The CBD for animals category is exploding, but can cannabis help pets the way it helps people?
“My pet is a member of the family.”
You’ve probably heard this statement before, or even said it yourself. Nearly 70% of American households have a companion animal, with dogs and cats being by far the most popular.
Many pet owners often go to great lengths to ensure their furry friends are happy and healthy, whatever the cost.
As more people benefit from cannabis, particularly CBD, there’s a growing demand for products formulated for animals.
Scientific research on cannabis and animals remains extremely limited, but anecdotal evidence has revealed a wide range of benefits, from helping to treat separation anxiety to reducing chronic pain, driving an explosion in sales.
The pet CBD category was valued at $629 million in 2021, according to analysis from the Brightfield Group. It’s expected to balloon to over $1 billion by 2025.
The same report showed a significant uptick in the number of animal owners discussing CBD with their veterinarians, with more people than ever wondering: How can cannabis potentially help my pet?
CBD Benefits in Animals Mimics Humans
It’s worth noting that all mammals (not just humans) have an endocannabinoid system, with CBD showing similar benefits for animals as those found in people. And while the majority of research into CBD focuses on what it can do for humans, a few studies have focused on CBD’s potential for pets.
Findings from a 2018 trial published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science revealed administering CBD twice a day may help ease symptoms in dogs with osteoarthritis.
A 2019 study published in the National Library of Medicine also centered on canines; it showed CBD decreased seizure activity. Additional studies on dermatitis and anxiety had mixed results, with scientists concluding that CBD shows promise but requires additional testing.
Kurt Kinneman, owner of Bad Apple Pets, said most people seek out his company’s CBD dog treats, equine pellets, and pet tinctures as a way to help their animals relax.
“The main use case I see is anxiety, whether it’s separation-related or events like vet visits or the Fourth of July,” Kinneman told Cannabis & Tech Today. “Joint conditions and arthritis would be second, followed by itching.”
Kinneman attributes the success of his full-spectrum CBD products to the anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabinoid, noticing that when animals have fewer symptoms, they’re able to feel more at ease overall.
“We like to say ‘calm bodies, calm minds,’” he said.
Anecdotal Evidence Bulk of Veterinarian Knowledge
Word-of-mouth has been a key driver of customer acquisition for Bad Apple Pets, but Kinneman hopes more veterinarians will soon join the conversation.
Currently, most veterinarians rely on anecdotal information about CBD for pets gathered from examinations or owner reports.
A recent survey revealed that over half observed CBD being at least somewhat helpful for chronic pain in their patients, and 75% reported the compound was useful for reducing anxiety and seizures.
Despite the promising results, only 45 % of veterinarians surveyed felt comfortable discussing CBD with their clients.
However, the vast majority supported removing cannabis from Schedule I status and increasing scientific studies.
“We need more research and regulation of the space to help legitimize it,” Kinneman argued. “CBD is already helping a lot of animals, but there are so many more who I believe could really benefit.”
This article first appeared in Volume 4 Issue 4 of Cannabis & Tech Today. Read the full issue here.