Daily Management Review

A Growing Trend for Toronto Pet Owners are Medicinal Pot Products: Cannabis for Canines?


A Growing Trend for Toronto Pet Owners are Medicinal Pot Products: Cannabis for Canines?
Humans aren't the only ones sniffing out cannabis’ medicinal uses as legalized pot is on the horizon in Canada.
In Toronto where owners are seeking out alternatives to help their ailing animals, cannabis-based products for pets are a growing trend.
A CBC News report shows curious dog walkers are lured into the Pacifico medical marijuana dispensary on Bloor Street by a sign saying "New Tricks for Old Dogs". Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound in marijuana, contained in tinctures and treats is sold by them.
They're so popular he can't keep them on the shelves, Operations manager Ken Abell says.
"We've had a lot of people asking for their pets. I've actually got a disappointed lady today because we're all sold out of the dog treats. They're very popular," he told CBC News.
Three companies in Vancouver making these CBD-based products for pets were interviews by CBC Toronto. People looking to move away from traditional medications have enhanced the demand for these medicines, they said.
But it won't get dogs high even though the main ingredient is derived from pot.
"We sell straight CBD tinctures with absolutely zero THC. There are no psychotropic effects, only the medicinal benefits of CBD," Abell said.
CBD oil can help pets with the same problems without the intoxicating effects of THC and can be used to treat inflammation, mood disorders, seizures and chronic pain in humans, he explained.
Except for the fact that they are just flavoured with bacon or seafood to make them more appealing to pets, the pet tinctures made by Vancouver-based Apawthecary are the same as the ones sold to people with medical marijuana licences.
A spokesperson said they work with vets to determine recommended dosage amounts and guidelines. 
Right now, Cannabis-based CBD oil can only be purchased for medicinal purposes with a prescription through the mail from a licensed distributor and is a controlled substance in Canada.
Over the past year police raids on dispensaries in Toronto have made plenty of headlines as it is illegal for dispensaries like Pacifico to sell medicinal marijuana.
It will table legislation aimed at legalizing marijuana in the spring of 2017, the federal government has said.
The regulations surrounding those products are murky even as some pet products that use CBD derived from industrial hemp plants are being sold as supplements.
When it comes to using cannabis-based products for animals, there is very little research even as the jury is still out when it comes to medicinal benefits of cannabis for humans.
"At some point in time they may be useful, but I would only recommend them once they've been studied appropriately and we know for sure what the safety profile of these kinds of things are in pets," said Shane Bateman, associate professor at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College.
While saying that it's too soon to draw any conclusions, Bateman said there are similarities in the pain pathways and the biochemistries in animals and humans.
"Obviously we wouldn't want to use an untested substance in ourselves. We want to hold the same standards for our pets as well," he said.

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