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The marijuana industry’s newest customers are sick and elderly dogs
A day before a scheduled vet appointment to euthanize her dog, Wendy Mansfield decided to try one last resort to alleviate the chronic pain of her 15-year-old labrador mix: cookies from a marijuana dispensary made specifically for ailing dogs.
Kali, a mild-mannered 80-pound rescue, was never much of a complainer. But she often licked her paws—an obvious sign of pain, according to her vet—which was typically accompanied by bouts of coughing because of the shedding fur that got in her throat. One treat and 20 minutes later, the licking suddenly stopped.
Seeing this, Mansfield, who lives in Fort Bragg, California, gave her dog a second cookie, and then a third. Kali, who had been listless and depressed, got up to drink some water and walked outside—something she hadn’t been able to do recently without groaning or obvious signs of pain.
Mansfieldthen called the vet to cancel her appointment. That was three weeks ago. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have anticipated this,” she tells Quartz. “It brought my dog back.”
With marijuana flourishing into big business in the US, a new segment of the market catering toward aging and ailing pets has been growing under the radar. The legal weed market raked in $2.7 billion in revenue in 2014, and one estimate by the ArcView Group, a network that connects investors with cannabis startups, projects the industry to top$10 billion in sales by 2018.
The pet-pot market is treading on new territory, however. The legal gray area is posing challenges for companies to market and distribute cannabis-derived products for animals. There’s also insufficient scientific backing and industry guidelines. Still, that’s not deterring desperate pet owners, like Mansfield, or keeping investors from getting on board.
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