The Cannabis Plant

Industrial Hemp

Industrial hemp, sometimes called simply hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant species. It is an extremely useful plant, originally cultivated for its fibre and seeds. Hemp seeds are often consumed as a superfood as they are high in protein, healthy fats, and essential minerals and vitamins. Recently, hemp has gained interest for its cannabinoid content, particularly CBD, or Cannabidiol. The FDA states that cannabis is considered hemp when it contains no more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight.


Cannabis is a genus of three separate plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These plants have commonly been known as “marijuana” since the 1930s. However, this term is starting to fall away as consumers are beginning to understand the history of this herb and the racial connotations behind the term. Hemp refers to a different subspecies of cannabis cultivated for its fibre and seeds. It also produces a modest amount of CBD.

The drug cultivar referred to as “marijuana” comes from the unpollinated female plant. Seedless female plants produce resinous buds that are smoked, vaporized or processed into oil.

Difference between hemp and “marijuana”

Hemp and “marijuana” are two popular names for the cannabis plant. The two plants are biologically the same species and they share the same DNA but they also differ in many ways.

The most important difference is in the chemicals they contain (cannabinoids), as this determines their effect on the body as well as the legal status of the two plants. 

Compounds derived from the Cannabis plant


Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds sharing a similar chemical structure. They are derived from cannabis plants (phytocannabinoids) and also produced naturally by the body (endocannabinoids). The most well known are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN) but there are at least 113 cannabinoids that have been studied to date. Dogs are especially responsive to these compounds because they have the highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors in their brains and bodies compared to other animals, including humans.

CBD (Cannabidiol)

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the many cannabinoids found in the stalks, leaves, and buds of the hemp plant. It has been found to reduce anxiety and has anti-pain, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant effects.


Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring cannabinoids that are made inside the cells of the body. The two major endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG. These molecules bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). They are made with the help of fatty acids like omega-3. Hemp seeds are a high-quality source of omega-3.

Endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) works inside the body to regulate a large number of functions including mood, appetite, memory, metabolism, sleep, movement and coordination, and immune response. The ECS is made up of two major types of cell receptors called CB1 and CB2. Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors in a lock and key effect and change the electrical activity of a cell. It is through this system that the body is able to interact with active chemical compounds like CBD, THC, and the other cannabinoids. The ECS maintains balance within the cells of the body. 

Entourage Effect

The resinous buds of the cannabis (referred to as “marijuana”) plant contain hundreds of therapeutic compounds including cannabinoids and terpenoids. The Entourage Effect simply refers to the synergistic effects of these therapeutic components of the cannabis plant and how they actually have more of a health benefit when paired together. This is, for example, why cannabis products containing only THC or CBD aren’t always as effective. 

Ingredients found in our Products

Cold pressed hemp seed

Cold pressed hemp seed, often referred to as hemp hearts, are extremely nutritious, a quality source of protein and essential minerals. Hemp seeds also contain linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).

Hemp Leaf CBD

Hemp leaf, like leafy green vegetables, contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals as well as beneficial cannabinoids. The most common benefit of the hemp leaf is its high CBD content while containing very little THC (no more than 0.3 percent).

Healthy Fats

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are one of two major types of fats that are essential to get from food because the body can’t make them, the other is omega-6. A balance between the two types of fats is an important part of a healthy immune system. 
  • EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, is a form of omega-3 fatty acid that is made by microalgae and concentrated in cold water fish. This beneficial fat source is difficult for human and dog bodies to produce and must be consumed from the diet. EPA is essential for brain, heart, and joint health as well as weight management and regulating inflammation in the body.
  • DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is another form of omega-3 fatty acid. This fat is just as essential as EPA as the two fats work together. DHA benefits the brain, eyes, and heart and optimizes the effects of EPA inside the body.

Found in Calming Support 

  • L-theanine is a naturally occurring compound found in green and black teas. This amino acid, or single protein, significantly increases alpha waves in the brain and promotes relaxation without drowsiness within 30 minutes of consumption. 
  • Chamomile is a potent sedative herb used to reduce anxiety and has the added benefit of calming a stressed tummy. Chamomile also helps stressed-out dogs sleep.
  • Lemon balm is a nervine or an herb that calms and relaxes the brain. Combined with its muscle-relaxing effects, this herb is excellent for all types of anxiety that dogs suffer from.

Found in Hip & Joint Support 

  • Green-lipped mussels are one of the largest in the mussel family and can only be found in the waters off the coast of New Zealand. These mussels are prized for their rich source of omega fatty acids and mineral content. Due to its high content of glucosamine and chondroitin, green-lipped mussels are great at reducing pain and inflammation. 
  • Curcumin is essentially the active component of turmeric which gives this herb its bright yellow pigment. Over 6000 studies have been done that show turmeric to be more effective than many drugs, particularly for pain, inflammation, and arthritic conditions. Curcumin is also a potent antioxidant which helps to protect tissues and organs from age-related damage.

Found in Everyday Omega 

Punicic acid is another type of fatty acid, this one found in pomegranate seed oil. It is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with a long list of benefits including regulating cholesterol levels and blood pressure, increasing immunity, decreasing arthritis pain, improves memory, and helping maintain a healthy coat and skin.

Found in Body + Oral Health Support products

  • Oregano oil is something that is gaining popularity for humans, particularly in the cold and flu season to help reduce the risk of getting sick. It is naturally a potent antibacterial and antiviral. Often referred to as “Mother Nature’s antibiotic”, even in small amounts it has been shown to reduce harmful bacteria.
  • Peppermint is a very soothing herb for digestive troubles. It also works well to reduce bad breath-causing bacteria in the mouth and helps improve breath when used regularly. 
  • Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants and algae their bright green colour. It has been shown to slow the growth rate of odour-causing bacteria, leading to better breath.
  • Olive oil mimics the oil that skin naturally produces and can help to reduce the pain of an ear infection. 
  • Honey is full of antioxidants and has natural antimicrobial activity. Studies have proven its ability to speed healing of wounds and protect wounds from becoming infected while healing. 
  • Rosehip seed oil is high in vitamin A which helps to promote the creation of healthy skin cells and smooths dry, rough skin. Beneficial fatty acids help to keep skin hydrated and healthy while reducing the appearance of skin damage.
  • Spirulina is a cyanobacterium, often referred to as a blue-green algae, that is loaded with nutrients. It has a high concentration of chlorophyll which helps with the elimination of toxins and helps to reduce odour-causing bacteria in the mouth.
  • Palo santo is a plant that contains an essential oil that has strong insecticidal effects that help to repel ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and other biting insects. Palo santo has a warm, delicately sweet and woodsy aroma that helps to freshen pet fur and bedding.
  • Lemongrass oil has recently been studied for its ability to repel mosquitoes and ants. Its fresh lemon scent helps to refresh bedding and your pet’s coat.

FAQ Section

Are True Leaf products for dogs only?

Our line is formulated for dogs, and therefore we cannot recommend that it is safe for a cat. We are planning a launch for a cat line, so please keep in touch with us and follow us on social media to keep up-to-date on our progress.

Are True Leaf products safe for pets with food allergies?

We have several different formulas available which makes finding one that aligns with your dog’s feeding needs easy. Our chews are poultry-free, wheat-free, grain-free, corn-free and we strive to use as few known allergens as possible. Our Hip & Joint formula is not suitable for dogs with a shellfish allergy, and most of our formulas contain salmon.

How long do True Leaf products take to work and how long do their effects last?

Our Calming formula has been created to work within 30 minutes of consumption and its effects last approximately 4 hours. When used over time this formula can help dogs respond to stressors in a more positive way. 

Our Hip & Joint formula takes about two weeks for full effects to begin showing but can provide pain-relief within days.

Our Everyday Omega formula has healthy benefits that begin after consumption but these are a little more difficult to perceive. 

Of course, every pet is different and special in their own way. Some notice benefits sooner, some cases are more moderate to severe and can take longer for pet guardians to notice. We recommend that you observe your pet’s response to any new product.

Are the results immediate or cumulative?

For the most part, the answer is both! Our Calming products work within 30 minutes but also have cumulative, or longer-lasting effects. Hip & Joint helps to reduce pain in the moment but, over time, helps to increase mobility and rebuild joint tissues. Everyday Omega has immediate health benefits through its potent antioxidant content and healthy omega 3 fats. Our oregano line begins to help with oral health after the first use and only gets better from there!

Are True Leaf products recommended by veterinarians?

We work with an advisory board of veterinarians who are experts in the area of cannabinoids medicine for pets to develop our formulas and dosing guides because they have clinical experience in seeing these nutrients work in their furry patients. Many veterinarians across the world recommend and sell our products for their noticeable health benefits to their four-legged patients.

Are there any conflicts/contraindications with medications or other supplements?

There are few known contraindications between the natural ingredients that we use in our products and other supplements. However, some formulas contain ingredients that can aggravate the effects of certain drugs. For example, curcumin has a slight blood-thinning effect and can increase the effects of blood-thinning drugs. Always consult your integrative, holistic or medical vet before giving your pet a new supplement. 

Will True Leaf products get my dog “high”? 

No, our products cannot get your dog “high”. Hemp seed and leaf contain virtually no THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. Most CBD oils are just CBD without the THC. They typically come from hemp, not “marijuana”. This means that dogs and humans get relaxation without intoxication. The reason dogs don’t do so well with THC is that dogs have a more complex endocannabinoid system than us with far more receptors. As a result, they feel the effects of THC more strongly than humans.

Is it possible for a pet to overdose on a True Leaf product?

True Leaf products are non-psychoactive and non-toxic so pets cannot overdose on them. Some dogs may experience some stomach discomfort if they enjoy too many chews, this is dependent on the dog’s digestive history but is not always the case.

Is the hemp seed used in True Leaf products organic?

Yes! True Leaf uses organic and 100% non-GMO hemp sourced from and grown in Canada.

Where is the hemp leaf CBD in True Leaf products sourced?

It is grown by a seventh-generation hemp farming family, Atalo, in Kentucky.  Click here for more info.

Can True Leaf products be given to healthy pets?

Of course! Even healthy pets can benefit from hemp seed to support a healthy response to environmental stressors, protect joints and ligaments from wear and tear, and boost daily omega 3 intake to help regulate immune function. 

What is the extraction process for True Leaf’s hemp oil?

True Leaf’s hemp oil is cold pressed. Our hemp seeds are extruded into a hemp cake before undergoing a corkscrew process to expel the oil from the fibers of the seed.

Can the oils be used topically?

Our oils are a nutritional supplement that are meant to be taken orally and make a very tasty food topper. We do not recommend them for topical use as the nutrients are best absorbed through the digestive tract, and some of the ingredients can stain light coloured fur and fabrics.

What is the best way to store True Leaf’s hemp oils?

The dark glass bottle and pump that we use for our oils allows for very little light or oxygen to reach the oil. This helps to protect these delicate oils from going rancid. Some of the thicker formulas are easier to dispense at room temperature. 

Deeper Dive

Contraindications or interactions with medications or supplements and hemp or CBD products for pets

There are no known negative interactions with CBD and other supplements or veterinarian prescribed therapies; however, you should never change prescription medications without consulting your veterinarian.

What is the best way to introduce my pet to hemp leaf CBD products?

We recommend starting at or below the recommended dose for your pets weight category. This gives your pets body an opportunity to build up the optimal level of cannibinoids for a funtional dose. For Hip + Joint products we recommend doubling the dose for the first 10 days, this allows for the nutrients to build up inside the joint. For the Calming product only increase the dose for occasional times of increased stress.

What does the endocannabinoid system regulate in a dog’s body?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biochemical communication system that regulates the peripheral and central nervous system (including the brain), immune system, organs, and vital body functions. It promotes a complete balance of the body, or homeostasis, ensuring the major body systems work synergistically.

What are the benefits of hemp seed for dogs?

The nutritional value of hemp seeds are impressive. They contain all of the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to sustain a healthy life. Essential fatty acids act as lipids in the walls of all the body’s cells, allowing nutrients to pass into the cell easily, and toxins to be pushed out just as easily. Hemp seeds are also especially high in minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur).

Why are antioxidants important for my dog?

Antioxidants from food are used by the body to protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage. This is essentially damage done through the process that the body uses to make energy and is a natural process of ageing. Antioxidants can help to lessen this age-related damage. This is particularly important for heart health.

Why are essential fatty acids important for my dog?

A proper balance of essential fatty acids is optimal for a healthy immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids help to decrease inflammation and omega 6 fatty acids promote healthy inflammation.

What is inflammation and why is important to mediate?

A regulated inflammatory response is an essential part of a healthy immune system. Acute inflammation helps bodies heal by drawing nutrients and white blood cells to an injured or infected area. When inflammation decreases, toxins and dead cells are removed from the area. Fluctuation in inflammation is key to healing but chronic inflammation can be damaging. It is linked to heart disease and autoimmune diseases. A healthy diet with a balanced ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 is key to balancing inflammatory response. 

Why is there so much confusion surrounding cannabis?

The “Reefer Madness” campaigns in the 1930s led to the criminalization of all forms of cannabis in the United States, including hemp. This was led mainly by special interest groups wanting to eliminate cannabis from the marketplace as it was threatening the cotton and textiles industries. This campaign also did much to confuse the various components of cannabis in attempts to convince people that it was an “evil substance” that could ruin lives, made people go crazy and had to be banned. These campaigns stigmatized all part of the cannabis plant and led to the criminalization of all forms of cannabis. Prior to 1910, cannabis and cannabis extracts were used medicinally in the United States. After 1930, Americans were introduced to the term “marijuana” by the head of the newly created Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, in attempts to cast the plant in a negative light. Now that the stigma is starting to be cleared up, it is more commonly referred to as cannabis in the industries that rely on this multi-functional plant.  

"The word 'marijuana' or 'marihuana' is an emotional, pejorative term that has played a key role in creating the negative stigma that still tragically clings to this holistic, herbal medicine," it reads. "Most cannabis users recognize the 'M-word' as offensive, once they learn its history. We prefer to use the word cannabis because it is a respectful, scientific term that encompasses all the many different uses of the plant." ~Harborside Health Center, one of California's largest and most influential dispensaries

Good Reads on Pets and Cannabis:

The primary purpose of this information is to educate and inform. True Leaf Brands Inc. does not constitute medical or professional advice or services. Please consult your veterinarian to decide which products are right for your pet.

The links listed above are not endorsed by True Leaf Brands Inc. and the opinions expressed and information provided do not necessarily represent that of True Leaf Brands Inc.

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