What NASC Wants Retailers to Know About Selling CBD
There is no denying that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are the hottest trend in the pet industry. Demand is increasing every day, particularly among pet parents who have used CBD themselves and feel they have benefited from it. Some retailers are exploring whether to stock these products, while many others have already taken the plunge. Having said this, the regulations surrounding any products containing cannabis or cannabis derivatives, such as CBD, are confusing, ever changing, misunderstood and often misrepresented.
The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is the leading trade association in the world representing companies that manufacture and sell products similar to dietary supplements, marketed for dogs, cats and horses. For more than four years, NASC has been on the forefront of working to establish a responsible path forward for animal supplements containing CBD, as we believe it is important to provide clarity for distributors and retailers interested in supplying cannabis products.
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• Hemp & CBD for Animals: History, Status
First and foremost, retailers interested in stocking these products should take the time to understand their state’s laws. Federally, CBD derived from hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was declassified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the 2018 Farm Bill. This made hemp legal as an agricultural crop, but the Farm Bill did not make products containing CBD legal, and many states also vary on the legal status of hemp. That said, enforcement action has been sporadic, and the CBD product landscape has become something of a “gold rush.”
While most companies do act responsibly, the unfortunate reality is there are a few bad actors who are not veterinarians but are recommending “treatment protocols” for specific conditions and advising pet owners on the dosing of CBD products. This could equate to practicing veterinary medicine without a license and, unfortunately, there is little accountability for these actions at this time. The companies are being allowed to exhibit at trade shows without any vetting of their claims, which only harms suppliers that are trying to do business the right way and act responsibly. The danger is that irresponsible participants may taint the efforts of reputable companies that are trying to pave a responsible pathway by cooperatively establishing reasonable and consistent guidelines.
To that end, through close collaboration with all stakeholders, the NASC successfully achieves self-regulation and provides a comprehensive roadmap for its members, which includes requirements for product production, testing, labeling and adverse event reporting. For hemp and CBD products in particular, NASC members are required to verify testing of both raw materials and finished products, documenting the following:
• THC is verified below 0.3 percent
• CBD content is verified
• Testing has been done for microbials, heavy metals and pesticides
NASC members are responsible suppliers of animal health supplements from around the globe and are committed to quality, vigilance and continuous improvement within their companies and throughout the industry. As distributors and retailers evaluate all animal health and nutritional supplements, they are encouraged to look for the NASC Quality Seal as a credible mark that indicates a company’s compliance with the NASC’s uncompromising standards of quality.
Bill Bookout is president of NASC and a leading industry voice for animal supplements, including cannabis and cannabis derivative products. Bookout holds a BS in physical sciences from University of Wyoming and an MBA from the Pepperdine University Presidents and Key Executives MBA program. He was selected in 2017 for a Colorado Department of Agriculture committee exploring viable pathways for inclusion of hemp in animal feed. He testified in May 2019 at the FDA’s public hearing on CBD. Bookout currently leads NASC’s efforts to define responsible and viable pathways forward for these products in a very rapidly growing and dynamic environment.