Pot for Cats: Interview with Canna Companion’s Sarah Brandon, DVM

| March 13, 2016 | 7 Comments

Pot for Cats: Interview with Canna Companion’s Sarah Brandon, DVM

Dr. Sarah Brandon of Canna CompanionMany months ago I saw a post on The Conscious Cat about hemp pills for felines and canines.  I knew that marijuana was being used in humans for a number of medical aliments and it made sense to me that it could be used with pets.  It wasn’t until my parents’ dog, Napa, had cancer that I thought of it again – albeit too late.

Nonetheless, I did spend quite some time on the phone with one of the founders, Sarah Brandon, DVM, learning more about the product, how it helps, why it helps, etc.  And one of our readers has recently started a course of Canna Companion on her kitty to see if it will help her.

I asked Dr. Brandon if she would be game to do an interview for the site, so I could introduce readers to the concept and the product.  Lucky for us, she obliged.

Visit Canna Companion online.

What is Canna Companion and what made you want to create it?

Canna Companion LogoCanna Companion is a hemp supplement for dogs & cats. It contains all the beneficial compounds found in medical marijuana but in much smaller concentrations. For example, the amount of THC in our product cannot make a pet high but does provide health benefits, particularly when used in conjunction with other cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenoids (compounds which give products their odor). Initially, we wanted to create a product which would provide pain control for our Rottweiler, Riley, who was born with severe hip dysplasia. Conventional therapies just weren’t cutting it so we tried him on a measured portion of marijuana (all that was available). He did get a little high (which we didn’t like but at least were equipped to manage) but his pain was gone for nearly 24 hours. We got his dose down to a non-high level then proceeded to try it out on our other pets (dogs & cats). It grew from there 🙂

What are some of the common reasons cat owners are referred to your product?

In other words, what feline conditions is your product used for? Nearly anything human medical marijuana is used for, our product can also help. We just use hemp as the cannabinoids levels are more appropriate for dogs & cats (smaller body sizes and different liver metabolisms) … and it’s legal 🙂 We help cats with the following conditions:

  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation: IBD, pancreatitis, cystitis
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer support (not chemotherapy but it helps them feel better and in some cases slows down the progression of a disease)

Can I buy your product if I live in a state where marijuana is illegal?

Yes, our product is legal nationwide. We strictly adhere to the exemption clause under CSA’s marijuana definition, as well as maintain THC levels which are non-psychotropic (won’t get you high) of <0.3%.

Are there side effects associated with your product?

Canna Companion Regular Strength Capsule for CatsYes, like anything, there are always potential adverse effects. We’re fortunate that those effects are minimal in most cases and always reversible:

  • Sedation/wobbly gait: 1-3 days then it resolves on it’s own, severe cases require a dose reduction
  • Soft stool (dogs only): hemp is high in fiber, resolves with lower dose & slow titration to effect
  • Rarely, combined these account for <0.1% of reported adverse effects:
  • Vomiting (generic, 7 dogs only – hairball 4 cats total for unknown reasons)
  • Itchy/red skin: dogs only with known grass allergies
  • Diarrhea: 1 cat, 2 dogs

If my vet doesn’t know about your product, can I still consider it as a possibility for my kitty? How so? How do I know what to order and how much?

Yes you can. You can either order direct from the website if the information there answers your questions, or you can contact Customer Service or myself for a veterinary consultation. We’ll speak to doctors & pet parents alike.

In what form does the feline version of your product come? How is it administered?

Canna Companion Regular Strength Capsule for CatsRight now it’s in capsule form administered near meals. (From you … you can mention it can be mixed in food but I can’t say that due to USDA vs FDA restrictions). We will have soft chews & an oil formulation out later this year.

I see that you’re not the only pet Cannabis product on the market. Are they all the same? How is yours different?

Good question! While we are not the only ones, we are the only company with 15 yrs of veterinary research who is open about everything 🙂 We provide COAs (certificate of analyses) upon request and will post them soon on our website. COAs is a 3rd party testing of the product and helps ensure a company’s product is as advertised. If a company will not provide that, move on. Right now there are no regulations for how the cannabis business (medical or recreational, marijuana or hemp) differentiates from charlatans out to make a buck and those who are interested in helping people and their pets. COAs help draw a line on this topic. Our product specifically is also different in that we maintain specific CBD:THC ratios (3:1-6:1) which appear to provide the most medicinal benefit without getting into unacceptable levels of side effects. We also ensure terpenes are included for a full entourage effect. Lastly, we are first and foremost and education & research-based company. We know this and other products are in their infancy regarding effectiveness, conditions treated, etc. and are committed to helping the public and professionals understand what we do & do not know about the ECS (endocannabinoid system), how dogs & cats respond to cannabis, and the future of cannabis in veterinary medicine.

Does your product stimulate hunger in cats (like pot gives humans the “munchies”)?

🙂 Not directly. The ‘munchies’ come from THC and our product is just too low for that to occur. However, many poor appetites in cats are secondary to another condition: pain, inflammation, nausea, etc. Once those are better controlled (and our product does control them nicely), cats will start to eat better.

Can your cat get high from it?

Nope. Impossible no matter how much they ingest. If a cat (or human child) were to eat an entire bag, they would likely have GI upset and be very sleepy. Those effects wear off in 1-3 days, depending on the individual’s sensitivity.

Can you share a specific story of a specific feline patient that took Canna Companion that you’re most proud of?

Gonna send you a link as I think this blog post, How Medical Marijuana Helped a Cat with Lymphoma, tells her story best 🙂

You can learn more about Canna Companion by visiting their website here.

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Comments (7)

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  1. Patti Johnson says:

    Wow! What an awesome post, Jenny! Thank you so much for this great interview with Dr. Brandon. She’s doing amazing work and I’m bookmarking their website right now. Going to read the story about the kitty with lymphoma who was helped by Dr. Brandon’s product. 🙂

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  2. Teresa Reid says:

    Thanks for the great interview Jenny! I contacted Jenny almost a month ago now in desperation because my 10-year-old Maine Coon rescue, Mariposa, was having very severe interstitial cystitis and nothing that had been tried, (change of food, medications such as amitriptyline, aspirin, etc.,) and nothing was working. It was getting worse and worse and effecting her quality of life because she was having so much pain and anxiety. She was having such bad bladder spasms that she would sit crouched down and then would go into this horrible cycle peeing blood. The urine would be clear and turn in a matter of minutes very bloody. It was very scary. All her labs and tests were normal thank goodness. So after 4 months of seeing her suffering and getting no where with any of the treatments, I reached out to Jenny who gave me the link for CannaCompanion.
    I immediately contacted Dr. Brandon. She was very responsive and helpful and immediately mapped out a treatment program for Mariposa. I contacted my vet and she felt that it was a great idea and gave us the green light to try it. Began Mari on the CannaCompanion Feline Capsules regular strength twice a day. Was all prepared for her to be sleepy or at least have some of the side effects that were listed, but she has done very well and has not experienced any side effects at all. Dr. Brandon felt that it would take at least a month to really see changes, especially because her symptoms were so severe. Before we began the CannaCompanion, she was having an episode that required emergency narcotics be used every 7 days. It was like clock work that she would get in trouble requiring this medication when she began to pee blood. Am very pleased to report that she has not had any episodes of bloody pee for over a month now. NONE! Am almost afraid to say that. Whether it is solely due to the CannaCompanion, I cannot honestly say, but what I can say is that she has been more calm and only has had one episode of separation anxiety where she acted out. No side effects noted thus far and because she is tolerating it so well, am going to see if we can adjust her dosage of the CannaCompanion and try backing down on some of the other medications that could be detrimental to her kidneys long term. Also, would just like to say that before I got the product, did some research into the company and found that the backgrounds of the vets and other key people who work at CannaCompanion have stellar backgrounds. When I wrote back asking further questions, everything and more was addressed and it is very clear to me that this company truly cares about helping animals with pain management as well as all the other benefits. Many thanks to Jenny for giving us this referral and to Dr. Sarah Brandon for all the time and care you put into helping Mariposa. Honestly feel like it is going to prove to be one of the best tools to combat Miss Mari’s anxiety as well as her pain and distress from interstitial cystitis that they feel stemmed from stress in the first place. Will report back in a couple of months to let you all know how it goes. Hopefully, things will continue to get better for Miss Mariposa and she will be back to herself with a good quality of life once again. ♥♥♥

    • Patti Johnson says:

      Such a wonderful testimonial, Teresa! So glad Miss Mari is thriving again. YAY!!!! 🙂 <3

      • Teresa Reid says:

        Thanks Patti! Me too! It was a very stressful time and didn’t know what to do except pray. Looks like this is going to be great for her and look forward to getting her off some of those other medications in the near future.♥♥♥

        • Patti Johnson says:

          I can’t even imagine the amount of stress you have been under. First losing Sweet Mr. P and then Miss Mari gets sick and then everything else on your plate right now. My goodness! The power of prayer is mighty! Praying she will just keep getting better and better and can get off those other meds soon! BIG HUGS!!! 🙂 ♥♥♥

          • Teresa Reid says:

            Awe, thanks so much for the kind words Patti and totally agree. Have had so much support and help from good friends like you and Jenny, and then Dr. Brandon stepped in and gave Mari such a good treatment plan she was bound to improve!♥♥♥

          • Patti Johnson says:

            ♥♥♥♥♥♥

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