When Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. saw the health of his beloved aging dog, Teddy, declining, he decided to try a different approach to improving his wellness.
McDermott purchased CBD oil, a cannabis extract, by mail from a pet-wellness company in hopes the oil would help alleviate pain caused by Teddy’s hip dysplasia and arthritis.
It worked. In fact, McDermott says his 12-year-old Labrador retriever defied age.
“My dog didn’t look like an old dog anymore,” McDermott said. “He looked like the Teddy I know.”
In March, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 52, which permits Hoosiers to use cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, as a natural remedy for health ailments.
The law states that retailers can sell only CBD products certified to be derived from industrial hemp and not marijuana and that contain less than 0.3 percent THC, the cannabis compound that produces a high.
After consulting with Teddy’s veterinarian, McDermott began adding the CBD oil to Teddy’s food.
“He developed a better appetite and more energy,” McDermott said.
Mahja Sulemanjee, a spokeswoman for Windy City Cannabis, a dispensary in Homewood and other locations throughout Chicagoland, says that as the use of medicinal marijuana and hemp products evolves in many states, so does the interest among pet owners of providing relief to their four-legged loved ones.
“The future of cannabis has a lot of different possibilities,” she said. “There will definitely be a need for this in veterinary medicine. The research is still pending, but as studies come out I can definitely see this in the future.”
According to the American Kennel Club, there has been no formal study of how CBD affects dogs. However, the organization says scientists do know that cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help keep the body in a normal healthy state.
The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is sponsoring a study underway through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences that is evaluating the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD, nor issued a dosing chart, which is why the American Kennel Club recommends working closely with a veterinarian to determine whether any new medication or supplement is advisable and in what dosage.
For McDermott, providing Teddy with CBD oils has breathed new life into him and made him somewhat of a celebrity.
At the end of last year, before the law made it clear CBD oils were legal under certain guidelines, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill pronounced that cannabidiol was illegal to purchase in the state, even saying that McDermott was in violation of Indiana law for purchasing and giving the oil to his dog.
The controversy gave Teddy newfound fame, but also brought awareness to the benefits of CBD oils, McDermott says.
“It inspired other people to try this with their pets,” he said.