When you are shopping for CBD supplements for your dog, you are quickly going to find out that the terminology used to market different products can be confusing.
This is the result not only of people casually using different terms interchangeably, but also because companies manufacturing CBD products may phrase product names in an unclear fashion while attempting to circumnavigate restrictions at marketplaces where they are selling.
Marijuana oil? Cannabis oil? Hemp oil? CBD oil? What are the differences between these products? Which are appropriate for your canine pal?
In this article, I will give you the full, comprehensive breakdown.
That way you can choose the safest, most suitable, and most effective product for your dog.
Cannabis vs. Hemp vs. Marijuana
For a useful discussion on this topic, you will first need to know the difference between marijuana and hemp. You also will need to know what cannabis is.
These terms are often used as if they all refer to the same plant, but that is an oversimplification.
The broadest term here is cannabis. Aaron Cadena, editor of CBD Origin, explains, “Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa … Because Hemp and Marijuana both derive from the Cannabis Sativa family, they do share certain similarities; however, due to each plant’s biological structure, they have several very distinct and crucial differences.”
In terms of appearance, marijuana and hemp both look a lot alike. The trained eye however can tell them apart with ease.
Where the biggest difference rests is with the cannabinoid content of hemp versus marijuana.
Marijuana is grown to purposefully contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound in cannabis which can produce a high.
Industrial hemp on the other hand contains a fare lower THC concentration. Just how significant is the difference? While the exact concentrations can vary from one crop to another, in general:
- Marijuana’s typical concentration of THC may range anywhere from 15-40%.
- Hemp’s typical concentration of THC is closer to 0.3%, and that is at the high end.
Obviously, that is a huge distinction.
Key Takeaway: While cannabis, marijuana, and hemp are terms which are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Cannabis is the family of plants which both marijuana and hemp belong to. Marijuana has a high concentration of the psychoactive compound THC. Hemp does not.
What is Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil is an extremely vague term. You can probably understand why, given the facts we just went over.
When a product is labeled “cannabis oil,” you do not know on sight whether that refers to marijuana or hemp oil.
For that reason, you need to either find out from the information accompanying the product, or contact the seller if you are in any doubt.
If the cannabis oil comes from a marijuana plant, it contains significant concentrations of THC, and could get you or your dog high. This is something you do not want (see below).
If on the other hand the cannabis oil is from industrial hemp, that means that it should contain low concentrations of THC. This type of cannabis oil should be safe for your pet.
Key Takeaway: Cannabis oil is a nebulous term. It could refer to marijuana oil or industrial hemp oil. Depending on which it is, it may contain high or low concentrations of THC. For that reason, you need to research a given product before purchasing it for yourself or for your dog.
It is Not Safe For Your Dog to Get High
Why is it important to make sure that you are not purchasing a supplement which contains THC in high concentrations for your dog?
According to PetMD, your dog can get high from THC.
In the article, a doctor named Dr. Carly Fox, DVM is interviewed about the effects of THC and marijuana on dogs.
Paraphrasing Dr. Fox, the article says, “that some of the marijuana effects that a dog may exhibit include ataxia (loss of coordination that can show up as an uncoordinated or “drunken” walk), incontinence and hypersensitivity to touch. They can also be especially hypersensitive to sounds. During a physical exam, a vet may also notice a slower heart rate and lower temperature than normal.”
None of this is enjoyable for your pet. In some cases, dangerous complications may also occur.
For example, if the marijuana has been fully absorbed and someone attempts to induce vomiting in your pet, this can actually kill your pet. The reason is that THC prevents the gag reflex from functioning properly. Respiratory failure may follow.
For this reason, you should make certain that you never give your dog any product which contains THC in significant concentrations.
CBD on the other hand can be beneficial to your dog, and it’s also completely safe.
Key Takeaway: It is important not to expose your dog to marijuana or THC. You do not want your dog to get high, and you do not want to risk respiratory failure or other complications.
What is CBD Oil?
Now that we have gone over the differences between cannabis, marijuana and hemp, and we have also discussed the dangers of THC for dogs, let’s talk about some of the other types of oils that you might see for sale.
Many popular products for humans as well as canines and felines on today’s market are sold as “CBD oil.”
What is CBD oil, and what differentiates it from cannabis oil?
CBD oil is formulated specifically to contain high concentrations of the cannabinoid called “cannabidiol,” or “CBD.”
This compound is different from THC. It does not produce psychoactive effects. Instead, it has healing properties.
When you purchase CBD oil, it is extracted from industrial hemp, and contains only trace amounts of THC.
Research into CBD is still in the early stages, and as a result, many health uses are still anecdotal. But quite a few already have a number of studies backing them up.
Uses for CBD oil in dogs are similar to what they are in humans. For example:
- Reducing inflammation
- Controlling pain
- Treating arthritis and other joint issues
- Treating or preventing diabetes
- Fighting cancer
To find out more about these and other potential health benefits for your pet, please see my article, Common Ailments People Are Using Dog CBD Oil For.
CBD oil is safe and effective for pets when it is formulated properly. Most quality manufacturers make it easy for you to find information about the exact concentrations of CBD and THC in their CBD oil products.
They may also subject their products to third-party testing. This is both to check for the potency of the CBD and to make sure that the oil is uncontaminated by excess THC or other unwanted compounds.
Returning to the topic of cannabis oil, it is accurate to say that all CBD oil falls under the umbrella of cannabis oil, but not all cannabis oil is CBD oil.
Key Takeaway: If you want to maximize health benefits for your dog while ensuring that your pet is not exposed to unsafe levels of THC, you should be shopping for CBD oil specifically.
What is Hemp Oil (or Hemp CBD Oil)?
Finally, you will notice that some products are marketed as hemp oil or hemp CBD oil rather than as cannabis oil or CBD oil. What are these types of oils, and how do they differ from those we have heard it discussed?
Hemp CBD oil is usually just another way of referring to CBD oil. Remember, CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp rather than marijuana. That means that all CBD oil technically is a form of hemp oil.
Products which are labeled “hemp oil” on the other hand can be a bit ambiguous.
Sometimes a product which is marketed this way is indeed hemp CBD oil, and contains high concentrations of CBD.
Other times however, that may not be the case. This type of oil may be extracted from the seed of the hemp plant, and may contain neither high concentrations of THC nor CBD.
Why is this type of oil sold? The reason is that CBD is not the only beneficial compound contained in hemp. It is rich in other phytonutrients, and some people prefer to purchase it instead of CBD oil.
While there is a valid reason to buy hemp oil, it should be noted that some manufacturers are attempting to be deceptive with their labeling.
For example, they may be selling in a marketplace which disallows products which contain high amounts of CBD.
Hoping some consumers are unaware that hemp oil and CBD oil are not always interchangeable, they sell hemp oil and hope that the CBD craze will still let them cash in on some sales through the marketplace.
So, what you should remember this. Hemp oil, like CBD oil, is a type of cannabis oil. CBD oil comes from the hemp plant, and contains high concentrations of CBD. A product which is labeled “hemp oil,” on the other hand, may or may not contain high concentrations of CBD.
Key Takeaway: If you see a product called “hemp oil,” you will need to do some additional research to find out whether it is hemp CBD oil or simply hemp oil containing low concentrations of CBD.
How Can You Get Started with CBD Oil for Dogs?
If you would like to try treating your dog with CBD oil, you are now aware that you need to be shopping specifically for products which are labelled “cbd oil,” or which are marketed as “cannabis oil” or “hemp oil” which you can confirm contain high concentrations of CBD.
You also now know why it is so important not to try treating your dog with any cannabis product which contains high concentrations of THC.
I recommend that before you start shopping, you take a look at some of the other articles on my site to learn more about the different forms CBD oil can take (tinctures, capsules, etc.), dosing recommendations, and more.
Then, check out my list of suggested CBD oil products for dogs. That way you can be sure that you are giving your furry companion only the best CBD oil on the market.