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Iditarod Musher and four-time champion sponsors CBD for canine

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The Associated PressMarch 11, 2020

Linwood Fiedler muscular across the submarine lake near Nikolai, Alaska, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Loren Holmes / AP)

Four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey was at the center of a cannabis controversy after the Anchorage Daily News reported that Mackey gave his dogs CBD oil, which he believes will improve recovery time.

Mackey, who is currently in fifth place, told the newspaper that the race's chief veterinarian, Stuart Nelson, asked him not to give CBD oil to his dogs, but Mackey refused because CBD oil was not on the The list of banned substances can be found in the Iditarod rule book.

CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol and a non-intoxicating molecule found in hemp and marijuana. Both are cannabis plants, but only marijuana has enough of the THC compound to get consumers high.

The market for CBD for pets is booming, with some health benefits for treating seizures and treating pain. However, the federal government has not yet set standards for CBD.

Mackey is a cancer survivor who admitted to using medical marijuana during his four-year series of consecutive victories starting in 2007. The Iditarod finally banned the use of marijuana by mushers in 2010, causing Mackey to make other mushers jealous of his strings from championships. Mackey won his fourth championship in 2011 after the marijuana ban was introduced.

Prices, ranking and a scratch

In the meantime, another musher reached a milestone in Iditarod and was celebrated with prizes from beaver and elk. The oldest musher in the race called it over.

Paige Drobney, a Pennsylvania native, residing in Cantwell, Alaska, took the lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Wednesday. She was the first musher to leave the checkpoint in Ophir.

Drobney left Ophir just six minutes ahead of second-placed musher Michelle Phillips from Tagish, Yukon, Canada.

Fairbanks musher Jessie Royer was in the lead late Tuesday and was the first musher to reach the checkpoint in McGrath.

For this milestone, she received items handmade by McGrath residents, including beaver musher gloves and black moose skin decorated with Athabascan beads on smoked moose skin.

The gloves were designed and hand-sewn by Loretta Maillelle. Royer also received a musher hat from a beaver caught by Gary Egrass, designed and sewn by his wife Rosalie.

The oldest musher in the race, 79-year-old retired pathologist Jim Lanier, retired from the race on Tuesday night at Rainy Pass out of concern for his own well-being, officials from Iditarod said in a press release.

Lanier was initially denied participation in this year's race, with officials raising concerns about his ability to groom his dog team. Iditarod officials gave in and said he could race if he qualified for smaller races in front of the Iditarod, which he did.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition asking the Iditarod to race for a sixth decade, he previously told The Associated Press. He ran his first race in 1979.

Lanier did not race last year, but in the 2018 race, Musher Scott Janssen ran into Lanier late in the race and found that he was stuck and started to freeze.

Lanier said that was an exaggeration. It was caught by a strong wind 40 miles before the end of the race and blown into the Bering Sea.

"I wasn't close to death, I just couldn't get myself and the team up and running," Lanier told the AP in August when he was initially denied entry.

Ophir is 566 kilometers in the nearly 1,609 kilometer race over Alaska. Lanier's withdrawal leaves 56 mushers in the running, with the winner expected to arrive in Nome sometime next week.

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