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Cannabis-infused medicines for pets developed in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Hale Animal Health has launched the first of a comprehensive planned range of off-the-shelf nutraceutical products for cats and dogs.

Sold under the Vitality Plus brand, the range will soon grow to include the country’s first-ever medicinal cannabis products for pets, making Hale among the first companies in Asia Pacific to register cannabis medicines for animals.

In the US this week, Martha Stewart launched a line of cannabis-infused oil drops and soft-baked chews for dogs, months after the successful release of her cannabidiol (CBD) gummie treats for humans hit shelves in the US.

The global market for pet CBD products is expected to reach sales of about US$400 million in 2027 from just $37.4 million last year, according to a report released by Grand View Research last August.

Hale’s first natural supplement product Plus is a balanced oil-based source of healthy fats and essential fatty acids, specially formulated to complement pets’ diets and support their optimal health and wellbeing.

“In the coming months, we’ll release a further range of natural supplements packed full of superfoods, with an eye also to exporting,” said Leila de Koster, MD at Hale.

Part-owned by Helius Therapeutics, the country’s largest medicinal cannabis company, Hale aims to launch the first cannabidiol product for treating pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. Hale said future cannabis-based products could include cannabinoid chews to help with anxiety, and shampoos and conditioners to help with skin conditions.

Helius is New Zealand’s first licensed cannabis producer to be partnering in the animal health category.

Meanwhile, Koster said many pet owners are concerned that there remains little scientific research showing their efficacy and that it’s too hard to gauge the effectiveness of products.

“That’s precisely why we are providing solid evidence through the clinical trials and registration process for our CBD products here in New Zealand,” Koster said.

The Vitality Plus range will be available in pet specialty stores and vet clinics throughout New Zealand.

Meanwhile, in the US Martha Stewart is banking on a nearly one-year partnership with Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp, the world’s top pot producer by market value, and now wants to reach pet owners and tap into a meteoric rise in demand for pot-based products.

Stewart’s line will include soft chews marketed under three different categories – wellness, calm and mobility – ranging between $19.99 and $22.99 depending on the formula and size of the dog.

The products will be available starting Tuesday on Canopy’s e-commerce websites and on Franchise Group Inc’s The Vitamin Shoppe website next month.

  • Additional reporting by Shariq Khan, of Reuters.

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