Very few products rise from obscurity to the immense levels of fame that cannabidiol (CBD) has. In fact, a very limited number of products, if any, can claim to do what CBD can. Extracted from cannabis plants, the chemical is a potent and versatile medicine, with a nearly endless list of uses. Users have claimed relief from insomnia and chronic pain among a variety of conditions.
Last June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug to treat seizures in two rare and hard to treat pediatric epilepsies, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.
Naturally, the demand for such a helpful product exploded. Even though there’s little research to back many of the medical claims, people have been flocking in droves to websites and stores selling CBD. In the midst of it all, the focus shifted a little. If CBD was this good for humans, could we use it for our beloved pets too?
Willie Nelson co-founded GCH, an IP development company that in 2015 launched the cannabis brand Willie’s Reserve. The company produced hemp-infused tinctures, and customers kept asking if they could be used by animals too. “Right from the moment we launched, Willie was getting that question,” says Elizabeth Hogan, VP of brands at GCH.
Now, Americans love their pets. In 2018 alone, they spent at least $70 billion on their pets. According to cannabis research firm Brightfield Group, the pet CBD industry grew from $8 million in 2017 to $32 million in 2018, and it could grow to $1.16 billion by 2026. However, this is where things get a little complicated.
Nelson and Hogan decided to start a CBD line for pets, but they realized it wouldn’t be as simple as dumping CBD into dog biscuits. “There are completely different considerations when it comes to animals including dosing, product type, and delivery methods,” explains Hogan.
They had to switch from full-spectrum hemp to broad-spectrum where all the THC is removed because THC can be poisonous to dogs and cats, sometimes fatally. The CBD line for pets dubbed ‘Willie’s Rescue’ launched in August, and its products will be in stores in early 2020.
One issue plaguing both the human and pet CBD industries is the lack of in-depth knowledge on hemp and its extracts. The plant was illegal for sixty-plus years, and scientists are only now starting to learn about it. Since most of the research is in the initial stages, questions about safety, dosage, efficacy, and interaction with other drugs still remain.
This could explain why CBD firms like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) and ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) emphasize that customers get as much information about a product as possible before consuming it or giving to their pet.
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