Demand for cannabis infused animal products to treat the ailments of beloved family pets is soaring as states across the country legalize marijuana.
Several companies, largely on the west coast, are taking advantage of loosening pot laws by focusing on alternative treatment options for pets suffering from arthritis, cancer and other conditions that owners say medications often fail to successfully address. California based companies like Treatibles and Pet Releaf offer a range of products including hemp oil, hemp treats, topical creams and dog chews, reports BBC News.
The manufacturers stress their products do not get animals stoned. Most are made from hemp containing Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the active compounds in cannabis that early research shows can successfully treat seizures, inflammation and anxiety.
“There’s a couple of people that are in the dude category, all, ‘I’m gonna get my cat high!'” Dr. Sarah Brandon, a veterinarian who also makes cannabis pet products for Canna Companion, told BBC News. “We highly encourage people not to do that. Don’t give your cat or your dog weed. They don’t like to get high, they don’t understand what’s going on – it’s very scary for them.”
Thousands of happy customers report that the cannabis extracts and hemp products are working miracles on their pet’s conditions, successfully treating chronic pain and improving mobility for those with severe arthritis. Veterinary groups are largely skeptical of the burgeoning industry, advocating for greater research.
The American Veterinary Medical Association warns the products are not, “safe for dogs at this time.” The group did petition the Drug Enforcement Administration in the summer, albeit unsuccessfully, to declassify marijuana as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin to make it easier to study its properties. The current designation makes it nearly impossible to secure federal funds for research into the plant’s potential medical applications.
Industry leaders, however, are encouraged by the reaction by pet owners to their products.
“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of animals using our products across the country,” Julianna Carella, the founder of Treatibles, told BBC News. “We’re in over a thousand pet stores; we’ve got some chain stores using the product. People see with their own two eyes what’s happening with their animals when [they] are given the product. And if all we’ve got to go on right now is anecdotal evidence, I think that’s a great start.”
Availability of the products depends on where you reside, due to the uneven landscape of state marijuana laws across the country. Customers buying the products in California, for example, must have a valid medical marijuana card. Recreational cannabis is legal in nine states while medical cannabis is legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C.
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