Pot for the Pooch?
No seriously, don’t blow smoke at your furry family member or share your brownie. At best, that may make Fluffy or Fido extremely uncomfortable. At worst, especially in the case of chocolate edibles, that bit of well-intentioned sharing could be lethal.
We’re talking about medicine. Although research and testing are still a little scant, pet guardians and veterinarians are increasingly interested in the possibility that cannabinoids may alleviate some of the conditions that plague old and ailing pets (and their humans), including joint pain, itchy skin, tumor growth, loss of appetite and even anxiety.
Investors have taken notice, too. Pot for pets sits at the intersection of two billion dollar industries: fur babies and weed. Furthermore, to the extent these products contain hemp-based CBD with only trace amounts of THC, they are legal throughout the U.S.
Remember, however, that the industry is still largely self-regulated. Your research is critical, and a little skepticism is a fine thing. As with edibles for people, the quality, purity and potency of pet nutritional supplements can be uneven. Too many claims and too little data should raise your hackles. Although it may be tempting to rely on Google research, do not neglect to actually talk to your vet.
The following list, though hardly exhaustive, may be enough to help you figure out the lay of the land. Each supplier has its own particular story:
- Canna Companion. The site contains testimonials from veterinarians, Greg Copas and Sarah Brandon, along with the usual hearthappy stories of healing. The “Links” tab may be the most useful for the interested non-scientist. If your vet is not yet cannafriendly, the link to the American Holistic Veterinarian Association within that tab may help you find one. The “Scientific” tab contains more of the hard science for those with the chops to appreciate it. Much to its credit, the site recommends further consultation with the pet’s attending physician.
- Canna Pet. This site advertises a wide variety of products and it, too, can take you deep into the weeds of the endocannabinoid system. The products’ claim to fame seems to be twofold. The “entourage effect” produced by a proprietary combination of cannabinoids and terpenes reportedly works better than any of those chemicals alone. The benefits are more reportedly more available as the result of direct absorption through the mouth. The site provides fewer exterior links for those interested in more information and is somewhat more sales oriented than other sites. You should be aware that both Canna Pet and Canna Companion, among other companies, received warning letters from the FDA last spring raising concerns about companies’ marketing, specifically claims that the products help with symptoms of cancer, dementia and asthma.
- Constance Pure Botanical Extracts. The site advocates the use of cannabis oil in the treatment of cancer in human beings. Pets are a sideline, and pet guardians with specific questions are invited to inquire further.
- Hemp for Hounds. They make dog treats containing oats, wheat flour, flavoring, water, eggs, hemp seed, and baking soda. Staying on the right side of the FDA. the site makes no medical claims, except to note that:
Hemp is high in Omegas 3, 6 and 9. The perfect combination of oils in hemp are [sic] known to possess qualities that ease arthritis, help prevent cancer and leave your dog with healthy skin and a shiny coat. Hemp has no known allergies.
- Therabis. Developed by. Dr. Stephen M. Katz, a 30-year veterinarian, who has one of the largest veterinary pit bull practices in the country, the product comes in three formulations designed to address separation anxiety, mobility issues and allergic itching. In his practice, Dr. Katz experimented with a number of formulations before adding hemp-derived CBD oil to the mixture. Therabis products are now marketed in partnership with Dixie Brands, Inc. Those products reportedly meet FDA requirements for stability and contamination and are undergoing clinical validation trials at the University of Pennsylvania–College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Treatibles. Treatibles Kitchen is the sister company of Auntie Dolores Kitchen, which has been making cannabis-infused edibles for people since 2008. Their dog biscuits are described as “superfood wellness treats.” Exterior links, of which there are many, make a more explicit medical case for CBD. The site reports that their products are tested for cannabinoid levels by CW Analytical Lab, a third-party laboratory in Oakland, California. The results are posted on the site.
- Treat Well. Treat Well manufactures tinctures that may be added to food. Some are for people and some for pets. The pet tinctures are unique in that some contain marijuana (rather than hemp) based THC as well as CBD. In different formulations, these are designed to treat anxiety, arthritis, pain, inflammatory issues, seizures, appetite stimulation, cancer, topical skin conditions and end of life care. Products appear to be available only at locations in California.
A final word about your stash — make sure that your pet can’t get into it. CBD nutritional supplements may help with your furry friend’s aches and pains but smokeables and human edibles will make him or her very sick.
Vets have reported a nearly 200 percent increase in cannabis poisoning in pets. Remember that many substances, including chocolate, raisins and Tylenol, may be harmless or helpful to people but can kill animals. So just as you would if you had a small child in the house, lock your treats and meds away to prevent accidental ingestion.