The legal cannabis industry in Oregon continues to see its ups and downs in terms of what's allowed, and how local residents feel about allowing THC-focused farms near their homes and businesses. But one portion of the cannabis biz is fully legal: The hemp industry, which produces plants that can be used to make cannabidiol products.
In Central Oregon, the outdoor farms you've been seeing with acre upon acre of buds blowing in the wind aren't being grown to get people high—but to provide potential pain relief benefits for both people and animals. The hemp industry in Oregon and elsewhere continues to see massive growth following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which took hemp off the list of Schedule 1 drugs. In 2018, Oregon farmers grew about 7,000 acres of hemp; in 2019, it was over 50,000 acres, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Hemp, unlike its marijuana relative, has to contain less than .03% of THC for it to be considered non-intoxicating, and thus, federally legal.
While growing hemp has reportedly led to a reduction in the amount of alfalfa available for livestock in the region, it's also opened up the doors for local companies to experiment with crafting CBD products specifically for animals. For example, Desert Green Hemp—a collective of Central Oregon hemp farmers—offers several products for animals, including its Equine Blend for horses, and a Companion Support Blend.
These days, many veterinarians are recommending CBD products for animals to manage anxiety, skin problems, joint pain, cancer, digestive and skin issues and even seizures.
"I do think CBD oil can be beneficial for dogs and treating certain conditions," Steven Blauvelt, a veterinarian and owner of Four Paws Wellness Center, said in an October Source Weekly article. "I would say the primary use in my practice is for middle-aged to older dogs with osteoarthritis, using a CBD product to treat inflammation and pain associated with that arthritis."
- Nicole Vulcan
Scientific research is starting to prove out the benefits, too. A report from Colorado State University's College of Veterinarian Medicine and Biomedical Sciences study on treating dogs with epilepsy with CBD oil found a significant reduction of epilepsy in those dogs.
Still, vets and other experts warn about looking out for false claims. With the Food and Drug Administration yet to post guidelines around the use and dosages of CBD, it's still something of the Wild West out there.
"The lack of regulations has allowed so many products to boast false claims," Kim McCohan, chief officer of happiness for Bend Pet Express, told the Source in an October article. "As a pet parent it might be harder to get these answers, but you can ask the retailer or your vet and they should be able to find out."
Bottom line: CBD may be beneficial for your best friend—but a consultation with a vet to talk details should be the first part of the process.