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The medical marijuana alternative that's being marketed to pet owners

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Can this medical marijuana alternative help relieve your aging pet's pain?

Janell Thompson watched with heartache her 13-year-old Labrador suffer in pain from surgery, hip dysplasia and arthritis. Though Thompson is adamantly opposed to giving marijuana to pets, she was willing to try cannabidiol (CBD) supplements in hopes of finding relief for her beloved canine. The results were better than she could have ever imagined.

Pot for pets is controversial for a reason

There is no question that the benefits, safety and legality of cannabis in the United States is a hot-button topic. People are inarguably polarized on the medical marijuana issue when it comes to human consumption; now the controversy has spilled over to our pets.

On one side you have pot smokers getting their pets high for fun or leaving their stash around for Fido to accidentally consume. Another side advocates the use of medical marijuana to help relieve pain and treat other pet medical conditions. Then there is the side of pet lovers who don't want their pets to unnecessarily suffer yet are against using a psychoactive drug for relief.

Janell Thompson falls into the latter category, so she opted to try CBD supplements, which provide the active medicinal compound in cannabis but not the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana.

Can this medical marijuana alternative help relieve your aging pet's pain?

Photo credit: Janell Thompson/Hemp Health, Inc.

Do CBD supplements really work?

According to Thompson, the CBD supplements (dipped in a bit of peanut butter) significantly improved her pawed pal's life. "As soon as I learned about CBD and its therapeutic benefits, I immediately researched its safety for use on canines and learned that canines possess at least one additional cannabinoid receptor than us humans and therefore are much more receptive to CBD," she explains. "They can experience the benefits much easier and more quickly than we do, and [as proof] today Roxy is still full of energy and smiling at us every day.

Thompson wasn't satisfied with simply giving Roxy CBD supplements for relief. She joined forces with Katarina Maloney, another pet lover, to explore ways to extract pure CBD from hemp and provide supplements for other pet lovers. They founded Hemp Health Inc. and pride themselves on providing CBD supplements, in the form of capsules or oral sprays, that are organic, non-GMO, vegan and free of dangerous additives. CBD supplements don't get your pet high.

"We absolutely do not advocate giving marijuana to pets because we believe THC is bad for your pet and that getting your pets high is a terrible idea," stresses Maloney. "CBD is not a drug nor is it classified as medicinal marijuana, rather CBD is a supplement that provides pets with the therapeutic ingredient in hemp while protecting them from the negative mental and physical effects of marijuana.

Can this medical marijuana alternative help relieve your aging pet's pain?

Photo credit: Katarina Maloney/Hemp Health, Inc.

So, what's the difference between hemp and marijuana?

There is a general misconception about hemp and marijuana, according to Maloney. They are the same but different. She explains: "Marijuana is a cannabis plant breed [for] the purpose of high levels of THC (the psychoactive part) and has very low levels of CBD (medicinal component), while hemp has very high levels of CBD, the medicinal part (cannabidiol). CBD is the healthy component and has very low or almost zero levels of THC. You don't get high."

Maloney also points out that hemp is grown for the purpose of fiber and oil. It is used to make T-shirts, paper, rope and other items. It is also available for consumption as hemp seeds, hemp butter, hemp milk and more. She adds, "There is a long history of industrial hemp... this country was built on it, and even the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper, and every single rope on ships before the 17th century was made from hemp."

Can CBD supplements harm your pets?

Just because something is legal and considered safe doesn't mean that it can't cause harm. Maloney, however, says there are no serious side effects if your pet takes CBD supplements long term or takes an extremely high dosage. "There is no possibility of an overdose [and at high doses] the only thing you may notice is sleepiness or mild sedation," the hemp expert adds.

When it comes to finding the most effective dose, Maloney says each dosage will depend on the size of your pet and the condition it has. She assures, "Usually the dosage is very small. If it's oil, it's the size of a grain of rice, and if it's in spray form, it will be one pump once per day."

Also of note, CBD supplements are legal in the United States and, unlike marijuana, can be legally and ethically recommended by veterinarians.

Can this medical marijuana alternative help relieve your aging pet's pain?

Photo credit: Katarina Maloney/Hemp Health, Inc.

What pet conditions might benefit from CBD supplements?

Federal regulations prevent Thompson and Maloney from making claims regarding the benefits on specific pet ailments, but there is a growing body of research on CBD. According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, laboratory, animal and preclinical testing have demonstrated that CBD may have anti-tumor effects as well as anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. In addition, researchers are actively investigating CBD’s potential to treat epilepsy, anxiety, arthritis, neurodegeneration, nausea and other medical issues.

If your pet is suffering from pain or other medical conditions, talk to your veterinarian about the efficacy of CBD supplements on what ails your furry companion.

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