Hemp based products for dogs is becoming a huge market and companies selling something with hemp in it are popping up daily. Everyday I am asked questions about hemp and hemp based products in my store. There is so much confusion and misinformation, and honestly there should be a lot of questions. Not all hemp and hemp products are created equal and if you are going to spend that kind of money, make sure you are getting what you paid for. Most of my information is based on the products I sell and the research I have done before selling those products. You know my motto, it must be good enough for my dog before I would sell it to you for your dog! I refuse to sell anything of inferior quality or with questionable safety.
So let's start with the basics, what does "hemp" mean? You hear the words "hemp", "CBD", "marijuana", "cannabinoid", "hemp oil", "seed extract", "whole plant extract", but what do all these terms mean when it comes to helping you or your dog? I hope I can give you some of these answers or at least make it less confusing for you.
FACT #1 - Lets start with what is hemp vs marijuana. I recently had a customer ask her vet about using the CW oil in her dog who is quite elderly and has serious arthritis. She is not happy using long term prescription drugs on her dog as she is starting to see those take its toll with tummy issues. Her vet told her she could not recommend it because hemp oil is illegal. In 2014, the US Farm Bill officially classified cannabis plants containing a maximum of 0.3% THC as "Industrial Hemp" and all other cannabis as "marijuana. This means that 99.7% of the plant material will not get you high. Industrial Hemp is often erroneously confused with cannabis plants that have psychoactive effects, and many policymakers are confused that by legalizing hemp they are legalizing a recreational drug, which is not true. By the way, the customer stopped in today and told me she is seeing improvement in her dog, she seems less stiff and is walking better. I am thankful for the vets who do understand the differences and refer patients to my store.
- Hemp and in particular cannabinoids derived from hemp contain no THC and therefore is not considered a marijuana product.
- Cannabinoid products are legal in all 50 states!
FACT #2 - CBD vs Cannabinoid is also another item of confusion and many times I hear these terms used interchangeably. Cannabinoid and cannabindiol are often referred to as CBD. Like THC, CBD is only one single component of the over 100+ cannabinoids in the hemp plant. When looking for a product you really want as many of the 100 cannabinoids to get the full benefits.
Each cannabinoid has its own individual properties and while isolated cannabinoids have their own characteristic properties, the different compounds have synergistic effects when the whole symphony of phytonutrients are consumed together. We and our dogs are hard-wired with a system of cannabinoid receptors throughout our brains and bodies. When these receptors are activated, they enable two-way communication between body systems.
Besides terpenoids and cannabinoids, hemp contains many other vitamins, minerals, phytosterols, pigments, proteins, enzymes, essential sugars, polyphenol antioxidants, flavonoids and essential fatty acids.
The FDA recently tested 20 "CBD" products and found that nearly half of them contained zero CBD, while most of the others had near meaningless levels of CBD, and several contained toxic contamination. Shocker, right? This is why you must make sure when you are getting a hemp based product you really learn about that product. STAY AWAY from any product that imports their hemp. Many companies like to fool you by saying their product is made in the USA, but if you look closely you will see they import their hemp from other countries like Europe and China. Nothing matters more than where your hemp is from. Hemp from China, for example, contains some of the most dangerous heavy metals in the world. According to a 2011 study of Chinese hemp strains, the plant was able to absorb dangerously high levels of the heavy metal cadmium without detriment to the plant itself. Cadmium (Cd) is an extremely toxic industrial and environmental pollutant classified as a human carcinogen.
So always ask yourself these questions when considering a hemp based product:
- Where was the hemp grown that produced the CBD?
- What is the heavy metals and residual solvent content of the hemp?
- Besides CBD, what other cannabinoids and terpenoids are present in the extract?
- Can your supplier provide you with a consistent and reliable product?
- American grown hemp CBD is safer and higher quality than imported hemp.
FACT # 3 - Whole-Plant Hemp Extract vs Hemp Seed Oil is maybe something that has not crossed your mind, but it should. Again, it comes down to all products not being equal. Whole-plant hemp oil is not the same as hemp seed oil, there are big differences.
Hemp seed oil is produced from pressed hemp seeds, usually from hemp plants grown for fiber and used as a food additive. Hemp seed oil contains proteins and essential fatty acids including Omega 2 and 3 Hemp seed oil is also known to have very little CBD in it.
Only whole-plant hemp oil contains beneficial phytocannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds. Whole hemp oil is the complete oil extracted from the leaves and flowers/buds of hemp plants and the cannabinoids and terpenes are in high concentrations. There is a big difference in therapeutical benefits between Whole-plant extract and pressed seeds.
INTERESTING FACT #4 - Hemp Was Used To Clean The Soil in Chernobyl. This sounds like a crazy urban legend, but it couldn’t be truer. Hemp plants combined with new phytoremediation technology were used to clean contaminated soil in the area of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. It’s important to mention that for the same reasons hemp is so amazing at cleaning the soil and pulling out heavy metals, it’s doubly important that consumers make sure they’re buying quality hemp extract products that are responsibly grown with great agricultural care to receive all of the benefits with none of the downside.
WOW, that was a LOT of information to absorb, right? There is so much more to talk about when it comes to this amazing plant, but I will save that for my next blog. If you EVER have any questions about using one of the hemp products I sell or even if you want to ask me about another product that I don't sell, you can email anytime. I will always help a person who wants to do the best for their dog.