CBD Pet Market

Cannabinoids In The Pet Industry

In 2019, the global CBD pet market was valued at $27.7 million. That’s not bad for a segment that didn’t exist a few years ago. But, what’s really exciting is where the pet CBD market is headed; Over the next 7 years, this segment is expected to produce an astonishing compound annual growth rate of +40% and reach more than $399 million by 2027 (1). 

Early studies and anecdotal evidence citing the therapeutic potential of how cannabinoids can support our pets has been positive so far. However, we don’t fully understand what conditions cannabinoids can and cannot treat in animals. Plus, there is the complicated issue of determining what doses and supplements work for different species and sizes of animals. 

In this post, we’ll explore where science and the market meet. If you’re looking to improve the wellness of a beloved pet, launch a CBD-based pet product line, or even just learn more about the state of cannabinoid science, read on.

The Theory of Cannabinoids and Pets 

In order to understand the expected growth of the cannabinoid pet market, it is necessary to understand the science that is driving it. An exploration of the research around pets and cannabinoids shows that even though studies are currently lacking, there is still one big reason to be excited about cannabinoids and pets: the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was identified in humans in the 1990s. This late discovery is pretty surprising considering how important the ECS really is. This critical system serves the body by keeping it in balance. 

From temperature management, to sleep regulation, to immune activation or suppression, the ECS finds countless ways to keep you in homeostasis. It does so through a vast network of cellular receptors (called CB1 and CB2 receptors), chemical messengers dubbed “endocannabinoids”, and enzymes in multiple organ systems. 

Under normal circumstances, the ECS is able to maintain its own balance. However, when the system starts underperforming, cannabinoid supplementation can help. Phytocannabinoids (i.e. cannabinoids that come from plants) can lock into cannabinoid receptors much like endocannabinoids (i.e. the cannabinoids that your body makes) can. So, by consuming phytocannabinoids like CBD or CBN, you can basically support your ECS to restore balance. (2)

Recently, we’ve discovered that this is also true of pets. According to new research, the ECS has a ubiquitous presence in nearly all members of Animalia. This means that pets like dogs and cats all maintain internal balance through endocannabinoids. The same applies to other domesticated and wild animals alike. Heck, even dinosaurs are members of the Kingdom of  animalia.

This means that if CBD and other cannabinoids work for humans, in theory they should also work for pets. 

Animal Endocannabinoid Systems in Action

Just because animals and humans both have an ECS, it does not mean that these systems function in the same way. After all, dogs and humans both have bones, but no one would mix up the skeletal system of a chihuahua with that of a human. In short, learning how cannabinoids affect pets will require studying how each cannabinoid works within each type of animal’s ECS.

Given that a lot of cannabinoid testing has been done in laboratories on mice and rats, we have a decent idea of how cannabinoids impact those animals. However, quality studies on animals that are more often viewed as pets are fewer and further between. This doesn’t mean that cannabinoids won’t work for dogs and cats, only that we’ll need to do more research to find out. 

A few promising studies have shown that cannabinoids can work for dogs. In one 2018 study, veterinarians observed the effects of CBD supplementation on arthritic dogs. They found that dogs treated with a single daily dose of CBD exhibit fewer signs of pain and increased activity. Plus, the cannabinoid supplementation was well tolerated with no observable side effects. (3)

This study was met with considerable market enthusiasm, as joint pain and mobility aids are a major force in the pet market. Today, supplements with glucosamine dominate the pet joint pain market. However, in the near future, cannabinoids could play a major role. 

In 2019, another group of scientists experimented with CBD as a treatment for dogs with epilepsy. Throughout the small study, they found that animals treated with CBD experienced significantly fewer seizures. (4) While cannabinoids are already making an impact on animal wellness via seizure and joint pain treatment, they may just be getting started.

The Future of the Pet Market

As stated earlier, the ECS plays a huge role in animal health. According to one 2019 study, this system “modulates the nervous and immune systems and other organ systems through a complex system of receptors and chemical signaling molecules to relieve pain and inflammation, modulate metabolism and neurologic function, promote healthy digestive processes, and support reproductive function and embryologic development,” in animals. (5) So, while seizures and joint pain may have been the first applications studied, they will certainly not be the last. 

It is also worth noting that future research will almost certainly go beyond CBD. Some of the earliest human studies and patents from cannabinoids similarly focussed on CBD as a treatment for epilepsy and pain. However, in recent years, all sorts of new studies have emerged, focussing on a range of conditions and a full spectrum of cannabinoids. 

From THCV to CBN to CBG, we’ve found that cannabinoids are able to produce a range of effects that can upregulate or downregulate the ECS in targeted ways. By acting on the same receptors in opposite ways, cannabinoids can create all sorts of outcomes. This seems to be the reason why some people think CBN puts them to sleep, while THCV gives them energy. If we can actually learn how to work with each part of the ECS in this way, the list of conditions that could be treated would be nearly endless. 

Summary

Cannabinoids seem to work for both humans and their pets because virtually all animals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, because each animal’s ECS is different, we need to study unique animals and cannabinoids. Early research has shown that CBD may treat a couple of conditions for dogs. 

However, the massive growth that is anticipated in the cannabinoid-based pet market likely banks on us learning how to treat more conditions, in more animals, with a broader range of cannabinoids. As long as research continues, the future looks bright for pets and cannabinoids. 

 

References

1) Grand View Research. Published Aug. 2020. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/cannabidiol-pet-market/methodology

2) Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686.

3) Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018;5:165. Published 2018 Jul 23. doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165

4) McGrath S, Bartner LR, Rao S, Packer RA, Gustafson DL. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019;254(11):1301-1308.

5) Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686

CBD Pet Market

Cannabinoids In The Pet Industry

In 2019, the global CBD pet market was valued at $27.7 million. That’s not bad for a segment that didn’t exist a few years ago. But, what’s really exciting is where the pet CBD market is headed; Over the next 7 years, this segment is expected to produce an astonishing compound annual growth rate of +40% and reach more than $399 million by 2027 (1).

Early studies and anecdotal evidence citing the therapeutic potential of how cannabinoids can support our pets has been positive so far. However, we don’t fully understand what conditions cannabinoids can and cannot treat in animals. Plus, there is the complicated issue of determining what doses and supplements work for different species and sizes of animals.

In this post, we’ll explore where science and the market meet. If you’re looking to improve the wellness of a beloved pet, launch a CBD-based pet product line, or even just learn more about the state of cannabinoid science, read on.

The Theory of Cannabinoids and Pets 

In order to understand the expected growth of the cannabinoid pet market, it is necessary to understand the science that is driving it. An exploration of the research around pets and cannabinoids shows that even though studies are currently lacking, there is still one big reason to be excited about cannabinoids and pets: the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was identified in humans in the 1990s. This late discovery is pretty surprising considering how important the ECS really is. This critical system serves the body by keeping it in balance.

From temperature management, to sleep regulation, to immune activation or suppression, the ECS finds countless ways to keep you in homeostasis. It does so through a vast network of cellular receptors (called CB1 and CB2 receptors), chemical messengers dubbed “endocannabinoids”, and enzymes in multiple organ systems.

Under normal circumstances, the ECS is able to maintain its own balance. However, when the system starts underperforming, cannabinoid supplementation can help. Phytocannabinoids (i.e. cannabinoids that come from plants) can lock into cannabinoid receptors much like endocannabinoids (i.e. the cannabinoids that your body makes) can. So, by consuming phytocannabinoids like CBD or CBN, you can basically support your ECS to restore balance. (2)

Recently, we’ve discovered that this is also true of pets. According to new research, the ECS has a ubiquitous presence in nearly all members of Animalia. This means that pets like dogs and cats all maintain internal balance through endocannabinoids. The same applies to other domesticated and wild animals alike. Heck, even dinosaurs are members of the Kingdom of  animalia.

This means that if CBD and other cannabinoids work for humans, in theory they should also work for pets.

Animal Endocannabinoid Systems in Action

Just because animals and humans both have an ECS, it does not mean that these systems function in the same way. After all, dogs and humans both have bones, but no one would mix up the skeletal system of a chihuahua with that of a human. In short, learning how cannabinoids affect pets will require studying how each cannabinoid works within each type of animal’s ECS.

Given that a lot of cannabinoid testing has been done in laboratories on mice and rats, we have a decent idea of how cannabinoids impact those animals. However, quality studies on animals that are more often viewed as pets are fewer and further between. This doesn’t mean that cannabinoids won’t work for dogs and cats, only that we’ll need to do more research to find out.

A few promising studies have shown that cannabinoids can work for dogs. In one 2018 study, veterinarians observed the effects of CBD supplementation on arthritic dogs. They found that dogs treated with a single daily dose of CBD exhibit fewer signs of pain and increased activity. Plus, the cannabinoid supplementation was well tolerated with no observable side effects. (3)

This study was met with considerable market enthusiasm, as joint pain and mobility aids are a major force in the pet market. Today, supplements with glucosamine dominate the pet joint pain market. However, in the near future, cannabinoids could play a major role.

In 2019, another group of scientists experimented with CBD as a treatment for dogs with epilepsy. Throughout the small study, they found that animals treated with CBD experienced significantly fewer seizures. (4) While cannabinoids are already making an impact on animal wellness via seizure and joint pain treatment, they may just be getting started.

The Future of the Pet Market

As stated earlier, the ECS plays a huge role in animal health. According to one 2019 study, this system “modulates the nervous and immune systems and other organ systems through a complex system of receptors and chemical signaling molecules to relieve pain and inflammation, modulate metabolism and neurologic function, promote healthy digestive processes, and support reproductive function and embryologic development,” in animals. (5) So, while seizures and joint pain may have been the first applications studied, they will certainly not be the last.

It is also worth noting that future research will almost certainly go beyond CBD. Some of the earliest human studies and patents from cannabinoids similarly focussed on CBD as a treatment for epilepsy and pain. However, in recent years, all sorts of new studies have emerged, focussing on a range of conditions and a full spectrum of cannabinoids.

From THCV to CBN to CBG, we’ve found that cannabinoids are able to produce a range of effects that can upregulate or downregulate the ECS in targeted ways. By acting on the same receptors in opposite ways, cannabinoids can create all sorts of outcomes. This seems to be the reason why some people think CBN puts them to sleep, while THCV gives them energy. If we can actually learn how to work with each part of the ECS in this way, the list of conditions that could be treated would be nearly endless.

Summary

Cannabinoids seem to work for both humans and their pets because virtually all animals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, because each animal’s ECS is different, we need to study unique animals and cannabinoids. Early research has shown that CBD may treat a couple of conditions for dogs.

However, the massive growth that is anticipated in the cannabinoid-based pet market likely banks on us learning how to treat more conditions, in more animals, with a broader range of cannabinoids. As long as research continues, the future looks bright for pets and cannabinoids.

 

References

1) Grand View Research. Published Aug. 2020. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/cannabidiol-pet-market/methodology

2) Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686.

3) Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018;5:165. Published 2018 Jul 23. doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165

4) McGrath S, Bartner LR, Rao S, Packer RA, Gustafson DL. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019;254(11):1301-1308.

5) Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686

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