Canna Companion is helping to bring the benefits of the entourage effect to pets.
The company, headquartered in Sultan, Washington, provides supplements for canines and felines of various breeds and sizes. Canna Companion supplements come in vegetable based capsules, are GMO free, and all natural. The products are made from whole plant hemp, and contain a combination of phytocannabinoids and terpenoids.
Canna Companion products are recommended and developed by veterinarians. The company is the result of nearly two decades of research by its founders, Dr. Sara Brandon and Dr. Greg Copas, both world leaders in the study of cannabis science and its applications for veterinary medicine.
The animal scientists, who are also married, became interested in the medicinal benefits of cannabis after Dr. Copas personal experience with it. “He has pretty significant joint disease from previous sports injuries, and is allergic to opioids and anti-inflammatories,” described Dr. Brandon. His research led him to try cannabis.
“At the time, we happened to have a Rottweiler who was born with hip dysplasia,” said Dr. Brandon. After much research, they began medically managing the canine with cannabis. Treatment proved beneficial, however, “the downside was that he did get high. Luckily, we’d been in the medical field a long time, and knew what we were watching for,” she added. As the years went by, they started to carefully administer cannabis to their other pets. They researched different stains, and dosage structures, along with conducting their own analytical and clinical trials.
Canna Companion launched its e-commerce line of supplements in 2014. The World Pet Association, and the American Pet Products Association, among others, recognize the company, whose products are tested by a third party and come with a certificate of analysis.
Canna Companion products include very small amounts of THC, explained Dr. Brandon. Each supplement has a 3:1- 6:1 CBD: THC ratio. “One thing that we have found is that it really doesn’t take a lot [of cannabinoids] to impact pets. In fact, even small doses of CBD, CBG, CBN, and various terpenes affect animals,” she added. “With the right ratio, these compounds are more likely to work better and longer together, more so than a high dose of a single compound.” This, she said, is the entourage effect. “We are full believers in [this] effect. We’ve seen way too many case studies to not buy into that.”
The company puts an emphasis on the use of whole plant products, specifically hemp, for this reason. It contains traces of THC, active and acid forms of CBD, and multiple other cannabinoids and terpenes. When used naturally, explained Dr. Brandon, “The plant will do what you want it to do.”
For example, she explained, “The endocannabinoid system (ECS), when provided with the proper compounds, starts a cascade of events which results in reduced situational anxiety,” she added, “In a thunder phobia dog, if we administer those compounds about an hour prior to the event, the ECS can get to work before the any anxiety occurs. When the anxiety is triggered, the anxious response is now much less due to the ECS having everything in place, usually without significant sedative effects often realized by more aggressive therapies.”
In terms of side effects, Dr. Brandon said there are few, if the right dosage and frequency are used. Animals may experience lethargy, dilated pupils, and every once in while, might get a little wobbly on their feet, she explained.
Canna Companion supplements are mainly for canines and felines, however, the company is currently researching administration in the equine community. In addition, Dr. Brandon said, “We have administered our product to pot belly pigs, skunks, parrots, hedgehogs and guinea pigs.”
The ongoing research conducted by Dr. Brandon and her team has helped to create a database. Since 2000, the 17-year long case study, as Dr. Brandon described, has studied approximately 4,000 patients. In addition to their own clinical research, conducted in large part by Dr. Copas, the team also communicates and cross references information with pet
parents and other researchers.
Dr. Brandon regularly lectures on the information she and her team have collected at local colleges and oncology practices. “These compounds are far more studied than we first thought. We know a lot more about them than other supplements. We’re just trying to let people know; it’s not something to be afraid of, it’s something to learn about.” However, she acknowledges that more research is needed. “We may know a lot more than we thought, but it’s only the surface of what this system can do for our patients,” she said.
Canna Companion products are truly therapeutic supplements, said Dr. Brandon. There are a variety of benefits that pets can reap from hemp. Just like in humans, it can provide comfort and care, help maintain healthy brain function, support mobility, combat anxiety, boost immunity, and aid digestion.
In fact, hemp is nutritious for animals. According to several sources such as Agriculture.com, hemp fiber is used to feed livestock all over the world,
including the U.S. and the Netherlands.
“Hemp is high in protein, fiber, and great for the gut. It’s also rich in omega fatty acids,” added Dr. Brandon.
Of the many reasons that she finds a need for
alternative medicine and research such as this, she said that, “the endocannabinoid system is so adaptable. It doesn’t too take much to influence, because of that; it has the ability to fill in the holes where other therapies are unable to do so.”
Though she recognizes that cannabis is “not a cure all,” it may be the missing link to health and wellness for all creatures.