Pet Market Potential for CBD Treats

The picture of the typical marijuana user has been changing over the past few years. On top of its use as a legitimate medicinal aid, the retail industry is booming in states like Colorado and Washington, whose customers come from all walks of life. What is the next demographic for cannabis? Your furry companion.

Cannabis use as a medicinal aid for pets has started to gain traction in the last couple years, going so far as to have entire sections of companies dedicated to the offering. Treat-ibles Pet Treats are an example of cannabidiol-enhanced dog treats, which are offered by the Auntie Dolores company. Based in California, Auntie Dolores is a producer of medical marijuana edibles, and its goal is to “[provide] broad access to safe alternatives and to educate the public about the therapeutic value of cannabis.”

This is the same mission for its pet products, as the company aims to help with mood disorders, appetite, nausea, cancer and pain—many of the same applications that are the aim of marijuana treatments for humans. Treat-ibles provides links to dozens of studies on its site regarding the efficacy of its CBD-laced treats, some dating as far back as 2010.

There is a big difference between pet edibles and most human edibles, and this resides in the chemical composition. Specifically, CBD is the element of marijuana that is being used to medicate animals and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not used at all. In fact Auntie Dolores’ line of pet treats is not even made from a marijuana plant—they are produced using hemp.

Another Washington company, Canna Companion, is another player in the pet edible market. Because the company also sells a hemp-based cannabis product, the incredibly low levels of THC actually make these types of animal treats legal in the United States.

CBD is the element that is touted as the more medically significant chemical in marijuana and has found success treating myriad diseases in humans, such as cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. CBD is not psychoactive, not addictive and not toxic.

The treats do not contain THC, the main psychoactive agent in marijuana that produces the euphoric effect. In addition to not wanting to alter the state of your pet’s mind, this is important because THC is actually more toxic to animals than it is to humans.

While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that cite the benefits of edibles for pets, there is still a lack of federal approval for the products. The treatment method is not federally illegal, but it is essentially an alternative medicine that has yet to be approved by federal agencies like the FDA. In fact, the FDA recently sent letters to companies, including Canna Companion, ordering them to stop marketing the treats as a drug because they had not been approved by the FDA.

In Nevada, there was even a bill proposing the use of medical marijuana for pets. Though it failed, it helped bring recognition to the issue and could perhaps spur interest in further studies.

The most important thing is to do is to speak to a medical professional before providing any alternative medicine to any member of your family, including your pets. Talk to veterinarians, talk to doctors and always read the research.

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