As pets age, their bodies go through many of the same transformations as ours do. Their bones become more brittle, they have less energy and they are more susceptible to disease and discomfort. Working with a vet is the best way to ensure your pet’s health and vitality for the duration of their life, but these medications can produce unwanted side effects or don’t always work the way they should. Because of this uncertainty with traditional medicine, many pet owners are turning to full-spectrum hemp oil as a viable health alternative as their pets grow older.

What Is Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil?

Made from the industrial hemp plant, full-spectrum hemp oil is created after hemp leaves and flowers are dried and then pulverized. When the oil is extracted gently from that material, all the phytocannabinoids, believed to hold the key to hemp’s healing benefits, remain intact. This is different from a CBD isolate oil, which is extracted to only retain one compound, cannabidiol (CBD).

When the oil is extracted from hemp, rather than a marijuana plant, neither the full-spectrum oil or the isolate will contain THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana plants. So, your pet will not feel high from taking a CBD supplement made using this method.

How does CBD affect Dogs and Cats?

Cannabinoids have similar interactions with human and animal bodies. The endocannabinoid receptors are located in our nervous system, which plays a lead role in maintaining balance in our bodies. Cannabinoids temporarily bind to these receptors, causing some amazing health benefits.

CBD is believed to:

Treat Pain
Hemp oil is often used as a great alternative to pain pills. Rather than thinning the blood like traditional pain medication, CBD targets the sensation, which makes it a useful tool for treating different kinds of ailments throughout the body, including neuropathic pain.

Manage Seizures
Vets estimate that up to 5% of dogs suffer from seizures. They’re typically treated with drugs like phenobarbital and potassium bromide. While these prescriptions might help to reduce seizures in dogs, they’re incredibly harmful to your pet’s organs, including their liver, and are not always effective. In one study, hemp oil was found to be effective in 7 out of 8 cases with drug-resistant epilepsy, and improvements became apparent within 4 to 5 months.

Reduce Inflammation
While inflammation can be a nuisance, it is usually a symptom of a larger, underlying health concern for pets. As the immune system fights illness and disease, inflammation can exacerbate their discomfort. As dogs age, their inflammation may evolve into a chronic pain that hurts their joints and impacts their mobility. There have been multiple studies that have shown CBD to reduce inflammation all over a pet’s body.

Improve Cardiac Function
Hemp Oil is thought to improve cardiovascular health. In various studies, It has been shown to lower blood pressure and slow rapid heart rates. Heart problems are common in older dogs and can be difficult to treat. Adopting Hemp Oil for pets is a proactive step that can help reduce the risks as your pet ages.

Reduce Nausea
Hemp Oil’s most well-known effect is related to appetite. A handful of studies have shown that CBD can help to reduce nausea, even when the symptoms are a result of toxic or prescribed drugs.

Stimulate Appetite
As dogs mature, they need less food to maintain healthy organ function, but a reduction in appetite can lead to malnourishment. CBD can increase appetite in pets, in addition to reducing nausea and vomiting.

Reduce Anxiety
Pets, just like humans, experience anxiety from a wide range of stimuli. Some animals are terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks; others tremble at the thought of a haircut. The Omega-3 and Omega-9 fatty acids found in hemp oil have been proven to reduce anxiety in dogs and cats, as well as humans.

Defend Nervous System
Hemp oil has powerful antioxidant properties, which can help prevent free radicals and toxins that accelerate the aging process. As our pets get older, they experience slight personality shifts that are attributed to cell atrophy or cell death. The properties in hemp oil help to slow that decline.

Support Digestive Health
When pets experience digestion issues, it’s a problem for the whole family. One active compound in hemp oil, chlorophyll, can help dogs balance their digestion and has been known to treat stomach aches and prevent digestive diseases like Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Reduce Skin Allergies
Many pets experience seasonal and year-round skin allergies. A 2005 study determined that hempseed oil improved symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Vets believe this is because of hemp oil’s abundance in Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). Many otherwise healthy dogs are deficient in GLA, which is an essential omega-6 fat, and CBD oil can help replenish it.

Although there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that CBD has positive effects on pets’ bodies, there hasn’t been nearly enough research into either its benefits or side effects. Historically, medical professionals have struggled to get approval for research around hemp and cannabis plants. While the 2018 Farm Bill made more studies of industrial hemp possible, there’s still a way to go before we have medically-backed scientific data that supports our anecdotal experience of the long-term effects for cats and dogs.