Cannabis is Currently Approved for Use in Animals?

Fredericton Company preparing to unveil pot for pets!

While the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says no type of cannabis is currently approved for use in animals, at least one Maritime business says there are benefits when it comes to pot and your pooch.

A Fredericton-based business is getting ready to stock their shelves with cannabis-infused dog food.

Corey Nutrition has been selling pet food for nearly 40 years. The family-owned business prides itself as a company that’s “innovative” and “with the times.”

So it’s no surprise, when marijuana became legal for humans, they had a project in the works for pet owners, too.

“They started to wonder ‘ok, this helps me, can it also help my pet?’” said Emily Corey, the company’s VP of Research and Development.

The store will feature cannabis-infused dog treats containing cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical found in the cannabis sativa plant also known as marijuana.

“The purpose is not to get the animal high, it’s to help with daily anxiety and certain ailments, to really benefit the overall health and wellbeing of the pets,” said marketing director Tallyia MacMullin.

Although the treats won’t contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, veterinarians are concerned that cannabis could put pets with underlying conditions, like heart disease, at risk.

“My concern would be that it changes the overall workload of the heart and can make the heart disease either more pronounced or can alter how the blood is being pumped through the animals body,” said veterinarian Dr. Krista Simonson.

Corey says they plan to start with one of their brands called Inukshuk — specifically for working, hunting, and police dogs.

“These dogs are highly active during the day and often times are put into a vehicle for a long drive after, so CBD has the ability to help with joints and mobility issues,” Corey said.

But professionals say they’re worried about dosing amounts and different types of dogs getting into different types of treats.

“What if a Chihuahua gets into a dose or a treat that’s intended for a great Dane?” Simonson said. “What are the effects we can expect in that Chihuahua? At this time we don’t know because those safety margins haven’t been studied.”

In a statement, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association said:

“Further research is recommended to improve our understanding of the safety and effectiveness of cannabis in veterinary medicine. For now, cannabis of any type is not approved for use in animals, and giving products to your pet may have unknown side effects.”

The statement goes on to say that while veterinarians are not legally allowed to prescribe cannabis to pets, they can offer information on emerging studies as they become available.

The treats aren’t expected to be released until the new year as they’re considered an edible cannabis product, which are still illegal to sell.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.

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