Increasing demand for cannabidiol (CBD) among humans appears to be trickling over into the pet industry. However, concerns about the effects of CBD on pets and the regulations surrounding its use are giving some pet product makers pause.
CBD, one of the many cannabinoids found in marijuana, has exploded in popularity over the past several years. With this growth in demand, more CBD products have emerged in response which, in turn, has further increased its popularity. As more people take interest in CBD for themselves, some are eager to share the reported benefits with their pets.
Unlike the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive agent in marijuana, CBD has not been shown to have intoxicating effects on humans. Proponents of CBD claim that it does offer a wide range of therapeutic benefits, including relief from pain, anxiety, seizures, depression, inflammation, and other maladies. While CBD’s anticonvulsant effects are fairly well established, claims about its other benefits are largely anecdotal or inconclusive.
Some pet product producers have been eager to take advantage of the increased demand for pet products containing CBD while others have remained wary — and with good reason. CBD’s legal status in the United States has been fuzzy at best. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s stance on the marijuana extract is that it is illegal, despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized in many states. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD as a drug nor as a food additive, making its use in pet food products subject to action by the FDA as well. Nevertheless, many manufacturers continue to produce and sell CBD-containing treats and supplements for pets.
While significant questions about the present and future legality of CBD as well as its safety and efficacy for both pets and humans have led many companies to steer clear of the drug, they do not appear to have done much to quell consumer demand.