The expanding legalization of multiple cannabis-derived products is producing a significant shift in the economies of several Countries. Italy is one of them. Specifically, the oil derived from the particular variety known as Cannabis Sativa, which is already popular in the USA and being tested for medical use on humans, is now available in Italy too. And there is a Neapolitan startup that is currently selling a cannabis oil-based product that purports have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on pets. Weedentity was founded by four entrepreneurs – all under the age of 40 – that share a love of pets and an interest in legal marijuana. Their products are manufactured in Switzerland and the raw materials come from organic plantations, property of a company from Luxembourg. The leading team at Weedentity is particularly keen on using exclusively cannabis that has not been treated with pesticides and on maintaining the whole process as “natural” as possible.
Do pets need weed?
Of course, cannabis oil is not meant as a form of entertainment for pets, but as treatment for specific conditions, such as rheumatism, arthritis and post-op pain (such as presents, for instance, after spaying or neutering). Weedentity products are also marketed as a cure for anxiety and depression in dogs, particularly rescue dogs that come from shelters and that struggle to adapt to their new life and are uncomfortable or scared around humans or other dogs. It should be noted that the percentage of CBD contained in these products (about 5%) does not have psychoactive effects on pets in the way that recreational marijuana has on humans and is not addictive. They are only intended to have a relaxing effect on scared or stressed animals and to relieve pain in specific situations.
The legal framework
The legal shift that allowed Weedentity to be founded happened in Italy in 2016, when cannabis sativa-based products containing next to no Thc (the main psychoactive principle of marijuana) were legalized. Medical marijuana startups have been moving their first tentative steps in Italy since then. Italy’s industrial hemp production has been flourishing over the past two years and the so-called “cannabis-light” is proving an extremely profitable business. It is important to notice that the active ingredient in the products that are made from this particular variety of cannabis is not Thc (the one that gets you high), but CBD, which only has soothing and relaxing effects, rather than psychotropic ones.
What about drug testing?
But surely drugs must be tested for decades, before they can legally be sold? If this is your objection, you are entirely right: this is in fact the case and nothing has changed on that front. Then how can Weedentity market its products after a mere two years since the law was passed? That’s easily answered: because such products are not considered to be drugs and are best filed under “aromatherapy”. All products and raw materials are analysed and tested twice: once by the Swiss labs in which they are produced and once by State-certified labs in Italy, in order to make sure that they comply with the current regulations. The first study in this field was completed by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, but it focused mostly on perceived safety and efficacy. Over 600 pet owners were interviewed and 80% of them declared that they felt safe using cannabis-based products to treat their conditions such as arthritis or anxiety in their pets.
The future of the Italian cannabis industry
While Italy doesn’t seem anywhere near the kind of debate that led to the recent legalisation of recreational marijuana in California and Canada, the existing laws offer enough leeway for entrepreneurs to invest safely in this industry. From edibles to medical drugs, from clothes to gadgets, a whole market is being created, as consumers that would otherwise have been inactive or acquired those specific goods abroad are finally able to purchase them locally.