Since 2014 when hemp has been legal to grow in certain states, CBD (cannabidiol) derived from hemp has become popular as a supplement for people. Furthermore, CBD for pets including dogs, cats, and even CBD for horses, has become very popular as well. CBD has been shown to decrease pain and inflammation in both people and animals, specifically dogs, as seen in the recent HempMy Pet study https://www.hempmypet.com/cbd-pain-study/
But is it just CBD for pets or is there more to the story?
The majority of products on the market contain either just CBD or a CBD oil, including a distillate or full-spectrum, which could contain other minor cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are the essential oil of the cannabis plant (hemp is cannabis) giving the hemp the smell and taste associated with cannabis. Terpenes are also extremely medicinal on their own.
In order to understand the differences between the CBD oils, we first have to look at the process by which the CBD is extracted from the hemp plant and at what stage the CBD is put into a product, specifically CBD for pets.
CBD is extracted from the plant with one of three different methods. Alcohol, CO2, or hydrocarbon. Alcohol being the most popular because it is also the cheapest. CO2 and hydrocarbon both require expensive equipment but produce a better crude CBD oil because the crude oil will contain the majority of the terpenes and other beneficial cannabinoids.
Here is the process, once the hemp plant is grown and dried, it will go through the extraction process which will create crude CBD oil. The crude CBD oil, depending on the extraction method, can be put into products at that stage. In most cases, the crude CBD oil is refined through a second process that removes unwanted fats, called winterization. The third step is a distillation process which increases the purity of the CBD oil by removing other compounds and oils found in the crude CBD oil. At this point, many companies can use this distilled oil in their CBD products for pets. One problem with the distillate CBD oil is that it still contains low levels of THC. In order to decrease the THC, the CBD oil must be diluted down using carrier oils or the THC must be removed through either chromatography or isolation. Both processes involved additional chemicals which if not removed, can be harmful to your pets.
So what do you want to look for in a CBD product for pets?
First, you want to find a company that is vertically integrated. A vertically integrated company is a company that farms the hemp, extracts the hemp into CBD oil, and formulates the CBD oil into CBD products for pets.
Second, you want to make sure the company uses a full spectrum oil which contains all of the supporting cannabinoids and terpenes. Too much refining and to much processing will remove beneficial compounds from the CBD oil which work in conjunction with each other, called the Entourage Effect. Full-spectrum oils will contain CBG, CBC, low amounts of THC, and other minor cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBG for pets, including CBG for horses, is the newest cannabinoid to be introduced to the market. We are already seeing studies on CBG for dogs.
Third, you want to make sure the company does third party testing on their products. The test results should be available either on the website or by asking the company for a copy.
The last thing you want to look for in a company creating CBD for pets is looking into the consistency of the hemp used for the CBD products. As stated before, there are many other compounds found in CBD oils and once your pet finds a product that works, you want to make sure the product stays consistent. In order for CBD oil to stay consistent, the CBD oil should come from the same hemp genetics or the same type of hemp plant.