Using CBD for its health benefits is one of the most energized wellness trends happening today. This is thanks to more robust scientific research, better knowledge and changing laws that have facilitated CBD’s wellness potential. Of course, pet lovers want to be able to share with their dogs the same benefits CBD provides people—particularly joint pain relief, stress reduction and its calming effect. As leading CBD pet wellness company Prospect Farms’ CEO Brad Tipper simply sums up, “Because our pets comfort us, we want to comfort them.”
But Tipper is the first to admit that there is a lot of confusion around CBD, and that not all CBD products are created equal. Educating ourselves to a few key aspects of CBD can ensure that we give the safest, most effective CBD support to our canine companions.
“These are the questions you should be asking,” says Tipper. “Is the CBD pet product full-spectrum or not? Is it made naturally with good ingredients? Is the CBD carefully sourced and processed? Does it include terpenes that promote greater physiological benefits?”
Before we get ahead of ourselves with terpenes, though, let’s break down the basics of CBD and its wellness applications for our pets with a few important questions you should be asking of your CBD brand.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in Cannabis Sativa L. (the botanical name for cannabis and hemp). Most CBD products are derived from hemp, not from marijuana.
How does CBD work?
Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state.
Will CBD get my dog high?
In short, no. CBD will not get your dog high. THC is the cannabinoid perhaps best known for its psychoactive effects, primarily when consumed via recreational or medicinal marijuana. Full-spectrum CBD (CBD-rich hemp oil) does contain trace amounts of the cannabinoid THC because it uses the whole hemp plant—less than 0.3 percent THC.
How can CBD help my pup?
Different CBD products for pets promote different physiological benefits that tend to fall into two main categories: physical (i.e., inflammation management) and emotional (i.e., stress management).
According to the American Kennel Club’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, “CBD is used for dogs because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits.”
(SOURCE: American Kennel Club, “CBD Oil for Dogs, What You Need to Know.”)
Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences conducted a study on using CBD to treat epilepsy in dogs and help control seizures.
How much should my dog take?
A good starting point is 5 mg. of CBD for every 25 lbs. of your dog’s body weight. Products should always tell you how many mg of CBD there are per dropper.
Is it possible for my dog to take too much CBD?
In short, no. Studies on the safety and side effects of continuous CBD use found that even in high doses, it is well tolerated by humans and dogs.
Now that we have an understanding of the basics, let’s go a little deeper into the questions that Tipper says we should be asking:
Is the CBD pet product full-spectrum or not?
First, it’s important to understand what full spectrum means. Check the labels on CBD pet products and you should see one of the three types of CBD: full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolate. Neither broad spectrum nor isolate have all the positive attributes of full spectrum. If a product is labeled as CBD isolate, it only contains cannabidiol (or CBD) molecules—just one of the many beneficial cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. If it is labeled broad spectrum, it includes major cannabinoids like CBD, but no secondary beneficial compounds like terpenes. Only full-spectrum products contain all of the beneficial compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found naturally in hemp plants—and it is the way these ingredients work together that produces the greatest results for your pet.
Full-spectrum hemp preserves as many beneficial compounds as possible during the extraction process, resulting in a phenomenon called the entourage effect. Research shows that CBD amplifies within the body when other cannabinoids are present. And CBD is actually most effective when paired with terpenes because of the added physiological benefits.
Is it made naturally with good ingredients?
Ingredient quality can actually range dramatically in different companies’ CBD pet products—and high-quality ingredients make a big difference. After all, nearly 95 percent of the product is made with ingredients other than CBD. First off, make sure that the CBD oil is free of cheap fillers and contaminants. Only buy products from companies that provide a full ingredient list—even better, buy from companies that tell you why each and every ingredient is included in the product.
If it is a tincture product, what carrier oil does the CBD pet tincture use?
It is important to identify what type of carrier oil is being used in the CBD pet tincture. Hemp seed oil and MCT oil have been understood to be low-cost fillers that, while not harmful, provide minimal to no secondary benefits respectively. Safflower oil, while more expensive, is regarded as one of the best carrier oils. It is high in omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, promote a healthy metabolism, support the immune system, and help maintain your dog’s healthy coat.
Is the CBD carefully sourced and processed?
It is possible for CBD products to contain actionable levels of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium and even pesticides. Sometimes the makers of a CBD product don’t even know what’s in their product because they get the CBD from third party suppliers.
Look for single-source CBD listed on the product label. When the CBD all comes from one place, then the makers of the product can have more knowledge and confidence in the purity of the CBD. Even better, CBD pet product companies that grow and cultivate the hemp themselves can have every batch tested at various stages to demonstrate the purity of the product.
Are third-party lab reports available for the CBD product?
It is important to buy CBD products from companies that not only test their products, but can also provide independent, third-party lab reports for each product. Lab reports may sound complicated at first, but they are not hard to learn to read.
A Certificate of Analysis (lab reports that certify what’s included in your product) will shed light on different tests that can be run to show what is in, and more specifically what is not in your CBD wellness product. The most common is “Cannabinoid Concentration,” which breaks down the content of each cannabinoid based on its weight and will show the ratio of CBD:THC. Less commonly shared with customers are analyses such as heavy metal, pesticide and bacterial, which will show contaminants that should not be in the CBD product.
According to Tipper, “At Prospect Farms, we believe a truly clean product should have non-detectable results, which is why we test our products upwards of 14 times from flower to extract to finished product to provide our customers with true transparency. We ensure your product is free from mycotoxins, heavy metals, microbiological contaminants, bacterial contaminants, pesticides, and residual solvents (volatile organic compounds) which should all have non-detectable results.
“With this level of testing and transparency, we aspire to elevate the CBD pet industry standards by providing true transparency into our supply chain from farming to extraction and formulations to manufacturing. This is the only way to ensure that what you are giving your pup is pure!”
Does it include terpenes that enhance the physiological benefits?
Okay, it may sound like we are getting super scientific talking about “terpenes,” but you can read a lab report, right? And terpenes are definitely worth knowing about.
So, what are terpenes anyway?
Put simply, terpenes are organic compounds found in fruits, vegetables and plants. These naturally occurring oils give flora their unique scents and have been used for centuries for their medicinal benefits. In CBD pet products, terpene blends can promote specific physiological benefits for your dog and improve the efficacy of the product. Terpenes can reduce stress, encourage calm, and help manage pain and inflammation, among many other benefits.
There are over 100 different types of terpenes in the hemp plant alone that promote effects ranging from aiding mobility to calming and stress-reducing. By including different blends of terpenes in your pup’s CBD products, the makers can target different physiological issues. Check the labels of the CBD pet products—the best will indicate what they are designed for. For example, one formula might be meant to reduce stress and increase calm, another might be anti-inflammatory for joint pain relief and better mobility.
Armed with this background knowledge and these simple but important questions from Prospect Farms, you should now be able to confidently find the best CBD pet products for your pup. Just remember to look for companies that value transparency. There are a lot of vague labels out there, and the best way to know what is in your dog’s CBD product is to see a comprehensive ingredient list and lab report. Any company that’s happy to provide you with all that information is one you can trust with your dog’s health and comfort. PB