Giving your pets CBD treats? Consultants advise warning

Polly Webb’s pit bull terrier may be named for one of the wilder Game of Thrones characters, but Drogo turns out to be a fearful cat rather than a warlord.

“My dog, he’s scared of thunderstorms,” ​​said Webb, a Baltimore writer and editor. “He doesn’t usually eat anything when he’s trembling and scared.”

To ease Drogo’s fears, she gave him a CBD (cannabidiol) carob brownie from the pet and grocery store, The Dog Chef. She is one of several pet owners who consider CBD to be a viable alternative medicine that relieves the pain, pain, and stress of their companions.

However, the growing trend affects animal experts who say there isn’t enough empirical research to justify the safety and effectiveness of CBD in dogs and cats.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active ingredient in marijuana, CBD made from hemp does not contain any psychoactive properties and can be purchased in brick and mortar stores or online without medical marijuana certifications. While other prescribed veterinary drugs must comply with Federal Drug Administration regulations, CBD drug products remain federally unapproved.

But in states like Maryland, the popularity of CBD as a pain reliever, stress suppressant, and wellness supplement has risen in parallel with the medical marijuana movement, as early projections predict the CBD market could reach over $ 20 billion in sales by 2022 medical mainstream last year with Epidiolex – the first FDA-approved prescription cannabidiol – which reduces the frequency of seizures in people with some forms of epilepsy.

Pet products fortified with CBD have entered the mix as dog and cat owners spend more money on their furry friends every year. The total amount spent on pets in 2018 reached $ 72.5 billion in 2018 and is projected to exceed $ 75 billion in 2019, according to the American Pet Products Association.

Patrick Kelly, managing partner at bioRemedies MD, a Baltimore-based CBD supplier, said the company first launched infused pet products in 2017 and now has four different offerings. A pack of infused treats for dogs or cats costs about $ 30, and oral CBD drops for cats and dogs cost about $ 38 and $ 75, respectively.

“Pets can’t show placebo effects, so you can really see the effects,” he said, adding that bioRemedies tests the CBD in its infused products for safety and quality control. “People who take care of pets are very loyal and spend a lot of money looking after a family member. And there is no known danger. “

Kim Hammond, a veterinarian and founder of Falls Road Animal Hospital, said while pets may not be able to overdose on CBD, understanding of the substance’s effects on dogs and cats is still in its infancy.

“At this point, we don’t have the evidence-based research that says it works or it doesn’t work,” he said. “Hemp-based CBD doesn’t hurt to try it, but the most important thing is, you may not even know what you are buying. You have to be smart. “

Hammond said because CBD does not have a enforced uniform standard or dosage protocol, products may not have adequate quality control – meaning that they contain higher or lower amounts of CBD than what is stated on the labels and may pose other risks. He added, however, that in controlled environments, researchers have found that CBD can complement the treatment of certain medical conditions and ailments.

“We think it might have some health value, but I compare it to pain relief from massage and acupuncture,” he said.

Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, said that CBD can also affect the liver of animals, especially when mixed with other drugs or substances without a veterinarian’s approval.

“There are just many, many questions,” she said. “It can have good and bad effects; The problem is, we don’t know the right dose in dogs. We don’t want to make things worse. “

However, some pet owners claim that their own observations provide important anecdotal evidence – and that they know best when it comes to making their dogs and cats feel better.

Liz Ryan, a dog handler who lives near Patterson Park, estimates she spends between $ 75 and $ 100 each month on CBD oil and treats. She said she has been giving her dogs Jethro, Avett, and Ruth Bader CBD to help reduce their anxiety levels for about a year.

“They are my children and my family, and their well-being is my number one priority,” she said.

Webb said she was willing to spend any amount on Drogo and her other dog, Matilda. She said she heard about the CBD products sold at The Dog Chef on Facebook and bought a bunch to keep in her freezer for stormy days.

“These brownies really work,” she said, adding that while she also bought some prescription drugs for Drogo, she responded best to the CBD. “I’m glad he actually wanted to eat it.”

Dog Chef owner Kevyn Matthews said his store’s CBD-infused goodies – also available as carob chocolate bars – have become bestsellers over the past two years. The brownies are $ 10 each and the bars are $ 35.

“You don’t want to overdo it,” he said, adding that the CBD he was using has been tested and the dealers are providing him with the milligram dosage. “But if you give them too much, they’ll just get tired, that’s all.”

Tanya Grim said The Dog Chef Jake’s CBD products, her Shar-Pei lab mix, who passed away in February, brought a better quality of life in its final months.

“We noticed he was going up the stairs by himself, which he hadn’t done in months, and we were overwhelmed by it,” she said, noting that she often worried about Jake’s liver when she gave him prescription drugs for his Arthritis existed. “It doesn’t cure old age, but its personality traits came back.”

And Crady Seymour, a mother dog of Hendrix, a “scared, yip-yip” miki, and Bodie, a husky lab mix who suffered from joint pain from Lyme disease, said they gave their pets CBD as opposed to prescription drugs is well worth the risk as it not only treats their symptoms better, but is also less of a nuisance.

“The only way I could get Bodie to take his (prescription) medication was to grind it up and put it in Chef Boyardee,” said Seymour. “Why go through all of this when you can just squirt a drop of CBD under your tongue?”

Robin McDonald, owner of Howl pet store, said consumer interest in CBD products has increased since she introduced them about 18 months ago. She said she asks a few questions from customers about this every day and regularly replenishes her inventory.

When she opened Howl 17 years ago, McDonald would never have thought she would sell CBD for animals. But she doesn’t complain.

“It sells itself, especially if you try,” she said.