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Cannabis for Animals? Cannabis Industry Serves Fuzzy Clientele

Industry News Brian Holler

While the cannabis industry has been expanding to new states and new clientele, auxiliary industries have grown alongside it. One of the most profitable and understated cannabis ventures for 2020 could be none other than pet treats.

Yes, really. Human customers are not the only ones benefitting from cannabis legalization and a lift on hemp farming restrictions. CBD, in particular, is a popular ingredient for pet parents across the US.

Pet owners are using CBD tinctures, treats, creams, and oils to treat their pets medical conditions, such as:

Dogs, cats, horses, and even birds are now given CBD products for medical purposes. This is a growing niche in the cannabis industry, which is ripe for opportunity. In 2019 alone, CBD pet products earned $563 million (a number that is projected to increase in 2020).

But with all this excitement comes a strong word of caution. As little as we understand about CBD (and THC, for that matter) in the human body, we know even less about its effects on animals.

Because of prohibition, there has been little research done regarding the safety of CBD for both humans and animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association does not currently recommend CBD as a treatment. The FDA has not approved any CBD medications for animal use.

Despite the lack of data or regulatory oversight, pet parents desparate to help their beloved pets are using these products. But pet owners need to be careful. You cannot pick up just any item from a smoke shop and use it on your pet. The ASPCA says products containing THC are actually toxic to cats and dogs and we do not understand how CBD will effect every species.

Preliminary research is promising, though. In a 2018 study, 80% of dogs saw improved pain or increased mobility after CBD treatment. An inconclusive 2019 study suggests there may be evidence to support seizure treatment, but more research is needed.

While the data still needs to catch up with the industry, the CBD pet market is a great opportunity for cannabis investors. Keep your eyes peeled for regulatory action, though, as the FDA is likely to issue more stringent CBD guidelines in 2020.

Author Brian Holler




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