Hemp-Derived CBD Products for Pets Increasingly Popular But Science and Standards Lag Behind

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CDB products that are for pet wellness are becoming increasingly common and popular among consumers in the United States. The Wall Street Journal just published a piece, called “A Little CBD to Take the Edge Off—For Your Pet?” focused on products for our beloved animals that are made with hemp-derived CBD. They write:

Despite regulatory hurdles, CBD products are flooding into the mainstream: In recent weeks major chains such as GNC and Walgreens have begun carrying it in certain stores. In all, the CBD food and supplements business is expected to snowball to $5.69 billion in 2019, according to cannabis market-research firm Brightfield Group, which anticipates even more store chains stocking CBD in the coming months. In the pet world, CBD-infused products are an already estimated $199 million business and expected to grow to $1.16 billion by 2022, according to Brightfield.


Therabis says its Calm and Quiet dog treats ($35 to $55 per 60-count bag) contain anywhere from two to four milligrams of CBD per soft chew. A one-milligram formulation for cats ($15 per 60-count bag) comes in chicken and catnip flavor. Directions on both packages say to give two chews “before stressful situations.” Pet Releaf’s Edibites contain two to five milligrams of CBD in each soft chew supplement, and come in flavors such as sweet potato pie and peanut butter & carob swirl.

While the legal landscape for hemp-derived CBD in the U.S. remains tentative, this isn’t stopping the proliferation of products that use hemp as the basis for extracting CBD components to add to consumer-facing products. The article goes on to state:

The legal landscape for CBD products is complicated. Hemp, a member of the cannabis family from which CBD is derived, got a huge boost in December, when President Trump signed a new $867 billion farm bill that removed it from a list of federally controlled substances. The Food and Drug Administration still says CBD products cannot be sold in dietary supplements or added to food—including for pets—that is sold between states. But states have a patchwork of regulations that some have interpreted as opening the door. The FDA’s own Q&A on CBD says: “Is it legal for me to sell CBD products? It depends, among other things, on the intended use of the product and how it is labeled and marketed.”


Bill Bookout, president of the National Animal Supplement Council, says that 70 companies exhibited hemp products containing CBD at a recent trade show. “They are saying, ‘It must be legal if the other guy is doing it,’ ” says Todd A. Harrison, partner at Venable LLP which advises the council.

Although this trend shows no signs of abating, in spite of open questions around legality, particularly around inter-state distribution, some medical and wellness practitioners and veternarians are skeptical about the full range of benefits that hemp-derived CBD pet products may provide.

CBD products from hemp, classified as cannabis with less than .3% THC, can be easily purchased all over the country and is widely available in Florida. However, when it comes to the legality and research, it is still very much in a gray area.


“There’s no research done on proper doses,” said Dr. Daniel Levin, a veterinarian who practices in Cooper City. “Everything we have taken is from human research [and there have been] few studies done on the vet side.” (Read full article here.)

All of this speaks to the importance of further research and standardization around dosages — for both humans and pets.

Pet owners are also calling for greater clarity around the benefits of administering hemp-derived CBD to their pets — especially since the quality of the products seems so all over the place in terms of what’s stated on the label vs. what is actually in the product:


Earlier this year, NBC News investigated 35 CBD products from seven different companies and had them tested at an independent laboratory. Among those samples, 20 (57%) had less than half the amount of CBD advertised on the products’ packaging.

So, what to trust? Though not every CBD company shares their lab results, several pet-focused, hemp-CBD companies do.

King Kanine is a popular brand which offers CBD products for cats and dogs. While it is not prominently displayed, the company’s website features a page where consumers can view test results for several of the company’s leading products.

Sources used in this story:

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