Written by Maryanna Phinn
The choices online or at your local retailers for CBD supplements sourced from hemp are many and are often confusing. Does it really matter if you feed your horse CBD powder versus CBD pellets? The short answer is yes. CBD pellets contain mold inhibitors and fillers that act as binders to formulate the pellets, while high quality CBD powder is produced organically. At Doc’s Hemp, for example, our CBD powder for horses is produced from the whole plant minus the fillers and preservatives.
In the United States, now that hemp or cannabis sativa can be grown legally, one of the most popular reasons to grow consumable varieties of the plant is for its abundance of cannabidiol or CBD found in the leaf and buds. CBD from hemp has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or no psychoactive properties, unlike the much higher levels found in hemp’s “cousin” plant, marijuana. Different hemp products may use full spectrum hemp versus broad spectrum hemp. The one major difference between the two is that broad spectrum is THC free. This requires an extra refinement process whereas full spectrum uses the entire hemp plant with nearly undetectable amounts of THC.
CBD powder, such as Doc’s Hemp Powder, for horses or other larger dogs or farm animals is a more cost-effective and purer approach to safely add CBD to the animal’s regular diet. Some horse owners may prefer the pellets because they are considered more convenient and sometimes easier to administer. But, the important thing to remember is to do your research before purchasing any of these products.
Active and Inactive Ingredients in CBD Powders versus Pellets
If your goal is to buy a pure, organic product with no additives, preservatives or other ingredients for your horse, you should closely read the labels for active and inactive ingredients. This is important to consider when buying CBD powders or pellet. Are there other ingredients added to the product? What are the inactive ingredients? Do the inactive ingredients, which are usually preservatives, flavorings and mold inhibitors, change the level of effectiveness?
Doc’s Hemp Powder uses the supercritical CO2 extraction method to obtain pure CBD and other cannabinoids, oil and nutrients exclusively from the whole hemp plant with no additional fillers. You can read about the CO2 extraction process here. The natural flavor is mild and tolerated well by most horses. The powder’s ingredients extracted from full spectrum hemp are straightforward – the hemp meal contains 20% plant protein, 30% fiber, CBD, Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabichromene (CBC), terpenes, flavonoids and essential amino acids.
Let’s compare several CBD pellet products (identified as Pellet A through D) produced in the United States that have inactive ingredients and additives.
Pellet A is produced from broad spectrum hemp plant and contains CBD and other phytocannabinoids. It also has inactive ingredients called Apple-Ade and Myco CURB. Apple-Ade is a brand name for a flavoring agent. Myco CURB is the brand name of a dry mold inhibitor for processed feed ingredients and animal feeds. Its ingredients include preservatives such as calcium propionate, sodium propionate, propionic acid, benzoic acid, sorbic acid, propylparaben methylparaben and butylated hydroxyanisole. It also contains phosphoric acid, silicon dioxide, ammonium hydroxide and lemon oil.
Pellet B notes that its active ingredient is CBD from hemp extract. It does not specifically indicate that it is sourced from broad spectrum hemp; however, elsewhere on the product’s website it is noted that the raw CBD contains less than 0.3% THC. The inactive ingredients in this pellet are: alfalfa meal, artificial flavor (apple), hemp seed oil, propionic acid, sunflower lecithin and sunflower meal. Pellet A and Pellet B both contain mold inhibitors, such as propionic acid. Propionic acid is permitted in animal feed and human foods primarily as a mold inhibitor according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Pellet C lists its active ingredient as PCR 0.3% - 0.5%. But there’s no definition of the acronym “PCR” on the label. PCR stands for “phytocannabinoid rich.” In short, PCR is supposed to contain not only CBD but also other cannabinoids and numerous terpenes. In the overall product description, it lists “full spectrum CBD” as its primary ingredient. The inactive ingredients are: protein (20%), fiber (50%), carbohydrates (30%) and 0.3% PCR hemp extract. Of note, the key selling points listed on the product’s website include “antimicrobial and mold inhibitors to ensure freshness” and “molasses added for natural flavor.”
Pellet D lists its active ingredient as 25% CBD. On the website, there is mention of its CBD products as “THC free.” The inactive ingredients for this pellet product are: oat flour, pea flour, organic hemp seed powder, hemp oil, banana, fenugreek and sorbic acid, which is a widely used food preservative.
As you can see from our pellet comparisons, there are plenty of hidden fillers, mold inhibitors and preservatives or “inactive ingredients” in the pellets. In addition, some products clearly list if the hemp is full spectrum versus broad spectrum but others do not make that distinction.Every horse has unique dietary and wellness needs. Whatever you decide to purchase, make sure the final product is verifiably third-party tested, has a certificate of analysis and uses the highest quality consumable hemp plant, preferably grown sustainably in the United States that are free of toxins, chemical fertilizers, heavy metals and pesticides