In 2018, hemp officially became legal with the passage of the Farm Bill. Though marijuana is still technically illegal, the Farm Bill does allow certain hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil, to be sold legally, since it contains little to no psychoactive elements.
This step forward for CBD oil has led to an interesting development. It turns out that CBD oil doesn't exclusively affect humans. Many people are using it to treat various problems in dogs and cats.
As pet parents, we want the best for our fur babies, which means searching for the best CBD products. One of the biggest choices we'll have to make is between hemp seed oil and whole-plant hemp oil. Which is the best oil for dogs?
We'll do our best to answer that question in this article.
1. Hemp Seed Oil
Before we can decide on the best CBD oil for dogs, we have to talk more about our options. For instance, what is the difference between hemp seed oil and plant hemp oil?
Hemp seed oil, or simply hemp oil, is derived from the seeds of hemp plants. The seeds are pressed together, squeezing the oil out of them.
The seeds are believed to contain no CBD, and potentially no THC, either. However, some studies suggest that this may not be the case.
What we do know for sure about hemp seed oil is that it's high in Omega 3, which can benefit the skin and prevent potential heart problems.
If your pet has a paw-tential risk for heart problems, you may want to look into getting hemp seed oil for them.
2. Whole-Plant Hemp Oil
Whole plant hemp oil is usually just called CBD oil. Unlike hemp oil, CBD comes from several different parts of the plant. More specifically, it comes from the stalks flowers and leaves.
Also, unlike hemp oil, CBD oil contains cannabinoids, including the one it's named for. However, hemp oil and CBD oil are similar in that they're supposed to contain little to no THC. The exception is full-spectrum CBD, which often has small amounts of THC left in on purpose.
We should offer a word of caution before talking about CBD. Though marijuana doesn't seem to harm humans very much, high doses of certain products, like recreational marijuana, could potentially kill a pet.
The good news is that most paw-ducts sold for pets won't contain anywhere near a high enough concentration to cause serious harm. As long as you follow the dosing instructions, everything should be fine.
CBD oil also has more applications than hemp oil. In addition to helping treat inflammation and psoriasis, CBD can also treat anxiety. CBD's ability to help with anxiety may be especially important because a study conducted in Finland found that most dogs show some symptoms of anxiety.
The biggest concern most pet parents have is the safety of their fur babies. This has led many to question whether CBD and hemp oil are safe.
The truth is a bit complex, but the simple answer is yes. Your pet should be perfectly safe when taking hemp oil or CBD products designed for pets. Like most medicines, pet CBD products are portioned by how much is safe.
The ingredient in cannabis that can potentially be toxic to pets is THC, but serious injuries can only occur if you give your pet a lot of THC.
Medical marijuana in general often has reduced quantities of THC compared to what's available recreationally. 10% THC content in medical products for humans is considered extremely high by the US government, and it's about as much as you can get.
Meanwhile, some strains of recreational marijuana contain THC strains as high as 30%. With medical marijuana already having much less THC than recreational, pet sources are going to be incredibly low on THC.
It's also important to note that there's no such thing as medical marijuana for dogs. Instead, we give them CBD, which is by definition low on THC. CBD cannot be sold legally in many parts of the country unless it has .3% THC or less.
4. CBD, Hemp Oil, and Amazon
If you're specifically looking for hemp seed oil, be careful where you look. Amazon, one of the largest online retailers in the world, does not allow CBD to be sold on their platform. They do, however, allow hemp oil to be sold on their site.
This has led to a problem. Since CBD can't be sold but hemp oil can, some users will label their product as hemp oil when it's CBD. Unfortunately, Amazon can't verify who's lying and who isn't, so they have to rely on an honor system.
The honor system immediately falls apart once someone decides to lie. Therefore, you can't guarantee that what you're buying is hemp oil. For this reason, it's better to avoid Amazon when shopping for hemp products.
5. Best Products
CBD comes in a few different forms, even for pets. We've been focusing on oil, but there are others. Many companies sell treats and chews that also contain measured amounts of CBD.
Hemp seed oil usually comes as oil, but there are also capsules containing hemp seed oil.
Which of these is the best option, though? Oil is the most popular option, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. The best may depend on what you're looking for.
CBD doses for dogs should begin at 1 milligram per 10lbs of pet weight twice daily. CBD treats tend to come at a lower cost, and are much easier to find doses for, but they may not be the best bang for your bark.
Oil costs more, but the number of doses you get will often vary for each pet. It could be that your pet needs a small dose, which means that a bottle of oil will last longer than a bag of treats.
6. Company Values
These days, many of us would prefer to shop as ethically as possible, so it's important to do some research on companies. Ask yourself what it is that you stand for and why. What are some threats that your values face, and what can be done to protect them?
The next step is to read up on various companies. CBD for pets is a very niche industry, so you may have your work cut out for you.
The CBD industry, like many industries, will emphasize values that it is affected by. You probably won't find too many scathing indictments of the fur industry on a website that sells CBD oil. You will likely find statements about the natural world and the sustainable cultivation of hemp.
These companies are in the pet care industry, so many will make an effort to help pet-related causes and charities. Bailey's does this by partnering with a different rescue organization every month to help raise awareness and donate CBD oil to. For every 4 items sold online, 1 bottle is donated to a rescue in need. Organizations that help shelter animals or aid in the fight against animal cruelty. Both of these issues play a role in an animal's need for CBD since cruelty and separation from loved ones tend to fuel anxiety.
7. Hemp Seed Oil and Weight Loss
We've already mentioned that hemp oil is good for skin issues and heart problems, but what else can it treat? It turns out that it has quite a few benefits.
Hemp seed oil might be able to help if you have an overweight pet. This is due to a substance found in hemp seeds known as GLA.
This substance is somewhat unique in that it doesn't contribute to weight loss. Instead, it hampers the body's ability to gain the weight back. You'll have to keep your pet active yourself to help it shed pounds, but once they're healthy, they're much more likely to stay that way.
8. Hemp Seed Oil and Hormones
This oil may also help ease symptoms of PMS and menopause. Dogs don't experience menopause, but they can experience something similar to PMS. Keep in mind that these claims are based on anecdotal evidence, so we can't vouch for their accuracy.
Those who do believe this seem to think it has something to do with GLA, which plays a role in the endocrine system and aids in various functions.
Dogs in heat may behave differently. They often don't eat as much, though you may have to walk them more. They'll also wag their tails more and may even bleed for a few weeks.
9. Hemp Seed Oil and Inflammation
Hemp seed oil can also fight inflammation and treat pain. Yet again, GLA is partly responsible.
It's a known anti-inflammatory, but it's not the only one found in hemp seed oil. There's also eicosanoids, which also play a role in hormone function.
Anti-inflammatory properties can make for a powerful medicine. There's a long list of medical conditions linked to inflammation and it includes some of the biggest killers in the modern world.
Among them are Alzheimer's, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and many others. Our pets are just as vulnerable to some of these conditions as we are, so you may want to look into hemp oil for dogs.
10. CBD Oil and Dogs
As of yet, there have been no major studies of CBD oil's effects on dogs. The evidence we have of its benefits is a mixture of anecdotal evidence and the existence of similar effects in humans.
What we do know is that dogs may react more intensely to CBD. This is because a dog's endocannabinoid system is more sensitive than that of a human. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors, which is why THC can both help and hurt them more than humans.
For anybody who may be wondering, this is also true for cats.
11. CBD and Pain
CBD is often lauded in humans for its ability to alleviate pain. This seems to be the case for dogs as well. Inflammation often goes hand-in-hand with pain, and CBD may help with this as well.
Scientists still can't confirm that CBD treats pain, but studies seem to suggest it. Assuming it does work, medicine still isn't sure why.
One theory is that CBD affects the endocannabinoid system by blocking off certain receptors that help process pain. This means that more pain-relieving chemicals are building up in the body, thus reducing pain.
12. CBD and Anxiety
Many people use CBD to combat anxiety issues. Others use marijuana for the same purpose. However, despite thousands of years of marijuana use, we still have no idea how cannabis or CBD affects anxiety, or if there even is an effect.
It's been theorized that this might have something to do with Seratonin and Dopamine, the same neurotransmitters responsible for creating a high when we use marijuana and other substances. However, CBD contains only traces of THC, which is the chemical that triggers the high. This is just one of several reasons why CBD's anti-anxiety effects are still a mystery.
Despite the few studies on the subject, many groups are still willing to allow CBD and even marijuana as a treatment for anxiety issues. Many states list conditions caused by or resulting in anxiety as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, such as PTSD and autism. New Jersey even lists anxiety as a qualifying condition.
Hemp and CBD Oil for Dogs
Many of the potential benefits of hemp and CBD oil for dogs haven't been verified by the medical community. However, there are stories and a few studies that support these benefits.
Things are even less clear for dogs. We've listed some potential benefits for your furry friend here, but there may be many others. It might be a good idea to do more research.
If you want to read more about CBD for pets, or are looking to buy some, you can do so on our website. With the Fourth of July only a few days behind us, it's a good time to talk about pets and noise anxiety.