Pot for pets – yes, it’s a thing. But best not to think of it as ‘pot’
Health & Biotech
Link copied to
It is now accepted that cannabis is not just for those wanting to get high; it has potential to address medical problems.
But there’s been little attention on one specific market segment: pets.
What is most popular is CBD, which is a non-intoxicating compound which can fix ailments without providing the high. In the US, CBD could be a US$24 billion market by 2023 and 7 per cent could come from pets.
Very few companies (and even fewer listed) are into the ‘pet cannabis’ market. But one of these is CannPal (ASX: CP1) and Stockhead spoke with managing director Layton Mills.
A key objection of cannabis having anything to do with your pet is the effect of getting high. But Mills has answered that question many times.
“Don’t think of it as cannabis, think of it the plant as access to a number of potentially beneficial active compounds,” he said.
Mills named cannabidiol as one of these and while it is an element in cannabis, it is in several antibiotics because it offers anti-inflammatory relief without the effects of getting high.
The element in cannabis that makes people high is THC and this is not present in goods that just contain CBD.
CannPal focuses on producing pet therapeutics with CBD targeting animal ailments, particularly inflammation and skin conditions. Its signature therapeutic, DermaCann, is for pets suffering skin complaints.
“There are a number of clinical studies under way in animals that don’t get reported on,” said Mills. “Some we’ve done directly look at gene pathways and biomarkers.
“We’ve seen changes in gene pathways and biomarkers known to modulate anti-inflammatory processes. By looking at this you start to understand there’s potential to modulate the immune response [to inflammation].”
There is one disease that is a while away from any sort of cure. Cancer. But there is hope. Preclinical studies have shown that cannaboids can kill cancer cells.
But as Mills admitted to Stockhead: “There’s a lot of research that needs to be done and cancer is a large and complicated disease. While there’s potential in pre-clinical studies, there is a lot more clinical research to be done.”
For now, cannabis products (generally) may be able to help with one’s mood and quality of life.
But what if your pet is healthy? Fear not, they’re being catered for as well. Some companies make hemp products – such as dog biscuits or bones made out of hemp such as the Cannabis Co. It asserts “our canna-biscuits are a great source of Omega 3 and Omega 6”.
Canabis Co also sells cannabis shampoo (aspecifically hemp seed oil and cannabis terpenes). It says the hemp’s antibacterial properties ensure healthy skin.
This is part of a broader shift of consumers to spend heavily on premium products for our pets. After all we love them
more than just as much our own kids. A Bloomberg article predicted, “small brands could become buyout targets for the world’s biggest pet food sellers”.
But as with human cannabis products, the key to the future growth of cannabis for animals is legal approval. Cannabis is not officially legal in Australia but the rise of cannabis possession incidents imply people think the law will give way.
But it’s not just as simple as cannabis being legalised nationwide – although it would be a start. The key for CannPal is for Australian vets being permitted to prescribe DermaCann as a Complementary animal health product (CAHP) this year.