More and more pet parents are opting for holistic options when it comes to supporting their animal’s health.
As a result, CBD is overwhelming the pet market–but buying into the popular cannabis arena should never be done on a whim. After all, it’s always crucial to use caution when buying products that could affect your dog, cat, or horse.
Knowing the most important CBD facts therefore can help you better understand how CBD can support your pet’s wellness and also help you make an informed decision about which CBD brand or product is right for your animal friend’s needs.
There are still a lot of misconceptions out there about what CBD is, what CBD can do, and why more and more people are turning to CBD every day, so in this read, we’re setting the most important CBD facts straight and answering your top 10 questions about all things cannabis!
What is CBD?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is CBD, and where does it come from?
CBD is short for “cannabidiol,” a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. This compound, and others like it, are called phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids for short.
The cannabis plant (and in this case, we’re referring specifically to the Cannabis Sativa L. species) comes in two varieties: marijuana and hemp. CBD can be extracted from both of these varieties.
Is CBD Legal?
Since CBD can be found in both the hemp and marijuana varieties of the cannabis plant, the legality depends on the CBD’s source.
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 states, so you never have to worry about accessibility issues. You’re bound to find a health store in your state that sells CBD in fact, and if not, there are plenty of CBD companies online that are able to ship to all 50 states and to U.S. territories/U.S. military bases as well.
If your CBD is from the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant, however, then it is only legal in states where marijuana has been legalized.
The reason for this disparity is because of the different levels of THC between the hemp and marijuana varieties of cannabis.
THC, which stands for “tetrahydrocannabinol,” is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with “getting high.”
Does CBD get you High?
As previously mentioned, the compound responsible for affecting the mind is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Since hemp-derived CBD products only contain trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less), you don’t have to worry about you or your pet experiencing any kind of high.
Another significant CBD fact is that hemp-derived CBD is also non-addictive. Neither you nor your pet will develop a dependency to CBD and can instead simply profit from its many potential health benefits.
How does CBD Work?
When cannabinoids like CBD are introduced into the body, they interact with something called the endocannabinoid system.
You can think of the endocannabinoid system as you would any other regulatory system in the body like the immune system or the central nervous system.
The endocannabinoid system in particular plays a role in regulating key physiological processes such as appetite, sleep, pain response, and mood.
And yes, our pets have an endocannabinoid system too! In fact, the system is present in all mammalian bodies, where its job is to remedy any imbalances in order to achieve homeostasis, a.k.a. optimal function of and steady equilibrium among our internal processes.
So how does the endocannabinoid system work exactly?
Simply put, the endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. The below picture shows how these receptors are spread all throughout the body, located in important organs like the brain and lungs and in important systems like the immune system and vascular system.
When cannabinoids like CBD enter the body, they interact with the endocannabinoid system either by binding directly to and activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors, or by performing certain actions that influence the endocannabinoid system indirectly.
These interactions are what result in the potential health benefits a person (or animal) can experience when using CBD or other cannabinoids.
For example, the cannabinoid THC can modulate pain at the spinal cord and brain level when it activates CB1 receptors, while activating the CB2 receptors can help support the body’s normal inflammatory response.
What is CBD Used For?
CBD products are used for a variety of reasons. Some of the more common reasons include the following:
- to support normal cardiovascular, immune, and neurological function
- to promote relaxation and a calming effect on the nerves
- to help maintain healthy joints and connective tissue
- to fight free radicals and support cellular health
- to enhance the body’s immune response
- to help with occasional discomfort or joint stiffness associated with daily exercise or normal aging
- …and the list goes on!
What is CBD Oil?
Using a process called CO2 extraction, CBD and other phytochemicals are extracted from the cannabis plant, resulting in a pure quality oil that involves zero post-processing.
This oil, also known as a CBD tincture, is one of the most popular forms of CBD for consumption.
CBD oil can be full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or be packaged as CBD isolate.
While all three forms can offer potential health benefits, full-spectrum CBD contains the most cannabinoids (those natural compounds that interact with our endocannabinoid system). These cannabinoids all work synergistically in order to provide the most potent results for your health or your pet’s health.
How do you Use CBD Oil?
CBD products come in all forms for human consumption and are, for the most part, intended to be taken orally.
The most popular CBD product is definitely CBD oil, also known as a CBD tincture. CBD tinctures typically come with a dropper that allows you to easily administer the oil directly into your mouth.
Other common CBD products include CBD capsules or soft gels and even CBD gummies. Just as well, however, CBD can also be applied topically, which is an option many people lean toward when supporting muscle recovery.
CBD also comes in forms unique to animals, which we’ll discuss next!
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
CBD products are perfectly safe for your furry friend as long as they’re derived from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant.
Products derived from the marijuana variety of cannabis, however, are NOT safe for animal consumption, as they typically contain high levels of THC and can thus be toxic to animals.
As for side effects, hemp-derived CBD rarely produces side effects in pets, with most pet parents simply observing slight lethargy in the beginning of the introduction process.
You can read more about dosage recommendations here, but as a good rule of thumb, when first introducing CBD to your pet, it’s always best to start with a smaller dose and then gradually work your way up to a full dose over a series of days.
Click here to find out how much CBD to give your pet using the Honest Paws CBD Dosage Calculator!
The good news is that today’s top CBD pet brands have developed creative, functional ways for our canine companions and feline friends to enjoy CBD in forms that are safe and, in many cases, already familiar to them.
Here are the most common CBD products for pets on the market today:
Again, CBD oils are commonly referred to as CBD tinctures.
CBD tinctures come equipped with a dropper (usually 1mL in size), which takes out the guesswork when it comes to giving your pet CBD. With a tincture, you always know just how much CBD oil your animal friend is receiving and can easily adjust the dose as needed.
CBD oils are best administered sublingually (under your pet’s tongue). This allows the CBD to quickly diffuse into the blood through the tissues located underneath your pet’s tongue.
Alternatively, with a pet tincture, you can also administer CBD oil at mealtime.
CBD Bites and Chews
What dog or cat doesn’t love a tasty morsel of goodness?
CBD bites and chews make it easier than ever to introduce CBD into your pet’s health regimen. They come in various shapes and sizes and are usually formulated with delicious ingredients that pets already love—like coconut, peanut butter, and turmeric.
Some pet CBD companies even manufacture CBD-infused peanut butter and CBD-infused coconut oil. CBD oil products like this are a big hit among animals!
Not all CBD pet products need to be consumed.
Sometimes, animal lovers seek out specific CBD benefits that can be achieved simply through topical application.
Since CBD can help support healthy skin, CBD-infused coconut oil for pets is a popular go-to in moisturizing the dry skin of noses or cracked paws. It’s also a great option to turn to for hot spots.
What is the best CBD oil?
Not all CBD products are created equally.
This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s important to know your CBD facts when purchasing a product for you or your pet.
This is especially vital considering the CBD space isn’t regulated by any official governing bodies, meaning it’s all too easy to come across low-quality products or even products that contain no CBD whatsoever despite what their labeling says.
For that reason, here are seven must-haves to tick off your criteria list when you’re researching a CBD company:
- Hemp-derived CBD only! This not only ensures that your CBD is legal in all 50 States, but it also guarantees that your CBD product doesn’t contain high traces of THC, which can be toxic to your pet. (Ultimately, a Certificate of Analysis will give you the most detailed breakdown of your CBD, which we discuss further down this list).
- Full-spectrum CBD oil is king! Avoid broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate and go straight for full-spectrum CBD. Again, full-spectrum CBD contains the most cannabinoids, and studies have shown that these cannabinoids work together synergistically in order to produce the most potent results for your health or your pet’s health. In short: the more cannabinoids, the better. Some companies will tout CBD isolate as a purer product since it contains 100% CBD and nothing else. The reality, however, is that CBD isolate is simply cheaper to make since it eliminates all the other cannabinoids in the production process. While it certainly can offer health benefits, full-spectrum CBD is a great deal more robust.
- CBD products should be natural and all organic. As with organic food, the cannabis plant’s quality can be altered by the way that it’s grown. Best practices mean plants that haven’t been treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals. The method of extraction makes a difference as well, with CO2 extraction being the best option. It produces cleaner, purer, and healthier hemp CBD oil. In addition, CBD pet products should be non-GMO and free of soy, dairy, corn, and gluten as well.
- Buy from a CBD company that is compliant with The National Animal Supplement Council. The NASC ensures that retailers practice ethical behavior and that they’re 100% committed to manufacturing only the safest and highest quality of products. NASC-compliant companies undergo rigorous quality audits to ensure their supplements (CBD included) are top-of-the-line. With no formal governing bodies monitoring the CBD space, the NASC seal of approval is a sure way to find premium quality CBD for your pet.
- A Certificate of Analysis (or COA) will show exactly how much CBD a product contains. Any reputable company should be able to provide you with a Certificate of Analysis. If they can’t or won’t, that’s a red flag. This important document ensures that your CBD product contains no contaminants that can be toxic to your pet, while also providing a comprehensive breakdown of all the different cannabinoids and terpenes that are present in your CBD. (Terpenes are natural compounds that are also derived from the cannabis plant and added to CBD products to produce certain desired results; some are best for promoting relaxation, for instance, while others can be used to support the body’s inflammatory response). A Certificate of Analysis will also allow you to ensure that the THC levels in your product are at 0.3% or less. Here’s an example of a Certificate of Analysis from Honest Paws.
- Play detective and research any CBD company you’re considering. Make sure that the company is in right-standing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Simply search online for “FDA dog CBD,” and you’ll find a list of offenders who have made false claims about their products in the past. Reading client reviews will also give you a clear idea of brand reputation and customer service, and you should always check out a company’s rating on Better Business Bureau.
- Ensure the CBD has been lab-tested by a third party and not a company that the retailer is affiliated with. The Certificate of Analysis should list the name, address, phone number, and sometimes even website of the lab that tested the CBD, allowing you to contact them and ask any questions you might have. This ensures total transparency in the lab results and guarantees that the Certificate of Analysis is accurate and authentic.
Where can I buy CBD oil?
The internet is full of CBD companies and retailers who sell hemp-derived CBD products.
That said, you should never purchase a CBD product without thoroughly investigating the company behind it first.
As previously mentioned: do your homework, read reviews, and research the company in question as much as you can. Use the 7-step buyer’s guide provided above as you begin to compare different CBD brands and don’t stop searching until you’ve found a company that checks off all the boxes.
CBD Facts: Final Thoughts
CBD is taking the holistic world by storm, and it’s easy to see why.
People all over the world are turning to this holistic option for a host of reasons, from fighting free radicals and supporting healthy immune function to promoting relaxation and helping with occasional discomfort.
Fortunately, these days, our beloved four-legged friends can take part in the exciting world of CBD too, thanks to CBD pet companies like Honest Paws that are dedicated to crafting the best CBD products for our dogs and cats to support their health and happiness.
If you’ve been on the fence about giving CBD a try, why not make today the day you take a leap to see the results for yourselves?
But don’t take our word for it. With over 1,000 glowing reviews across our CBD products, there’s a reason the Honest Paws pack is filled with happy dogs and cats who are living their best lives! You can browse our full CBD collection here and read for yourself what our happy customers have to say about us!