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.

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.

A Brief History of Cannabis for Pets

Given the ongoing conversations around legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, it might seem like cannabis just leapt onto the scene in the last few years. Suddenly, everyone is talking about the benefits of cannabis, for both people and pets. But the cannabis plant has actually been used to address various conditions for thousands of years. At Canna Companion, we’ve been exploring its place in veterinary science for decades. Today, we’re taking a quick look at the history of cannabis for pets. 

What Do We Mean by “Cannabis?” 

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to cannabis. A lot of terms get thrown around—cannabis, marijuana, hemp—and misused or conflated. Here at Canna Companion, we’re interested in the benefits of hemp, the type of cannabis plant which cannot produce a “high.”

 

It’s important to note that the term “cannabis” is also used to refer to marijuana, another type of cannabis plant which can induce euphoria.  We do not recommend giving your pet marijuana products, as they can cause adverse reactions like low blood pressure and confusion. Possession of marijuana is also illegal in much of the country, while hemp is legal in all 50 states. 

Cannabis Use in Pets Over the Years

Before there were hemp-based products created exclusively for pets, people recognized the potential benefits of CBD oil and other supplements containing CBD for both people and animals. Dogs and cats experience similar issues as we do, after all—short-term anxieties, achy older joints, and more. As the reasoning went, if something works for humans, surely it must work for pets. Go back far enough, and you’ll find multiple stories of pet parents securing a medical marijuana license for the sole purpose of purchasing cannabis products for their ailing pets. The issue here was that those largely unregulated products contain varying ratios of CBD to THC, meaning that it’s impossible to predict the effect they might have on a pet. 

 

A number of studies have confirmed the incredible supportive potential of the various compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. In light of the possible physiological, immunological, and neurological benefits, it became clear that a formula made exclusively for pets was needed. 

Canna Companion Breaks Into Cannabis Science

After observing the benefits of a well-supported endocannabinoid system, we decided to create a hemp-based supplement formulated just for pets—something that could leverage the vast potential of the cannabis plant without the adverse effects that marijuana has on animals. Our research led us to create a high-quality supplement made from the mature stalks and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. 

 

We founded Canna Companion in 2014 with the goal of providing quality hemp supplements for pets and educating pet parents and their veterinarians on the supportive benefits of cannabis. We made sure our formulas support the optimal health of pets, in more ways than one. While single-compound products can throw off the synergistic relationship between chemical compounds, our in-depth research into the endocannabinoid system resulted in “whole plant” products, which preserve the entourage effect and provide comprehensive support to the endocannabinoid system.  

Ongoing Uses of Cannabis for Pets

Although state and federal regulations on cannabis are continuing to shift, hemp-based pet supplements are and will remain legal, provided the company adheres to all relevant regulations, such as any laid down by the FDA or NASC. Veterinarians across the country are now recommending reliable hemp supplements, like hemp-based CBD  oils, to pet parents looking for an additional way to promote their cat or dog’s well-being.

 

With carefully controlled ratios of CBD to THC, Canna Companion products support the health and happiness of pets while minimizing the adverse reactions associated with marijuana use. 

 

Here are just a few of the benefits of introducing and regularly administering a hemp supplement for pets:

  • Provides neurological support
  • Promotes a calm demeanor
  • Maintains normal joint health
  • Encourages a healthy GI tract
  • Assists in end of life comfort and care
  • Supports the functioning of the immune system

 

As with any change to your pet’s supplement routine, be sure to check with your veterinarian before introducing a hemp-based pill or oil. Each animal reacts to hemp-based products differently, so you may find that your pet needs a different dosage than the standard. If you have further questions about whether or not your pet would benefit from a hemp supplement, contact a licensed veterinary professional.

Potential Future Uses of Cannabis for Pets

The future looks promising when it comes to the potential applications of hemp-based pet supplements. As more studies are done, and we continue to advance in our understanding of cannabis science, we look forward to discovering even more about this beneficial plant.

 

One of the main challenges facing veterinary use of cannabis is the lack of existing industry regulations. Overdoses, incorrect ratios of CBD to THC, and low-quality products can leave pets lethargic and uncoordinated. Fortunately, these effects only last for a few hours, and there are no known long-term effects of hemp usage in pets. Moving forward, Canna Companion will continue to stand out from industry competitors by sticking to our rigorous standards and offering the high-quality hemp supplements we’re known for producing.

Where to Get Hemp-Based Supplements Today

Ongoing advances in veterinary science and our own in-depth research into the endocannabinoid system has revealed the vast potential of the cannabis plant. We’re just scratching the surface! But for now, we’re proud to provide the tools and resources for pet parents to support their cats and dogs. Whether you have a dog suffering from separation anxiety or a cat in need of end of life care, we can help. Reach out today to learn more about how hemp-based supplements can fit into your pet’s daily lifestyle. 

Should I Give My Pet CBD Oil?

If you’re a pet parent, you’ve probably wondered about the efficacy of CBD oil at one point or another. Maybe your litany of questions stopped you from investigating the matter further. Could it have a beneficial effect on your furry friend? Is it safe? Should you give it to a cat or dog, and are there any negative side effects? 

 

If you want the short answer, here it is: a high-quality CBD oil made for pets offers a whole host of supportive benefits that can help maintain optimal health. But if you want a more thorough explanation and answers to the rest of your questions, read on. We’ll take a look at what CBD oil actually is, what it can do for your pet, and what you should know before you choose a cannabis product. 

The Basics of CBD Oil

CBD oil is a liquid derived from the cannabis plant. CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of over 545 compounds produced by the plant, but it’s quite a significant one. As opposed to the psychotropic compound THC, CBD does not produce the feeling of “highness” commonly associated with marijuana use. 

 

The Cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of other naturally occurring chemical compounds, including phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. A cannabis product with a carefully controlled formula takes advantage of the benefits that these compounds have to offer, in the form of consistent support to the endocannabinoid system

Can Pets Have CBD Oil?

We do not recommend giving medical or recreational marijuana products to your dog or cat. Unfortunately, CBD products made for humans are largely unregulated, and unless you obtain a third-party certificate of analysis, you can never be fully sure of the concentrations and ratios of cannabinoids in the products you’re getting. Too much CBD or THC could result in an overdose, leaving your pet unable to walk or eat properly until the effects fade. For that reason, you should stick to quality products with clear ratios and dosage instructions.

 

If you’re going to give your pet CBD oil, make sure you choose a hemp-based supplement formulated especially for pets. Our Whole Plant Hemp Oil contains a careful ratio of CBD to THC, allowing pets to enjoy the supportive benefits of the cannabis plant without the psychotropic effects of THC. Ultimately, a high-quality CBD oil made just for pets can act as a wonderful addition to your pet’s daily lifestyle. 

Benefits of CBD Oil for Pets

CBD oil is ideal for pets in need of more immediate endocannabinoid system support, as well as for senior pets and animals who don’t take pills well. If you believe that your dog or cat could benefit from end of life care, help staying calm in the face of stressors, or joint and immune system support, CBD oil could fit your needs.

 

Here are just a few of the benefits of regularly administering a high-quality CBD oil: 

  • Provides quick support to the endocannabinoid system
  • Supports digestive processes
  • Eases joint discomfort associated with normal daily activity
  • Provides immune system support
  • Maintains healthy neurological function
  • Assists in end of life comfort and care
  • Encourages a calm demeanor, helping address temporary anxieties and situational stressors

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog or Cat?

Once you’ve chosen a CBD oil for your pet that contains an appropriate ratio of CBD to THC, be sure to consult a veterinarian before introducing any supplements or diet changes to ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your pet. 

 

The proper CBD oil dosage will vary by weight and species, but the CBD oil you choose should come with dosage instructions. For our Whole Plant Hemp Oil, we recommend giving .1mL for every 10 pounds, two to three times daily. You should also make sure to administer the oil during or after your pet has eaten, to minimize the risk of GI distress.

High-Quality CBD Oil and Other Hemp-Based Supplements 

Here at Canna Companion, we believe wholeheartedly in the power and potential of the cannabis plant. We’ve put our decades of veterinary experience and research into the endocannabinoid system to work developing high-quality CBD oil and other hemp-based pet supplements that can provide much-needed support to your furry friends. 

 

While single-compound or exclusively CBD products can unbalance the endocannabinoid system, our full spectrum formulas preserve the synergistic relationship between chemical compounds, allowing your pet to enjoy a range of supportive benefits. If you’re still not sure whether CBD oil is right for your dog or cat, reach out to us today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have or schedule a complimentary consultation with a licensed veterinary professional. We look forward to supporting the well-being of your furry friend!

Hemp Derived CBD: Why It’s Legal

The cannabis plant has had a long, strange, and ultimately arbitrary regulatory history. Until 2018, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act. This was because the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) did not differentiate between strains of Cannabis sativa L. which have less than 0.3%  of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and those with more than 0.3% THC. Such a distinction is important as the 2018 Farm Bill removed any Cannabis sativa L. plant and its derivatives which contain less than 0.3% THC from the CSA, redefining these plants as hemp.  Any Cannabis plant containing >0.3% THC is referred to as marijuana which currently remains as a Schedule 1 drug, those drugs having, “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse,” according to the DEA.  

Enactment of the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill, resulted in regulation of hemp being relinquished by the DEA, to the FDA, who’s functionality of enforcement is public safety rather than the pursuit of criminal convictions. The explosion of public cannabidiol (CBD) use and pressure from public outcry, resulted in the FDA and US lawmakers being forced into action.  When backed by mounds of anecdotal and scientific evidence, and significant financial and political pressure, regulatory agencies had no choice but to realize hemp and its derivatives are an important crop for American farmers and consumers. 

The 2018 Farm Bill has explicitly preserved the FDA’s authority over hemp products, which is in the best interest of public safety. This part of the regulation is key because, prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, the use and regulation of CBD products and hemp was left up to state legislation. The DEA, however, was still making arrests despite state laws because it was still a federal crime and they had the authority to do so. This left a confusing and contradicting atmosphere within the regulations and hemp farming/manufacturing community.

The FDA has now vowed “…to treat these products just like we do any other.  FDA is committed to advancing hemp products through the Agency’s existing regulatory pathways, and we are further exploring whether it would be appropriate to make additional regulatory pathways available to hemp products such as those containing cannabidiol (CBD). FDA believes taking this approach protects patients and the public health, fosters innovation for safe and appropriate products, and promotes consumer confidence.”  This is a huge and fantastic leap in progress for hemp regulation —  from a schedule 1 narcotic to a FDA regulated consumer product — as it helps ensure a better product for the consumer, which in our case happens to have four legs and lots of fur.

  

Canna Companion is devoted to regulatory compliance and public safety within the new framework of hemp legislation. We believe that transparency and current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) delegated by the FDA are key to the progression of hemp based laws.  Canna Companion works closely with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) , who maintains open channels with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) regarding hemp legislation.  This helps ensure we are always up to date with new changes in policy, usually before they reach the general public. 

The NASC continually monitors its members, collecting data from companies who supply hemp products for animals. They released an ingredient risk report for hemp and hemp based compounds from 10 years of data which shows 34 million applications of hemp products to dogs, cats, and horses with only 10 adverse events, and none of them serious enough to prompt a recall. This data is hugely important and is being used as an example of the safety of hemp products when produced under FDA guidelines. Canna Companion is proud to have assisted in their data collection efforts, setting an example of what hemp companies should be doing in order to provide transparent data and a quality product to consumers.     

   

 

CBD & Situational Anxiety in Dogs

Any of us who have faced anxiety know that it can have a number of different sources. Situational anxieties arise when certain conditions are met in a short timeframe, and dogs can face a number of circumstances unique to the pack mind.  Every pet will be different, but there are things which can be done to help them be more comfortable during these frustrating times. The first step, of course, is determining the cause of their distress.

 

Common Causes of Canine Anxiety
Some of the more common causes of situational anxieties in dogs include weather, fireworks, moving, and changes to routine. Once can summarize these situations by simply stating either the pack is threatened (or perceived to be) or separated (or the possibility exists of separation).  To a dog, the pack is everything: their family, their friend, their playmate, and their security. Let’s look at how that thought process can lead to anxiety under seemingly innocuous circumstances.  

  • Loud noises: whether fireworks or thunderstorms, loud noises signal a potential threat to the pack.  What often triggers dogs to exhibit anxious symptoms is the lack of seeing the threat — it’s just loud noise which might cause problems with no obvious way to protect the family.  
  • Traveling: some dogs, like some humans, enjoy traveling and all the wonder and awe it can bring.  But to others, leaving the home territory can indicate the need to protect, or be protected from, causing significant anxiety for your pup.  Travel is especially difficult if your dog has a history of negative experiences either during or after travel.  
  • Routine changes: this particular stressor may seem routine to you — leaving for work every day — but your dog may see it as a huge change simply because their alpha human is missing … and how can they protect her if she’s not here?  Add in holiday travel and temporary pack members (holiday company), and your dog’s routine may be sufficiently changed to trigger significant anxiety.  

Symptoms of Situational Anxiety in Dogs

Now that we know what can stress our dogs, let’s talk about how to determine the language your dog uses to let you know he’s anxious.  Just like the large variety of breeds, there are seemingly endless ways a dog can exhibit distress.  The easiest way to tell is simply by changes in his normal behaviors, either by being aloof or clingy – whichever is opposite his normal personality.  If such changes occur around loud noises, travel preparations, or household changes, it’s likely your dog has situational anxiety, though schedule a visit with his veterinarian just to make sure nothing else is amiss.  

In general, dogs show ongoing anxiety via pacing, panting, and vocalizing.  The latter is usually sharp and high-pitched and all usually have facial expressions like wide eyes, elevated but back-ward rotating ears, grimacing (lip corners pulled up), and tail carriage down and to the left (right signals confidence).  

They may be destructive, either towards their own beds, toys and blankets, or to household items like your bed, favorite shoes, luggage or the wall.  It is a sign of frustration and the need to ‘protect,’ which leads to this behavior. While it’s difficult, refrain from punishing your dog after the fact; he simply won’t make the connection and will be confused as to why you’re upset.  

Other dogs prefer to hide under blankets, beds, tables — anything which might shelter them from the potential threat.  And still others act normal but won’t eat or develop transient diarrhea.  

 

How to Help Reduce Your Dog’s Anxiety

One of the best things that can be done to help your dog through these is to prepare in advance. Many situational anxiety triggers are things which can be anticipated. This allows us to make sure that our pets will have a comfortable place where they can go to be more calm.  Include items which smell like you to help them remain calm, and offer chew toys which are hard to destroy. Chewing can ease anxiety as well as serve as an anxiety symptom, with the difference being his overall behavior — destruction usually signals boredom or anxiety, while gnawing methodically indicates healthy endorphin release.   

Additionally, things like white noise machines can mask frightening sounds, and diffusion of essential oils can provide calming aromatherapy to the most high-strung of pooches.  High value treats can also be a part of this, particularly when used to reward desirable calm behaviors.  There are also a number of supplements which could be beneficial, including pheromone sprays and diffusers that can be a useful part of your preparations. Ensuring that this space is always somewhere available and comfortable will be a big benefit, as your pet can seek shelter anytime he needs comfort.

 

Can CBD Help My Dog’s Anxiety?

You bet!  Let’s talk about how … When we administer cannabinoids like CBD, they support your dog’s natural cannabis receptor system, called the endocannabinoid system (ECS for short).  The ECS has one main function: listen to and correct cellular stress signals.  It accomplishes this task by changing the levels of CBD and THC at the receptor level, causing a variety of chemical reactions which lead to your dog feeling calmer.  In short, administration of hemp-based CBD, can have a calming effect on the mind, and is soothing to the body, particularly when situational anxieties arise.  

 

Which Hemp Product is Right for my Dog?

Developed by veterinarians, Canna Companion offers three different canine supportive supplements, all differentiated by CBD:THC and dosed based on your dog’s body weight.  When a whole plant product is administered, CBD helps mitigate the negative effects of THC, while allowing THC’s health benefits to shine — one of which limits the sedative effects CBD can have on your dog.  We want your dog stress-free, not a cute ball of fur on his favorite bed!  

We typically recommend our Regular Strength Canine capsules as the low CBD:THC supports the cannabis receptor system quite well for most conditions.  Start twice daily administration ideally 10-14 days prior to the known stressor, continuing for a few days after the stressor is gone.  There is no need to continue hemp supplementation if your dog is no longer anxious and stopping “cold turkey” is acceptable.  

 

For those dogs with multiple stressors or who need a punch to the ECS for high-stress times, our higher ratioed Extra Strength Canine capsules are preferred.  Begin administration as above, and if your dog needs more during times of extreme stress, it’s okay to give either formulation at twice the labeled dose; for example 2 capsules twice daily on days when a known anxiety trigger will occur. 

What if your dog will not take pills, you’re leaving in a few days, or your dog has extreme responses (running through sliding glass doors)?  Try our Whole Plant Hemp Oil;  with a CBD:THC between the capsule formulations, it’s a great choice for smaller patients and those with strong opinions about capsules — and anxiety triggers.  Oils also offer the option of bypassing GI absorption for ECS support in minutes, when administered orally rather than during or after a meal. This method may result in sedation or a wobbly gait, particularly if labeled doses are exceeded, but it also may be just the thing to help your dog relax.     

 

Whatever your dog’s needs, Canna Companion is here to help. Contact our Customer Service team or schedule a professional Consultation today.  Our passion is helping your pack member feel his best no matter what routine changes come his way!

 

CBD & Situational Anxiety in Cats

Situational anxieties are something none of us want to face. As pet parents, it can make us feel powerless when we cannot protect our furry companions. After all, they look to us to keep them happy and safe. Many of the situational anxieties cats and dogs face are the same, but individual pets and their responses to various therapies can differ greatly — what benefits one may not help the next, especially with our feline friends. The first step in treating situational anxiety is to identify the cause.

 

Causes of Situational Anxiety in Cats

As you can imagine, and perhaps have observed first hand, cats can seemingly ‘freak out’ over the smallest things.  They love their routines and any deviation from such can create a lot of stress. Let’s take a look at common changes to your cat’s routine and how it might cause anxiety. 

  • Traveling by car — to the veterinarian, groomer, or vacation home — offers loud noises, vibrations, and usually a destination low on the list of cat favorites.  
  • Traveling by plane — to anywhere; cats generally can’t stand noisy places and these are the loudest.
  • Separation from preferred humans — applicable year round but especially when humans like to take extended vacations over the holidays.  Your cat loves you and is loath to be apart. 
  • Addition of extra humans in the home — common during holidays and school breaks — while your cat may love attention, sometimes it can simply be too much. 
  • History of traumatic experiences — PTSD is especially common in shelter adoptions, cats with feral histories, painful events, and of course, overt abuse.  These experiences often trigger cats in extreme ways; be cognizant your cat may need extra care if she has such a history.  

 

Fortunately many of these events can be anticipated and thus allow us to provide treatment in advance.  If the event itself cannot be avoided, there are steps we can take to ease anxiety for our stressed kitties, once we recognize their stress.  

 

How Do Cats Show Their Anxiety?  

Many will simply run and hide, preferring quiet dark places which are out of the way from traffic.  You can take advantage of this instinct by providing your cat with a safe getaway including soft, warm bedding, low light, gentle music and the basic necessities (water and litter box).  No animal likes to be cornered so always make sure that your cat has plenty of options for exits particularly around their litter box. This can help prevent anxiety associated with litter box use if your cat shares her house with other cats, dogs or small children.  

If hiding doesn’t ease their stress, cats may over groom, particularly in the upper arms, flanks and tail base.  They may become vocal, either yowling at night or hissing at offending targets. If matters worsen, or your cat is extremely stressed, elimination outside the litter box (urine or feces) may occur.  In the cat world, this is akin to shouting, “Help me! I am extremely unhappy!,” and often won’t occur until after running/hiding, hissing/vocalizing, or even clinging to your side, doesn’t resolve your cat’s distress.  

 

Tips to Ease Your Cat’s Anxiety

We talked about providing safe space for your kitty to run and hide, but what if you’re leaving town?  It is always a good idea to speak to your veterinarian prior to any travel so they may advise you on ways to keep your cat safe and healthy during their trip.  They can help you determine if leaving your cat at home is best vs a cat-friendly boarding facility, or even taking them with you. If you take her with you, check out these packing tips.   

 

If you leave your cats at home, never underestimate the comfort that choice provides to a cat — some will want comfortable beds as hiding spots and others will prefer high perches where they can get out of the way. Warm sunny spots, quality time with you, and music can also help calm an anxious cat.  Make sure a variety of safe places are present for your cats’ needs. And since you’re gone, make sure to leave a pillow case, blanket or T-shirt with your smell on it for added comfort.  

 

If your cat’s fear is something that cannot be avoided, like severe weather or a houseful of family members, consider adding a Thundershirt, calming essential oils (diffused in small amounts, essential oils can be quite helpful for cats), pheromone plug-ins, and herbal cat treats with l-theanine, chamomile and/or catnip.  

 

Can CBD Help My Cat’s Anxiety?

Absolutely!  Let’s talk about how … When we administer cannabinoids like CBD, they support your cat’s natural cannabis receptor system, called the endocannabinoid system (ECS for short).  The ECS has one main function: listen to and correct cellular stress signals.  It accomplishes this task by changing the levels of CBD and THC at the receptor level, causing a variety of chemical reactions which lead to your cat feeling calmer.  In short, administration of hemp-based CBD, can have a calming effect on the mind, and is soothing to the body, particularly when situational anxieties arise.  

Which CBD Product is Best for My Cat?

Developed by veterinarians, Canna Companion offers three different feline supportive supplements, all differentiated by CBD:THC.  When a whole plant product is administered, CBD helps mitigate the negative effects of THC, while allowing THC’s health benefits to shine — one of which limits the sedative effects CBD can have on your cat.  We want your cat stress-free, not a cute little furry lump on her favorite bed!  

 

We typically recommend our Regular Strength Feline capsules as the low CBD:THC supports the cannabis receptor system quite well for most conditions.  Start once daily administration ideally 10-14 days prior to the known stressor, continuing for a few days after the stressor is gone.  There is no need to continue hemp supplementation if your cat is no longer anxious and stopping “cold turkey” is acceptable.  

 

For those cats with multiple stressors or who need a punch to the ECS for high-stress times, our higher ratioed Extra Strength Feline capsules are preferred.  Begin administration as above, and if your cat needs more during times of extreme stress, it’s okay to give either formulation twice daily.  

 

What if your cat will not take pills or you’re leaving in a few days?  Try our Whole Plant Hemp Oil;  with a CBD:THC between the capsule formulations, it’s a great choice for smaller patients and those with strong opinions about capsules.  In addition, most cats only need 1-2 drops (0.05-0.1 ml) twice daily with or near a meal, and oils work very quickly … a few days to onset of action in most patients.  

 

Whatever your kitty’s needs, Canna Companion is here to help. Contact our Customer Service team or schedule a professional Consultation today.  Our passion is helping your cat feel her best no matter what routine changes come her way!

CBD Oil for Senior Pets

Is your beloved family dog going grey in the muzzle? Has your cat stopped leaping up onto the couch beside you? If we had our way, our animal companions would stay young and spry forever, but every senior pet slows down and begins to show natural signs of aging eventually. These signs can include anything from loss of mobility to serious health issues. It’s up to pet parents to consult a veterinarian and provide the right combination of preventative care and specially made products for old cats and dogs in order to keep these precious companions happy and healthy.

At Canna Companion, we’re passionate about providing you with the tools and resources you need to support your pets as they grow older. With the right care and attention, your furry friend can enjoy life well into his or her golden years! Today, we’re looking at the benefits of a hemp-based, supportive complement to your pet’s routine—CBD oil for old dogs and cats.

What is CBD Oil?

Officially known as cannabidiol, CBD is one of over 545 chemical compounds produced in the cannabis plant. These compounds are able to bind with cannabinoid receptors that in turn support the health of the endocannabinoid system. What all this means is that, in the proper form and with the proper administration, CBD supplements for older cats and dogs can allow your furry friends to enjoy the many supportive benefits of the cannabis plant!

Over 20 years of veterinary research into the proper combination of phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids led to the creation of Canna Companion and our hemp-based products. Our supplements come in capsule form or as a liquid, allowing you to choose the option that works best for your pet. When it comes to elderly cats and dogs, you may find that CBD oil is the best fit for your pet’s current lifestyle. 

Canna Companion’s Whole Plant Hemp Oil is formulated specially for cats and dogs, delivering the supportive health benefits of cannabis with a carefully controlled ratio of THC to CBD. The oil is particularly helpful for aging pets who may need more immediate endocannabinoid system support, as well as for those senior dogs and cats who have trouble taking pills. 

How Can CBD Oil Help My Elderly Pet?

Unlike the psychotropic compound THC, CBD does not cause the feeling of “highness” commonly associated with marijuana use. Instead, it provides access to a range of supportive benefits that can help your aging pet maintain health and quality of life.

Provides Speedy Support for the Endocannabinoid System

CBD oil is particularly helpful for pets who need more immediate endocannabinoid support than a capsule can provide. That animal might be anything from a geriatric cat that needs end of life comfort, or an increasingly nervous dog that could use some help staying calm. 

Maintains GI Tract Health

Even older cats and dogs sometimes get into things they shouldn’t—and our geriatric furry friends definitely don’t have iron stomachs. While you can’t monitor your pets constantly, you can help to support their normal digestive processes with CBD oil. 

Promotes “End of Life” Comfort

Your pet deserves a high quality of life no matter his age, and we’re dedicated to helping you provide just that. Our hemp oil can promote comfort and care while promoting relaxation as your pet nears the end of his life. 

Encourages a Calm Demeanor

Pets can change as they grow older, and you may notice your cat suffering from nervousness or your dog experiencing separation anxiety that wasn’t evident at a younger age. Canna Companion can help your pet stay calm in the face of situational stressors like fireworks and other loud noises. 

Supports the Immune System

Just as an elderly person’s immune system isn’t as strong as a healthy young person’s, senior pets may have weaker immune systems than their younger counterparts. Coupled with regular visits to the veterinarian to catch any emerging health problems, our hemp oil can help to support your pet’s functioning immune system, maintaining existing health and happiness. 

Helps Maintain Normal Joint Health

We all get creaky and achy as we grow older, and the same is true for pets. At a certain age, normal daily activity may leave them feeling sore and lethargic. Canna Companion’s Whole Plant Hemp Oil supports normal joint health and may ease the discomfort that comes from normal daily activity. 

Supports Healthy Neurological Function

As pets age, their brains can change in both normal and negative ways. Canna Companion works to support the endocannabinoid system, which in turn will help to support normal neurological function in your cat or dog.

Support Your Senior Pet with Canna Companion

Your pet deserves the absolute best. We want her to enjoy as many happy years by your side as possible, which is why we invested years of veterinary research into developing hemp-based pet supplements that support the most important features of your pet’s major bodily systems. If you’re looking for high-quality supplements for old dogs and cats, you’ve come to the right place. Give us a call today—we’re happy to schedule a complimentary consultation with a licensed veterinary professional.

The Benefits of Whole Plant Cannabis Products

There are quite a few CBD and hemp-based cannabis products out there which claim to unlock the potential benefits of the endocannabinoid system. Where on earth does a pet parent start? Unfortunately, cats and dogs can’t read labels, so it’s up to you to do the research and make a decision as to what product will best fit your pet’s unique needs.

Because every product is different, it’s crucial to know exactly what you’re giving your pet. At Canna Companion, we’re dedicated to providing high-quality cannabis pet supplements and demystifying the science of hemp. We’re breaking down the differences between single compound and whole plant cannabis products to help you better understand their benefits and decide what’s best for your furry friend.  

Whole Plant Cannabis vs. Single Compound

Both single compound and whole plant cannabis products interact with the endocannabinoid system, which is made up of a network of cannabinoid receptors in the body. Those receptors affect cellular stress and can be stimulated by the administration of cannabis. But the two types of cannabis-based products interact with the endocannabinoid system very differently.

Single Compound

Single compound cannabis products, also referred to as CBD products, contain a cannabinoid and terpenoid profile mostly made up of one compound. This single compound outweighs any benefits that might be conveyed by traces of other substances, leaving CBD products to affect the body exclusively as a single compound formulation. When administered regularly over a prolonged period, single compound products can actually throw off the entire endocannabinoid system, unbalancing things and resulting in less efficient support.

Whole Plant

Despite what the name suggests, “whole plant” doesn’t mean grinding up an entire Cannabis sativa plant and turning it into a pill. The term actually refers to the substantive properties of a cannabis product. While single compound cannabis products have just one compound in their cannabinoid and terpenoid profile, whole plant formulations utilize the entire spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenoids. For this reason, whole plant formulations are also referred to as “full spectrum” products.

At Canna Companion, we use a blend of the stalks and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant to produce a supplement that includes the full range of cannabinoids and terpenoids. And we rely on the natural makeup of the plant itself to do it! The hemp plant contains a broad chemotypical composition that we make use of through normal harvesting and processing.  

The Entourage Effect

The cannabis plant contains over 500 naturally occurring chemical compounds, including flavonoids, phytocannabinoids, and terpenes. Each of these compounds acts as an important building block in chemical structures, but together, they can work to regulate and maintain a number of physiologic and pathophysiologic processes in pets.

Whole plant formulas produce a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect,” a synergistic relationship between those various compounds of the plant. Most notably, the entourage effect allows pets to enjoy the benefits of cannabis while limiting the negative effects caused by marijuana, which contains a much higher concentration of the psychotropic compound THC.

The Benefits of Whole Plant Cannabis

We believe strongly in the benefits of the entourage effect, so we developed a unique whole plant formula that creates a synergistic relationship between key phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These various compounds work together to effectively unlock the major supportive benefits of the plant, as nature intended!

As a crucial part of its unique formula, Canna Companion contains an optimal ratio of CBD to THC. What that means is that our hemp-based supplement will not get your pet “high.” What they will do is support key bodily functions while minimizing those adverse side effects associated with marijuana.

Here are some of the ways a whole plant hemp supplement like Canna Companion can maintain your pet’s quality of life:

  • Support digestive processes and a healthy GI tract
  • Promote long-term health by supporting and maintaining the immune system
  • Ease joint discomfort stemming from normal daily activity
  • Support healthy neurological function
  • Provide end of life comfort and support overall quality of life as pets age
  • Encourage a calm demeanor, particularly during periods of high stress

Keep Your Pet in Peak Condition

At Canna Companion, we’re passionate about helping you keep your pets happy and healthy—that’s why we use only high-quality ingredients in our formula. Our whole plant products are a wonderful way to introduce cats and dogs to the supportive health benefits of cannabis while minimizing the negative effects caused by marijuana. Contact us today to learn more about how our hemp-based supplements can support your pet, or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a veterinary professional.