Do Vets Recommend CBD?

In 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into law, making hemp legal in the United States. But, with this massive step forward came a whole lot of confusion for pet parents everywhere.

Ultimately, the Farm Bill legalized hemp, but it made the crop a highly regulated one, both for personal and industrial production, which means that laws around hemp-derived products, such as CBD, are not so straightforward.

And while this new bill allowed and protected research about hemp use in humans, the same did not go for veterinary cases. In other words, cannabis and CBD for pets are stuck in a grey area: legal yet unapproved for your favorite companion. 

So, the question remains. Do vets recommend CBD? Let’s get into it…

Why can’t vets recommend or prescribe CBD for pets?

As of July 2021, 36 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use by people—or both. And yet, none of these laws account for use of cannabis in veterinary medicine.

The result is a world where the hemp industry is booming and stores are being lined with supplements for animals and humans alike, and yet most veterinarians cannot even speak about cannabis and CBD with their clients. 

States with more established cannabis industries, such as California and Nevada, are more lenient with their veterinary restrictions. In fact, a bill passed in May 2021 will take effect on October 1, 2021, making Nevada the first state in the U.S. where veterinarians may recommend and administer CBD, if the products contain no more than 0.3% THC, to patients without fear of disciplinary action. 

Until this legislation, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association:

“California [was] the only state to specifically address veterinarians’ ability to engage with clients, indicating that veterinarians can discuss the use of cannabis for medical purposes with clients without being disciplined by the veterinary medical board solely for having that conversation.”

With the existing law, Californian vets cannot prescribe, dispense, or administer any cannabis or cannabis-based products, including CBD. However, a newly proposed bill is fighting to change this as well. 

The only other states with explicit language that allow veterinarians to have a conversation with their clients about cannabis for pets are Michigan and New York. 

Other states like Washington are stuck with unclear laws. Their State Department of Health even admits “Due to confusion on federal and state levels, we’re unable to give guidance on the legality of providing advice to clients regarding cannabis use.” 

Then, states like Utah have no state veterinary board and lump all medical professionals into the same category, providing Utah vets with absolutely no clear guidance on what does and does not put their license at risk when it comes to hemp and cannabis.

Further still, many states, such as Georgia, follow the lead of the FDA, DEA and AVMA and don’t allow the recommendation of cannabis-derived products for veterinary use.

Want to do something about this?

Contact your federal, state, and local elected leaders to improve the current veterinary cannabis laws. Visit https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials to do your part today. 

Overall, vets are put in a difficult position with respect to guidance from their state boards and this means some cannot or will not mention cannabis to clients. That’s in part why we founded Canna Companion: to provide education where it’s prohibited or not yet available.

There are many complex considerations around giving hemp to your pet: how the specific product works, proper quantities, possible drug interactions, side effects, etc. As state boards are still only learning, businesses like ours are spending every waking moment providing this exact education to our clients. 

Other organizations like Veterinary Cannabis Society and Veterinary Cannabis.org are also trying to change this gap in education and help pet parents understand what to buy and how to administer it. 

So, as your resident veterinarian cannabis experts, we can help you determine whether CBD and cannabis supplements are appropriate for your pet. 

Do vets recommend CBD?

The truth is that CBD supplements may not be right for every pet. It is important to understand the way cannabis and hemp interact with other prescription medications and/or supplements that your pet is currently taking. 

Moreover, not all CBD-containing products are labeled accurately. They may claim to have certain levels or ratios of CBD to THC, but unless you are finding reputable, third-party lab-tested products with a NASC Seal, you may be unknowingly risking your pet’s life. 

One thing all veterinarians – proponents of cannabis or not – can agree on is that supplemental care should always be discussed with an attending veterinarian. 

While your primary care veterinarian may be restricted in what they can and cannot discuss with you about your pet’s health, we at Canna Companion are happy to cover it all. In addition to being able to ship our highest-quality products to states where veterinarians cannot even talk about hemp with their clients, our consultations can answer every question under the sun as it applies to your specific pet. 

Long story short: we are the veterinarians you never knew you needed. 

Our free consultations are meant to answer this exact question for your pet’s unique needs.Just as anti-inflammatory drugs are not appropriate for all humans, CBD and cannabis supplements may not be beneficial for every pet.

Our entire management and advisory team is made up of highly esteemed doctors of veterinary medicine, licensed veterinary technicians, and veterinary cannabis counselors. Whether it’s your dog or cat or your horse, bird, or alligator, we are equipped to give you custom recommendations that are appropriate for your pet.

Overall, our team of veterinary professionals and consultants are able to provide you with the full picture. Through our consultations and deep knowledge of the field, we will be able to help you navigate the murky waters and determine whether or not CBD is right for your pet. 

Book a free consultation today and learn more about whether or not CBD is recommended for your pet.

What can CBD do for cats?

As Charles Dickens once said, “What greater gift than the love of a cat.” Whether you’re a new cat parent or your feline friend has been around for a while, you know this is certainly true.

That’s why at Canna Companion, we are dedicated to your pet’s well-being, so you can give that love right back.

Unfortunately, some things are out of your hands. For instance, in our ECS Series, we explain how aging combined with normal daily activities can place stress on all aspects of your cat’s joints.

As a cat caretaker, it is crucial to understand what is going on in your older cat’s body to help support them in maintaining a healthy range of motion throughout life.

Similar to humans, animals experience normal changes in their bodies as they age. These changes can create stress and discomfort resulting in alterations to their normal bodily processes.

Picking up on feline discomfort and the reasons behind it is the first step to being able to effectively care for your pet.

What CBD can do for your cat

While aging is a normal part of life, discomfort and anxiety associated with that process should not be. CBD and cannabis for cats can provide a range of benefits so your four-legged friend can be on the prowl without a worry.

CBD for cat anxiety

Much like us, cats can also experience symptoms of stress and anxiety that result in a sudden change in mood, behavior, and overall well-being. Short-term stressors like changes in the environment and conflicts with other pets can result in other issues such as poor grooming habits or reduced activity.

Cannabinoids like the ones in CBD pet supplements can help by supporting receptors within your cat’s endocannabinoid system and assist in the regulation of mood, sleep patterns, and other normal processes.

CBD for cat mobility

Just as in humans, there are a lot of changes in felines that come with aging.

While cannabidiol can’t do anything to turn back time, many pet owners have found that cat CBD supplements can help your feline friend move around better and go back to the days of chasing lasers and balls with a little more comfort and/or energy.

If you have an aging pet that needs additional support, CBD oils are a great place to start. Learn more about how you can introduce supplements for your pets into their routine the right way.

Is CBD safe for cats?

Even with humans, medical cannabis consumption must be done carefully to ensure that you are using the right product and the right amount. At the end of the day, there are tons of CBD products out there that claim to work. However, if a supplement is formulated without true quality assurance, it may end up being toxic to your cat. 

As with anything that has to do with your cat’s health, we encourage you to do your due diligence. 

Here are some things to look out for when purchasing cannabis or CBD for cats:

  • Ensure that the product has been tested for both contaminants and quality through a third-party lab. This means there should be lab reports for each product batch.
  • Read up on businesses that have the NASC Seal of Quality (like us!) to learn about reputable brands that are certified as committed to creating quality animal products.
  • Make sure the brand you choose can answer every little question you have. This is why Canna Companion offers free consultations for our customers who want to get personalized help for their cats without worrying about all the conflicting opinions on the internet. 

CBD dosing: Start low and go slow

Once you find a brand you can trust, you need to assess what quantity your cat needs to be relieved of its stressors. This can take some trial and error, so it’s best to start low and go slow. For more guidance on how to arrive at the proper amount for your cat, check out this article on how to use CBD for your cat

Wondering if CBD is right for your cat? Talk to one of our licensed veterinarians

If you are unsure about which amount of CBD or product to select, it is always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian that understands your cat’s needs. Canna Companion offers free consultations with our licensed veterinarians so you can get the answers to all your burning CBD questions.

How to Use CBD for Cats

You have surely heard of the many benefits of cannabidiol, or CBD, for humans. With all its potential benefits, cannabis and CBD are all the rage these days.

Scientists and researchers have discovered that CBD may actually have similar positive effects on your favorite feline friend. As a growing number of Americans begin to accept and experiment with hemp and its benefits, you might also consider using CBD supplements or hemp oil for your cat to improve their health and happiness.

This guide will answer all your questions and relieve all your worries about using CBD for cats. Check it out!

Is CBD really good for my cat?

Like in humans, CBD for pets has yet to be widely accepted as common practice and unfortunately, there isn’t as much data available when it comes to cannabinoids and cats as there is for humans or dogs.

However, as veterinary experts delve deeper into this phenomenon, more and more research becomes available to support that CBD has a range of benefits for your four-legged friends.

Cats respond specifically well to CBD and hemp supplements under short-term anxiety situations, such as separation anxiety and noise phobias. They have also been known to experience improved mobility, similar to dogs. In fact, products containing CBD may help to relieve aches associated with high activity, support a normal digestive process, and promote a calm mood.

Other benefits of CBD for cats include:

  • Physical and mental well-being
  • A sense of relaxation
  • Supported immune system function
  • Encourages normal mobility and joint function

In other words, CBD is feline friendly and offers a whole range of benefits to keep them happy. If you’re hoping to support your feline’s quality of life, it’s worth looking into CBD.

 

How does CBD work for pets?

CBD delivers this range of benefits in both animals and us through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This complex system is found within the bodies of all mammals and works as one of the body’s largest neurotransmitter networks.

The ECS is made up of three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Explained simply, the endocannabinoids bind to receptors in order to signal that the entire system needs to take action.

From situational overgrooming to reactivity, the ECS regulates a number of functions and processes in the body. In fact, the endocannabinoid system helps with normal processes like digestion, mobility, mood, neurological, and immune system responses.

Cannabis plants, like hemp, produce CBD within the plant that can connect to the ECS receptors to help promote the normal regulation of these functions. In other words, CBD provides the endocannabinoid system with additional compounds it uses to carry out functions that help calm the body, maintain normal digestion, improve mobility, and more.

CBD capsules and hemp oil for cats can help support and maintain their overall quality of life simply and easily. That’s why we have made it our mission to create high-quality cannabis supplements to help maintain your pet’s optimal health.

 

How much CBD do I give my cat?

CBD is known to have the quickest and strongest effect when administered in the presence of other compounds (called the entourage effect) and before or after eating meals. That is why Canna Companion’s CBD supplements for cats include a balanced combination of CBD to THC – to optimize the entourage effect.

Ultimately, the ‘proper’ amount of CBD for your cats will depend on the brand and product you use. For instance, Canna Companion has developed our products based on weight. Our veterinarians used their expertise to determine what quantity is needed to support the ECS in cats. In other words, our labeled recommendations for administering supplements are the best place to start to understand how your four-legged friend will respond to pet CBD.

Additionally, product form is important. For example, feline CBD oil is not a product that produces immediate results. Instead, these supplements encourage your cat’s body to respond in a helpful way within a week or two.

If you have any questions or concerns about CBD dosage for your cat, Canna Companion offers free consultations with our licensed veterinarians.

How to Introduce CBD to Your Pets

According to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 67% of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet. From cats and dogs to birds and horses, we know that your pet is part of your family – and you would do anything to keep them healthy and happy. 

As more and more families consider plant-based remedies for their pet worries, CBD has come to the forefront of the race. While CBD product research is limited on the veterinarian front compared to available human studies, many have used CBD products for pets to support a healthier lifestyle.

The question that remains is: 

How do I safely introduce CBD to my pets?

Pets can be more sensitive to cannabis compared to humans. Knowing precisely how much CBD you are giving your pet is important when determining their supplement schedule so you can avoid overdosing your four-legged friend. 

The amount of CBD you give your pet should be based on the species (i.e. cat vs dog) and size of your pet. Dogs metabolize plant-based compounds faster than cats, and generally need administration twice a day for capsules and three times daily-administration for oils. Cats typically take CBD capsules once daily and oils two times a day. Do also keep in mind that sometimes, sensitive pets are able to take less while realizing the same benefits as others. 

Will CBD get my pet high?

Cannabidiol found in cannabis pet supplements is typically sourced from hemp, which is a variation of the cannabis plant. Hemp naturally contains extremely low concentrations of THC, which is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis products that produce a ‘high’. 

In other words, no. CBD supplements are non-psychoactive and therefore may be used on pets.

How much CBD do I give my pet?

Recommended CBD administration guidelines tend to vary slightly as you switch products, as pet CBD products are manufactured differently from brand to brand. This is because CBD is known to have the quickest and strongest effect when administered in the presence of other compounds (called the entourage effect). Therefore CBD-only products versus products that balance CBD:THC also have different administration recommendations. It will also depend heavily on your pet’s weight and the way their body functions. 

For instance, Canna Companion has accommodated special requests for a number of animals beyond the typical household pets, such as birds, skunks, alligators, etc. The recommended amounts for these animals need to be modified and monitored to promote better overall health. 

That is why Canna Companion’s licensed veterinarians custom-developed our products via bracketing methodology. We analyzed thousands of patients to observe a distinct pattern corresponding largely to weight. Using this data, we designed our product administration recommendations for both our capsule line and hemp oil products. This means that using our guidelines, you will gain a solid understanding of where to begin CBD administration for your pet. 

CBD products for your pets’ specific needs

Canna Companion intentionally created a living database of exploration in this area to confirm our veterinarian expertise. Therefore, our products are created with your pets’ specific needs in mind, which is why many veterinarians and pet parents around the country use our products. 

If you have any questions or concerns about CBD administration for your pet, Canna Companion offers free consultations with our licensed veterinarians.

ECS Series: Neurological System

When CBD first became the buzz word, many had never heard of an endocannabinoid system (ECS), let alone how important it is for the normal development of the nervous system. And while the medical community has learned volumes regarding exactly how the ECS interacts with and modulates neurological tissues, passing that complex information to pet parents … well, it’s left folks scratching their heads. Today we’re going to simplify things so you have an understanding of just how important a healthy endocannabinoid system is to the well-being of your pet’s nervous system. 

Let’s start with what makes up a nervous system in cats and dogs. Hint: it’s the same cells, tissues, and organs which make up the nervous system in humans … just like the ECS. The nervous system is made up of two main parts based on location: central and peripheral. The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system (PNS) encompasses all other parts of the body. 

Image from FourLeg.com

 

Central Nervous System

The brain has three main sections, each with its own special functions but not isolated from others. Cerebral tissues govern conscious decisions; the brainstem hosts nerve centers which oversee most of the critical life functions; and cerebellar input controls movement and balance. 

Within the cerebrum, nerve cells (neurons) transmit information via action potentials – electrical impulses which must meet a certain milli voltage threshold before messages jump to the next cell. Signalling for action potentials, whether initiation or cessation, is performed by neurotransmitters like endocannabinoids. If too low, no information is passed at all or is rerouted to nearby neurons which are capable of continuing the action potential. This happens all the time as part normal neurological functions. It can also occur after traumatic injuries, stroke, and other serious neurological imbalances. Sometimes those same imbalances can cause an action potential to be too high or continue too long, contributing to imbalances like seizures, insomnia and anxiety (runaway thoughts especially). 

The brainstem controls the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Bodily functions like breathing, swallowing, heart rate, blood pressure, and whether one is awake or sleepy. No, cats do not have a more developed brainstem which tells them to sleep 24/7; that’s their prey drive telling them to save as much energy as possible. When hunting, cats usually miss their targeted meal 7/10 times … that’s a lot of energy use and sleeping helps their body remain ever ready for an opportunistic chance to pounce. When balanced, the brainstem functions normally in the background, a part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Thankfully, imbalances are not common as they are often life-threatening. 

Cerebellar functions are markedly pronounced in cats when compared to dogs and humans. This is why they often land easily on their feet after catching birds, an adaptation that increases their chance of survival both from a meal perspective and in escaping injuries. It’s not foolproof and gravity affects us all when 10 stories high, so consider screening in balconies for safe outside time. When balanced, the cerebellum allows dogs and cats to navigate the world with more agility and us mere humans. When unbalanced, conditions like cerebellar hypoplasia occur, a congenital malformation in kittens whose mothers contracted certain viruses while pregnant. Despite the condition being permanent, CH cats often have very healthy long lives … and are adorable in their awkward playing

Frederico happily posing for the camera.

 

Spinal cord functions can best be described as a multilevel highway whereby certain information is transmitted in different anatomical locations. Like the brain, the spinal cord contains both white & gray matter, though the white matter of spinal cords is peripheral, whereas the brain’s white matter is centrally located. This makes sense when we consider white matter contains relatively few cell bodies and is composed mostly of long-range myelinated axons, a type of neuron which can speed electrical information across relatively long distances. 

In the spinal cord, peripheral white matter neurons are responsible for proprioception, the ability for dogs and cats to place their feet without conscious thought. Try this: with your dog standing quietly on solid ground, gently lift a front paw and place it furred sided down. Your dog will immediately turn it over so that his pads are ground-facing. A little deeper into the spinal cord’s white matter we find motor skill neuronal transmission. Simply put, information on this level allows your cat to make those amazing leaps straight up to catch birds, bugs and feather toys. The next level allows the body to recognize and respond to mild sensory stimuli, allowing dogs and cats to avoid thorny ground and similar pinprick like sensations.The deepest layer of spinal cord white matter transmits deep pain, that which really hurts, like traumatic injuries or severe soft tissue damage. Centrally located, spinal cord gray matter is the workhorse, transmitting all kinds of data between the body and brain.

From Today’s Veterinary Practice

Peripheral Nervous System

Neurons found within the PNS transmit both sensory and motor input, much like neurons do in the CNS. In this case, motor information directs muscle movement in tissues like the heart, intestines and skeletal muscles. Sensory input helps determine things like when to stop eating (stretch receptors in the stomach), when to use the litter box (stretch receptors within the bladder), and when to roll over during solar charging (temperature sensors within the skin). While it’s the CNS which tells the body to perform these tasks, it is the PNS which informs the brain of the stimuli, and the spinal cord which carries the information. The PNS is highly flexible and imbalance in any one area can often be compensated for elsewhere. For example, if your dog sustained an injury which severed a peripheral nerve in his paw, he may have areas of insensitivity … but nearby sensory and motor nerves are likely to take over allowing for a normal gait. 

 

Endocannabinoid-Neurological System

No, there’s not actually a system named that but the integration is so deep that it might as well be called such. Endocannabinoids and their plant-based counterparts (phytocannabinoids) like CBD, function as neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and immunomodulators. In addition, the entire ECS integrates with a variety of other receptor systems, modulating their functions in order to maintain healthful homeostasis. Other neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate & gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are directly or indirectly modulated by the ECS. While this process is complex, the effects can be simplistic and drastic. 

 

Via influx of compounds like CBD & THC, cannabis receptors are able to calm action potentials attributed to imbalances within any tissue containing neurons. In other words, all tissues within the body are modulated by the ECS. This means a healthy, well-supported ECS is able to quickly cause peripheral vasodilation, bronchodilation and release of compounds which are soothing, all during times of anxiety. In addition, balanced cannabis receptors are vital in helping the brain’s action potentials remain healthy, working with the body when action potentials become too great. In order to help them remain balanced, supplementation with ratioed hemp supplementation is important as CBD only products only address a part of the complex system. 

I know we’ve covered a lot today, but I hope you are left with a better understanding of the nervous system and how the ECS supports its normal functions. Furthermore, providing the ECS with balanced compounds it can use wherever chemical messengers signal, can help your pet remain in top shape for years to come. We’ll see you next time when we discuss the ECS and behavioral responses. 

 

ECS Series: GI Tract & Immune Support

Trust is no small thing and it’s sometimes hard to know who to trust when it comes to your pets’ health care. Your dog is a member of your family, and your cat allows you to be a member of hers. As family members, our cats and dogs hold special places in our lives, so we want to be extra careful when choosing supplement companies. We are humbled to have your trust that Canna Companion products are grounded in science and made with love, providing the best hemp pet supplement for your family member. 

Today we’re continuing our discussion on how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps the body remain balanced, specifically within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and immune system. Did you know 70% of the immune system is found in the GI tract, and that the ECS is integral to the normal development of GI tract motility? In addition, the balance the ECS always strives for has significant homeostatic effects on the immune system. Supporting the normal functions of that system with hemp supplements, a healthy diet and regular exercise, ensures your pet remains balanced and happy. 

The Immune System

The immune system, like the endocannabinoid system, is quite complex in action, yet simplistic in function. And like the ECS, the immune system functions relatively the same between species. Immune systems aim to protect the body from all things and do this by incorporating three key types of immunity: physical barriers (skin, mucous membranes), innate immunity (certain white blood cells and their responses which are present at birth) and adaptive immunity (responses based on exposure to threats, whether perceived or real). They enlist the help of chemical messengers (interleukins), entire cell lines (immunoglobulins, white blood cells), and organs (spleen, thymus, GI tract) in order to protect the body from harm. When harm does occur, these same helpers go into overdrive, helping the body return to a healthful homeostasis.  

Adaptive immunity is perhaps the most familiar aspect of the immune system as it deals with microbial exposure, which triggers a cascade of cellular events starting with chemical messenger release and culminating in memory cell formation. Interleukins alert the body that an invader is present, while memory cells help the body mount an appropriate immune response should exposure occur in the future. It is during this process that antibodies are made, either via vaccination or actual exposure to microbes.

When balanced, this system may produce mild fevers and malaise as the body defends itself with adaptive immune responses, a very active process. If unbalanced, responses from initial or subsequent exposure can be inappropriate relative to the inciting factor. Allergic responses are an example of an unbalanced state, whereas mild fevers in kittens during their first exposure to common upper respiratory tract viruses indicate a balanced healthy immune response. 

Innate immunity is essentially the inflammatory responses which help the body repair minor damage like bruising and lacerations, and their associated mild/superficial infections. Inflammation ensures delivery of white blood cells specializing in eating or otherwise destroying invaders and dead tissues. When your puppy barrels around the corner, playing chase with your human child, and catches his hip on the hallway corner, innate immunity immediately goes into effect. Interleukins again alert the body something is awry and the acute inflammatory cascade is triggered, bringing white blood cells which can repair the damaged tissue. The process is clearly visible in the form of a large bruise which fades over time. This too can become unbalanced though there are often a variety of causative factors which result in runaway inflammation (and are beyond the scope of this discussion).

Physical barriers are arguably the most important aspect of the immune system as they are the first line of defense. They are also the largest aspect of the immune system covering the body inside and out. Externally our pets rely on fur and skin, and even ocular tissues like the cornea, to physically protect deeper, more delicate tissues. Internally mucous membranes cover all non-furred areas, offering both a physical layer and an antibody rich liquid covering (mucus) which sheds potential invaders while bathing them in defensive cells.

In addition, commensal microbes make up a large portion of physical barriers, greatly contributing to the overall immune system’s appropriate response. They challenge the immune system on a regular basis, keeping it on it’s toes and ready to respond to more aggressive threats. Lastly, commensal microbes compete for valuable housing space, preventing harmful organisms (pathogens) from colonizing and causing disease.   

 

Gastrointestinal Tract

It is both the liquid covering (mucosa) and commensal organisms (microbiota making up the microbiome) that greatly contribute to the immune system. But the gastrointestinal tract has a few more tricks up its sleeve which makes it the workhorse of the immune system: digestive enzymes which can be lethal to pathogens, extremely large surface area (more than the skin) and highly muscular “tubes” designed to expel toxins quickly (when needed). The GI tract begins in the oral cavity, extends into the stomach and small & large intestines, then into the rectum and finally anal tissues. Along the way, the neurological system is deeply involved, as are the spleen (reservoir for many immune cells) and the gallbladder and pancreas (digestive enzyme excreters). 

Tying It All Together

Now that we understand a bit about how the immune system works, and how the GI tract is included in that system, let’s bring things back around to the ECS. A healthy, normally functioning endocannabinoid system is necessary for the normal functions of the GI tract. It accomplishes this task primarily via modulation of nerves at various stages and junctions throughout the body, including mucosal cells and blood vessels. That modulation occurs via cytokines, chemical messengers like interleukins. 

We’ve learned that interleukins are involved in all aspects of the immune system, serving as an alert system that something is unbalanced, or signaling the all clear – balance is restored. The ECS is also listening to those same interleukins and responds via down or upregulation of cannabis receptors in those areas, whatever the body needs to maintain balance. It does this via alterations in intracellular and extracellular concentrations of compounds like CBD & THC at receptor sites. When in balance, receptors are better able to respond to interleukins and thus to the needs of the gastrointestinal tract and immune system. Supporting the endocannabinoid system with similarly balanced supplements, provides the body all it needs for healthful homeostasis. That support translates into more quality time with your favorite lap warmer or running enthusiast. 

Thank you again for placing your trust in Canna Companion. We continue our ECS Series with the neurological system, the foundation for all ECS actions.

Top Health Tips for Your Cat

Cats are often thought of as solitary animals and low maintenance pets. Those of you who share your lives with feline companions know, however, that they’re incredibly social and love to play and cuddle. This bond between cats and their people is extremely beneficial to both. Here are a number of ways that you can keep them protected and with you for a good, long time.

Nutrition
Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they need meat to survive. There are certain amino acids and other vitamins that they cannot produce on their own, such as taurine and arginine, without which they can lose their sight or even die. Other obligate carnivores include axolotls, salmon, and raptors. As a result of their need for meat, there are many benefits that can be provided by a raw diet. First, raw diets contain those precious organ meats that offer the things that they need the most. Second, raw diets tend to be processed less, which means fewer opportunities for contamination. Thirdly, raw diets do NOT contain the numerous fillers that traditional diets do, which can cause weight gain and a number of other health issues.

Entertainment and Exercise

Have you ever had a cat who scratched your carpet, paced incessantly, or destroyed furniture? They’re likely in need of activity. It’s important to make sure that there is plenty for your cat to do around the house so that they don’t direct their abundant energy elsewhere. Do you have plenty of appropriate scratching surfaces for them, both horizontal and vertical? If you find that your cat is turning their back on scratchers you’ve gotten for them, but still going after your favorite chair, it’s time to consider alternatives. The type of material makes a difference, too. Sisal, driftwood, carpet, cardboard, and more are available these days. Make sure they have plenty of options. 

Cats may sleep a lot, but they still need plenty of exercise. Food puzzles can be good options for cats who eat too fast or who are food motivated. Toys that they can wrestle with and kick are often hits. Automated or remote toys may be tempting if you are gone for a significant period of the day, but see if there is somewhere you can try them out with your cat before committing. Some cats will adore these, especially older cats who cannot get around as easily as they did when younger. Others will be afraid of the sounds they make and avoid them at all costs. There are so many options for ways your cat may entertain themselves and for ways for you to play with them. And an active cat is a happy, healthy cat.

Feline-Human Bond

No matter how often people say that cats are aloof and solitary, those of us who share our lives with them know better. Cats bond very closely with their people and both benefit as a result. People can provide cats with a healthy diet and plenty of activity while in an indoor environment that will keep cats (and local birds) safe and healthy for a lot longer. Meanwhile, the benefits of cats’ company to their humans are myriad. They reduce stress and risk of heart disease, they can actually make it less likely for your children to have allergies, they can help you sleep better, and they provide essential companionship. People integrate cats into all parts of their lives and the more we learn about them, the longer we can provide them with a good quality of life.

Bonus

Among the things that people and veterinarians are becoming more aware of are the potential beneficial impacts of certain essential oils on your cats’ health. Essential oils can be used safely in cats, helping provide another layer of immune system support (for wounds) and calming effect (for anxiety), among other health benefits.  Make sure to choose oil brands which source and extract responsibly, and where possible, contact a certified veterinary aromatherapist or holistic doctor comfortable in using essential oils.  Simple steps like placing 1 drop of lavender oil around wounds can assist in microbial control, or petting your cat with blends containing chamomile can provide soothing effects.   

And of course, we are now much more aware of the ways in which hemp can help support your pets’ health. A whole plant hemp product, such as Canna Companion, supports healthy digestion, neurological function, mobility, immune system function, and demeanor. While endocannabinoid systems support is usually not needed in kittens and young adults, mature and senior cats often have a more difficult time adjusting to their new forever home, and hemp can help reduce that temporary anxiety. Kittens and young adults may benefit during times of physical stress, like spay/neuter procedures and injury recovery. If you have any questions about which hemp product is best for your cat’s needs, feel free to contact us

cats

ECS Series: Joint Support

When it comes to the health of your pets, you want them to have the best food, medical care, toys, bed, treats, supplements … the best, period. We believe the only way for you to determine what exactly is ‘the best’ is through education. How can you choose from all the products on the market; which one is best for your beloved furry friend?

These questions are especially true when considering hemp supplements. In an exploding market during uncertain times, everyone seems to have an opinion, but those opinions, while well intended, may not be rooted in fact. In our Endocannabinoid System series, we’ll provide the facts about how hemp can support the body in a variety of ways, beginning with the system’s normal functions and how that relates to mobility during injury (short term support) and the normal aging process (long term support). 

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

By now you’ve probably heard cats and dogs, like humans, have a receptor system which responds to cannabis administration, called the endocannabinoid system. That response can be positive (reduced anxiety during times of high stress) or negative (overdose of single compounds like CBD and THC), and the difference is sometimes a complex thing incorporating individual response, relationships between compounds, health status, route of administration, dose of compounds, and more. But at its core, the ECS is a simplistic receptor system whose sole purpose is to maintain healthful homeostasis within the body.  

Researchers have known for some time the ECS is integral to normal development of nervous tissues from embryo to adulthood, and it performs such actions via DNA-directed chemical release at key times during cell differentiation, division and migration. In short, genes signal protein development within cells, essentially waiving chemical ‘flags’ in front of cannabis receptors to get their attention. Depending on the type of flag being waived, the cannabis receptor responds in a number of ways, all with the express goal of normalising that one cell. Applied all over the body, the ECS helps the body develop a normally functioning nervous system, including nerves which integrate with muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joint tissues. 

 

The Normal Joint

Joints develop during embryonic stages and continue until physical maturity, about 2 yrs of age for most cats and dogs. The structure of joints is made up of a variety of tissues including bone, cartilage, joint fluid, ligaments, tendons, and the connective and muscular tissues surrounding them. Each tissue has specific uses and limitations. For example, ligaments are designed to be somewhat flexible for normal range of motion, but are limited in that capacity so they can support the heavy bones on either side of the joint capsule. Inside the protective joint capsule are compounds (synovia) and tissues (cartilage) which provide lubrication for normal range of motion. Via the same chemical messaging system as above, the ECS helps direct and is directed by the cells within these tissues so that joints grow and develop normally, including changes found in healthy senior dogs and cats. 

The Normal Senior Joint

Nothing can stop the aging process, but having an understanding of what’s going on can allow you to better support your pets’ aging joints, allowing your older cat or dog to maintain healthy range of motion during all stages of life. Normal daily activities, which differ greatly among species, place stress on all aspects of the joint. Twisting motions of chasing agile prey (toys) test the limits of ligament flexibility, and jumping onto / off of surfaces places significant impact on bones, cartilage and joint fluid. Over time, and as genes are less able to instruct bodily repairs, ligaments become less flexible, cartilage thins and joint fluid lessens, making the joint overall less mobile. Does this mean no more feather toys for your small lioness or that you should forgo agility classes for your Border Collie? Definitely not! The benefits of gentle and sustained exercise over a lifetime far outweigh any negative impacts on aging joints; this is especially true when combined with a healthy diet and ideal body condition score

 

The ECS & Normal Aging Joints

Let’s recap what we’ve learned today: the ECS is vital to normal development; the ECS responds to the body via chemical signals; normal joints have tissues supporting flexibility and strength; and older joints have less flexibility and less cushioning ability during impact. In order to respond to the body’s ever-changing needs, the ECS must remain highly adaptable and has developed the ability to make and activate receptors within a short period of time (< 72 hr in most cases). Up/down regulation is not a new concept in veterinary medicine as many receptor systems do this. However, what is especially adaptive regarding the ECS is its ability to up and down regulate using both internal signaling and externally administered compounds. 

We know there are cannabis receptors within joint tissues, not just from current research, but from a developmental perspective as well. Because the ECS is required for normal nervous tissue, and nerves integrate with other tissues like bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, there must be cannabis receptors within those tissues. Receptors listen and respond to chemical signaling from cells found within and around joints, helping it maintain normal flexion and extension motions. Whenever an imbalance is found within the joint, like a temporary knee sprain, the ECS will upregulate receptors until balance is restored, then downregulate so it doesn’t waste resources. Long term, however, the ECS simply cannot keep up with upregulation signals without external support. 

It’s all about balance.

Supplements providing multiple compounds from which the ECS can choose, are often more beneficial than single only ones. This is due to the complex nature of the ECS and how it serves as a homeostatic receptor system in the body. Simply put, its job is to maintain balance, and it cannot do so unless it too is balanced. In this case, cannabis receptors appear balanced when the primary endocannabinoids (anandamide & 2-AG) or their external phytocannabinoid counterparts (THC & CBD), are also in balance.  Currently it appears ratios of 1:1 – 10:1 provide the ECS with compounds which allow maintenance of normal functions without unbalancing itself. Furthermore, because we want to avoid dysphoria (“high” from THC) and liver value elevation (from excess CBD), ratios CBD:THC 3:1-7:1 are preferable in cats and dogs. Using small amounts of both compounds also allows for lower doses, lessening the risk of minor adverse effects like mild sedation and soft stool. 

How does this apply to long term ECS support and normal aging joints? If we want to offer the best support possible so that it can better maintain joint homeostasis, we need to provide compounds in ratios and amounts the ECS can use without unbalancing itself. Signaling from normal older joints occurs more frequently and with more “oomph” than in normal adult joints, putting more strain on the ECS internal reserves. Less flexible ligaments send signals indicating a less balanced state and the ECS responds, encouraging more normal joint mobility as a result. The same happens with worn cartilage and the signals it sends out, and with all other joint-related tissues. When you administer a low dose, multicompound, CBD-rich external source of phytocannabinoids, the ECS can more quickly respond to joints, and you can rest assured your beloved senior friend can chase her prey and run his trial in comfort for a bit longer. 

 

We look forward to continuing your ECS education in our next segment: GI Tract and Immune System Support.

Pet Guardianship Responsibility

When I was in college, I called my roommate one day to let her know I was on my way back from my weekend visit at home and to ask her to pick up some kitten food. “We have cat food,” she replied. I repeated my request and she said, “What have you done?” What I had done was to pick up a kitten out of a feral colony that lived in the neighborhood. She was from a litter of only two, her sibling had died, and her mom was sick. I was sure I could handle this. There are a lot of things that you should consider before adding a new animal to your household. I considered precisely none of these when I first brought Foxfire home.

Over a decade later, when I brought Tori home, it was after over a year of research into whether I was able to provide a household appropriate for her needs. Among the things that I learned during that time was the fact that the most common reason corgis are surrendered to shelters is behavior. People often get corgis because they’re cute and they give no thought to the fact that they are high energy, stubborn, herding dogs. When things don’t work out, everyone is unhappy, including the animal who is frequently surrendered or rehomed. Today we’re going to discuss some of the many things that you should look into and prepare for before you welcome a new pet into your life.

Tori modeled for our Extra Strength Medium Dog packaging.

 

Different animals have vastly different needs, but they all need veterinary care. If you already have animals in your house, consider speaking to the veterinarian you take them to for information on introducing a new pet to the household, but also what type of pet might fit well with the ones you already have. If not, ask any friends or family in the area who they take their pets to. Find out if they are taking new patients, then schedule a tour to get a feel for the place and people. Make sure that you consider how you will pay for the veterinary care for your new addition. Veterinary insurance is widely available with many different types of plans that can help you cover costs. Consider setting up a savings account to pay for any routine care, accidents, or illness.

Cats and dogs have social needs. If you aren’t at home for long stretches of time, it’s important to ensure those are met. Many places have daycare for dogs where there is a controlled environment for them to interact with other dogs. This will also help with their need for exercise. If you are getting a cat and don’t already have other animals at home, consider adopting two together so that they have a companion. Tech is also providing us with a growing number of ways to interact with our animals even when we are away. Cameras allow you to watch your pets, but now some of them also allow you to speak with them, offer them treats, or even activate toys with play routines that actively learn what your pet’s preferences are.

Another critical thing to consider is what temperament you are looking for in a companion animal. If you want someone to keep you company while you’re reading all day long, consider adding an older cat or dog to your household. Whereas, if you’re looking for a running buddy, a puppy and a high energy breed might make more sense. And be sure to check with their veterinarian about how to safely train a dog to run with you. If you have children, you may want to avoid herders, since they can have a tendency to nip. There are so many different pets who need homes, ensure that you’re getting one who fits with the pace and style of yours.

Chihuahuas like Allie Lou prefer plenty of warm place to snuggle.

The floorplan of your home, the amount of time you have available, and even the local weather are all things that you need to take into account. Food, exercise, access to litter boxes or yards, all of these are things that you should take the time to review before bringing a new pet home. Some breeds don’t tolerate cold climates well and will need sweaters and warming beds. Some have high grooming needs and will require a lot of time, money, or both to keep them comfortable. If you have your heart set on a specific breed, talk to other people who own them (either in person or online) and see what it’s like. And take that information into account when deciding if they are, in fact, a good fit for your life.

 

Animals enrich our lives in so many ways. We owe it to them to consider their needs and whether we are prepared to meet them before we make the decision to bring them home. Doing this research in advance can ensure that you and your companion have a long, healthy, happy time together.

Monty, a Belgian Malinois, is happiest after a long day on the trail.

Lilies and Cats

 

Please note a faux lily plant was used for this photograph.

The beginning of Spring just arrived and with it comes a significant hazard for our feline friends: Lilies. While there are plenty of plants which are toxic to cats, we often find that many people are unaware lilies are among them. Beyond that, they don’t just cause simple GI upset like some plants might. Lilies can be deadly to cats.

It is important to know that, for the purposes of this, we are discussing specifically the members of the Lilium family. There are many plants which are called lily without falling into that classification. Some of these, such as the peace lily or calla lily, are still toxic but usually with less severe effects often limited to drooling & GI upset. Others, such as the canna lily or plantain lily (hosta), are non-toxic. 

Pictured below: Lilium (true lily), Peace lily, Calla lily, Canna lily & Plantain lily.

 

Ingestion of true lilies can cause renal failure in a cat and even result in death; as little as a few grains of pollen have been seen to cause this effect. For many plants, we know the toxic compounds that cause whatever the resulting symptoms are. With lilies, however, the specific substance is unknown. Additionally, many plants only produce toxins in specific parts of the plant; true lilies produce their toxic principle in all parts, from the roots and bulbs to the petals and leaves. This is true even in minuscule amounts. 

Example of true lily belonging to genus Lilium. Not safe for cats.

Should your cat get into true lilies, it is important that you contact your veterinarian or local emergency veterinary hospital and get your pet treated immediately. Lily ingestion is absolutely an emergency and should be treated as such; do not wait until the next morning. If aggressive IV fluids are administered within a few hours of ingestion, the kidneys can sometimes be spared. The combination of an extremely low toxic “dose” and the severity of the resultant toxicity mean that we always advise not having lilies in any household where there are cats, including those which are less or non-toxic.

 

That’s the best way to keep your feline friends safe.