Hemp is showing up everywhere in pet products now that some of the state restrictions on cannabis has lightened up. Formerly, hemp was illegal in the US because it was included with other forms of cannabis. Today, you can buy hempseed products in your local grocery store in the form of soaps and lotions, hempseed protein powders and drinks like hempseed milk.

Is it safe?

Since conventional drugs can have difficult side effects, CBD hemp may make it possible to use lower doses of the drugs to achieve therapeutic effects. Like many herbal solutions, the effect may be gradual or compound over time. From personal experience, we have seen real results from using these products on our own pets ranging from elder pet pain to post IVDD surgery pain relief.

A component in the hemp strain of cannabis is CBD, which is beneficial to pets and people for many ailments, from anxiety to arthritis to cancer. Is this the same as giving your pet pot? Not at all. We are not advising you to give your pet marijuana! The hemp that has therapeutic benefits for your dog isn’t the same as on the dispensary shelves. DO NOT GIVE YOUR PET MARIJUANA PRODUCTS!

Marijuana and hemp both come from the plant Cannabis sativa. Marijuana also comes from another member of the Cannabis family, Cannabis indica, that is not used in pet products. The cannabis plant has over 60 chemicals called cannabinoids. The two main types of cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBDs are therapeutic cannabinoids, while THC is the cannabinoid that makes you high. Marijuana’s THC content is usually between 10 and 15 percent; but hemp must have a THC content of 0.3 percent or less. At this level, cannabis has no intoxicating effect, for people or dogs. Hemp is higher in CBD, the substance that provides therapeutic effects. 

Don’t worry, because of the low THC, CBD hemp won’t make your dog high. The most common side effect of CBD is that your dog may get a little drowsy – about the same as if you gave him a Benadryl and usually less than many conventional pain medications. Be cautious however, because much of the information being provided is from product manufacturers. Reputable sources will state the source of their hemp oil with Colorado or California becoming major sources as opposed to Europe or China.

Only buy from an official pet product manufacturer and be sure to read packaging for CBD hemp content and only use products that can show test results. Start with the lowest dose recommended for your pet's size and gradually increase until you see the desired benefit.

Why CBD?

The cannabis plant contains a number of different chemicals, including CBD, phytocannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids. Humans and other mammals have specific cannabinoid receptor sites. These sites are primarily in the brain and central nervous system, and in peripheral organs, especially immune cells. They make up what’s called the endocannabinoid system.

Studies show that many cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects, and can help with pain, tumors, seizures, muscle spasms, skin conditions, appetite stimulation, aggression, anxiety and neurological disorders. This lends help to both acute or chronic conditions.

Among chronic conditions, it can help with arthritis, compromised immune systems, stress responses, aggression and digestive issues. There are also studies under way into CBD’s effects on Type 1 diabetes, organ diseases and cancer. Veterinarians are also finding CBD hemp can be useful in treating acute ailments like sprains and strains, torn ligaments, bone breaks and even during post-operative care to reduce swelling, pain and stiffness.

Managing chronic pain in elderly, injured or arthritic pets has many approaches and vets take different paths depending on the pet and the pet owner.  Like all herbal supplements, we advise you to educate yourself and check with your vet before adding to an existing pain regime or using as a substitution.

Read up on this topic at:

Journal of Veterinary Medicine