By now, everyone who’s the least bit interested in medical marijuana knows that cannabis can treat a wide variety of illnesses and symptoms — everything from glaucoma to insomnia to PTSD. In fact, the enormous range of benefits and products available can make choosing a niche for your cannabis business a daunting task. But there is one huge market that’s still flying under the radar of a lot of cannabis entrepreneurs — cannabis for pets.
As any pet owner will tell you, pets suffer from many of the same ailments as people do. Cancer, arthritis, anxiety, and seizures plague our furry friends with heartbreaking frequency. And their symptoms are often more difficult to manage because animals aren’t able to communicate to us exactly how they feel. And, as with humans, the “approved” treatments offered by veterinarians are often prohibitively expensive and/or come with a long list of scary side effects.
And that’s where cannabis for pets comes in. According to Dr. Rob Silver, DVM, a holistic vet and pet herbalist from Boulder, Colorado, cannabis is an effective and, when dosed appropriately, safe medication for most domestic animals, including cats and dogs. In fact, he’s even written a book about it, “Medical Marijuana & Your Pet: The Definitive Guide.”
Still a Gray Area
Before jumping into the pet cannabis market, there’s a few things you need to know. First of all, prescribing cannabis — a Schdule I drug — for any creature, whether it has four legs or two, is still illegal under federal law. And in many states, vets can get into trouble for simply talking to their clients about cannabis for pets. Remember, there is no medical marijuana law anywhere that specifically addresses non-human animals.
But, Silver explains, the law cannot prohibit vets from expressing their personal opinion — as long as they’re providing “educational information” and not medical advice. Nevertheless, not every veterinarian is going to be willing to put their license in jeapordy to offer cannabis to their clients. So it’s a good idea to make sure you have at least one vet in your area who will be willing to answer your customer’s questions and send interested pet owners to your door.
Another issue is product choice. Obviously, pet’s can’t smoke marijuana, but lots of edibles are available in the form of buscuits, treats and chews. But, as with humans, dosing edibls can be a tricky “hit or miss” thing. If you sell them, make sure to caution clients to give the smallest amount possible to start and work from there.
An even better alternative, says Silver, are tinctures. These are oil-based liquids that contain a carefully controlled amount of cannabinoids. And they are dosed in milliliters, so they’re easy to administer in set amounts — the client just puts a small amount of the liquid on the pet’s tongue. And there’s the added benefit of almost immediate effect, as the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the mucus membranes of the pet’s mouth.
A Lucrative Market
Pet owners are generous when it comes to spending on their furry friends. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent an estimated $62.75 billion on their pets in 2016, an increase of about 4 percent from the previous year. What’s more, pet spending, in the form of food, veterinary care, over the counter medicines and other pet services, has increased every year since the APPA started keeping records in 1994. And as awareness of the benefits of cannabis for pets increases, that will almost certainly translate into a lucrative market for many years to come.
About The Carmoon Group
The Carmoon Group is an insurance brokerage located in Hicksville, New York. For over 20 years, we have been providing high-quality, affordable coverage to businesses of all kind throughout the United States. And we are now happy to offer our years of risk management expertise and wide range of insurance products to cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs. Simply give us a call or reach out online to learn more.