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 Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last in Dogs?

 

Did you know that human-dog relationships are shown to potentially help with mood stabilization, particularly under stress-prone conditions? In fact, studies have shown that human–animal interactions may even improve peer-to-peer social relationships, as well as increase feelings of respect, trust, and empathy between people. 

 

It is no surprise, then, that dog guardianship has skyrocketed since the onset of a global pandemic. According to Sara Kent, CEO of the nonprofit database Shelter Animals Count, reported that by the end of 2020, spending on pet care and supplies had reached a record $99 billion.

 

The intersection of CBD and pet products.

Combined with the fact that we can see similar growth trends in the cannabis industry, the possibilities seem endless for the intersection of the two markets. In fact, a 2020 Nielsen report revealed that 74% of CBD buyers have pets. Further, they predicted that hemp-based CBD pet products will represent 3-5% of all hemp CBD sales within the U.S. by 2025.

 

The truth is, better, more affordable pet care is made possible by the increasing availability of these products such as CBD oil for dogs and American pup parents are ready to try it out – pandemic or not.

 

Aiding your dog’s overall health through wellness products offers greater support and quality of life. Similar to how humans benefit from nutrition, exercise, vitamins, and other supplements, your dog can benefit from these measures as well. 

 

Pet products like CBD oil for dogs may help to encourage a normal digestive process, maintain neurological balance, and support healthy joint function so your pup can play fetch all day long.

 

However, while the benefits and growth of CBD supplements and oils are becoming more widely accepted, it is important to have a full understanding of how these products work in your dog. 

 

This guide will walk you through how to use CBD for dogs, from the science behind how it works and how much to give your pet to how long the effects last. Check it out! 

How does CBD affect your dog’s body? 

The way that CBD and cannabis provide benefits to both animals and humans has to do with one complex system in the body: the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

 

Dogs and the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is found in all mammals and helps regulate a number of functions and processes in the body such as digestion, mobility, mood, neurological and immune system responses, and sleep cycles. 

 

There are three main components to the endocannabinoid system: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Long story short: the endocannabinoids bind to receptors in order to signal that the entire system needs to take action. 

 

This is important because the ECS communicates with cannabinoid receptors using the endocannabinoids that it produces naturally. However, the buzz around CBD has to do with the fact that the ECS can also stimulate communication through external compounds, such as plant cannabinoids, known as phytocannabinoids. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one such phytocannabinoid found in the hemp plant.

 

A deeper dive into the endocannabinoid system will show you that different cannabinoid receptors are associated with different systems in the body. 

 

So what does this mean for your dog? Ultimately, CBD can provide your pup’s endocannabinoid system with additional compounds to use and carry out functions that help address different normal processes. 

 

For this reason, CBD is a great supplement to give your dog for:

 

  • Supporting normal GI tract health 
  • Encouraging key digestive processes 
  • Providing peak immune system condition 
  • Helping with temporary joint discomfort and general joint health 
  • Maintaining healthy neurological function 
  • Supporting your dog’s mental health and performance 
  • Promotes a calm and relaxed demeanor 
  • Helping overcome temporary or situational anxieties
  • And more

 

These benefits can be delivered in a number of forms, which is why you often see so many different types of cannabis and CBD products for pets. At Canna Companion, our data-driven products are formulated to maintain your dog’s optimal health through CBD capsules and hemp oil.

The lasting effects of CBD oil in dogs? 

As you may know, your dog has a unique personality with quirks, likes and dislikes, preferences for foods, toys, and people, and more. In the same way, every dog and every breed is different – and all these factors may affect the length of time that CBD remains effective in your four-legged friend’s body. 

 

Here are some factors that will determine how long CBD lasts in your dog:

 

  • Weight   
  • Diet
  • Activity level
  • Metabolism
  • Duration of exposure to CBD 

 

Typically, it takes around 30 minutes for your pup to feel the full effects of an appropriate CBD oil quantity. After that, the effects last anywhere from four to twelve hours – again, depending on the above factors.

 

These varying factors are why determining the appropriate frequency and quantity of CBD for your dog will depend on the brand and product you select.

 

For instance, Canna Companion’s experienced team of scientists and veterinarians have carefully developed NASC Seal-stamped products that already take into account all of these factors. Using bracketing methodology, we analyzed a distinct pattern of data which we used to design our product administration recommendations for both our capsule line and CBD oil products.

 

With these labeled recommendations, finding the right amount of CBD for your dog becomes a lot less complicated and you can better observe the effectiveness of the products you use. 

 

| Related: How to Introduce CBD to Your Pets

 

Keep in mind that if you begin to notice the effects of CBD oil wearing off faster, it is a good idea to contact us or your veterinarian as simply slowly increasing the amount in your pet to maintain the same positive results may not be appropriate.

 

Furthermore, your method of delivery (i.e. a capsule versus an oil) will likely result in a change in how long the effects last.

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

As pup parents begin to increasingly adopt the usage of CBD oils for dogs, it becomes more important to learn about the proper amount, frequency, and effectiveness so you can provide your furry friends with the best possible care and keep their tail wagging all day long.

 

Although there are many factors that affect how long the effects of CBD oil last in dogs, a range of four to twelve hours is typical based on the size and weight of your pet. Seeking out trustworthy brands and products is key to your pup’s overall wellbeing. 

 

As always, it is important to always speak to a veterinarian prior to starting any new supplementation routine, including CBD oil, to make sure it’s a good fit for your dog’s routine. Canna Companion offers free consultations with our licensed veterinarians so you can discover if CBD oils are the right choice for your dog. 

Canna Companion Receives the NASC Quality Seal

The true story of Canna Companion starts all the way back in the winter of 2000 with a Rottweiler named Riley. “When we tried everything we could for our beloved pet and finally turned to cannabis to support his mobility, we never imagined we’d be here today, in 2021, with the distinction of an NASC Quality Seal for our cannabis business,” said Dr. Sarah Brandon, CEO and one of the co-founders of Canna Companion. 

What is the NASC Quality Seal?

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is an organization responsible for establishing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and quality supplier verification for all of its member products. The NASC Quality Seal is earned by companies that are committed to quality animal products and the well-being of animals we love. 

The organization holds its members to some of the strictest quality standards, which include vigilant operating procedures required to make high-quality products.

Achieving the Seal of Quality is no easy feat. NASC Primary Suppliers are inspected every two years by independent third-party auditors to demonstrate ongoing compliance, including quality control, operating procedures, and random testing by an independent lab. 

GMP, also known as cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice), requirements are critical to ensure a consistent, high-quality product. By implementing a strict set of standards, the NASC is able to put forth quality and safety in the manufacturing of consumer products for pets ranging from ointments to dental wipes to pet CBD supplements. 

| Related: Learn more about why cGMPs are so important in the industry. 

Being part of the NASC Primary Suppliers is a highly-valued accomplishment in the animal supplement and veterinary industries and Canna Companion is proud to be recognized along with other businesses that are dedicated to the wellness of companion animals.

 

Our Testing & Manufacturing Procedures

At Canna Companion, we take your pet’s health very seriously. Performing quality assurance testing and adhering to cGMPs is a major aspect of producing the best hemp pet supplements, and those internal standards greatly contributed to earning the NASC Seal qualification, as well as our Pet Sustainability Coalition accredited status

All formulations are tested at multiple stages of the production process to verify potency and purity of our hemp CBD pet supplements. Our achievements to this point demonstrate Canna Companion’s dedication to being an industry leader while maintaining a low environmental impact — all to the betterment of your pet. 

From primary and pro-ingredients – or ingredients we manufacture in-house – to the final products which we sell to our clients, these standards are well-maintained so we can proudly guarantee that we are manufacturing high-quality products with your pet in mind.

 

| Related: Learn more about our testing procedures.

We have certainly come a long way since the beginning. 

In fact, years ago, all our products were made by hand. Our capsules were filled, counted, and bagged upon order. We included special, handwritten notes – all while our team was working additional full-time jobs.

Our investment in Canna Companion is an investment in all of you. When we moved to our current manufacturing facility, we moved from manual capsule filling to a semi-automatic capsule filling machine, which has allowed us to continue to serve our patients and their pet parents. To lessen the impact on the environment, we choose equipment that will serve us for many years and take great care in maintaining that equipment.

 

Looking Ahead

The most exciting part for all of us here at Canna Companion is this: This is merely the beginning.

As we continue on our journey, we are committed to growing Canna Companion as a brand that will support your pets and our community, while staying true to our values.

We continue to improve upon our processes to become more eco-friendly. Our new packaging is 100% recyclable glass with a protective carton made from recycled post-consumer paper. We intend to go from paper-light to fully digital in our manufacturing facility, among other environmental-based changes.

Our employee manual includes more inclusive policies, such as pronoun identification and an explicit commitment to gender and racial equity within our company culture. These changes will be translated to our vendor requirements in order to start a conversation within our industry. 

Finally, as we progress our research and development efforts, Canna Companion will be extending our products and services to Mexico, the EU, and the UK in 2022 – all areas which are opening to hemp products for pets, and places that we already have a trademark registration.

 

There is a long road ahead, but as we celebrate our many achievements, like the NASC Quality Seal, we can’t help but be humbled by our supporters: Riley, our clients from the early days, the incredible team of employees and vendors at Canna Companion who have been with us for so many years, and of course, our loyal customers – we could not have done this without you.

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.

3 Ways to Reduce Your Pet’s Holiday Anxiety this Season

This time of year is bustling for everyone. From putting up holiday decorations to connecting with loved ones, ‘tis the season of cheer – and stress.

Although this year’s festivities are bound to look different, the holidays may still be mentally hard on your pets. Whether all your attention is on your Zoom celebrations or taking some time for yourself, your pets could find themselves affected by anxiety, stress, or mobility issues that no pet parent would want for their four-legged friend.

We’ve compiled the top three things to keep in mind this holiday season to treat your pet’s holiday anxiety:

1. Create a pet-friendly space.

It is easy to get swept up in the merriment, especially after a year that has given us every reason to need a mental escape. However, as you are adjusting to the reality of holiday celebrations, your pets see the world differently.

Anything that they perceive as a threat can cause feelings of anxiety, fear, or nervousness. Being separated from you, meeting a new member of the family, New Year’s fireworks– all these situations can trigger a stress response in your pet.

Create a pet-friendly space in your home away from the activity with water, a comfy bed, and some new toys to help keep them busy. This will give them an area to retreat to when things get hectic.

2. Stick to your routine.

We get it. You get a couple of days off and you want to catch up on your Z’s and take some time for yourself. However, the sudden lack of attention can cause stress or anxiety in your pet.

While it can be annoying when your pet wants their morning walk or breakfast at a certain time, the more you stick to your routine, the more your pet will trust you, and the more it will help combat any anxiety or stress they may have.

3.Use a hemp-based supplement.

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, our pets are still anxious. As pet parents, we know you want to do whatever it takes to help ease their stress. That’s why veterinarians recommend all-natural supplements to help your dog or cat calm down. 

Canna Companion’s hemp-based supplements help pets relax in high-stress situations. These supplements are intentionally formulated to unlock the power of the Cannabis sativa plant while minimizing the negative side effects associated with marijuana use. The result is a high-quality pet supplement that offers a wide range of supportive benefits, including promoting a calm demeanor.

Interested in learning more about cannabis supplements for your pet? Canna Companion offers free webinars and phone consultations for pet parents. Contact us today to get all your questions answered.

What Does CBD Do for Dogs?

Here at Canna Companion, we understand full well how important your canine is to your family. Your dog is a constant source of entertainment, joy, comfort and unconditional love, which is why it’s imperative to protect his or her mental and physical well-being through supplementation. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly challenging to determine the best ways to do so, especially considering the fact that there are thousands of dog health supplements on the market. How are you supposed to research and understand the effects of these products, let alone decide on the ones which will suit the needs of your lovable four-legged family member? In this blog, we’ll be helping you to sift through your list of options by discussing the uses and benefits of pet supplements that utilize CBD (cannabidiol).

Understanding the Benefits of CBD for Dogs

CBD is one of the many active cannabinoids found in cannabis. This extraordinary chemical compound is found throughout the cannabis plant in its natural state, cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A.) All types of CBD are phytocannabinoids, one of 111 compounds unique to the cannabis plant. Moreover, biologically active compounds like CBD have been proven to demonstrate a number of physiologic and pharmacologic effects on multiple mammalian tissues by supporting the endocannabinoid system (ECS), resulting in a variety of invaluable health and behavioral benefits. Put simply, with the help of high-quality cannabis products for pets, your pet’s endocannabinoid system gains unrivaled support for their GI tract, immune system, mobility, joint health, neurological systems and more, maintaining their overall quality of life.

When paired with other active cannabinoids, CBD can also produce the “entourage effect.” The entourage effect results when the cannabis plant’s major phytocannabinoids and other components are permitted to synergize with each other, creating an increase in health benefits and a decrease in adverse effect.  Cannabinoids combine with terpenes and flavonoids to produce complex molecules which the ECC (your pet’s natural cannabis receptor system) then utilizes to activate receptors throughout the body. The liver plays an important role as well in that each pass these compounds make, a slightly different molecule is made which supports the ECS in its own unique way.  These larger molecules allow for smaller amounts of the individual compounds which lessens adverse reaction risks, while still allowing your pet to reap the health benefits of the cannabis plant.

Are CBD Products Safe for Dogs?

Regrettably, not all cannabis products are designed with the well-being of our animal companions in mind. In fact, because marijuana products contain high concentrations of the psychotropic compound known as THC, they can lead to several negative effects for pets, including low blood pressures, anxiety, aggression, incontinence, an inability to walk, extreme lethargy, excessive pacing and more. Considering how distressing these adverse conditions are, it’s no surprise some pet parents are hesitant to invest in cannabis products due to concerns for their companion’s safety. However, it’s important to remember that animal-friendly cannabis supplements use hemp as the base ingredient, a variant of Cannabis sativa which is more appropriate for pets because of its low levels of THC. Consequently, hemp products have all of the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids without subjecting your pet to large quantities of THC, effectively preventing them from feeling high or stoned.

Bear in mind overdoses can still occur when using hemp-based pet supplements,and can cause your pet to become extremely sedate, develop diarrhea, and other short-term symptoms. Cannabis dosages are largely unregulated, meaning that even if you purchase hemp supplements for your dog, they may contain ratios of CBD:THC which are not ideal for your canine’s system. To exacerbate matters, many companies  in the industry do not provide Certificate of Analyses, 3rd party test results which prove a company’s claims.  This can make it difficult to determine how much of the beneficial substance you are giving to your pet. Because most pets are significantly smaller in size than humans, it’s important to know exactly how much you’re giving them in each serving to avoid instances of overdose. That’s why we highly recommend choosing a hemp supplement provider with clear and regulated administration guidelines. After all, the safety of your dog is too important to leave to chance.

Canna Companion’s Industry-Leading Administration Guidelines

Canna Companion works with a team of licensed veterinarians to guarantee each and every supplement we produce meets our strict quality standards. Thanks to our tireless commitment to safety, transparency and clarity for customers, veterinarians and pet parents around the country use Canna Companion to take the guesswork and risk out of administering hemp to canines. Our hemp supplements are carefully measured and crafted, ensuring a standardized amount per capsule every time. Moreover, our user-friendly dosage recommendations take the unique weight, size and conditions of your pet into consideration to guarantee your dog receives the perfect levels of CBD, THC, terpenes and other compounds naturally found in hemp seed and mature stalks to achieve optimal health.

Choosing the Best CBD Supplement for Your Dog

Now that you have a basic understanding of how CBD and hemp supplements can benefit your canine, all you need to do is decide on which cannabis products will provide the most value for your dog. We recommend consulting with your veterinarian before starting your canine on any new form of medication or supplementation. These experts in the field of animal health can give you detailed information on your dog’s specific needs and help you determine which products will work best for them. Remember, your veterinarian should be your first source of advice and counsel when it comes to the health and wellness of your pet. Together, you’ll find a high-quality product that offers your pet all of the support he or she needs to stay happy and healthy for many years to come.

Canna Companion Benefits

Canna Companion is a unique blend of hemp that is specially designed to enhance the health benefits of cannabis while negating the adverse effects of all compounds, including CBD. As we mentioned earlier, each capsule contains multiple cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, which boost the benefits of CBD and other natural compounds within the plant while reducing the adverse effects of THC. Our supplements can be used to help support and maintain your canine’s overall quality of life, all while adhering to the ever-changing legal landscape. Here are some of the specific benefits that Canna Companion may provide your pet:

GI Tract Support

Canna Companion can be used to support normal GI tract health and function by supporting key digestive processes.

Immunity

Your dog’s immune system is his or her first line of defense and our hemp supplements help to support the immune system, a great boon for owners who want to keep their dogs in peak condition at all times.

Mobility and Joint Support

Normal daily exercise and activities can cause discomfort in dogs, especially once their joints begin to degrade as part of the normal aging process. Canna Companion supplements mitigate this by helping with joint discomfort and supporting general joint health in dogs of all ages.

Neurology

Canna Companion can be used to maintain healthy neurological function, supporting your dog’s mental health and performance.

Comfort and Care

Canna Companion can be used to assist in “end of life” comfort and care.

Demeanor

Canna Companion encourages a calm and relaxed demeanor in dogs, helping them to overcome temporary and/or situational anxieties.

Contact Canna Companion Today

Be sure to call or message Canna Companion if you’re interested in purchasing Canna Companion for your dog. You can also reach out to us if you want to learn more about our high-quality hemp supplements and how they can be used to maintain the well-being of your dog. We pride ourselves in offering exceptional customer support and are more than happy to provide you with any additional information or resources you need to care for your companion.

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.