Not since ‘ABC’ have three letters captivated the attention of consumers more. But what is CBD, what does it do and more importantly, how can it help improve the lives of our beloved four-footed family members?

What is CBD?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol (can-na-bi-dee-ohl), one of the hundreds of cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. In the last several years, consumer interest in CBD products has exploded as a result of reported health benefits. Today, more than 3 in 5 adults in the United States believe that CBD has valid medical uses, and 75 percent of those have pets, so it only makes sense to consider the implications of CBD for dogs and cats.

Despite its recent popularity, the cannabis plant has been around for centuries and can be traced back as far as 4000 BC China. It was used medicinally by Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans in 200 – 200 BC, and Arabic scholars declared cannabis an effective treatment for Epilepsy as early as 1000 AD. Early American colonists grew hemp for the British empire, and in the 19th century, Napoleon brought cannabis to France from Egypt for medicinal treatments.

What is the difference between CBD, Hemp and Marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana are broad classifications of Cannabis which are differentiated by their chemical composition (in addition to cultivation techniques).

“Hemp” is a term used to classify varieties of Cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC content. Additionally, it is widely considered to be one of the strongest natural fibers in existence. In fact, the first American flag, sewn by Betsy Ross was made from hemp.

“Marijuana” is a term used to classify varieties of Cannabis that contain more than 0.3% THC and can induce psychotropic or euphoric effects on the user.

Both hemp and marijuana can produce high amounts of CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis compound; however, it is the amount of THC present in the compounds that is the difference. While CBD derived from hemp can contain no more than 0.3% THC, CBD derived from marijuana can contain up to 30% THC content.

The Farm Bill of 2018, which was enacted January 1, 2019 made hemp and its byproducts legal in all 50 states.

CBD and Health Claims

Currently, there has been limited research about how CBD affects dogs. A study done by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine found that hemp oil was effective in managing pain in dogs. And, The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is currently sponsoring a study, through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, that will evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs.

Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence from dog owners indicates that CBD may help manage a myriad of ailments, including pain and anxiety.

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