We first need to establish that hemp seed oil does not come from a marijuana plant, so don’t worry; it won’t make your pet high. Hemp seed oil is extracted from the hemp plant, one of the many Cannabis sativa plant family species. The marijuana plant is also part of this family, and one way to think of marijuana and hemp is that they are cousins. They are, however, genetically distinct, and they can be further distinguished by their use and chemical makeup.
Marijuana is used to describe a Cannabis sativa plant bred for its potent, resinous glands, which contain high amounts of THC (15-20%), known for its psychoactive properties. Hemp, on the other hand, describes a Cannabis sativa plant with only trace amounts of THC (<0.3%). Marijuana has intoxicating amounts of THC, hence why marijuana is not safe and illegal. Unlike marijuana, hemp is low in THC (<0.3%) and is therefore perfectly safe and legal.
Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional profile of the hemp seed oil
Hemp seeds are a good source of essential nutrients such as protein, fatty acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals, without excess calories, starches and sugars. As such, hemp seed oil is an excellent nutritional supplement to support and improve your pet’s health.
Essential Fatty Acids
Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, typically comprising 35% of the seed. One tablespoon of hemp seed oil typically contains 14 grams of fat, of which only 1 gram is saturated. This low saturated fat content is another great benefit of using hemp seed oil instead of animal fats.
More specifically, hemp seed oil typically contains:
- High amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid, linoleic acid (LA / omega-6), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA / omega-3) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). The LA: ALA ratio usually exists in hemp seed oil at a 3:1 level. This ratio has been purported to be ideal for a healthy diet.
- Hemp is currently one of the very few natural food sources of gamma-linolenic acid. GLA is a key anti-inflammatory fat; it regulates hormones and supports healthy skin and coat. GLA is considered “conditionally essential.” That means pets need to get GLA from their diet. LA converts to GLA, but this conversion needs a specific enzyme (D6D) and five key nutrients (magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B3, and vitamin B6), all of which are abundant in hemp seed oil.
Hemp seed oil also contains all essential amino acids (building blocks of protein). Also, it has surprisingly high levels of the amino acid arginine, a metabolic precursor for the production of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule now recognised as a pivotal signalling messenger in the cardiovascular system that participates in the control of haemostasis, fibrinolysis, platelet and leukocyte interactions with the arterial wall, regulation of vascular tone, a proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, and homeostasis of blood pressure.
Essential Minerals and Vitamins
Hemp seeds are packed with Vitamin E (antioxidant), C and B and all essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, and zinc. Notably, hemp seeds contain a significant amount of iron (20 % of the recommended daily diet). This helps prevent iron deficiency or anemia.
Significant Amount of Soluble and Insoluble Fibre in Hemp Protein
Hemp seeds typically contain 27% carbohydrates, primarily as fibre and as such, serve as a good source of dietary fibre to help promote healthy digestion.
Health Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil for Immune System Support
Hemp seed oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3 and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) fatty acids., hemp seed oil helps your immune system fight chronic inflammation. The benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids are widely known, but few know about one other fatty acid, equally important and powerful, the GLA acid.
The GLA in the hemp seed oil exerts immune-modulating effects, regulates genes that affect cell death (apoptosis) and cell growth, and enables the release of cytokines that help control the growth and activity of immune system cells and signal the immune system to do its job. GLA deficiency leads to increased and ongoing inflammation and immune dysfunction.
A compromised immune function will have a devastating effect on dogs’ health, making them more susceptible to infections, bacteria over-growth and viruses. If left untreated, chronic inflammation can lead to premature aging and cause or promote arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, pancreatitis, cardiac diseases, diabetes and various autoimmune diseases.
Adding hemp seed oil to your pet’s daily regimen is a sure way to give them all the GLA they need to fight chronic inflammation to support and boost their immune system. For more insight into the anti-inflammatory action of GLA and the immune-modulating role it plays in your supporting pet’s health and longevity, read GLA - hemp seed oil’s secret weapon to fight inflammation.
Hemp Seed Oil for Joint Health and Arthritis
Arthritis is characterised by inflammation of a single joint or several joints. This can occur naturally over time due to wear and tear or may be linked to a specific injury or disease process.
The almighty duo of the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acid and GLA in hemp seed oil helps fight the inflammation in the affected joints, reducing swelling and pain.
For general joint health support to delay the onset of arthritis or to slow down the progression of arthritis in senior dogs, we recommend BUDDYPET Milly.
Hemp Seed Oil for Brain Health
Brains love fatty acids! The more, the better. The essential fatty acids and polyphenols in hemp seed oil can help improve memory and slow down age-related brain function decline.
Hemp Seed Oil for Mental Health
Hemp seed oil has been shown to reduce anxieties and disorders like PTSD in people through a combination of effects of the anti-inflammatory actions of the fatty acids, the antioxidant actions of Vitamin E and the anti-depressant actions of phytosterols and similar effects have been reported in animals.
Hemp Seed Oil for Heart Health
Rich in linoleic acid, hemp seed oil helps reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Lowering LDL levels (bad cholesterol) reduces the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Hemp Seed Oil for Gut Health
The ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in hemp seed oil is 3:1, which is purported to support health in general and, more specifically, promote the good microbes in the gut flora, improving digestion. Furthermore, a review of studies suggests that the GLA in hemp seed oil is effective in relieving symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Hemp Seed Oil for Atopic Dermatitis and Skin & Coat Health
In human studies, the consumption of hemp seed oil was clinically proven effective in improving the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. The improvements resulted from the optimal balance and abundant supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids in hempseed oil.
Rich in vitamin E (antioxidant) and anti-inflammatory gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), hemp seed oil helps to reduce skin inflammation, modulate a healthy immune response to allergens and invaders, and boost your dog’s first line of defence, the skin barrier. Hemp seed oil can also be applied topically to the affected areas, providing soothing relief to itchy skin.
If your dog was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, we recommend that you try BUDDYPET Marley dietary supplement and change to 100% natural shampoo and conditioner products like BUDDYPET Poppy and George.
Hemp Seed vs Hemp Oil: What is the Difference?
Hemp seed oil is obtained by pressing only the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp oil is derived from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant.
Hemp seed oil is technically a food product, well, a superfood! Hence why we often refer to it as a dietary nutritional supplement. Hemp oil is a botanical extract, and it is a medicine.
Hemp oil is high in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis resin, one of the most common cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, hence why hemp oil is more commonly known and referred to as CBD oil.
As the chemical make-up of seeds is very different from that of flowers and leaves, hemp seed oil and hemp CBD oil are two different products, and as such, they work on different pathways to deliver their healing properties.
Hemp seed oil works through the action of fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols.
Hemp (CBD) oil works through the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS comprises millions of cannabinoid receptors located primarily throughout the brain, central nervous system and immune system that act in neural communication.
Hemp (CBD) oil can do everything that hemp seed oil can and more. Hemp (CBD) oil is thought to be more effective than hemp seed oil for advanced stages of arthritis and severe cases of anxiety and PTSD. Furthermore, hemp (CBD) oil can help pets with seizures and cancer in ways that hemp seed oil cannot.
For more information about hemp CBD oil and how to buy it in Australia, please read Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil for Pets: Health Benefits.
Some companies call their hemp seed oil products hemp oil, hemp drops, elixir, nectar and potion, unintentionally misleading their customers into thinking they are buying CBD oil. If you are specifically looking for hemp oil with CBD in it, make sure to clarify the source of the oil (seeds or flowers and leaves) and confirm if their hemp product contains cannabidiol (CBD). If the answer is no, the product they are selling is hemp seed oil.
Note that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority have not approved (legalised) the CBD oil yet. Currently, the only legal distribution of CBD products is by veterinarians under prescribing rights and for research purposes only. Any other supply of CBD products for use in animals in Australia is illegal, except for S4 CBD oil products (medical cannabis) approved and registered with TGA for off-label use.
 Callaway J, Schwab U, Harvima I, Halonen P, Mykkänen O, Hyvönen P, Järvinen T. Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis. J Dermatolog Treat. 2005 Apr;16(2):87-94. doi: 10.1080/0954663 0510035832. PMID: 16019622.