Pet Age spoke with Stephen M. Katz, VMD, founder of Therabis, maker of CBD products for pets, about how CBD is changing—and will continue to change—veterinary medicine and the pet market.
Q: Tell us how Therabis was started. Why did you decide to enter the pet industry with a CBD product?
A: I first formulated Therabis Up And Moving at my hospital, Bronx Veterinary Center, 10 years ago. Its base at the time was alfalfa, which acts as an anti-inflammatory. My clients in the Bronx are essentially lower-middle class working folk, and I invented the formula to help them pretty much free of charge. I had been following Dr. Raphael Mechoulam’s work in Israel on CBD for years at that point. Very little work had been done on dogs. After I was elected to the New York State Assembly and was ticketed for carrying a minute amount of cannabis, I decided to move into the frontier of veterinary medicine and recreate my formula with a base of hemp instead of alfalfa, added exogenous CBD and a number of other ingredients. The results were vastly improved over the original formula.
I decided to enter the CBD market after speaking to Tripp Keber at Dixie Brands. CBD and the other compounds in the cannabis plant are today’s “Slippery Elm Plant” and have myriad medicinal attributes and represent the cutting edge of natural medicinals and supplements in the 21st century.
Q: What has your experience been entering the pet industry after a veterinary, and then a political, career?
A: I’m still practicing veterinary medicine at my two hospitals in the Bronx. I voluntarily term limited myself out of the Assembly and am writing a book about this “Citizen Legislator’s” experience titled “It’s Worse Than You Thought.” I am fascinated with the science and medicinal potential for all the compounds found in the cannabis plant and intend to continue clinical research on all of them.
Q: Can you explain how CBD products work as a medical treatment for dogs?
A: CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system of the dog. This is one of the important systems found in virtually all mammals that controls our homeostatic systems. I am using it in my formulas because it has been found to be a highly effective anti-inflammatory agent.
Q: How involved were you with the development of the product? How did you decide or learn how to formulate it?
A: I was intimately involved in the formula’s development. My team included CSO Jim Sharkey and Anthony Alfiere. I formulated Therabis with my team after extensive research into CBD and cannabis medicinal properties.
Q: Can you describe the three products currently available in the Therabis line?
A: Up And Moving is a joint mobility formula that works extraordinarily for dogs. Calm And Quiet is a fast-acting anxietolytic that helps with all forms of anxiety. Stop The Itch is pretty self-explanatory and is used for dogs primarily with terrible scratching secondary to allergies.
Q: Can you tell us more about any research on CBD products you’re currently involved with? How could the results change the pet industry?
A: We are in the process of separating out all 80 types of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Each one has unique properties with great potential to help specifi c conditions. Th is is both science and art in the process of extraction known as “supercritical CO2 extraction,” which is both fascinating and organic. Th ere will be many, many new products and supplements over the next decade that will target specific conditions with specific fractionated cannabinoids.
Q: What do you hope is the future of CBD products for pets?
A: I hope and expect to see a spectrum of novel, natural medicinals, supplements and foods based on the extracted, fractionated cannabinoids we are currently studying, including CBD. Th is represents the future of natural veterinary medicine throughout the 21st century.