A Guide to Hemp Oil and CBD for Dogs: What They Are and How To Use Them Correctly

In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion of cannabis and hemp products on the health and beauty markets, and even more recently, there has been an increase in pet products that include cannabinoids.  It seems like every product touts health benefits, but how do you know what to use? What are the differences between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?  If these are beneficial for people, how are they beneficial for pets, like dogs? There are a variety of canine issues and ailments that can be treated with hempfordogs and CBD for dogs, so we’ll be looking at just a few.  Some topics we’ll cover include:

  • Hemp Oil Vs. CBD Oil: The Differences
  • Why Hemp and CBD for dogs?
  • What can Hemp and CBD Oils treat?
  • Side Effects
  • A Note on Purchasing Cannabis Products

Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil

Despite the fact that both oils are cannabinoids and products of various cannabis plants (and they are often referred to interchangeably), these two oils are different. First, we’ll look at Hemp Oil.

  • Hemp Oil:
    • Comes from hemp plants that contain low levels of cannabinoids
    • Is pressed specifically from hemp seeds
    • Doesn’t contain THC because hemp seeds don’t contain THC

So, if you have some familiarity with cannabis plants and their effects, you may be thinking “What about the THC?”  For those who may not know, THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the cannabinoid that causes that mental “high” feeling (the psychoactive effects).  Hemp oil doesn’t contain THC because hemp oil is only pressed from hemp seeds, which do not contain THC.  There are still possibilities of trace amounts of THC in hemp oil if it is manufactured in facilities that also process other parts of the plant, but commercially manufactured hemp oil is made from decontaminated seeds, leaving only the barest possible traces of THC.  Obviously if you are using hemp oil for dogs, you want it to be pure and decontaminated. Now, CBD oil is a bit different from hemp oil.

  • CBD Oil:
    • Refers to oil that contains concentrations of CBD (cannabidiol)
    • Can be extracted from hemp plants and other members of the cannabis family
    • Is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and other parts of the plant (but not the seeds!)
    • CBD oil extracted from hemp plants is high in cannabidiol and low in other cannabinoids (particularly THC)

Just as we looked at THC content in hemp oil, the THC content in CBD Oil is still very low. However, it is present in CBD Oil, even though it’s in low amounts because the oil is made from other parts of the hemp plant that contain TCH, such as stalks, flowers, and leaves.  These hemp plants are not marijuana hybrids (those contain much higher THC) are specifically bred to be high in CBD and low in THC.  CBD is a cannabinoid, or an enzyme that reacts with different systems of the body, but it reacts in a different way than the other main cannabinoid, THC; it is non-psychoactive, and in certain cases, the effects of CBD can balance or even cancel out certain effects of THC, such as anxiety. However, CBD does cause physical effects, which some people have described a “high of the body” because these cannabinoids only affect the body, not the mind.  CBD for dogsis often even more strictly regulated to make sure that the THC content is minimal to none.

Still not clear on the differences?  At the most basic levels, hemp oil does not contain THC or Cannabidiol (CBD).  It has no psychoactive properties, and it does not alter physical or mental states.  It tends to have more dietary uses than medicinal uses, as we’ll discuss below.  CBD oil is used medicinally to treat a variety of ailments and symptoms because it causes direct physical reactions.  Read on for more information about how cannabinoids affect mammals, including humans and dogs!

Why Hemp for Dogs or CBD for Dogs?

Cannabinoids have virtually the same effect on all mammals, so these oils can be administered to pets for similar reasons that they are administered to people.  Recently, veterinarians and researchers have found that correct dosages of CBD for dogs can be used to treat health conditionssuch as stress, anxiety, nausea, seizures, arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, cancer symptoms, and more.  This wide range of conditions can be treated by a single product because of how the cannabinoids in CBD or Hemp Oil react with the body’s endocannabinoid system.  This system is present in all mammals, and it is made up of a series of receptors that run through the body.  These receptors can help to modulate and transmit physical and mental responses to stimuli, things like pain, anxiety, and more, and when cannabinoids interact with these receptors to alter responses to stimuli.  Now, cannabinoids like CBD don’t heal or reverse ailments like arthritis or other pains, but they do alter how your nerves receive and transmit pain signals. 

Cannabinoids work as neuromodulators,which means they are a single compound that can have an effect on many different types of neurons and how they transmit information about specific bodily processes (like motor skills and pain responses).   Basically, it means that the oils and this system interact to change how human and dog bodies respond to things, making them a kind of natural remedy for a variety of issues, like dulling pain, and so far, research has shown CBD to have anti-inflammatory effects and help ease both the physical and mental strains of anxiety.  Think of other types of artificial pain or anxiety medications; they don’t usually treat or change the cause of the bodily response, but they do alter how the body responds to things like stress or pain.

Another important benefit of the use of natural oils is the lack of side effects.  Unlike other traditional pain medications for dogs and pets, in proper doses, “medical cannabis has no life-threatening side effects.”  Certain pain medications have strong negative effects on canine GI tracts and other major organs, and CBD for dogs doesn’t cause these kinds of serious side-effects. In addition, the proper dose ensures that dogs aren’t so affected that they’re sedated, and the lack of/very low doses THC in the oils means that they won’t be high either.

While CBD for dogs can treat medical issues and symptoms of illness, hemp oil and hemp for dogstends to have a slightly different use.  Hemp oil is often used as a dietary supplement for humans, and it has been found to work for dogs as well.  Hemp oil, like many other oils, is full of omega-fatty acids, like Omega-3 and Omega-6, and other nutrients. Because it is very low in CBD, hemp oil cannot be used as a treatment for physical symptoms of things like CBD oil can, but it functions perfectly as a dietary supplement alone.  The omega-fatty acids it provides are the kind that keep dogs’ fur and skin healthy, among other things.

The most common dog issues that can be treated with hemp oil or CBD for dogs are:

- Joint pain and inflammation

- Immobility

- Hyperactivity

- Fatty tumors

- Anxiety/stress

- Seizures

Are There Other Side Effects or Downsides?

As with any medical substance, improper use dosage can lead to issues for your canine friends, just as it would for yourself.  If a dog is overdosed on a THC-containing product (like CBD oil), they may experience “THC toxicity”, where they are—essentially—high.  Unlike humans though, in dogs, this can impair their ability to do essential tasks like move and eat.  If you suspect your dog has THC toxicity, then you should take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Another issue is that THC toxicity is the result of overdosing your dog on CBD oil, but because there has been limited research, no one is sure what the exact proper dose for dogs should be.  As a result, it is very important that you talk with your dog’s veterinarian before choosing and administering CBD for dogs, and you should always get your oils from licensed vendors to help ensure quality and safety.

Two Important Notes About Cannabis Products:

Firstly, cannabis products like Hemp oil and CBD oil are not cure-all treatments, and they must be used carefully in accordance with instructions from a veterinarian.

Secondly, the sale of marijuana products is not legal in all states, and others require people to have cards administered by doctors stating the medical necessity for cannabis products. These cards are often needed to purchase CBD oil, and veterinarians cannot administer these cards.  However, even if you happen to live in a state where you cannot purchase CBD oil or other cannabis products, hemp oil and other hemp products can often still be purchased (due to their lack of THC).


Now that we’ve looked at the differences between CBD for dogs and hemp oil for dogs, we’ll leave you with one last reminder to always talk with your dog’s veterinarian before purchasing and administering either oil (or any cannabis products!) to your pet. These products can be extremely beneficial to your dog’s health, but as with all medical products, they should be used with caution to ensure the best outcome for your canine friends.