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Pets on Pot: Cannabis for animals takes off in California

Pets on Pot: Cannabis for animals takes off in California

Pets on Pot: Cannabis for animals takes off in California
November 25
20:13 2016


Pets on Pot: Cannabis for animals takes off in California

By Tammerlin Drummond, Bay Area News Group

Posted: 11/23/16, 5:57 PM PST

Every July 4th, Augie, a 4-year-old Chihuahua mix, would go into freak-out mode. He trembled. He refused to eat, sleep or let anyone pick him up. His owners tried giving him Xanax for his fireworks phobia.

This year, Hughston gave the 8-pound dog Treatibles cannabis chews made for pets.

“He sat on the sofa and let us pet him; he ate,” Hughston said. “He went through the fireworks better than he ever had before.”

More and more pet owners are turning to cannabis-based products to help their animals with anxiety, arthritis, seizures, cancer and other ailments.

A pioneer in the cannabis pet market is Auntie Dolores, which began by making edibles for people. In 2013, it launched Treatibles, blueberry- and pumpkin-flavored hemp chews shaped like dog bones that are sold in pet stores, dispensaries and online.

Unlike human edibles, the pet version has only a tiny fraction of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, said Julianna Carella, CEO of the Oakland-based company. It’s main ingredient is CBD, another compound — or cannabinoid — in cannabis or hemp that does not make people or animals high, but offers relief from anxiety and pain, she said.

She said she got the idea for the pet products after clients started asking whether it was OK to give their own edibles to their dogs for arthritis. It’s not. Concentrated doses of THC can be toxic in animals, as evidenced by the increasing number of pets who have gotten into their owners stashes and landed in vet emergency rooms. So Carella decided to make something for animals so people wouldn’t dose their pets with unsafe human products.

“We have people using it (on their pets) for separation anxiety, or when they’re going to the vet or groomer,” Carella said. “We’ve also heard from pet owners who used the product in the last weeks and months of their animal’s life that they were much more comfortable and in less pain.”

Under federal law, both CBD and THC are illegal, this is where things get complicated. Because CBD is also found in hemp, which can be legally imported and sold in the U.S., most companies that make pet cannabis products are taking advantage of this loophole. And those don’t require customers to have a medical marijuana card.

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