Pot for Cats: Interview with Canna Companion’s Sarah Brandon, DVM
Many 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.
What is Canna Companion and what made you want to create it?
Canna 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
- 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?
- 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?
Right 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 🙂