It might be only a matter of time before dog treats laced with a medical marijuana chemical show up at your local pet store.
Sales of pet products containing the cannabis-derived chemical cannabidiol, or CBD, have doubled in the U.S. over the past two years, Bloomberg News reports, citing cannabis industry analytics firm MJ Freeway.
It’s the newest trend in America’s booming half-billion dollar animal supplements market, which is expected to grow by more than $150 million in the next four years.
CBD is one of the active chemicals found in marijuana. It differs, however, from the active chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in that it does not cause the user to get high. Human studies have linked CBD to anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety effects, Bloomberg notes.
Proponents say CBD also can help calm dogs plagued by hyperactivity, anxiety or fear.
The mission statement of Treatibles, one of several companies that now sell CBD-laced pet treats, reads: “We want to bring harmony to your household through the happiness and health of your pets. We seek to provide balance and vitality for your beloved animal companions. …”
Treatibles is in talks with “a big box pet store” that might sell Treatibles products, which the company calls hemp wellness chews, although an executive wouldn’t tell Bloomberg the name of the pet store because the deal is pending.
The notion of using CBD as medicine for pets is controversial, though.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration tells Bloomberg that it’s technically a violation of federal law to buy CBD online, which is often how it’s purchased.
Little research has been done on the effects of CBD on animals, and veterinarians have varying opinions on the matter.
Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that it has not evaluated any pet products containing CBD for safety or effectiveness, and it has not approved any such products. The federal agency therefore “cautions pet-owners against the use of such products.”
The FDA continues:
Marijuana needs to be further studied to assess the safety and effectiveness for medical use in animals. … If your pet is in pain, we urge you to talk with your veterinarian about appropriate treatment options.
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