By Drishti Brahmania*

“Hemp is the miracle plant of our time! Everyone should know how it will affect not only our lives but our pets.”

Hemp for pets is a fascinating topic, especially considering its incalculable benefits. But even though it has such an impressive array of advantages, pet owners are often oblivious to this amazing natural herb… and fair enough, it’s been illegal and misportrayed for so long!  But this is no longer the case, so we want to help spread the word of how everything on this planet can benefit from hemp – not just humans.  

Let’s start by answering the million-dollar question upfront. Is hemp marijuana? No! Hemp is not marijuana.

Hemp vs Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same plant species Cannabis Sativa L. It’s like how dogs and wolves are different breeds of Canis Lupis. They are related but differ in scientific make-up and how they are cultivated or bred. For example, hemp is made to grow upward like bamboo (10-15’ high) specifically for its stalks and seeds which are used for textiles, food, paper, body care products, plastics and building materials. That’s why it’s most often referred to as “industrial hemp”.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is grown out like a bush to cultivate the leaves and cannabis flowers used for medicinal and recreational purposes.

The unique molecular compounds contained in the two plants diff-erentiate them. Both contain cannabinoids (used for medical purposes) and THC (a psychoactive ingredient used for recreational drugs). Marijuana is low in CBD and high in THC (5-10%) the compound used in drugs. Hemp, on the other hand, is high in CBD and low in THC (3-1.5%).

Why is Hemp good for you and your pet?

Of the 3 million-plus edible plants in the world, no other plant source compares with the nutritional value of hemp seeds. Called the “complete protein” they have the ideal ratios of essential oils and amino acids needed to ward off immune type diseases and they are the highest source in the plant kingdom of essential fatty acids responsible for the lustre in skin, hair, eyes, and even thought processes.

The seeds can be used to derive hemp seed oil, hemp protein powder, hemp meal and hemp hearts that have a variety of benefits!

Is it legal?

Hemp Seed Oil is legal in India, however CBD oil which is gaining popularity is still illegal. The two are different as hemp seed oil comes from cold-pressing hemp seeds, and CBD oil is derived from its leaves, stem and flowers.

Hemp products worldwide popularity

Hemp, in particular, is gaining traction in the pet industry. It’s an all-natural, grain-free, gluten-free source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and compared to other oils, hemp oil offers the lowest level of saturated fats. Hemp also contains natural antioxidants, is very high in protein and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. CBD products are taking the world by storm due to its various anxiety and health-related benefits.

Pet-and-animal product sales are estimated to reach USD 125 million by 2022, representing a 5-year CAGR of 57%, among the fastest-growing sectors in the CBD market.

Benefits of Hemp Seed oil

Most dog foods are like “fast foods” for humans – without all the nutrients and only made to taste good. Hemp seed oil is better than fish or flax seed-based oils because it naturally has the perfect Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio ( 3:1 ) of fatty acids which your dog needs.

The Omega-3 and Omega 6 contained in hemp seed oil act as super nutrients. The perfect balance of the two is crucial for the overall health of your dog. Their most important role is in treating inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is responsible for multiple health issues in dogs, including arthritis, liver or kidney disease, cancer, pain, IBD, among other problems. Using hemp oil alleviates inflammation and also treats chronic inflammation.

Hemp seed oil moisturizes a dog’s skin and fur correctly because it is herbal and has virtually no side effects like fish oil – but it must be administered in the right quantities. Hemp seed oil prevents dog’s skin disorders such as dry nose, dog acne, dog eczema, dog rash and dog dandruff.

Hemp seed oil can enhance blood circulation and stimulate a dog’s cognitive thinking. Plus, it can thicken its fur texture and lessen shedding. Again, because hemp oil is extracted from the “industrial hemp” plant there are no psychoactive reactors.

Hemp seed oil works by reducing inflammation and decreasing nerve-related pain. There’s a study showing that GLA in hemp seeds reduces arthritis symptoms by 25%. This is one of the major hemp seed oil benefits for dogs.

Research now shows GLA-rich diets can inhibit the growth of cancerous tumours. These diets modulate inflammation and boost immune function. GLA in hemp seed oil also promotes cancer cell death (apoptosis).

Potential Risks

While generally considered safe, here are some side effects to be aware of. Because of the high-fat content – even though it’s the good kind – it may cause diarrhoea. Start with approximately 1 tsp per day and work your way up to the recommended 2 tablespoon serving. As of 2011 hemp seeds were not known to interact with common medications – but consult your physician before introducing them into your diet.

Will Hemp Seed Oil Get My Pet High?

No. Hemp seed oil will not get your pet high. The psychoactive chemical in Cannabis that gives the sensation of being “high” is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). With that said, there’s virtually no THC in hemp seed oil. Therefore, our furry friends would have to get into a lot of hemp to get high – just like humans!

All in all, hemp seed oil for pets is not just safe – but highly beneficial as well.

* Founder Happy Puppy Organics