Who says marijuana is only for humans?
A number of marijuana companies are now focusing their energies on making low-THC, high-CBD medicinal products for ill and elderly pets. If successful, these products could contribute to the pet supplies and supplements industry, which yields $15 billion a year.
One of the pioneers in this business is Auntie Dolores, an edibles manufacturer based in San Francisco. Auntie Dolores sells Treatibles, dog biscuits that each contain one milligram of CBD—the non-psychoactive component of marijuana thought to be responsible for its medicinal properties.
“What we’ve seen is that some of these dogs respond very rapidly,” said Matthew J. Cote, manager of Auntie Dolores. “One woman from Fort Bragg was ready to put down her dog due to how sick and in pain he was, but the day before he was scheduled to go under, she administered our treats and just like that the dog was up, walking around and acting normally again.”
In Sultan, Washington, a company called Canna Companion is receiving positive reviews on its Facebook page regarding its capsules for pets containing dried, powdered hemp.
“We firmly believe that veterinarians and pet parents should have it available to them if they should choose to use it,” said Sarah Brandon, licensed veterinarian and co-owner of Canna Companion.
New brands are also entering the market. Colorado-based edibles giant Dixie Brands is set to launch its Therabis line this fall. It comes in three formulations: one for separation anxiety, another for itching, and the last one for joint mobility and flexibility.
“We hope to provide pet owners with a healthy, natural way to make every day the best day possible for their pet,” said Stephen Katz, Therabis developer. “It is our hope that Therabis can play a role in elevating the health and wellness of pets and their owners.”
No approval from FDA
While these products may be doing wonders for may pets, the FDA is not too excited about this breakthrough. In February, the FDA sent a warning letter to Canna Companion, saying that the capsules were an “unapproved new animal drug and your marketing of it violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.” Other similar companies received such letters as well.
The warning letters were sent for two reasons. One, there is insufficient research on the effect of cannabis products on pets in the US; and two, claims about medical efficacy should be policed.
Brandon said they have already complied with the FDA. “We initially marketed our product using medical terminology,” she said. “Our intent was to market an over-the-counter supplement which would help improve the quality of life of dogs and cats. Since that letter, we have taken general steps to correct the issues brought to our attention.”
Potential for healing
According to Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, there are certainly risks involved when it comes to these CBD products.
“We get quite a few marijuana calls at Poison Control,” she said. “Depending on how much they get into will determine how aggressive we need to be.” Some pets ended up acting like drunks, all wobbly and dribbling urine. Others become too agitated that they had to be put in fluids and have their heart rates monitored.
But she conceded that it can have medical benefits, too, provided that there is enough scientific data to back them up.
“Most of these treats have very low levels of CBD, so they are much safer. It looks like these certainly could be helpful products in some cases,” Wismer said. “But right now we don’t have enough information. Whether it’s THC or other cannabinoids, the problem is we have no therapeutic dose. We don’t know, are you underdosing your animal or overdosing your animal?”
Do you think pot can really help heal ailing animals? Voice your opinions in the comments section below – your opinion matters to the nation.