Like us humans, many animals can not synthesize everything they need for their health. Therefore, they sometimes rely on their diet, through which they absorb certain nutrients. Essential fatty acids are initially used as building blocks for long-chain fatty acids of vital importance, the end products of which are finally absorbed by every cell in the body. Hemp seed oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are used to produce eicosanoids – so-called signaling molecules that can be anti-inflammatory but also promote.

As it is with everything in life, too much of a good thing can hurt. Although inflammation can be the cause of numerous health problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases and allergies, but they also help in some cases in healing processes. For pets suffering from diseases such as cancer or infections, supplementation with more omega-6 fatty acids may be supportive of the defense. Mainly for a good health is a balanced intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids – hemp seed oil contains these by nature in the ideal ratio. As many animal feeds are made with cheaper oils, which usually contain too much omega-6 fatty acids and too little omega-3 fatty acids,

Apart from the fact that fatty acids of balanced healing and health serve, they are particularly beneficial in terms of cardiac and renal health, growth and development, trainability, skin health and on the general mood and the shiny coat. While many soon discover the first positive effects of hemp oil supplementation in their pet, it can take about three to four months to fully develop their effects as the fatty acids are absorbed throughout the body. If the pet subsequently experiences flatulence or diarrhea, it may be due to an overdose, and the daily supplementation will simply be reduced until the symptoms diminish.

Hemp oil, which is extracted from the whole plant, contains additional components, which are not contained in the hemp seed oil. The most famous of these is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is best known for its psychoactive effects that stoned its users. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains little trace of THC (less than 0.3%) and does not make our pets “high”. Hemp oil from plant parts contains significantly more CBD (cannabidiol), which promises a potential life-saving benefit and does not cause intoxication in the same breath. CBD’s current applications include the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders, pain relief in multiple sclerosis, relief of inflammation, and protection against neurodegenerative diseases. CBD also relieves anxiety and pain, supports the immune system and heart health, and even works to fight cancer. Cannabidiol is a fascinating and safe health supplement that has garnered much media attention in recent years, and it appears as if new studies are published daily highlighting the efficacy of this substance. Because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system that responds to the body’s signals as well as to compounds found in hemp, CBD has as many potential benefits to humans as to the animal. which has received much media attention in recent years, and it seems as if daily new studies are published which illustrate the efficacy of this substance. Because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system that responds to the body’s signals as well as to compounds found in hemp, CBD has as many potential benefits to humans as to the animal. which has received much media attention in recent years, and it seems as if daily new studies are published which illustrate the efficacy of this substance. Because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system that responds to the body’s signals as well as to compounds found in hemp, CBD has as many potential benefits to humans as to the animal.

Terpenes belong to a different class of compounds that can be found in the extract of whole hemp plant parts, but not in hempseed oil. They are by no means unique to hemp or cannabis, but are commonly found in nature. Terpenes are basically responsible for making basil taste like basil and rosemary like rosemary or that oranges taste sour, and so on. Terpenes have a proven, albeit very minor health-promoting effect, and are generally so weak that they prove to be impractical supplements. In addition to offering us humans very little health benefit, terpenes can even become a source of danger to animals. Many animals, even if they seem similar to us, yet they differ greatly in their metabolism and their sensitivity to toxins from us. Everyone knows that it is not a good idea to feed a dog with chocolate. The reason for this is theobromine, a chemical that we humans tolerate well, but dogs only very slowly break down. However, cats lack specific liver enzymes called glucuronyltransferase, which are needed to break down such terpenes. Since cats are not able to effectively metabolize terpenes, it can lead to organ damage and even death when consumed. Cat owners should therefore definitely refrain from products that contain terpenes (even on the extract of whole hemp plant parts). If there are any, the few positive effects are overshadowed by the grave consequences that are to be taken seriously. Pet owners should only buy products that are specially labeled as pet food and feed them nothing that is intended for humans.

The increased research and daily new scientific evidence on the safety and effectiveness of hemp-based supplements shows that the time has come to take a look at the benefits and effects that this wonderful plant has to offer to humanity and their pets.


RESEARCH: Bioactive ingredients from industrial hemp will be used in new research to optimise the diets for sows and piglets, thus reducing post-weaning diarrhoea, the use of antibiotics and piglet mortality.

The pig industry in Denmark is challenged by high piglet mortality which is very costly for the industry. But now scientists from Aarhus University will be testing a new strategy in an effort to reduce mortality and to enhance animal welfare.

It is the industrial variety of hemp that scientists and a number of industrial partners are putting their faith into with the aid of a 6.7 million DKK (€8.9 mln) grant from the Green Development and Demonstration Programme under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Hemp contains protein, fibre and fatty acids of a very high nutritional value plus some potentially immuno-modulating substances that present a hitherto untapped bioactive resource for pigs. In the project we will focus on the potential in using protein and oil from industrial hemp as a special feed and feed supplement for piglets and sows. The cold-pressed therapeutic hemp seed oil and protein may help solve the production challenges of post-weaning scours and early mortality due to their unique ingredients, explains project leader and section manager at the Department of Animal Science, Charlotte Lauridsen.

In the project we will focus on the potential in using protein and oil from industrial hemp as a special feed and feed supplement for piglets and sows. The cold-pressed therapeutic hemp seed oil and protein may help solve the production challenges of post-weaning scours and early mortality due to their unique ingredients, explains project leader and section manager at the Department of Animal Science, Charlotte Lauridsen.

The rationale for the project is the positive experience from a pig farm where a hemp oil product was added to the diet of piglets and weaners. This led to a marked improvement in piglet survival and it is this improvement that the project participants hope to copy.

Before the effect of the hemp products can be tested in the project, processes need to be developed to remove THC from hemp (THC = tetrahydrocannabinol – a psychoactive substance that is found only in low concentrations in industrial hemp and is therefore useless for recreational purposes) so that the hemp can be used for animal feed. The project will look at the effect of hemp on piglet survival. This is done by supplementing hemp to the lactation diet for sows, which via the colostrum will provide energy and vitamin E to piglets and raise their concentration of immunoglobulin and thus their resistance to infections. Particularly energy depots and vitamin E levels are low in newborn pigs.

The project will also explore the effect of substances in hemp on post-weaning diarrhoea and the growth potential of piglets.

Fatty acid composition, protein allocation and the content and composition of fibres are important for intestinal health and immune response in pigs during the critical postweaning period. The hemp plant contains substances with therapeutic properties that are of interest for the control of inflammation of the intestines due to infection, says Charlotte Lauridsen.

Project participants estimate that the commercial utilisation of hemp products can reduce piglet mortality by 1.5 pigs per litter and that the incidence of post-weaning diarrhoea can likewise be reduced and thus the consumption of antibiotics.

E. coli is the leading cause of diarrhoea in the first few weeks post weaning, and we expect that hemp products can reduce mortality. At the same time, it is estimated that the majority of the antibiotics consumed is used to treat gastrointestinal disorders in pigs, and these disorders are therefore the major causes of the use of antibiotics in pig production, says Charlotte Lauridsen and continues:

Supplementation with hemp products will hopefully result in fewer outbreaks of postweaning diarrhoea and will improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract in piglets, which in turn will lead to a reduced need for antibiotic treatment. In addition to the expected effects on mortality, post-weaning diarrhoea and animal welfare, the project participants believe the cultivation of hemp also offers environmental benefits since its cultivation does not require pesticides.

The project started on 1 January 2014 and will run until 31 July 2017.

Aarhus University