Hawaii House owners Turning To CBD Merchandise For Their Pets’ Medical, Behavioral Issues

Hawaii’s pet owners are increasingly turning to cannabidoil, a component of hemp, to help their loved ones with physical and behavioral problems, local veterinarians say. But several legislators and animal experts want to see the medicinal products made from hemp regulated.

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is an ingredient found in hemp that has gained prominence for its physical and mental health effects. While people frequently consume CBD in gummy candies and oils, newer products made specifically for pets have become popular, according to Michael King, area medical director of VCA Kaneohe Animal Hospital.

He said his customers often seek medical advice on pet use.

“There is definitely an interest in it,” said King. “We’re getting more inquiries than I did a few years ago.”

Bradley Kealoha Oana believed in CBD after his French bulldog Koda was born with holes in his heart and two tender heart valves. Koda’s cardiovascular problems combined with growth problems made him tired and anxious easily.

That changed when Kealoha Oana said he started adding Koda cannabidiol in his food. After a month and a half of feeding Koda CBD twice a day, Kealoha Oana believes his dog’s health has improved. Koda gained more energy and the dog’s fear was gone, he said.

“So far the results have been good. I am happy and Koda is happy, ”said Kealoha Oana.

Sean Riley, a canine behavioral psychologist, said that CBD oil gave his Doberman pinscher, who was suffering from back pain, more mobility and an increased quality of life.

According to Riley, CBD relieves pain through the network of chemical receptors found in the body of humans, dogs, and cats.

“I’ve used it on clients everywhere from anxious, aggressive, anxious cases to cases with simple allergies that it helps with,” said Riley. “It is really a unique drug that is very broad.”

Credit Bradley Kealoha Oana

Bradley Kealoha Oana and his French bulldog Koda

The CBD industry is expanding rapidly across the country. According to TIME Magazine, it is set to grow to $ 20 billion by 2022.

CBD production spiked in 2018 when lawmakers removed hemp from a list of controlled substances like marijuana. Products containing less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient in marijuana that makes a person high, would no longer be subject to strict federal regulations.

While proponents hail CBD as a pet miracle cure, there is uncertainty about its long-term effects. Local and national critics say there isn’t enough information about the ingredient and what regulations should apply. Because of this, veterinarians cannot legally prescribe the products.

“While medical marijuana is legal in Hawaii, CBD is still not seen as something we can legally use on pets,” King said.

“I think anecdotally there are isolated cases where [CBD] seems to be doing something. Just because of the legal ramifications, we can’t really advise people how much to use, or encourage people to use it. “

According to the State Health Department’s Food and Drug Branch, the FDA has not approved cannabis-derived products such as CBD for use in animals. Currently, the only FDA-approved form of CBD is a drug called Epidiolex, which is intended to be used to treat seizures in humans.

The DOH says because CBD is an active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug, it cannot be sold to anyone without a valid prescription or over the counter. The state also says that regardless of whether CBD is made from hemp or marijuana, all products are not considered safe and can pose potential health risks.

Still, CBD stores selling products for humans and animals can be found across the island as well as online. Shops and kiosks selling CBD products can be found in Oahu’s popular shopping malls, including the Ala Moana Center and Pearlridge Center.

The state hopes to learn more about CBD and regulate it for both humans and animals, said John Mizuno, chairman of the state’s health committee.

“We have to regulate CBD to ensure its quality,” said Mizuno. “It’s a matter of safety and consumer protection. The most important thing for all of us, whether it’s CBD products for our pets or for us, is that we really take a step back and see what the experts tell us. “

Although lawmakers haven’t specifically studied the effects of CBD on animals, Mizuno has met with experts in the CBD and medical marijuana industries. He hopes to hold an official legislative briefing on CBD and its products later this year.

Dr. Clifton Otto of Cannabis Healthcare Hawaii, a medical marijuana consultancy clinic, met with Mizuno and his colleagues earlier this year. Otto said the state needs to determine which drug category CBD falls into under the laws of the state of Hawaii.

“I think we need some clarification from our government agencies, like the Ministry of Public Safety and the Ministry of Health, so we know how to regulate this,” said Otto.

He said Hawaii could look for regulatory examples of CBD laws in hemp-friendly states like Oregon. These states have testing requirements for metals and pesticides to ensure that consumers are buying safe products.

“We have to regulate CBD to ensure its quality. It’s a safety and a consumer concern. ”- Rep. John Mizuno, Chair of the House Health Committee

“We’re stuck,” said Otto. “We have hemp farmers who want to grow hemp for CBD, but there are no rules or rules that allow them to get it to market. But of course that doesn’t stop them. “

In July, Governor David Ige vetoed a bill to regulate and facilitate the production of industrial hemp. In his veto message, Ige said that a “fine line between hemp and marijuana creates complexities”. He also said the bill would fail to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements.

Ige’s veto could lead to a closer look at the CBD industry, Mizuno said. The state representative plans to introduce a House of Representatives bill next year that would expand guidelines for growing and selling hemp products.

Otto believes that the rules for using CBD for pets should be different from those for humans. Either way, he believes more research needs to be done to make sure it’s completely safe for pets. More research would also help lawmakers legislate around CBD products.

Riley said he hadn’t seen any negative effects from CBD on the animals he’d worked with in the past three years. However, he cautions owners that the quality and components of CBD products can affect the results they see in their pets.

King also says he hasn’t seen any ill effects in pets given CBD products without his doctor’s recommendation. However, he advises pet owners to read the drug labels carefully.

He said if a product contains more THC than is safe, a dog could experience more consequences than benefits. Dogs can become unbalanced, urinate uncontrollably, and become extremely nervous. Although only 0.3% CBD is allowed in the products, King hopes pet owners will be careful about handling their pets on their own.

“I’m not really encouraging [pet owners] using it because there are a lot of unknowns, ”King said.