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Cannabis: Understanding What’s Available in Canada and the Potential Benefits to our Beloved Pets      

Dr. Al Townshend, DVM

Interest in the Cannabis plant and the benefits for pets has grown significantly in the past few years. Many nutritional and health benefits have been claimed by consumers and manufacturers of products for pets. Human research has shown a significant benefit to humans, and many feel it is reasonable to assume the same benefits would occur in dogs and cats. Scientific research on animals is currently limited; however, newer studies suggest that dogs, cats, and horses can benefit from certain substances found in Cannabis.

There is significant consumer confusion regarding the different Cannabis plants, which ones are legally available in Canada, and their benefits.



Cannabis plants include Marijuana and Hemp. There are three different species of Cannabis called Marijuana, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis sativa is also known as Hemp. Both the Marijuana and the Hemp variety are the same plant with the same scientific name (Cannabis sativa) and precisely the same DNA. The difference between the two is in the level of a specific cannabinoid psychogenic substance called THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which causes a hallucinogenic effect.

Marijuana contains the highest levels of THC and is strictly regulated as a schedule 1 controlled substance. There are no Marijuana derived products available in Canada for pets, and only one approved for humans in the USA.

Hemp plants are defined as those Cannabis sativa plants that contain less than 0.3% THC.

Both Marijuana and some parts of the Hemp plant contain another cannabinoid substance called CBD (Cannabidiol). The flowers, stems, and leaves of the Hemp plant can contain CBD; there is no CBD in the Hemp plant’s seeds.


What Hemp Products are Available?

Hemp Seed Oil

  • There is no CBD in hemp seed oil.
  • Hemp seed is known as a superfood because of the natural beneficial nutrients in them.
  • The seeds contain protein, Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid, and other nutritional antioxidants. It is also high in vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins and vitamin D.
  • Benefits are thought to include joint health, immune support, improved skin and hair coat, kidney, and heart health.


Hemp Oil

  • Hemp oil available in Canada is made only from Hemp seeds and is technically the same as Hemp Seed Oil.
  • What is known as Full Spectrum hemp Seed Oil is made from the flowers, leaves, stems, stalks, and seeds do contain CBD. Unfortunately, Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is not available in Canada.


The Law 

  • In Canada, Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed Oil are the only products allowed to be sold.
  • There are currently no approved CBD drugs for animals, meaning there is no legal pathway to obtain these products for animals in Canada. Unfortunately, there are a few retail and private individuals violating the law and selling these products. Canadian law enforcement is making an effort to identify these individuals and stop the illegal sale.
  • Until CBD products can be legally purchased in Canada, Pet Planet will be unable to provide them.
  • Likewise, currently, there are no approved veterinary drugs with CBD available for animals.

Reducing confusion and providing a better understanding of the potential benefits of all the products in Pet Planet stores allows the Guardian to make the best choices for their pets.

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