Page 89 - August 2019
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Some hemp oils have a broad spectrum of cannabinoids while others have no cannabi- noids. “There are many ambiguities and mar- keting lingo in the hemp industry; consumers must do their own homework before buying
a product. Always read labels and check the actual amounts of CBD in the bottle. Many labels just say 500 milligrams hemp oil, but that doesn’t tell you the actual concentration of CBD,” Luedke says.
People need to realize that hemp can sometimes be over 0.3% THC, especially when certain ingredients are extracted. “If you start with a plant that has 0.1% THC and extract part of that plant, the amount of THC might be ten-fold higher in the extracted portion because the extract is more concentrated. Then it is 1% THC, which is illegal.”
People buying cannabis products need to be careful. “Make sure the company creating the product has certificates of analysis (COAs) to show what is actually in that product. There are probably at least 16 different tests for things you would potentially look for, with the most important being potency. This would address the cannabinoid profile, making sure there
are not high levels of THC. I think that if you had even 0.2% THC in a hemp product and were giving a lot of it to a horse, it would show up on a drug test. The drug test can pick up quantities in parts per million.” At VetCS, the manufacturing process uses fractional distil- lation and removes all the THC so the final product has zero percent THC.
“We know that CBD has some therapeutic properties and we need to figure these out,
including safety issues and dosing ranges. We haven’t seen any adverse side effects with the doses we’ve been giving; these horses are closely monitored—assessing appetite, manure pro- duction, behavior, etc. When more numbers of horses are given a product, however, there may be more chance for side effects—if different interactions occur with medications they are on, or considering individual sensitivities, etc.”
Some individuals should not be given can- nabinoids, and these include young animals and pregnant or lactating mares. “This would include any horses under a year of age because they are still maturing their own endocannabi- noid system. It’s the same for young humans; if we interfere with their immature system with either synthetic or plant-based cannabinoids, we might possibly interrupt the maturation of their own ECS (endocannabinoid system),” says Luedke. Pregnant or lactating mares should not be given anything that has not been proven safe for the embryo, fetus or foal.
At this point there are still many gaps in knowledge, and a lot of confusion and misunder- standing about these products. “Today it’s still a little bit the Wild West regarding current products because there are no regulations; the FDA does not recognize them,” she says. There is minimal oversight or quality control and that leaves it up to consumers to do their homework and look at the companies’ COAs. If these are not posted on the company’s website, ask to see them.
Make sure the content corresponds with what’s stated on the label and that there are no contaminants. Checking for presence of residu- al solvents, pesticides, microbial contaminants and heavy metals is important. “Hemp absorbs and amplifies whatever is in the soil,” she says.
“There may be pesticides, herbicides, etc., in those plants and those contaminants will be very concentrated in areas of the plant that
we extract the cannabinoids from. It’s scary because this is such a new thing that people don’t know what to look out for. If the advertis- ing sounds good, horse owners are likely to buy a product, but ultimately it comes down to lab analyses for that specific batch.
“That’s why every single label we send out has a lot number and expiration number and those can then be referenced to the COAs on each batch. This is important because some companies may only batch test one batch per year and batches may vary in what they con- tain. Also, because hemp farming was not legal until this past January, there’s a wide variety of different plants and biomass being marketed. You don’t know where it was grown, and it’s common to have extraction labs combine large batches of plants to be more efficient.”
The plants on the same farm can also vary greatly in their THC content from year to year, depending on growing conditions. “Therefore the most important thing is batch testing and making sure this information is available,” says Luedke.
Beth Coney, DVM, has a practice in central Kentucky with racehorses and sport horses and does chiropractic and sports therapies and a little sports medicine. She says there are a number of products now available that contain CBD, and these are considered nutraceuticals. “This means they are not food and they are not drugs and therefore they
are not controlled by the FDA. There is no guarantee that what you purchase has accurate labeling.” You are on your own, and it’s truly buyer beware.
        There are multiple species of Cannabis plants and several different strains within those species. Hemp includes varieties of Cannabis cultivated for production of fiber, seeds and their oils.
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