- More people are giving their pets CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabis compound.
- There’s scant data proving CBD helps, yet some people swear by it.
- CBD pet products could balloon to a $1.16 billion industry in the U.S. by 2022, the Brightfield Group estimates.
Some of the CBD industry’s biggest consumers aren’t even human.
Dogs and cats are increasingly taking the non-intoxicating cannabis compound as their owners seek to provide relief to their four-legged friends for everything from anxiety to pain and seizures. While there’s scant data proving CBD works for any of these ailments, some people are swearing by it and more vets are prescribing it.
CBD is one of the hottest consumer products in the market today. It’s being added to everything from tea to body lotion and meatballs. Pet products are another possibly lucrative market since people love splurging on their pets. Last year, Americans spent $33 billion on pet food and treats, according to Nielsen.
Sales of CBD pet products quadrupled last year to $32 million from $8 million in 2017, according to the Brightfield Group. The cannabis-focused research firm estimates the market could balloon to $1.16 billion in the U.S. alone by 2022.
Joanne Schaus found CBD oil online. She said her 11-year-old Australian Shepherd, Skid, “gets wired” when it storms, a frequent occurrence in her home of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The lightning, thunder and sometimes even just rain cause him to pace and pant.
She’s tried just about everything, including buying Skid a thundershirt. Nothing worked. She read CBD might help, so she gave it a try. After a few weeks, he stopped panicking.
“He just didn’t even notice the storm,” Schaus said. “I can’t say it’s completely fixed him because if we get a huge thunderclap he does get a little nervous.”
Despite the hype, there’s hardly any data proving CBD helps pets. Small studies have shown CBD reduced the number of seizures in dogs with epilepsy and made dogs with osteoarthritis more comfortable.
“There’s a lot of anecdotal stories about it but no science,” said Dr. Stephanie McGrath, who is studying CBD to treat dogs with epilepsy at Colorado State University.
The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved cannabis products for human or animal consumption and cautions against giving it pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association doesn’t have a position directly related to marijuana products for pets, spokesman Michael San Filippo said in an email.
That hasn’t stopped CBD from becoming a huge trend — and a big business.