a range of medical problems.
Arthritis affects 61 per cent of cats over six years old and 20 per cent of dogs over one year old. Half of the older dogs are affected by cancer.
Many pet medications have negative side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite, depression and internal bleeding. Resistance to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other pharmaceutical therapies is also increasing.
Now CannPal Animal Therapeutics Ltd in suburban Sydney is researching and developing medicines derived from cannabinoids to provide clinically validated and standardised therapeutics to treat animals.
CannPal founder and managing director Layton Mills says the global market for pain treatment in companion is worth more than US$1.4 billion (£1.05 billion).
CannPal is working with the federal Commonwealth Scientific and In-dustrial Research Organisation to find a way to avoid the side effects and improve the animals’ quality of life.
Humans, dogs, cats and horses have a biological and neurological system designed to receive and process cannabinoids – one of the main classes of chemical compounds in cannabis.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in physiological processes such as appetite, pain-sensation, nausea, mood and memory. 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.
Earlier this year the company received its first cannabis oil formulations from Canada that will be used in clinical trials for CannPal’s lead drug candidate CPAT-01.
It is being developed as a treatment for pain in companion animals, an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications which often incur a long list of side effects.
To ensure medicinal cannabis achieves the best result it must be designed for the specific animals’ body and digestive system.
The CSIRO is researching new production processes for CannPal to optimise the way it delivers its treatment to the animals. Central to this is CSIRO’s patented MicroMax technology, a production system that creates a potent powder containing high levels of therapeutic 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.
The CSIRO is 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. Using MicroMax means it may be possible to determine where in the stomach the powder dissolves, to ensure maximum effect.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory dr-ugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly used treatment for pain in cats, yet only two have been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration and none has been approved for long-term use be-cause of potential side effects and toxicities.