Cannabis pet food ingredients were trend at SuperZoo 2018

At SuperZoo2018, a growing number of dog and cat treats promoted their use of cannabis products as functional pet food ingredients.

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At SuperZoo 2018, a growing number of dog and cat treats promoted their use of cannabis products as functional pet treat ingredients. In the new product showcase, at least seven dog or cat treats featured cannabidiol (CBD), hemp extract or some other component of the cannabis plant. Similarly more than twenty-five exhibitors’ booths displayed dog or cat treats using cannabis-based ingredients.

Hemp is a non-recreational variety of Cannabis sativa that is grown for industrial usage or for pharmaceutical production, as opposed to other varieties of that species, which people selectively breed to increase the plant’s psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.

“Since the world has opened its eyes to cannabis, it’s also opened its eyes to industrial hemp,” said a representative of PharmaHemp. “Likewise, people have opened their eyes to the difference between industrial hemp and what you might find in a [marijuana] dispensary... There’s probably going to be double the amount of companies next year. If you’re not carrying CBD products in your store, people are going to be asking you why you aren’t.”

Legal issues may be one reason pet food distributors don’t carry dog and cat products with CBD or hemp extracts.

Regulation of cannabis-based products as functional pet food ingredients

AAFCO issued guidelines that no hemp-based ingredients have yet been defined or otherwise sanctioned for use in animal feed. AAFCO members based their decision on the US Food and Drug Administration’s position. Hence, any inclusion of hemp-based ingredients in pet food would be objectionable to state feed control officials.

FDA has posted a Q&A paper regarding the use of cannabis-based products for both people and pets. With regard to its use in food, FDA's position is that cannabidiol (CBD, the non-psychoactive component of hemp associated with purported health benefits) is an unapproved drug, hence any pet food containing CBD would be actionable as an adulterated product.

Differences between cannabis-based ingredients

While the federal government and regulatory bodies wrangle with the legality of cannabis-based ingredients, pet treat companies continue to use the compounds and promote them as helping reduce anxiety in pets along with other benefits. Various different products can be extracted from the cannabis plant, such as hemp oil or CBD. The functional properties of these ingredients may not be the same though.

“We use a full spectrum vapor distilled product,” Rob Sanderson, CEO Healthy Hemp Products. “That’s a whole plant is placed in a super-heated oven. The hemp is heated-up, and what is then condensed and distilled from that is what we are then using in our products. It’s a full-spectrum oil, rather than an isolate. With many CBD oils you’ll get something that’s used ethanol or CO2 extraction, but with vapor-distilled there are absolutely no chemicals used.”

Sanderson said that hemp oil contains lots of beneficial terpenes that you don’t find in CBD oil. On the other hand, pet treat makers who use CBD note that using only CBD reduces the potential for adverse to unwanted reactions to other chemicals in the cannabis plant, such as those terpenes.

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