In recent years, hemp and CBD products have surged in popularity for human use. But another promising application receiving growing attention is the utilization of hemp-derived compounds to benefit our furry companions – specifically dogs. As research and anecdotal evidence continues emerging, hemp appears effective in supporting dogs’ wellbeing in various ways.
This comprehensive guide examines the differences between hemp and marijuana, potential benefits of hemp for canine health, considerations for safe administration, and what the future may hold for hemp in veterinary medicine.
Also Read – Hemp Oil Dosage: A Comprehensive Guide
Defining Hemp and Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana both originate from the Cannabis sativa plant but have a few key distinctions. Hemp contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound inducing marijuana’s characteristic “high”. Hemp has 0.3% or less THC content, while marijuana averages around 15% THC and can be as high as 30%. Additionally, hemp naturally has higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound studied for medical applications. The varied chemical makeup of hemp allows it to be utilized in products without psychoactive effects.
Hemp Plants: Composition and Extraction
The hemp plant contains several biologically active compounds spread across its leaves, seeds, stalks and flowers. Key components extracted for use in pet supplements include:
- CBD: CBD impacts endocannabinoid receptors involved in regulating pain, anxiety, seizures and more. Most hemp products for pets aim to leverage CBD.
- Terpenes: These aromatic compounds have shown benefits like relieving stress. Different terpene profiles create distinct therapeutic effects.
- Flavonoids: Flavonoids are antioxidants that can positively influence cell signaling pathways related to physiological processes.
Extraction techniques like CO2 extraction allow concentrating these valuable compounds into oils, isolates or extracts with varying molecular compositions to create tailored pet supplements.
Potential Wellness Benefits of Hemp for Dogs
- Stress and Anxiety Relief: CBD interacts with receptors in the body involved in modulating stress, anxiety and fear responses. Trials indicate CBD can help dogs maintain calm in stressful situations. Reduced anxiety may curb destructive behaviors caused by stress.
- Joint Health: CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may ease joint stiffness and pain from arthritis. Early research demonstrates CBD’s potential for addressing osteoarthritis-associated discomfort in dogs.
- Appetite and Digestion: CBD may release hormones that stimulate appetite while also reducing nausea. This could address conditions like digestive upset and lack of appetite in dogs.
- Healthy Skin: Hemp seed oil is rich in nutrients like omega fatty acids that nourish skin and coats. CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects may also calm dogs’ irritated skin. Topical CBD oil may relieve itchiness and dry patches when ingested CBD is insufficient.
- Seizure Management: Strong anecdotal accounts exist of CBD significantly reducing seizure episodes for dogs. Clinical studies also found CBD lessened frequency and severity of seizures caused by epilepsy and other conditions.
Considerations for Using Hemp Supplements
- Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil: Hemp seed oil comes from cold pressing hemp seeds. It provides nutritional value without CBD. CBD oil derives from flowers, leaves and stalks to harness CBD, terpenes and other compounds. Know what you’re buying.
- Dosage and Administration: Most products have dosing guidelines but consult a vet to determine optimal dosage for your dog’s needs. The appropriate dosage can vary widely between different sized dogs. Monitor for potential GI upset when starting.
- Safety: Research shows CBD appears safe for dogs but look for products validated by third-party lab testing. Monitor dogs for side effects like diarrhea and fatigue. As with any supplement, consult your vet before starting.
- Efficacy: Anecdotal evidence abounds but clinical research on hemp for dogs is still limited. While promising, more studies are needed to fully validate efficacy and optimize usage.
The Future of Hemp
As hemp laws relax nationally, vet-directed research into cannabinoids will likely expand. This includes research into optimal strains, formulations, dosing and delivery methods tailored specifically for dog breeds, sizes and conditions. As clinical evidence grows, hemp could become a standard therapeutic option. For now, reputable products show great promise for improving dogs’ quality of life.
Also Read – The Ultimate Guide To Cooking With Hemp Oil
In conclusion, early results indicate hemp may naturally support dogs’ wellbeing but more rigorous study is still needed. When used responsibly under veterinary guidance, it offers exciting potential. As always, your furry friend’s health and safety comes first.
Dr. Jason O’Donnell works at Holy Cross General Hospital. He is a General Practitioner with extensive experience in cardiology, geriatrics, adult medicine, and internal medicine. Dr. O’Donnell studied at the UCL Medical School and holds a Doctor of Medicine in London in the UK. He also completed an internal medicine internship at London Imperial College. From here he went on to complete a residency in internal medicine at St. George’s London University. He is currently practicing adult medicine, cardiology, geriatrics, and internal medicine at Holy Cross General Hospital. Before he performs any operation, he first assesses the patient’s medical goals and concerns. After the surgery, he monitors the recovery of the patient and makes adjustments to the treatment program, when necessary. Dr. O’Donnell is also a proud member of Health for Humanity where he volunteers his skills in medicine for people in need across the globe.