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I was introduced to ZuRI CBD at a CBD Expo in downtown Seattle, Washington. I purchased some products and the company was kind enough to send more products to me for my dogs.
Each week, I receive an email from a CBD oil company offering to send me their product to test on my dogs. This may sound like a dream – CBD oil for free? Sign me up!!! – but with the rapid growth of the CBD oil industry, I've had to slow down. Way down. How do I know if this company is reputable? I could be testing this “free” product on my dogs and make them sick or piss a brand off when I share that their product doesn't work for my dogs.
After SuperZoo 2019 where we saw dozens of CBD oil brands, I have a lot of questions and was stoked when Mike Dutton, Director of Product Development for ZuRI CBD, offered to provide some answers.
If you're new to CBD oil for dogs, also check out 10 Things I Learned About CBD Oil for Dogs.
1- Is Third-Party Testing Important when Buying CBD Oil?
There are a ton of CBD oil brands coming to the market. And that's not all. Random people can slap their logo on a CBD oil product. Plus there is a direct marketing company that sells CBD oil.
When wondering which product is the best, I've been told that I should check to see if a brand is doing third-party testing on the original raw materials and the final product (the oil). Think of it this way…a CBD oil brand only testing the raw materials is like a pet food company only testing the organic beef in their food, but not testing the final product we're purchasing for our dogs. What about the other ingredients in the food?
2 – If it's Hemp Oil, is it CBD Oil?
I've noticed lately that there are a lot of CBD oil brands that are calling themselves hemp oil. Is this the same?
Yes and no.
I've been told that some brands stray away from identifying their products as “CBD” because of the FDA. Amazon doesn't allow the sale of CBD oil on their website. However, this isn't the story for all brands out there.
When considering a CBD oil, we should choose a product that actually says “CBD”. Not hemp extract or hemp oil. We need to know that there is CBD in the product and when a product isn't clear about what's in the bottle, it could be trying to get away with adding a minimal amount of CBD.
Therefore, we should look for the actual mg dosage of CBD that is inside the oil. Some oils and not just the amount of the ingredients. In other words, we want to see 500 mg of CBD, not just 1 fluid ounce / 30 ml. Here are some examples ZuRI shared with me to clarify what I needed to look for when shopping for my dogs:
- A CBD Isolate that is 99% CBD contains 99 mg of CBD for every 100 mg in the bottle. That additional 1% is the carrier oil.
- Many companies out there today are using 60-70% isolate to keep the price low. Of course, when it comes to pet products, they can still charge a premium price because the pet industry knows how much we love our pets.
- When it comes to full-spectrum, a company will have 70% CBD, for example) with the balance being other trace cannabinoids. So, technically, a 500 mg bottle of full-spectrum CBD oil yields only 375 mg of CBD, however, the bottle will state 500 mg.
So, it's important to pay attention to the labeling.
3 – What About Sourcing of the Hemp?
Some companies source their hemp from farms while others grow their own hemp plants. A brand growing their own plants is a huge selling point when they're trying to convince me that they're better than other brands. But is this true?
I live in a farming community and several plots of land grow corn year after year. When the corn has been harvested, some of the lands will be seeded with grass or another crop to give the soil time to rest. Some farms alternate crops each year or don't grow anything for a season to give the soil time to rest.
Because this leads to richer soil, which benefits future crops.
So if a brand is growing their own crops, I'd be curious to know what steps they take to keep the nutrients levels high in the soil. Do they alternate plots of land? Do they alternate crops? What are they doing to ensure a high-quality plant?
Of course, whether a brand grows their own crops or sources from farmers may be obsolete given the extraction process used to separate the CBD from the hemp plant.
4 – Are Dogs More Susceptible to the Effects of CBD Oil?
Have you noticed that CBD oil for pets is more expensive than CBD oil for humans while having less strength (250 vs 500 or 1000)? This is why a lot of people will purchase human brands instead. But is this really necessary?
Originally, I thought it was because the pet industry was taking advantage of our love of our animals. I still think this is a small part of it with some brands. But there's more to it than that.
Research has shown that domestic animals have 70% more CB1 (found in the brain, the nervous system, lungs, liver, and kidney) and CB2 (found in the spleen, immune system, and gastrointestinal system) receptors as compared to humans. This is important to know because it goes to show that less is more when it comes to our dogs.
Read more about cannabinoid receptors:
- How do Different Cannabinoid Receptors Work in Pets?
- The use of cannabinoids in animals and therapeutic implications for veterinary medicine: a review
When I learned about the greater number of cannabinoid receptors in dogs, I was difficult to believe that a lower dose of CBD oil would work for my dogs. When I think about how Rodrigo reacts to the fireworks in July and the wind and thunderstorms in the fall, I know that he needs more CBD oil than my other dogs. Why is that? The reason why some dogs need more (or less) than other dogs is due to genetics. Every dog is different and genetics is always a factor whether its pets or humans so variability is always in play, but a lower dose goes a lot farther in a pet.
5 – Why is CBD Oil for Pets More Expensive?
With the rapid growth of the CBD oil market along with increasing demand, there are going to be brands that try to take advantage of the hot market to make more coin. Another reason CBD oil for pets may be more expensive is because of superior sourcing or the increased cost may be due to the addition of flavoring that appeals to pets (peanut butter, bacon).
As I learn more about CBD oil, I comparison shop on many things, including price, and if a product is more expensive than their competitors, I ask questions. It's not always due to nefarious reasons.
6 – What's the Difference Between 250 mg, 300 mg, 500 mg, and 1000mg?
When I'm shopping for CBD oil for my dog, I'm tempted to by anything that is 500 mg or 1000 mg because it seems like it'll work better. But this isn't always the case.
If a 750 mg CBD oil is 60% isolate – that means that it's actually only 450 mg CBD. However, a 500 mg CBD oil that is 99% isolate is 495 mg. We have to read the labels because we may be paying more for the 750 mg, when the 500 mg in my example is a better deal.
But that doesn't explain what the “mg” means.
Originally, I thought the “mg” was the strength of the CBD oil, however, this isn't the case. For instance, a 1000 mg CBD oil seems stronger (and more effective) than a 500 mg CBD oil. However, we also need to look at the size of the container and calculate the percentage concentration to learn the strength of the product:
- 1000 mg in a 20 ml bottle = 1000 / 200 = 5% concentration
- 1000 mg in a 10 ml bottle = 1000 / 100 = 10% concentration
After learning this, my first reaction is to get a smaller bottle of 1000 mg and give Rodrigo a few droppers full, but it's recommended to start small and work our way up when learning the dosage that will work for a specific dog.
Every bottle of CBD oil I've tried gives recommendations, however, if you're buying a bottle marketed to humans, it's not going to tell you how much to give your dog, which is another reason to start low and slowly build up.
7 – Do CBD Treats Really Work
If you do a poll on social media, you'll find some people who say that a particular brand works great while others will say that you have to give your dog oil in order to see an impact. I agree with both camps.
One brand that makes treats that work with my dogs is CBDmd. They have 750 mg dog treats and a couple of treats a couple of hours before a storm or fireworks has made all the difference in my dogs. The problem is that they are expensive and when you have big dogs, you can go through a bag of treats quickly.
My veterinarian recommends CBD oil products over treats because the oil is quickly absorbed into the gums (when you put the oil directly into their mouth). However, a treat will have to go through the digestive system and only a portion of the CBD actually makes it to the receptors.
Basically, oil is best for more immediate relief of symptoms of anxiety.
What if CBD Oil Doesn't Work with Your Dog?
When we added the fifth dog to our family, we were introduced to separation anxiety. Apollo would go nuts if we left him at home for more than an hour. It broke my heart to see him freaking out and crying. I tried CBD oil and it didn't work and then someone gave me a fabulous tip that worked beautifully with our dog.
I've found that CBD oil works best when I give it to them two hours before or after a meal and add it directly into their mouths. Not all of my dogs like the taste of CBD oil, so I prefer to get the oil flavored with bacon – that's a hit in our house.
8 – Is an Isolate as Effective as Full Spectrum CBD Oil?
There is a lot of different thoughts about the effectiveness of isolates vs full-spectrum CBD oils.
One person told me that isolates are more effective because the manufacturer has isolated the CBD oil, allowing us to get a product that has more CBD oil, which is what we want. Right?
Another person told me that full-spectrum is more effective because it contains everything, allowing the CBD to actually work. The example that comes to mind is Vitamin C versus eating an orange. We can take Vitamin C, but if we eat an orange instead, we get all of the nutrients in the orange that make the Vitamin C so effective.
Of course, we also have to eat a ton of oranges to get the amount of Vitamin C we need. See why this is confusing to me? So, I decided to ask someone who has experience with CBD oil.
- Isolate CBD Oil: an isolate is when only the CBD is extracted from the hemp plant and it turns out that this IS the purest form of CBD, especially if a product is 99% isolate and not 60% or 70% as I mentioned above. But just because it's the purest, doesn't mean that it's the most effective.
- Full-Spectrum CBD Oil: a full-spectrum product is when all of the compounds of the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC found in the plant, are extracted when making the CBD oil and it all works together (the Entourage Effect) to strengthen the effectiveness of the oil. In my research, I came across a 2005 study to support the effectiveness of full-spectrum CBD.
- Broad Spectrum CBD Oil: broad-spectrum seems to be the best of the three options because the entire plant is used, so we get the entourage effect, and 100% of the THC is removed, so it's no longer a concern for folks who want or need to avoid even trace amounts of THC.
Read More About Isolate, Full-Spectrum, and Broad Spectrum:
- Full Spectrum CBD vs Broad Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate
- The Entourage Effect: Unlocking the Full Potential of Cannabis
- CBD vs THC: What’s the Difference?
Isolate CBD Oil for Dogs
With all that being said, I tend to reach for the isolate CBD oils when I shop for my dogs. Not because of the trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum, but because of what I've learned about dogs and CBD oil so far.
When buying CBD oil for myself, I look for a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum. However, I know that dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than humans, which means that the CBD oil I purchase for them, as long as I'm buying from a reputable brand, is going to be more effective for them, especially when I buy a bottle that has the most CBD oil and isn't competing for space with other compounds found in a plant.
Yes, I know that I talked up the Entourage Effect, but I don't know if that really matters for my dogs.
Over the years, I've tried so many CBD oils and I saw effectiveness in both isolates and full-spectrum CBD oils and I think the success was due to the brand as well as the processing because most of the CBD oils I've tried didn't seem to do anything, however, I have a shortlist of oils that are very effective with my crew.
If I had to choose between isolates and full-spectrum, I'd go with the former because by keeping the percentage of CBD at the highest (Isolate up to 99%), my dogs will gain the most amount of cannabinoids present, which will bring the best overall wellness. It's the 99% that makes isolates more attractive to me. My concern is that the amount of CBD in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products will be less than 70%. The other cannabinoids can only help out in certain areas versus the whole body.
Mike Dutton of ZuRI CBD explained why he recommends isolates by using Vitamin C as an example (what is it about oranges?). While it may seem like having all of the compounds in the hemp plant would be more effective, it may not be the case. “Many people believe that these are important factors to have, but it is also like a multivitamin versus Vitamin C. I want an immune system boost, so I take only Vitamin C instead of my daily multivitamin.”
9 – Why is the FDA Coming Down on CBD Oil Brands?
If you head over to Amazon and search for CBD oil, a ton of hemp oil products will populate your screen. For a while, I thought these were scammers who were trying to fool us into buying an ineffective product thinking that it would have the same benefits as CBD oil. I know I sound like a crazy suspicious person, but whenever a supplement or food becomes popular, all kinds of shady people come out of the woodwork.
Thankfully, I connected with a person who used to sell products on Amazon and learned that the site doesn't allow the sale of CBD oil products, which is why we see hemp oil.
But it doesn't stop there. I'm beginning to see CBD oil sold through independent websites changing the wording and toning down the benefits, and it makes me wonder if the FDA is coming down on the CBD oil industry. I asked around and a lot of companies are changing the copy on their website. Where we used to see claims that CBD products reduce seizures, kill cancer cells, and assist with anxiety and depression – we're going to now see brands tread carefully in this area unless their product is FDA approved, which means that they are allowed to make these claims. At this time, the only CBD product that is FDA approved is Epidiolex for Seizures. Which uses CBD Isolate.
10 – is CBD Extracted from Marijuana Plants Effective?
If you would have asked me prior to this post, I would have said that CBD extracted from hemp plants is more effective. That's wrong. I've been told that CBD is CBD, whether it's derived from hemp or marijuana plants. The difference is that hemp plants are high in CBD and very low in THC. Where marijuana plants are the opposite, high in THC, and low in CBD. It makes more economic sense to derive CBD from hemp plants.
“Among the 2018 Farm Bill’s broad-ranging provisions, it legalizes the cultivation and sale of hemp at the federal level, effective January 1, 2019. […]Despite the fact that neither hemp nor hemp-derived CBD contain significant amounts of THC, until December 20, 2018, hemp was categorized as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, the main federal criminal law regarding prohibited drugs, alongside narcotics such as heroin. As such, it was generally illegal at the federal level to cultivate, possess or distribute the hemp plant or CBD derived from the hemp plant, although certain inert portions of the Cannabis sativa L. plant (hemp or marijuana), such as the stalks or non-germinating seeds, could be bought or sold.”~ Perkins-Coie, a Seattle based law firm.
The reason people may ask about what plant was used is that there are additional nutrients that each plant provides. Mike Dutton of ZuRI CBD explained that it's “the same as a vegetarian seeking an Iron supplement not made from an animal product. It is still Iron but the sourcing is the key.”
CBD Oil Products that I Prefer for My Dogs
When it comes to CBD oil for my dogs, I've learned to read the labels, check the company's website for third party testing, sourcing information, and the amount of CBD available in the bottle.
I also received an opportunity to try a few ZuRI CBD products and highly recommend the following:
ZuRI Daily CBD Pet Chews
I loved these chews and they do work. I gave them to our puppy to tone down his separation anxiety and they did help. They're chewy and the dogs take them as a treat. Although I've been told that CBD chews and treats are not as effective because of the additional processing and having to go through the digestive system – ZuRI daily CBD pet chews are made to have a high absorption rate in our dogs.
ZuRI Pet Wellness Drops Large Breed
I love the pet wellness drops and *hint hint* this the CBD oil. It has a smokey bacon flavor (I've tasted it) and the dogs love it. I pump it into my hand (there isn't a dropper to put in their mouth) and the dogs lick it right up.
Some people have told me that CBD oil with a flavor isn't the best for dogs and I get it. It's just another additive that makes us question sourcing. But having tasted each brand that I buy for my dogs, I can tell you that this one was delicious and made me miss bacon. I miss steak too.
Anyway, I highly recommend the wellness drops.
Shop ZuRI CBD…
You can purchase products from ZuRI CBD on their website: ZuRICBD.com/Pets