Snake Oil


CBD Scams and Pet Supplements










When our pets are sick, it’s hard to know, as they can’t tell us how they feel. We must be even more proactive in their care than our own for this very reason. In that same vein, due to their lack of verbal communication, how can we tell what’s working and what isn’t?

Digestive issues, fatigue, and lack of appetite are typically the red flags that prompt us to take our pets to the vet. Examining what they’ve ingested is typically a first step in analyzing an ailment; begging this question, what are you feeding Fido?

Just as we take supplements and eat beneficial foods to keep our bodies well, our pets require the same nutrition to keep their systems healthy, while keeping them happy – for illness reaps fatigue and depression in pets, just as it does in us.

Dogs and cats have a similar biological make up as humans and contract many of the same maladies. Digestive issues, chronic pain, diabetes and cancer are more common than ever; the Veterinary Oncology and Hematology Center states that cancer accounts for nearly 50 percent of all disease-related deaths.

According to, dogs and cats have an endocrine or an endocannabinoid (eCS) system identical to humans with the same function to deliver hormones to the blood stream and regulate the body’s glands and organs. Hormones act as chemical messengers with many critical functions.

Dosing pets with THC is tricky, but just as with humans, they can get used to its effects, too. The “start low, go slow” rule is just as applicable with animals. CBD only supplements offer relief without the worry of a neurological or central nervous system upset, but with this new-found knowledge
also comes foolery.

With the plethora of CBD pet options on the market, there is also a greater margin for error, or more specifically, deceit – especially where CBD from imported industrial hemp compounds are concerned.

Industrial farming differs widely from food grade or traditional farming, harvesting and manufacturing of food and products for human consumption. This is really the crux of the often talked about CBD scams.

According to Project CBD, only products using organic, whole plant cannabis offer the best medicinal benefits, especially where a high content of CBD is required for real healing and/or prevention against real ailments (see sidebar on Project CBD warnings).

CBD Checklist:

Is the package properly labeled with test results (including pesticides & toxins) from a certified lab?

Is the percentage of CBD and source thereof listed?

Is the CBD from cannabis or hemp?

Is the hemp source listed? Beware of “stalk” or “industrial” language.

As one theory goes, original hemp plants like that used to make the alleged Holy Anointing oil in the Bible, only measured in at around four or five percent THC. We as a species upped the psychoactive properties of the plant.

The process began with farmers hybridizing the THC down to lower levels within the cannabis plant. In doing so, the CBD was also hybridized, making the plant less psychoactive and more medicinal.

Granted, if you are fortunate enough to harvest fresh, organically grown (food grade) hemp and use the bud as you would a cannabis flower to make medicine, there may be more clean CBD counts, but that’s not what’s happening in the global market right now.

CBD products derived from industrial hemp potentially have several problems:

– Industrial hemp typically contains far less cannabidiol than CBD-rich cannabis strains so a huge amount of industrial hemp is required to extract a small amount of CBD. This raises the risk of contaminants as hemp is a “bio-accumulator”—meaning the plant naturally draws toxins from the soil.

– Hemp-derived CBD and refined CBD powder lack critical medicinal terpenes and secondary cannabinoids found in cannabis oil. These compounds interact with CBD and THC to enhance their medicinal benefits.

– It’s against federal law to use hemp leaves and flowers to make drug products. Hemp oil entrepreneurs attempt to sidestep this legal hurdle by dubiously claiming they extract CBD only from hemp stalk before importing it to the U.S., a grey area activity at best.

The minute CNN aired Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s intelligent documentary “Weed,” which illustrated the potential for cannabis to benefit children with severe epilepsy, the industrial hemp market became a viable option to many.

Add the industrial hemp option to pet supplements and the muted mutt has suddenly become an unwitting accomplice.

While the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) must support the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) misinformation that cannabis or hemp are not beneficial, the FDA was all too eager to provide a helpful list (links below) of companies falsely claiming benefits from lessor compounds, namely industrial hemp.

One can safely assume the CBD pet market reflects the FDA’s findings on scammers, as just listing CBD on a package doesn’t really cut it in the world of verifiability. The product still needs to be tested for CBD content, and even then a layer of truth may be missing depending on semantics.

As with any medication, do your homework and read the fine print. Know that your pet has functioning biological systems to nurture with good medicine, just as ours do, and prevention is key. For just as we must ingest plant-based medicines to strengthen our own systems, so must animals.

Pet Dosing Guidelines

Via “The eCS Therapy Companion Guide” by Regina Nelson, PhD

Whether you are dosing your pet with CBD only, a stronger cannabis oil, or a CBD/THC combination (i.e. 1:1, 2:1 rations, etc.), care must be taken to follow specific protocols, just as you would with any other medication.

Regina Nelson’s endocannabinoid guide offers the following protocols for cannabis oil concentrate:

1 gram of Cannabis Oil = 1 ml of Cannabis Oil = 1000 mg of Cannabis Oil (approximately)

To create a suspension, dilute the cannabis oil with olive oil and mix well, as follows:

Fill a 1 ml syringe with diluted cannabis oil with dose:

1 ml of diluted cannabis oil / .25 mil of diluted cannabis oil

16 mg of cannabis oil / 4 mg of cannabis oil

Excessive Dosing Antidote

Excessive dosing is often referred to as an overdose, but when dealing with cannabis it’s a misleading use of the term. Cannabis will not stop the heart, but it will affect the central nervous system, which may feel like a heart attack if dosing excessively. Heart palpitations and jitters have been noted in pets ingesting too much THC. Extreme amounts could induce a coma.

A visit to the emergency room would have a doctor prescribing valium or some other muscle relaxer to take the edge off, but there is a safer solution in a supplement called Choline.

As noted in Nelson’s guide, Choline mimics Vitamin B in our system. An essential nutrient, Choline is a precursor of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter. THC lowers acetylcholine levels, Choline brings them back up, mitigating the euphoric effects of an excessive dose.


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Writer and Producer Sharon Letts began her life's work at age of 24 as a flower gardener in Southern California. Gardening turned to media, when she was asked to produce and host a visiting gardening show, In and Out of the Garden, for local television. She then went on to executive produce, Off the Beaten Path, a travelogue in California for PBS. After working as a field and segment producer for documentary and magazine shows for television in Los Angeles, Sharon was brought up to Humboldt County to produce a news show. While working in media in the cannabis capitol of the world, Sharon presented with Lobular Carcinoma (breast cancer). Due to her location, she was given cannabis oil, successfully putting the cancer into remission, while simultaneously doing away with 10 prescription medications. To date, Sharon has covered six states and three countries on cannabis as medicine; writing internationally for many publications. Her many patient profiles include cover features on celebrities, Tommy Chong, Willie Nelson, and Melissa Etheridge. She has published two works of fiction, and is working on a screenplay inspired by her time in Humboldt County. She’s also come full circle, developing intelligent magazine and documentary shows for TV on the subject.

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