Pet cannabis

Let’s just get one thing straight first of all – blowing bong hits in your dog’s face isn’t cool. Never has been, never will be. Sure, you might have seen it happen in a thousand movies and YouTube clips and there’s a chance you have even been present when it’s been happening for real. But the simple fact of the matter is that all you are effectively doing is terrorising a defenceless pet. Even if you think they look as if they’re enjoying it, they’re not…period. Getting pets high purely for your own entertainment really is about as low as it gets.

That being said however, global interest in the fledging market for medicinal cannabis products created specifically for pets is growing like never before. Born of little more than experimentation among those desperately trying to find ways and means to treat dogs and other pets naturally, CBD extracts are finding their way into all manner of doggy treats and tidbits.

Kat Donatello was one such individual, who began experimenting with CBD baked into dog biscuits as a means by which to help relax her hyperactive Labrador. “I started spending my winters baking dog biscuits,” she said, adding that “It just kind of took the edge off of him.” So successful were our experiments that she went on to launch her own CBD dog biscuit business in early 2016.

A Growing Empire

CBD Dog treats

CBD Dog treats

And she wasn’t the only one, either. Over the past couple of years, a handful of businesses have emerged specialising in CBD products for pets, including Therabis and Treatibles which are well on their way to becoming household names. Over the same period of time, sales of products for pets containing CBD have increased two-fold. The animal supplements market in the United States is said to be worth somewhere in the region of $500 million annually, with growth expected to spike significantly before the end of the current decade. This is likely to be fuelled to a large extent by the rising popularity of CBD pet supplements – demand for which has already reached an all-time high.

Which to a certain degree makes perfect sense, given the way in which the public’s collective attitude toward medical marijuana has changed so significantly over the past few years. It’s only as of relatively late that the public in general has warmed the to the idea of medical cannabis being a genuinely positive thing. And if it has such genuinely beneficial properties, surely these properties should be capitalised on for pets as well as people.

But what so many critics really need to get their heads around is the fact that unlike the kinds of cannabis edibles favoured by recreational marijuana users, cannabis products for pets aren’t designed to get your dog high. Instead, they focus on CBD rather than THC – the latter of the two being the cannabinoid responsible for creating the sensation of euphoria. CBD has no such effect, but has nonetheless been linked with a wide variety of beneficial medical properties. Nevertheless, the debate continues as to whether or not it is a good idea to provide pets with cannabis products of any kind, given the way in which research into pets and pot is still at a very remedial level.

Which is entirely true, as little to no thorough and focused research into how CBD works in animals has so far been carried out. The vast majority of evidence is anecdotal to say the least and the United States FDA still has not given any kind of approval for cannabis or cannabis extracts to be used in animal products. Nevertheless, pet owners, experts and veterinarians in growing numbers are saying that given their own knowledge and first-hand experience, CBD supplements can and should be used for pets. As such, more pet stores than ever before are beginning to stock or at least offer access to CBD treats, despite the fact that the official go ahead has not yet been given by the FDA.

Indeed, the folks behind Treatibles said that they are currently negotiating an enormous deal with one of the biggest pet chain-stores in the country, though were unwilling to say which one.

Divided Opinion

CBD medication

CBD medication

Unsurprisingly, the professional veterinarian community is somewhat divided down the middle when it comes to CBD supplements for pets. While they do not deny the way in which CBD certainly seems to have helped certain pets in certain circumstances up until now, those working in these kinds of fields are often extremely hesitant to back anything that has not been verified by way of extensive scientific research. And as such research is dangerously lacking, they are finding themselves in a difficult position when it comes to advising for or against the development and use of CDB treats for pets. At the same time, most share the same consensus whereby if CBD has certain beneficial effects on the body when used by human beings, there is technically no reason why it could not do the same for dogs.

So chances are it will only be following the implementation of extensive research that the community as a whole comes together to form a collective consensus as to the future of pot for pets. Which is something that genuinely has to happen sooner rather than later, given the way in which CBD products could potentially be used as an effective treatment for a wide variety of conditions in pets.

Even the folks at PETA envisage a future where cannabis makes it into the wider pet-care domain.

“If the proper administration of marijuana can truly relieve dogs’ pain, then they should be given the same consideration that humans in pain are given, with regular doses to help reduce their misery,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“But it’s an entirely different matter to amuse oneself by getting the cat drunk or the dog high.”

In the meantime though, it’s likely to continue being a case of anecdotal evidence and experimentation ruling the roost. Given the fact that recreational cannabis has been legalized across such enormous swathes of the United States and the world beyond, it is inevitable that those looking to provide their pets with safe and effective all-natural treatments are going to find themselves looking at CBD as a potential pot of gold.

Which it very well could be – we simply need the hard scientific evidence to back what so many pet owners are already 100% convinced of.

Cannabis for pets, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.