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Cannabis in America

Puppy Pot and Cat Cannabis? Edibles for Pets Are Now on the Market

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Walk around some pet stores in the U.S., and you might stumble upon a deceiving product: wishbone-shaped treats, that look like any other dog treat, but are made with CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. No, adding the treat to your puppy’s Iams or your kitty’s Meow Mix won’t have them watching Planet Earth while debating the answers of the multiverse, but it might help relieve their anxiety, or other physical ailments like inflammation and pain. As more states legalize medical or recreational marijuana, pet owners are increasingly turning to pot-for-pet edibles to alleviate their furry friends’ maladies and discomforts.

Some pet stores and dispensaries in states where recreational or medical marijuana is legal offer pot-based products for pets; not just for dogs and cats, but pigs, horses, and other small mammals as well. Pet edibles come in different forms, and are made with different ingredients. Some only contain CBD, which lacks the psychoactive effects of THC, an ingredient that is dangerous for animals to consume. Others contain traces of both CBD and THC, and can only be administered if the owner obtains a medical marijuana license in a state where medical marijuana is permitted.

Regulators have not approved these products, and the federal classification of marijuana as an illegal substance has some stores and owners reluctant to sell or buy pot-based pet treats. And while there is no scientific, data-based evidence for the positive effects of pot on pets, there are plenty of anecdotes that are enough to have some buyers reaching for cannabis’ curative properties.

Some products have found ways around federal and state laws to allow people to purchase pot-based pet treats and oils even without a medical marijuana license. Hemp, which is increasingly being legally cultivated in at least 30 states, is sometimes used. Products made with hemp, which contains less THC than marijuana, do not require medical marijuana licenses for purchase.

Unfortunately, some statistics also show that since marijuana legalization, there has been an uptick in pets getting ill from unwittingly sneaking edibles from their owner. From 2012 to 2015 the Pet Poison Helpline saw a fourfold increase in calls from people whose pets became intoxicated with marijuana. In 2014, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received over 200 more calls related to pets poisoned by cannabis than in 2013.

At least one state has tried to pass a law allowing veterinarians to prescribe marijuana to people’s pets. A law in Nevada that would allow vets to administer medical licenses to pets was struck down in 2015. So while the dream of getting high with your dog is potentially dangerous and should largely remain a dream, the market for animal edibles is one that will probably continue to grow.

Alec Siegel
Alec Siegel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. When he’s not working at Law Street he’s either cooking a mediocre tofu dish or enjoying a run in the woods. His passions include: gooey chocolate chips, black coffee, mountains, the Animal Kingdom in general, and John Lennon. Baklava is his achilles heel. Contact Alec at ASiegel@LawStreetMedia.com.

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