Four-year-old Berte, a Corgi-Chihuahua mix, was recently diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease - a painful condition that causes the discs in his vertebrae to bulge.

“His back was in just so much pain, he turned into one little shaking ball,” said his owner, Ashley Vasilojiannakis.

Vasilojiannakis started giving Berte painkillers prescribed by a veterinarian but they weren’t helping, she said. She turned to CBD, a component of cannabis that has no psychoactive components.

“CBD oil saved my dog. It not only helped his pain, but it helped him be able to sleep, his depression went away, he was actually able to be himself.”

Vasilojiannakis usually buys Berte’s CBD oil online, but some pet stores in Saskatoon are now selling CBD oil and CBD-laced treats.

“Customers are very open to it, and they like the idea of giving them something holistic,” said Rebecca Gulka, the supervisor at Critters Pet Health Store.

Critters Pet Health Store started stocking its shelves with CBD products after many requests and inquiries from customers. Since they added CBD to their inventory it’s been a big seller, Gulka said

However Al Chicione, an assistant professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, said there is not enough research on CBD to recommend it.

“There’s a lot of questions we have yet to answer and there’s still a lot of significant concerns regarding the safety and effectivity of these products.”

Vets are not opposed to using cannabis and hemp for animals and it’s exciting to know new types of medicine will be available, he said. But for now it’s a gray area.

“They are not drugs and they’re not a standardized drug. When a drug is approved in Canada, it must meet certain conditions for potency,” he said.

In order for vets to prescribe CBD to animals, they need a Health Canada approved veterinary formulation; once that is passed there will be a “very large market” for cannabidiol use, Chicione said.