Given how much Americans love their pets and how often they express that love by spending large amounts of money (not criticizing; I own a quadruple-decker cat tower), it was only a matter of time before somebody started selling cannabis treats for sad sick old dogs. Welcome to the latest frontier in marijuana money-making!
Quartz reports on this latest branch of the growing weed industry—which investors are already circling, despite the fact it’s a tiny offshoot and even less legally straightforward than pot for humans. Take, for instance, “Treatibles,” launched about a year ago by California-based edibles company Auntie Dolores:
Unlike its edibles for humans, Treatibles products, which are sold in dispensaries, aren’t made from marijuana but from hemp—the stem of the cannabis plant that’s low in the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which produces that feeling of getting high. Hemp, however, does contain cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical compound that alleviates pain. The US government also defines hemp as cannabis—not necessarily the stem—that measures less than 0.3% in THC, a threshold that allows its movement across state lines.
Quartz says the company is keeping it pretty low-key and refrains from framing the treats as a drug, because the government could come knocking. Companies Canna Companion and Canna-Pet, which used stronger language, got letters warning that you can’t market an unapproved new animal drug without FDA approval. But TreatWell CEO Alison Ettel says hemp just isn’t as good, because it’s not grown for its “extractable cannabinoids.” She gave her own cat, who was suffering from cancer, custom THC tinctures. But that worries vets. “I’d like to think that people would think it’s a bad idea to treat children without a physician’s advice,” said Dawn Boothe of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. “I think it’s the same with animals.”
But it’s not impossible that some day soon, your vet could write Fido a prescription:
As it stands, veterinarians aren’t empowered to prescribe cannabis to pets. That could change soon. Nevada is currently debating a bill that would allow people to obtain medical marijuana for their pets with a vet’s approval.
What a world!
Photo via Shutterstock/sisqopote.