Charleston CBD Company aims to soothe anxious canines
By Emily Pietras
When Matt Mummert and Stacey Detlor of Folly Beach noticed that their 7-year-old dog, Roscoe, was having difficulty moving up and down stairs, they tried an unconventional remedy: dosing him with cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
“He was a completely new dog, and we knew we had to share this with other people,” Mummert says.
That mission was realized about two years ago when Mummert and Detlor co-founded Canna Bonez, a Lowcountry company that sells CBD oil, CBD-infused treats, and CBD balm for dogs.
CBD is a cannabinoid compound found in both marijuana and hemp, but unlike its counterpart tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive and does not provide a high. Most products derived from CBD oil are sourced from industrial hemp, which must not exceed a THC concentration of 0.3 percent on a dried-weight basis.
South Carolina is among the 40 states that have legalized the growth of industrial hemp. Under a new pilot program that began during the 2018 growing season, select farmers receive a permit to grow up to 40 acres of the plant. (The industrial hemp used in Canna Bonez’s products is grown in Colorado but purchased in Hilton Head, Mummert says.)
As hemp cultivation expands across the country, the buzz surrounding CBD as a panacea that can help alleviate chronic pain, arthritis, acne, depression, anxiety, and epilepsy, among other conditions, has trickled down to the marketplace. According to the Hemp Business Journal, in 2017, sales for hemp-derived CBD products reached $190 million.
Amidst the growing popularity of these products, the legality surrounding their sale had remained a gray area until a recent clarification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which stated that under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, it is prohibited in “interstate commerce” to sell food to which CBD has been added. On Feb. 20, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture said in a release that it “has cooperative agreements with FDA to ensure compliance, consumer health and safety, and SCDA must follow the lead of the FDA.”
However, Mummert and Detlor say in an email that they “are hopeful that things change quickly” and will proceed with “business as usual.”
“We find it ironic that there are thousands of products on the shelves of GNC, Walmart, and other national corporate stores that are not FDA compliant (i.e. supplements, herbal remedies, food products, etc.),” the pair say. “We agree that regulatory standards need to be in place in this industry, but they cannot come at the cost of denying people, and their pets, the ability to access holistic health options.”
While much of the mythos surrounding CBD’s efficacy has relied on anecdotal testimony rather than scientific evidence, some studies suggest that it may be useful for treating certain medical conditions in humans and animals.
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution that treats seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy; the FDA, however, has not approved the infusion of CBD oil into food or feed products for sale. As for man’s best friend, a recent study led by Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D. of Cornell University indicated that a 2-milligram dose of CBD oil given twice daily to dogs with osteoarthritis could help relieve symptoms.
Dr. Brian King of Pet Vet, a veterinarian’s office in Mt. Pleasant that carries Canna Bonez’s CBD oil, says he first noticed CBD’s positive effects by hearing from clients who were using it for themselves and then also administering it to their pets. For example, he observed dogs that were normally anxious at vet visits becoming calmer when their owner had given them CBD oil prior to their appointment.
“The two major conditions [we recommend CBD oil for] are pain in older, arthritic dogs who have chronic pain, as well as anxiety,” King says.
King adds that while humans will use CBD oil as a complete replacement or substitute for medication, for dogs and cats it is “typically a tool alongside those other things.”
“We’d classify it as a supplement more than a drug,” he says.
Based on customer feedback, Mummert says pet owners who purchase Canna Bonez products most often use it to manage their pup’s anxiety, which can be triggered by storms, fireworks, or separation. Others seek an alternative therapy to address sore muscles, hip and joint inflammation, loss of appetite, and nausea.
Mummert believes Canna Bonez customers are exploring different routes to care for their dogs’ ailments for a simple reason.
“We think as a whole, as a nation, people are tired of pharmaceuticals,” he says. “And a lot of the time, they’re not even effective. [Alternative remedies] are often a cheaper option than a prescription drug, and it works better.”
While Pet Vet is the only veterinarian’s office in the Charleston area that carries Canna Bonez’s CBD oil, some veterinarians will refer their clients to local compounding pharmacies that stock their product, Detlor says.
Canna Bonez products are also available at select retail locations, mostly in the Lowcountry.
“We’re now in 13 stores in Charleston and one in Maryland, and we’re about to be in another one in Alabama,” Mummert said, and an online store ships all over the United States.
Mummert estimated that as of November 2018, Canna Bonez had generated $50,000 in revenue for the year. He and Detlor are optimistic about the company’s future.
“We want to help as many dogs as possible,” he says. “As much as we love our fellow man, we love our dogs very much. Hopefully, I don’t see why we couldn’t be nationwide. That’s very doable. And [we want] to become a household name in Charleston.”