Cannabis biscuits sell out as lobbyists push medical marijuana rights for pets

Canna-Biscuits--Courtesy of Canna-Pet

On April 13, Peak Pharmaceuticals ($PKPH) and its partner, Canna-Pet, announced that a test market they completed of cannabinoid-based biscuits for dogs was so popular they sold out of the product in 72 hours. Now the companies are scrambling to build up their inventory of this latest medical marijuana product.

Their timing couldn't be better. The product, called MaxCBD Canna-Biscuits, is hitting the market amid rising support for medical marijuana--both for people and their pets. More than 20 states have legalized medical marijuana, or cannabis that's low in the ingredient that makes people high, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but high in cannabidiol (CBD), the compound that alleviates symptoms such as pain, nausea, and spasms.

Some veterinarians prescribe marijuana for pets, particularly dogs, even though it is not yet legal for them to do so. Now lobbyists in Florida are pushing for a one-sentence amendment to the research component of that state's new medical marijuana law. Florida legalized medical marijuana last year, but its Senate is considering broadening the law to require the Department of Health to facilitate access to medical-grade marijuana and studies examining its benefits. Animal fanatics want lawmakers to also require the health department to contract with a veterinary organization and conduct studies of marijuana in pets.

Lobbyist Lisa Miller has been pounding the pavement of Florida's capital with her dog, Dinah, a Labrador-bulldog mix who suffers from epileptic seizures. Dinah takes the antiseizure drug phenobarbital, but it isn't working, Miller said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

"The initial research has very positive indications that medical marijuana would do the trick without the side effects," Miller said.

The frenzy over medical marijuana prompted pet-health insurer Trupanion ($TRUP) to post a blog item on April 15 called "Marijuana Pet Myths Busted." The company looked into its database and discovered it has already paid out $78,000 in suspected marijuana claims. Last year alone, Trupanion paid over $20,000 in confirmed marijuana-toxicity claims.

Dogs who ingest high levels of THC in marijuana commonly suffer loss of coordination, lethargy, and depression, according to Trupanion. Severe cases of marijuana toxicity can cause seizures or comas, the company adds.

That said, Trupanion will cover medical marijuana that's recommended by veterinarians. But the company cautions that the benefits of pot for pets have yet to be proven. "While some anecdotal cases have shown very positive effects of pet-intended medical marijuana in dogs and cats, the reality is, very few studies have proven a beneficial effect for pets and the risks have not been completely investigated," the company's blog says.

- here's the Peak press release
- read more at the Tampa Bay Times
- check out Trupanion's marijuana myths