Education Center

Cannabis: Understanding What’s Available in the USA and Potential Benefits to our Beloved Pets


Dr. Al Townshend, DVM

Interest in the Cannabis plant and the benefits for pets has grown significantly in the past few years. Many nutritional and health benefits have been claimed by consumers and manufacturers of products for pets. Human research has shown a significant benefit to humans, and many feel it is reasonable to assume the same benefits would occur in dogs and cats. Scientific research on animals is currently limited; however, newer studies suggest that dogs, cats, and horses can benefit from certain substances found in Cannabis.

There is significant consumer confusion regarding the different Cannabis plants, which ones are legally available, and their benefits.

Cannabis

Cannabis plants include Marijuana and Hemp. There are three different species of Cannabis called Marijuana, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis sativa is also known as Hemp. Both the Marijuana and the Hemp variety are the same plant with the same scientific name (Cannabis sativa) and precisely the same DNA. The difference between the two is in the level of a specific cannabinoid psychogenic substance called THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which causes a hallucinogenic effect.

Marijuana contains the highest levels of THC and is strictly controlled as a schedule 1 controlled substance. There are no Marijuana derived products available in the US or Canada for pets, and only one approved for humans in the US.

Hemp plants are defined as those Cannabis sativa plants that contain less than 0,3% THC.

Both Marijuana and some parts of the Hemp plant contain another cannabinoid substance called CBD (Cannabidiol). The flowers, stems, and leaves of the Hemp plant can contain CBD; there is no CBD in the seeds of the Hemp plant.

What Hemp Products are Available?

Hemp Seed Oil

  • There is no CBD in hemp seed oil.
  • Hemp seed is known as a superfood because of the natural beneficial nutrients in them.
  • The seeds contain protein, Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid, and other nutritional antioxidants. It is also high in vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins and vitamin D.
  • Benefits are thought to include joint health, immune support, improved skin and hair coat, kidney, and heart health.

Hemp Oil

  • Hemp oil can be made from the flower, leaves, and stem, which contain CBD, and Hemp seed can also be found in Hemp Oil products. 
  • It can also just be made from the seeds and does not contain any CBD and really should be labeled as Hemp Seed Oil. It is essential to know if the Hemp Oil is made from the flower, leaves, and stems of the plant in order to contain any CBD.
  • CBD is thought to have a calming effect, have the ability to reduce seizure frequency, support joint health, and reduce the discomfort associated with arthritis. There is some research that suggests CBD can be effective in the treatment of cancer.
  • If hemp seeds are included in the ingredients, their benefits can also occur.

CBD Oil

  • Products sold as CBD Oil are made from the Hemp plant. 
  • Full Spectrum CBD Oil contains more than just CBD. There is not just CBD, but a range of other cannabinoids, other oils called terpenes, and a small amount of THC (less than 0.3%). These substances all work together and help increase the effectiveness of the cannabinoids. 

· Again, CBD is thought to have a calming effect, have the ability to reduce seizure frequency, support joint health, and reduce the discomfort associated with arthritis. There is some research that suggests CBD can be effective in the treatment of cancer.

The Law 

  • In The US, Hemp Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, and CBD Oil are allowed to be sold over the counter.

Reducing confusion and providing a better understanding of the potential benefits of all the products in Pet Planet stores allows the Guardian to make the best choices for their pets.

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