Introduction to Hemp Plant
Hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant or industrial hemp. The plant belongs to the Cannabaceae family. It is highly cultivated for its fiber and edible seeds. The plant has been in existence for long with its history traced initially in China in 2800 BC.
It was practiced in Mediterranean countries during the Christian era and later spread to the rest of Europe in the middle ages this is according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The Hemp plant is cultivated for its fibers and seeds. The plant does well in temperate regions, it reaches to heights of 5 meters and is normally cultivated from seeds.
For maximum yield and high quality, it is important to harvest the crop immediately after maturity Hemp can be used for both industrial and commercial purposes. The products range from ropes, clothing, textiles, paper, biofuel, food and even shoes.
Growing the plant is legal in most of the states in the United States. The best are grown in Kentucky where the farmers are 100% compliant. The plant contains a very little percentage of (Tetrahydrocannabinol) THC, unlike the cannabis plant making it poor in psychoactive substance.
Understanding what Hemp plant is and how is it different from the marijuana plant?
Cannabis sativa is a term that is used to refer to a variety of several plants, the two main species being Marijuana and Hemp.
As similar as they are one (marijuana) is commonly known for its High effect and is used for recreational and the other is associated with oils. One similarity is that both have medicinal properties.
Marijuana is by a large extent illegal while hemp is legal as it has various uses. In this article, we will be referring to Hemp oil which is extracted for medicinal properties
Extraction of Hemp Plant Oils
This type of oil is usually extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant which has medicinal value for pets. The oils are removed using CO2 which is one of the safest phytoextraction methods. When extracted this way, it makes the hemp oils have very low levels of THC.
They are then dried to remove pathogens, molds and heavy metals to produce high-quality hemp extracts.
The whole hemp plants also contain other natural plant chemicals such as terpenes, sugar, flavonoids and secondary cannabinoids, which institute more than 500 trace compounds.
The full spectrum plant offers the Endocannabinoid System the full profile of CBD, CBG, and CBN giving 120 cannabinoids that hinder CB2 receptors. This is the purest form of CBD available.
The extracted oils need to be distilled to enable the isolation of the CBD compound. The first step is to winterization, whereby, the undesirable elements that were extracted from the plant are separated from the oils as advised by Apeks supercritical.
For refining, the extracted oils are mixed with alcohol and frozen overnight. After which filtration takes place to remove undesirable elements. The extraction is then warmed to remove the alcohol. This leaves the oil pure for use.
Apart from being beneficial to human, the hemp plant is also useful to animals, though the practice of prescribing hemp to animals is a matter that is still under legislation in many states in the US, in fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued warnings to organization trading in and marketing CBD products marked for pets.
Restrictions placed on cannabis-based research, have placed almost huge barriers on investigating clinical applications of hemp.
Though the FDA has not placed restrictions on some of the CDB products in animals such as Epidiolex, Vets are supposed to follow guidelines under AMDUCA (Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act) in conjunction to any local and federal guidelines related to handling the above drug.
Why Hemp Oil?
If you are a fan of recent advancements in the medical world you must have heard of hemp oil. This type of oil is produced from a subspecies of the cannabis Sativa plant and contains essential fatty acids and vitamins.
The ingredients contained therein are beneficial for skin health, pain relief, brain health, acne amongst others.
The low concentration of THC doesn’t have a psychoactive effect but instead, it makes you less anxious and relaxed. Hemp oil is legal in most states in America and any test done on a consumer won’t turn positive for marijuana.
This being a relatively new practice, more research needs to be done to determine to fully determine the full benefits and risks associated with the prescription of Hemp products. Though currently there are reported benefits associated with the uptake of the hemp products.
The main ingredient cannabidiol, found in Hemp plant provides your pet with pain-relieving and calming effect, with our intoxicating your pet.
Strangely humans and dogs have cannabinoid structured systems and the ingredient works by targeting receptors based on major organs of the body. Oil helps the pets similarly to the way it helps humans by lowering inflammation, pain and anxiety.
How to administer Hemp Oil for Dogs
Normally Hemp oil taken orally, but can also be administered with traditional modes of medications, in fact current information available states has shown that there are additional benefits when its administered together with traditional conventional meds.
Research shows there are no known interactions between drugs that one needs to really worry about.
As is the case with all prescriptions, successful treatment has to do with the right dosage. The right dose will more often than not deliver the desired outcome for your pet.
However it’s recommended you get professional advice from an experienced vet who has handled this type of oil as he would probably also prescribe the best oil in the market.
Tips on How to Choose, Purchase and Administer Hemp Oil
There are different types of oils, and you naturally want the right type. You can use the following selection criteria
If organic the better: due to the current trends in agriculture many farm products may contain a lot of pesticides and other chemicals. If the oil is non-organic there’s a very high probability that it is contaminated with chemicals
- Price: Higher quality oils are naturally expensive, don’t always look at the cost when selecting the type of oil.
- Certificate of analysis: You can always request for the chemical analysis of the oil. Manufacturers always avail the certificate. This is also important to check the amount of THC contained therein.
The best and most effective way hemp oil is through a dropper that comes as a package potion. The pet parents will normally utilize the dropper as a means to administer the Oil into the pet’s mouth.
It has been widely realized that these pets usually have no issue with taking the oil or with the oil’s taste, but in the eventuality that the dog might be hesitant to take the oil, then the pet parent can always mix it with the dog’s food or any treat that the dog really likes.
It’s always advisable to slowly introduce the pet to the hemp oil, but don’t let any negative vibe discourage you. The current data is very positive towards the usage of the oil. The current findings are that Hemp oil can be a lifesaver for your pet, and various pet owners and vets have been attracted by the immense advantages. Another positive is the mild side effects and pets don’t seem to build up resistance to the oil.
Uses and Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil contains nutrients that are vital to health and it is gaining popularity as a supplement for human beings as well as pets especially dogs.
Below are some of the constituents of hemp plant oil and how they benefit a dog
1. Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
The oil is rich with GLA which the main component is omega 6 fats. Generally, dogs can synthesize omega 6 fats which is an essential building block for prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that help control inflammation and support other body functions.
Deficiencies in GLA can lead to premature aging, digestive issued, skin problems, arthritis, allergies, and even cancer. With all those, it is important for your dog to take hemp oil to boost GLA in its body.
Many Health Benefits of GLA
Anti-cancer: Diets rich in GLA moderate inflammation and boost immune function. It can inhibit the growth of certain types of tumors and stimulates the death of cancer cells. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prevent cancer by reducing chronic inflammation in the body. This is according to a 2006 study.
Reduces skin allergies: It helps to manage atopic dermatitis and helps to keep skin moisture leading to suppler skin and a smoother coat. It restores skin problems like dry nose, flakey ear flaps or even cracked skin on toes.
Manages arthritis pain and inflammation: GLA I hemp seeds that produce the oil reduces arthritis symptoms by 25%. This is as per the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism
Weight Management: GLA helps turn on the body’s fat-burning mechanism and can accelerate up your dog’s energy levels and increase serotonin, this is a brain chemical that contributes to the fullness feeling.
Oxidative stress might play a role in carcinogenesis, as well as impacting the illness and death of veterinary cancer patients. Dogs with lymphoma have increased oxidant concentrations compared with healthy controls and that abnormalities normalize once reduction is achieved.
Hemp oil contains vitamin A (carotene) and E which are antioxidants that help the immune system by fighting free radical damage. Your dog can absorb free radicals by absorbing toxins from chemicals, drugs, vaccines, pesticide pollution or even processed food.
The free radicals cause oxidative stress which damages cells, DNA and proteins. Antioxidants help to keep free radicals under control, therefore promoting better health. The vitamins also increase natural killers that help to slow the decline of the immune response of your dog as it ages.
Vitamin A supports immunity, prevents urinary stones and contains cancer-fighting properties. While vitamin E benefits to skin, eyes, heart, immune system and cognitive function. Hence it is important to give your dog hemp oil to boost the levels of these vitamins in its body.
3. Omega 3 and Omega 6
Both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are important components of cell membranes and pioneers to other substances in the body like the ones involved in regulating blood pressure and inflammatory responses. Omega 3 helps to protect against fatal heart diseases.
Linoleic acid (LA) which is an omega 6 fatty acid and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) an omega 3 fatty acid are not produced by the body hence the need to consume supplements that are rich in them.
One of them is hemp oil. The fatty acids are needed for growth and repair and they are also used to make other fatty acids. This is according to an article done by EUFIC in 2019.
Omega 6 and omega 3 fats help in managing the inflammation in your dog’s body. Inflammation helps the body respond to the healing of injury or disease. Omega 6 fatty acids increase inflammation hence helping the body to recover.
Though the fatty acids are important to a dog too much of them is not that good. For omega 6 they turn on the hormones that raise inflammation while or omega 3 can cause immune dysfunction. Hence it is important to give them in the correct portions as prescribed by a vet.
Long term chronic inflammation leads to many health issues like; –
- Liver or kidney diseases
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Allergies and many more
Adding hemp oil to your dog’s diet can help prevent them from these diseases.
These are types of lipid molecules that are the main component of the cell membrane. They are made up of two fatty acids, a phosphate group, and a glycerol molecule.
According to the Biology Dictionary phospholipids can be broken down and into the cell and used as energy. Them being found in areas like lungs and jointly enable them to help in lubricating cells.
Their ability to split into smaller molecules called chemokines helps to regulate the production of certain proteins and migration of cells to different areas of the body. They are selectively permeable; therefore they help the cell to maintain its internal structure.
Dietary Phospholipids as per a 2012 study in Germany have below benefits due to its structure:
- They boost the immune function
- Reduce the levels of gastric acid
- They Lower the risks associated with cardiovascular disease
- Manage discomforts caused by inflammation and pain associated with arthritis
- Due to their ability to regulate the production of certain proteins, they inhibit the growth of cancer
- They help in repairing damaged liver
- They improve cognitive disorders and brain health
5. Hemp Oils are Safer than Fish Oil
Fish oil has some chances of containing mercury, radiation and other contaminants found in water. While hemp plant is grown without pesticides and the plant has a long root system that helps to regenerate healthy soil.
Processing of fish oil involves heating which makes it unstable. This can make it become rancid very easily and hence it can cause inflammation in your dog. While hemp oil is cold-pressed, making it more stable to manage inflammation in your dog. Hemp oil is also less likely to become rancid.
The hemp plant is easy to grow in many different climates and soil types making it sustainable. In most places, it even grows as a weed. For fish they are getting depleted in the ocean, hence not sustainable.
This makes hemp oil the best alternative compared with fish oil putting into consideration that they have fewer side effects if any.
6. Brain Health
Hemp oil contains active compounds that can protect the brain from inflammation. The fatty acids contained in hemp oils makes it good for the brain, which requires plenty of fats to operate.
7. Helps with managing appetite and nausea
Pets may be unable to eat, and this is where hemp oil may come in handy. It has been noted that these CBD based oils increase appetite. The oil also assists to manage nausea and vomiting that may be associated with drug usage.
8. Hemp Oil aids in promoting the overall health of the heart
Recent discoveries have also associated Hemp oil with good cardio health. Some of the direct heart health benefits include;
- Protecting blood vessels from rapture or dilation of arteries
- Reduction of blood pressure as a result of anxiety or stressful situations
- Managing the heartbeat rate
Are There Any Side Effects of Hemp Oil
You might ask yourself, does it intoxicate my dog? How about its safety or what precautionary measures do I need to take? Can it be substituted with marijuana? When was it legalized or is it legal in the first place? Is it the same as a weed?
To start with Hemp oil doesn’t intoxicate your dog. The THC content as discussed earlier is very low such that it makes no effect if consumed by your dog.
Despite the numerous advantages associated with Hemp oil, there are few side effects such as diarrhea, low liver enzyme production, dry mouth, lethargy and lack of saliva. However, lack of saliva is common and is nothing to worry about but if the dogs have pre-existing liver problems it’s advisable to avoid the use of this oil.
Lastly, it’s always advisable to seek a physician’s advice when administering the product to your pet.
Potential Risks of Hemp Oil
There is little research done on the risks and side effects that accompany the use of hemp products. Though some of the challenges could be:
- Toxicity of the plant
- Adverse reactions
- Mislabeling and mix-up of plant classifications
- Pesticides or other contaminants
Due to the above, there are no guarantees of consistent low THC levels and elimination the possibilities of toxic elements.
Due to the concerns raised it’s hard to prescribe the measure that will work for a pet. Most vets agree that there is little to back up the use of Hemp, so time has not been sufficient to do proper research thus determining the long term effects is not a walk in the park.
The benefits of hemp oil are way too many and with great gain to your dog compared to the risk. For that healthy dog that will keep you away from any worries just give it some supplement of hemp oil. This will ensure you boost its immune system making it healthier for longer.