Mackey claims it improves their recovery time during the grueling and controversial 1,000-mile race
A four-time Iditarod champion is embroiled in controversy after it was revealed that he has been medicating his sled team with cannabidiol (CBD).
Lance Mackey recently told the Anchorage Daily News he had been administering the cannabinoid to his dogs in their food. Mackey claimed it improves their recovery time during the gruelling and some say controversial 1,000-mile race.
“Watch here in about an hour, I’ll come here and feed them and they’ll stand up and start screaming,” Mackey . “Their recovery time is impressive.”
The race’s head veterinarian, however, is not impressed. Upon discovering that Mackey was giving his dogs CBD, Stuart Nelson called him and requested that he stop immediately. Pointing out that the compound is not on the list of banned substances, he declined to stop.
Mackey said Nelson informed him that there was not enough research on dogs and CBD, but Mackey claimed he has conducted his own experiments on nine of his dogs. While that is unlikely to qualify as research, he claims the varying symptoms of all nine dogs improved after the cannabinoid was added to their regimen.
“That was enough for me,” he declared.
Mackey gets the supplement for free in exchange for promoting the product (the label is emblazoned with “Approved by Lance Mackey”), which he said is cheaper than, and thus preferable to, taking an ailing dog to the veterinarian.
“I barely walk into a vet and it’s $350 before I know what’s wrong with my dog,” he said.
CBD is a psychoactive, but non-intoxicating, compound derived from the cannabis plant, and has become popular for humans, and more recently, pets.
While there is anecdotal evidence that the cannabinoid may help with symptoms such as inflammation, anxiety and recovery, the canine endocannabinoid system is still largely a mystery. The number of endocannabinoid receptors is unknown, which means that establishing a therapeutic dose of the compound is currently just guesswork. Despite a number of trials currently underway, scientific evidence of its efficacy is as yet limited.
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Written by Emma Spears