KOMO News reported last week that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent letters to 2 Washington based companies that produce cannabis pet products to stop making unproven medical claims.
The important thing to remember is that the FDA is not saying that selling cannabis for pets is illegal. Instead, according to an article in the Seattle Times, the FDA “took issue with the companies’ marketing, specifically claims that the products help with symptoms of cancer, dementia and asthma.”
The Times also reported that a senior advisor at the FDA said in an email that the companies were selected for warning letters “in part, based on the egregiousness of the therapeutic claims made about their products and the determination that inaction posed a potential risk to public health.”
Here are some of the claims on the Canna Companion website the FDA cited in its letter:
Under the heading “Here’s how Canna Companion may help your dog or cat:
“Reduce cancer-associated symptoms”
“Aid in decreasing severity of dementia”
“Reduce bronchial spasms in asthmatics”
“CBD Antibacterial . . . Inhibits cancer cell growth . . . Reduces blood sugar levels … Reduces inflammation, Reduces risk of artery blockage, . . . Slows bacterial growth, . . . Treats psoriasis”
Under the heading “Scientific”:
o “CBD . . . Antidiabetic, . . . Antimicrobial, Antineoplastic, Anti-proliferative, Antipsoriatic, Antipsychotic. . . .” (http://www.cannaforpets.com/scientific).
The letters also noted that “to be legally marketed, a new animal drug must have an approved new animal drug application, conditionally approved new animal drug application, or index listing…”
This same rule applies to claims about herbal supplements like echinacea.
We bought cannabis from both Canna Pet and Canna Companion for our dog Dylan last summer to ease the pain of arthritis, and it appeared to us that it help him. I would try it again if we ever have a pet that could benefit from it.
The one thing about this story that concerned me is the level of cannabinoids the FDA found in products from Canna Pet and Canna Companion. Cannabinoids are the chemical compound in cannabis that can provide relief to pain, inflammation, and nausea, but the products the FDA tested had tiny levels of cannabinoids, and one didn’t have any.
But Canna Companion co-owner Lisa Anderson told the Times that “it’s not just the CBD that helps ease symptoms, but other compounds in the formula help as well.”
I don’t remember the level of cannabinoids in the products we gave Dylan, but as I said, they appeared to diminish his symptoms.
The companies that received warning letters have 15 days to let the FDA know what they have done to correct the violations.
Anderson told the Times that Canna Pet “was adjusting its website and working with the FDA to fix any problems.”
While we think cannabis helped our dog, dog owners must decide for themselves if they should give it to their pet and understand that its medical benefits have not been tested by the FDA. They should also consult with their veterinarian.