Dixie Brands Inc., in partnership with TBSK LLC, has announced the debut of Therabis, an innovative medical pet supplement containing trace elements of hemp-derived CBD and other natural ingredients. The product has been formulated to deal with common dog health problems, including allergic itching, separation anxiety and joint mobility. It will become available nationwide in November through Therabis.com.
Although initially targeted to dog owners, the venture hopes to move quickly into cat, equine and bovine products. As Steven Trenk, an active cannabis industry investor and member of TBSK, told MJINews, “It is important to try to understand the extraordinary benefits of CBD for living beings, humans and animals alike.”
The product is the brainchild of Dr. Stephen M. Katz, a 30-year veterinarian, and New York State Assemblyman. Katz, who has one of the largest veterinary pit bull practices in the country, saw the need to address the medical issues of his canine patients and their human companions. “Just as it is with children’s asthma, the Bronx is an epicenter for allergies in dogs, which manifests as dangerously self-destructive scratching,” Katz explained to MJINews. The link between human and animal companion well-being is at the center of the Therabis ethos.
His epiphany about adding CBD to an all-natural formulation came after his own citation in 2013 for possession of three grams of marijuana. “For a New York legislator, this was a very big deal. After it happened, I decided that I was going to put my lot in with the medical cannabis sphere.”
By his own account, Katz became the first elected official in the country to announce that he was going to invest in the legal cannabis industry. According to Katz, the Dixie partnership, with Dixie’s expertise in bringing a product to market, was a “dream come true.” But the project has many other collaborators, including Tony Alfiere, a cannabis industry expert; Bruce Arlen and Ty Bowers, branding and design professionals; James Sharkey, Ph.D. chemist; and Andi Gold, a finance executive.
If Katz brings the science, Dixie brings the marketing muscle.
Joe Hodas, Chief Marketing Officer of Dixie Brands, thinks the greatest marketing obstacle may be just a matter of getting the word out to people who know that ailing pets are helpless without family intervention. Helping pets helps the people who care for them and builds the bond between animal and family. Therabis will be under study at the University of Pennsylvania beginning next month, although results will not be available until after the product’s launch in November.
One of the biggest marketing messages from Katz is that Therabis has nothing to do with getting pets high. The CBD formulation is non-psychoactive, much like the famous Charlotte’s Web strain used in the treatment of childhood seizures. In fact, the development of cannabinoid medications for pets very much follows the path that desperate parents have blazed in search of relief for their very sick children.
The good news for those of us who live with itchy, anxious or wobbly old dogs is that Therabis will be available nationwide in November to help improve their quality of life.
The good news for the community of human beings who have ever been ill or in pain is that the medical potential of cannabis has barely been tapped. As Katz commented to MJINews, “The cannabis plant will be as important in medicine as slippery elm bark was in creation of aspirin.”
The good news for investors has to do with both the wider medical potential of cannabis and what is reportedly a $3.2 billion market for natural pet foods, treats and supplements. Therabis may have found the sweet spot.