Saturday, 15 December 2018
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Can cannabis oil ease suffering for dogs and cats? Here’s what South Florida businesses say

Pot for pets? It’s the latest offshoot of the ever-evolving legitimization of medicinal marijuana, and a trio of South Florida companies are competing to become the Blue Apron of cannabis oils for pets.

Three companies formed in recent years are selling cannabidiol (CBD) products that owners and enthusiasts claim might be more effective than traditional veterinary medicines at treating chronic pain, inflammation and anxiety in dogs and cats.

But their growth prospects face a big hurdle: While early research suggests that the treatments show promise, the legality of the products is widely disputed, preventing pet owners from buying them at their favorite chain pet store or through the most popular e-commerce sites.

That hasn’t stopped Delray Beach-based Prana Pets, Plantation-based King Kanine and Fort Lauderdale-based Diamond CBD from joining a growing number of new companies around the globe that promote and distribute CBD oil products, including oral liquids, chews, balms and sprays for pets.

The veterinary association’s warning quoted a 2017 DEA statement that undercuts CBD oil sellers’ legal assertion that hemp products are legal.

The statement asserts that THC, CBD and CBN are all found in the parts of the cannabis plant that fall within the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), such as “the flowering tops, resin, and leaves of the marijuana plant.” Further, the statement said only trace amounts of cannabinoids are found in parts of the cannabis plant excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana, of which extracting is “not practical.”

Meanwhile, a July report by quoted DEA spokesman Rusty Payne as saying, “Hemp is a made up word.” Payne told the website that CBDs remain a controlled substance, even if enforcement is not a DEA priority.

Enforced or not, the feds’ position prevents companies like King Kanine and Prana Pets from distributing CBD products in chain stores such as Pet Supermarket, or through popular Internet retailers like or That limits their distribution options to their own e-commerce sites and mom-and-pop pet stores.

But sellers see hope on the horizon.

A Nov. 14 story in The Hill quoted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) pledging support for lifting the federal government’s ban on industrial hemp in a must-pass 2018 Farm Bill, while incoming House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) is quoted as pledging debates and votes on marijuana-related amendments, particularly those related to medical marijuana, when the Democrats take over the House next year.

If and when CBD for pets becomes fully licensed and legal, Solomon and Riman sees the major chains moving quickly to take over the sector. Solomon sees the most successful e-commerce sites being acquired by larger companies.

Riman said, “I think everything will be sorted out in the next three to five years. But that’s when the big companies will take over and government will start taxing the hell out of it.”

Boca Raton veterinarian Turkell sees uses for cannabis expanding as science unlocks more of its secrets. “As states allow the product to become much more readily available, we’re going to see more studies,” he said. “And we might see more uses than we can imagine at this time.”


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The Bark Box

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