CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s the part of the cannabis plant from which we also get marijuana and has significant therapeutic properties. Wochit, Wochit
Queen Bella, a 12-year-old Chihuahua, and Princess Jasmine, an 11-year-old Pekingese, will always hold a special place in Wendy Wareâ€™s heart.
â€śThey were my first two rescues and (are) my oldest dogs,â€ť said Ware, a 42-year-old Port St. Lucie massage therapist who hasÂ three more rescue dogs now. â€śTheyâ€™re my daughters. Thatâ€™s why it was so upsetting to see them in pain.â€ť
Queen Bella started losing her vision in March, growing more anxious and less playful as her condition worsened, Ware said.
â€śShe kept rubbing her eyes a lot and wouldnâ€™t bring me toys anymore,â€ť Ware said. â€śI realized she was so scared. Iâ€™d walk into the kitchen and there she was, tail between her legs. She had to follow me everywhere because I was the only thing that was familiar.â€ť
Then, Princess Jasmine startedÂ isolating herself from Ware and her canine sisters, includingÂ Sayde,Â Tessa and Princess Leia. Because she wasÂ receiving less attention, sheÂ felt â€śextremely sad,â€ť sulking in her bedroom and refusing to leave, Ware said.
â€śIf she needed to eat, I had to bring her food and help her eat. If she needed to relieve herself, Iâ€™d literally need to pick her up. She wasnâ€™t physically hurt. She just felt left out.â€ťÂ
Today, both dogs are â€śthemselves again,â€ť since Ware’s beenÂ giving them CBD oil twice a day for about six months.Â
â€śQueen Bella is chirpy again, running around and grabbing toys and barking. Princess Jasmine is back to doing crazy eights and playing with everyone,â€ť Ware said. â€śThe treatment gave me my daughters back.â€ť
Testimonials such as Ware’s are why more people are giving their pets CBD,Â a naturalÂ alternative to common medications. CBD, an abbreviation for “cannabidiol,”Â typically comes fromÂ hemp plants, so it’s not narcotic and doesnâ€™t cause the sensation of being high like marijuana.
But science,Â government regulation and some state laws haven’t caught up to the CBD craze, so it’s unknown whether it is effective or even safe forÂ pets.
“Pet owners really need to be careful,â€ť said Dr. Jerry Klein, the American Kennel Clubâ€™s chief veterinary officer.Â “There is not a lot of research out there at the moment.”
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The few studies there are show little conclusive evidence that CBD is an effective treatment for its most common uses in pets: cancer, anxiety, nausea,Â inflammationÂ and cardiac issues, Klein said.Â
Two studies from Colorado State University and Cornell UniversityÂ show reduced seizures in dogs with epilepsy and decreased pain for dogs with osteoarthritis, but the 16-dogÂ sample sizeÂ in each study is too small toÂ be definitive, Klein said.Â
â€śPet owners are responding to the growth and marketing from the cannabis industry while the federal government or scientific community hasnâ€™t settled on regulations or research,â€ť Klein said. “Let me be clear:Â Itâ€™s an alternative worth exploring because there are positive stories and companies that truthfully market their products.
“There is just a lot of gray area,” he said. “There are more questions than answers.â€ť
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any CBD products for petsÂ and cautionsÂ against them.
â€śThe lack of regulation could be potentially lethal for pets,â€ť Klein said, adding that potential side effects in people are drowsiness, dry mouth and lowered blood pressure.
Over-the-counter productsÂ do not undergo the same quality control measures as other medications, so they could contain different amounts of CBDÂ than advertised â€” and even harmful chemical compoundsÂ such as pesticides, said Paul Armentano, deputy executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
â€śThere are no rules with regard to best practices, specific to the extraction process. There are no rules governing the products orÂ the source materials. There is no independent testing of potency,â€ť he said. â€śEssentially, buyer beware of market.â€ť
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Since 2015, the FDA has sent 23 companiesÂ over 45 warning lettersÂ for selling products that didÂ â€śnot contain the levels of CBD they claimed to containâ€ť or were not FDA-approved for the â€śdiagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatmentÂ or prevention of any disease.â€ť
Epidiolex is the only CBD product the FDA has approved â€” only forÂ humans and with a prescription â€” to treat seizures associated with two forms of epilepsy.
â€śCBD companies could be misinforming buyers. If consumers donâ€™t know the dosage or compounds they are giving their pets, they could be compromising their petsâ€™ health,â€ť Armentano said. â€śThe FDA is a little behind at the moment.â€ť
So are Florida’s marijuana laws, whichÂ prohibit medical practitioners, including veterinarians, from possessing, prescribingÂ or researching marijuana or marijuana-based products, including CBD. So vets haveÂ little knowledge aboutÂ correct dosages based on an animal’s size, physical factors and previous health history, Klein said.
Pet owners shouldÂ beÂ cautious, investigate the product, find breed-specific research andÂ consult with online resources such as veterinarycannabis.org.Â People also should talk with their veterinarian, even if they haveÂ limited information, Klein said.
â€śAt the moment,” he said, “we canâ€™t give a whole lot of advice besides: Consult the right people and research what you can.â€ť
CBD products extracted from hemp areÂ legal if they’re produced by a licensed grower under the regulations of the Farm Bill and state andÂ federal laws. Some states still consider CBD products illegal, however.Â
CBD became legal in Florida July 1, a week after the Legislature removedÂ hemp from the stateâ€™s list of controlled substances. That was six months after Congress approved theAgricultural Improvement Act, whichÂ removed restrictions on hemp products that contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol.
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Floridaâ€™s Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services has had three public workshops on theÂ state hemp programÂ it’s creating toÂ monitor the cultivation, manufactureÂ and saleÂ of hemp and hemp-infused products.
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The agency is â€śahead of schedule,â€ť withÂ regulations expected to be finalized and adopted in early October,Â spokesmanÂ Franco Ripple told TCPalm. Then the U.S. Department of Agriculture has 60 days to review and approve the program.
â€śWith the state hemp program in place,” Ripple said, “people will be able to purchase these products for themselves and their pets with the consumer safety standards they expect.â€ť
U.S. sales of CBD pet products quadrupled to $32 million last year from $8 million in 2017, according to the Brightfield Group, aÂ cannabis market research firm.
At that rate, sales will hit $1.73 billion by 2023, Brightfield estimates.
â€śItâ€™s a fast-growing industry because of the lack of regulation by federal agencies, the legalization of marijuana, and the willingness of pet owners to buy premium products,â€ť said Jamie Schau, a CBD research manager at Brightfield.
NestlĂ©,Â one of the largest pet-care companies in the U.S., started selling its own line of CBD pet products in April, under its Garden of Life brand. Even Martha Stewart is launching a product line, having partnered earlier this year withÂ Canopy Growth Corp., one of the worldâ€™s largest marijuana companies.
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Some companies, especially ones with household names, are banking on more than just their share of theÂ $33 billion Americans spentÂ on pet food and treats last year.
Introducing people to CBD for their pets could convince them to take CBD themselves.
â€śCompanies are being very strategic,” Schau said. “Selling pet treats and products is a foot in the door.â€ťÂ
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CBD of Stuart storeÂ manager Jill Glaysher said she’s just glad it works on pets, like her ownÂ 9-year-old golden retriever.
Tazer had seizures once or twice a month for nearly five years, but hasn’t had one in eight months, since Glaysher started giving him CBD oil every morning.
â€śItâ€™s been wonderful,” she said.Â “Heâ€™s been happier and healthier. Heâ€™s himself.â€ťÂ
You cannot buy CBD without a prescription from medical marijuana dispensaries such as Curaleaf and Trulieve, but you can buy unregulated over-the-counter CBD from many vaping, supplement, health-food and smoke shops, including:
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