People love their pets. The American Pet Products Association reported that pet owners spent $95.7 billion on their pets in 2019 and estimated the 2020 spend will be $99 billion. Combine the love for pets with cannabidiol (CBD) products and there is a lucrative market for pet CBD products. But are CBD products effective for pets? Will CBD products help with your pet’s chronic pain? Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration says on its website it has not approved CBD for use in animals and is still “working to answer questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD.” Despite the uncertainty, companies are developing CBD products for your pets.
Sage Fulfillment, LLC (“Sage”) and Earth Animal Ventures, Inc. (“EAV”) entered into a contract in 2018 to produce CBD products for pets. Sage was EAV’s exclusive supplier of CBD products. One of those CBD products was the Zen-Pen. A search of the Zen-Pen on the internet shows it has been advertised in sales materials as “a powerful transdermal CBD gel that was formulated for ease of administration and accurate dosing for pet parents. This unique and effective blend was designed to give the most efficient, fastest delivery on the inner flap of your dog or cat’s ear, absorbing directly into the dog or cat’s bloodstream. This process maximizes the overall effect of the CBD making it last longer for your pet. Made with full spectrum CBD oil extract, it provides intense support for chronic or serious health conditions.” (https://www.allthebestpetcare.com/product/earth-animal-cbd-zen-pen).
Despite the best of intentions to produce CBD products for pet owners, Sage sued EAV in Connecticut Federal court this year claiming EAV did not honor the contract to buy the minimum number of product and improperly ended the relationship. (Sage Fulfillment, LLC v. Earth Animal Ventures, Inc. et al., USDC Conn., Civil Action №3:20-cv-00444). EAV responded in its Motion to Dismiss the case that the products Sage made were just not good enough. EAV represented its studies showed high rates of failure and a shortened shelf-life for the product which resulted in a “substantial number of complaints from its retail customers and trade partners related to the efficacy and performance of the Zen-Pen.”
EAV wrote it prides itself as a “premium brand, using only the highest quality ingredients, processes and packaging.” EAV noted in its own filings to the court that there was a high rate of failures with the product as a reason why EAV no longer was bound to its contract with Sage. Is this an acknowledgment that there were more than manufacturing problems? Will EAV be able to demonstrate that the Zen-Pen is what it purports to be — support for chronic or serious health conditions for pets — while at the same time demonstrating the product would have worked but for Sage’s problems manufacturing it? How will EAV establish the Zen-Pen is an effective CBD product that relieves pet’s pain? The parties are in the discovery phase of the litigation. The answers to these questions may provide guidance on the success of future CBD products for your pet.