In recent years, hemp and CBD products for pets have become increasingly popular thanks to their amazing health benefits. But many pet parents are still confused about hemp and CBD, and it can be difficult to choose a high-quality product that will benefit your pet's health. In this article, we'll explain exactly what hemp and CBD are, why they are beneficial for pets, and how to choose the very best products for your companion animals.
What Are Hemp and CBD?
Cannabis (commonly referred to as marijuana) and hemp are two varieties of the cannabis sativa plant species. Hempseed oil is a non-psychoactive product that's extracted from the seeds of hemp plants. It is high in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, omega-9, amino acids, proteins, and other healthy nutrients. Hempseed oil is highly nutritional and easy to digest. For this reason, it is often given to pets as a dietary supplement.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of over 100 chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis sativa plant. CBD can be derived from both cannabis and hemp plants. Thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states. It is made from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of industrial hemp plants. Like hempseed oil, hemp-derived CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that it does not produce a euphoric effect. The reason for this is that it contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that's responsible for the "high" associated with cannabis.
CBD works by partnering naturally with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of cannabinoid receptor sites located throughout the body. In an article for PetMD, Dr. Matthew Miller, D.V.M. explains, "CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting."
What Are the Different Types of Hemp and CBD for Pets?
As we mentioned earlier, hempseed oil is a beneficial dietary supplement that contains high levels of essential fatty acids and other healthy nutrients. By comparison, CBD has medicinal properties, and can be used to treat a wide range of conditions in pets (more on this in a moment).
There are three main types of CBD products: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Let's take a brief look at each.
Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all the naturally-occurring compounds in the hemp plant. These include terpenes, essential oils, and important cannabinoids such as CBC and CBG that have been shown to support healthy inflammation response, support cell health, and more. Full spectrum hemp-derived CBD contains trace amounts of THC (less than the legal limit of 0.03%). The product is favored by many pet parents as it contains a "full spectrum" of beneficial elements. Since the amount of THC is so low, full spectrum CBD is non-psychoactive.
Broad spectrum CBD is a manufactured alternative to full spectrum CBD. During the manufacturing process, the plant components are isolated and reintroduced in specific ratios. This allows THC (the psychoactive component) to be completely removed from the product.
CBD isolate is pure CBD that has been isolated from other parts of the hemp plant. It may be sold as a powder or mixed with a base oil like MCT oil. CBD isolate contains no other cannabinoids (including THC) or compounds that occur naturally in the hemp plant.
Are Hemp and CBD Safe for Pets?
Since hempseed oil and hemp-derived CBD are non-psychoactive, they can be safely given to pets. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), "while there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, there are potential side effects based on how CBD affects humans." Potential side effects of CBD usage for pets include temporary drowsiness and increased thirst. Compared to many prescription medications, these side effects are very mild. For this reason, CBD is considered perfectly safe as long as you follow the dosage instructions and your veterinarian’s recommendations.
What Are the Benefits of Hemp and CBD for Pets?
Hempseed oil is a healthy dietary supplement that can be added to your pet's food. The essential fatty acids and other nutrients in the oil provide a number of important health benefits. These include skin and coat health, immune system support, and joint support. Hemp-derived CBD products can help treat a wide variety of chronic and acute conditions in pets. Here are a few of the benefits of CBD for pets:
- Inflammation response
- Neurological & brain health support
- Reduces stress & anxiety
- Supports cell health
How to Choose the Best Hemp and CBD Products
When purchasing a hemp or CBD product for your pet, it's important to do your research and buy from a reliable source. As we mentioned earlier, hemp-derived CBD is a non-psychoactive product that's made from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of industrial hemp plants. To be sold legally, it must contain less than 0.03% THC. Never give your pet CBD derived from the cannabis (marijuana) plant. It is unsafe for animals, and still illegal in many states.
We recommend choosing organic hemp and CBD products that contain hemp grown without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. It's also worth paying a little extra for CBD products that contain hemp oil extracted using the supercritical CO2 method. This extraction process ensures that the product does not contain traces of harmful solvents. When choosing a CBD product, buy from a company that has their products tested by third-party laboratories. This will ensure that the product you purchase is safe and free from harmful materials. Finally, please follow dosage instructions and your veterinarian’s recommendations when introducing your pet to hemp or CBD products.