It feels like everywhere you look there is a new CBD product on the market; both for humans and pets alike. CBD this, CBD that!
It has been touted by many as a miraculous natural medicine but many are confused about what it is, what it treats and if it is something that can truly help their pets. Are you one of these people? If so, then you know that there a plethora of products to choose from.
Where do you start? How can you tell the good products from the crappy ones?
To help guide you make an informed decision, let’s take a step back and understand some CBD basics. Starting with what CBD is not….
CBD is NOT illegal: At the federal level, and in most states, hemp-derived CBD is 100% legal. Because of this, CBD is NOT considered a drug. Lastly, CBD does NOT make you ‘high’. Sorry peeps, no Cheech & Chong business here!
So, What is CBD?
To understand what CBD is, let’s break-down some of the terminology that you will see thrown your way.
Cannabis – is a genus-family of flowering plants with two primary classifications — Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica (The third is Cannabis ruderalis in case you really want to sound like a smarty pants at your next pawty).
Marijuana – can be considered a member of either the Indica or Sativa families mentioned above. These plants are bred/farmed for either medicinal or recreational use…ie: the ones that get you ‘high’. (They get you high because they have high levels of THC…don’t worry, we will get to what THC is in a minute).
Hemp – is a member only of the Cannabis sativa family and, unlike Marijuana, is grown specifically for industrial purposes (for things like paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, health food and fuel). These plants contain very, very small traces of THC which means they are non psychoactive…ie: these do not make you ‘high’.
Have I lost you? Paws crossed I haven’t.
Remember: hemp and marijuana are NOT the same thing. Yes, they both belong to the Cannabis genus family but they are different plants that have different chemical make-ups.
Cannabinoids – both Marijuana and Hemp contain a variety of different compounds called Cannabinoids. The two most dominant being Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
THC – is the psychoactive compound that gets people “high” when they smoke marijuana.
CBD – is the natural compound produced by both the the marijuana and hemp plants that is said to have great healing properties (and the reason why I’m writing this blog post- hurray!).
IMPORTANT: when we talk about CBD-infused products or CBD-oil, we are referring to CBD that has been extracted from the HEMP plant. Hemp plants = legal. So, CBD derived from Hemp plants = Legal.
Full-Spectrum CBD – means that at the time of extracting the CBD from the hemp plant, they left all of the naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, amino acids (basically, the good stuff) that the hemp plant contains. It is believed that full-spectrum CBD is the most effective form of CBD (vs. CBD-Isolate which is another stage of processing).
Terpenes – Terpenes are naturally occurring aromatic chemicals produced by many plants, including hemp. They can also be found in cinnamon, resin, ginger and even essential oils and their presence adds to the ‘entourage’ effect of consuming CBD
How CBD Works – A Little Science Jargon
What allows CBD to effectively treat so many conditions, and maintain overall health & wellness, is how the cannabinoids found in CBD interact with receptors throughout our pups bodies (as well as in humans!).
All mammals have an internal biological system that is responsible for regulating many important body functions; this is known as the EndoCannabinoid System.
Endocannabinoids are molecules that are produced naturally within the body to help maintain homeostasis or balance.
But when Cannabinoids are introduced into the body, such as with CBD, it can trigger some of the same positive reactions that naturally occurring endocannabinoids produce: such as, reducing inflammation, blocking pain, slowing cell growth and relieving muscle spasms, to name a few.
CBD and Dogs: What are some of Its Benefits
So, how can CBD help your pooch?
CBD has been found to help a laundry list of ailments. Below are just a few:
- Minimizes severity & risk of seizures
- Provides anxiety and stress relief
- Pain & inflammation Management
- Hip & joint relief
- Helps prevent and ease Arthritis pain
- Skin & allergy relief
- Digestive support & IBD
- Increases appetite
- Helps fight against cancer & tumor cells
- General aging & wellness
How to Choose a CBD Product For Your Dog
Remember, not all CBD products are created equal. This is an unregulated industry so there’s a lot of misinformation and mislabeling out there. Make sure to do your research on the brands, sources and third party testing.
I leave you with some tips that will help guide you on yoru CBD journey:
- Look for high quality products.
- Always choose organic. If the CBD is not organic, it could contain pesticides, fungicides or other things you do not want your pet to ingest. Make sure there are no additives either.
- Don’t be cheap. Higher quality and purity means, higher cost. Cheaper products mean not-so-good quality, filled with god-knows-what. No bueno.
- Grown and made in the USA is a must! There is no way to know what other countries are doing to the plants and ingredients in the cbd-infused products. Make sure the company is transparent about where it sourced all of their products & ingredients.
- Cruelty-free products – obviously! Cus, companies that test on animals sucks.
- Full-Spectrum CBD works best. Always try to get Full-Spectrum vs. CBD-Isolate products.
- Check 3rd party lab tests and/or certificate of analysis: It is the wild-west of CBD out there (yee-haw!). Make sure that the manufacturer can provide a certificate that tells you the amount of CBD that is in the product.
- CBD in oil form (a tincture system) is best as it is more easily absorbed and metabolized by your dog’s body. If your dog doesn’t like having oil placed under his tongue, then maybe chew-treats, biscuits or oils & powders infused with CBD are a better option for you. If you are trying to heal skin or allergy issues (inflammation, dry skin, hot rash etc) then a CBD-infused ointment or topical is best!
My Last Words of Wisdom:
I (Hami) have not tried CBD for any specific ailment but my human has given me CBD products as a supplement to my diet. What my human and I have made sure to do is tons and tons (and tons) of research on the subject in hopes that it helps make things clearer for you.
Also, although there are no known negative risks associated with CBD use, talk to your vet care professional if you have specific questions about your doggos health and CBD. I am smart, but I am not a pawfessional 🙂