Providing CBD to pets is a topic that seems to be on many of our customers’ minds. As pet lovers ourselves, we wanted to get more insights on this subject. We were fortunate to be able to get some time with Andreana Pena, founder of Blooming Culture, in order to learn more.
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WLM: What was your inspiration for starting Blooming Culture?
AP: Blooming Culture was born from my passion for animals and a personal need to find pain relief. It was almost serendipitous how together they lead me to discover the amazing benefits of CBD. After years of suffering unbearable and unexplainable pain, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Being young, I was both shocked and terrified. I was a runner, year-round cyclist, and worked out regularly. I had become an expert at tolerating pain. Shooting pains in my head, pelvic injections, and not being able to move my arms or neck were my new normal. As were the horrible side effects of prescription drugs and five rounds of therapy that had no lasting results. Doctoring became a full time job and it was financially draining. Desperate for relief, I turned to holistic medicine. One of the first things my doctor suggested was CBD. I was skeptical for sure but very determined to keep an open mind. I just needed to research the topic in depth before making a decision. The most interesting and resounding feedback I got from everyone was: "CBD works on me and my pet. It's made my life better". And, that was the "ah hah" moment when Blooming Culture was born. There was a universal need and I was going to fill it.
WLM: Please share with us some of your most important company values.
AP: First and foremost I wanted to create a brand that was transparent from grower to end product. Believe it or not, many companies don’t disclose their source or grower. I wanted a product line that customers could trust and wouldn’t have to research to ensure it was safe for their pet. Using premium human grade ingredients with no preservatives or flavorings – even natural ones - were an absolute. Also, we are proud to donate a portion of our sales to Live Like Roo, a 501C3 organization, that provides support and financial assistance to families whose pet faces a cancer diagnosis.
WLM: To that point, many people ask us: isn't all CBD the same? Why is it so important to know where your CBD is sourced and if it is third party lab tested?
AP: Dogs are the only things on earth that love us more than they love themselves. Man’s best friend deserves the very best CBD. We believe that sourcing from a reputable local company that is transparent with their 3rd party test results and uses the "whole plant" or “full spectrum” is a good place to start. We use full spectrum CBD extract instead of isolate (where the CBD molecules are isolated without other parts of the plant) because it allows other plant compounds to work in harmony together creating a more therapeutic effect. The CBD we use is sourced from an organic Colorado farm that is licensed by the Department of Agriculture. We do not use industrial hemp, which is often sourced overseas. Huge amounts of industrial hemp are required to extract a small amount of CBD, thereby raising the risk of contaminants because hemp is a “bio-accumulator” that can draw toxins from the soil. Our other ingredients are primarily grown locally, ethically, and organically. Some of our topical ingredients are globally sourced only because they are unable to be grown here. But, they are fairly traded and sustainable and we consider them to be premium grade and non-toxic yet effective. Third party lab tests provide results on actual cannabinoid levels and if residual toxins are present in the CBD once extracted. Every batch we produce is independently tested for potency and residual chemicals.
WLM: Many people have told us that they are worried that CBD will get their pet high. What can you tell them?
AP: CBD is amazing for the pet community because it provides so many benefits to your pet without the psychoactive effect. There are many cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. The most prominent are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD rich oil does not have any psychoactive effects but instead offers a myriad of benefits. CBD began to be discussed in the U.S. in the 1940s, 20 years prior to THC (the compound that does get you “high”). Fast forward to the 60s, and that is when we really started to learn about the benefits it could provide.
WLM: For those with a pet that doesn't have any problems or that have a younger pet, does CBD make sense?
AP: CBD is amazing to add to your pet’s wellness plan at any age for preventive care. Pets are living longer than ever now, and with age can come disease and other various ailments. CBD supports the endocannabinoid (ECS) system to help regulate and balance the body to keep everything at a level of homeostasis. It also works on keeping inflammation in their body in check, which is a leading cause of disease. We recommend using it as a daily supplement, integrating it in like a vitamin, and starting it before there is an absolute need to.
WLM: Another question we often get is if there is a different between “human” CBD and “pet” CBD?
AP: The actual CBD for pets and people is the same. What can differ is the strength for dosing, additives, or flavorings. The flavor and smell profile of our products is very neutral, which is so important. Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about 6 million in humans. And the part of the dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours. Definitely watch out for artificial sweeteners that some brands put in human products, which can be dangerous for pets. Certain ingredients can cause inflammation in your pets which can be a catalyst for cancer, arthritis and heart disease. All CBD needs a carrier for bioavailability and we keep it clean and simple by using only MCT oil. It is almost tasteless and odorless, and, because of its chemistry, we believe it makes for the best absorption in the body. Some human CBD-rich oils do contain levels of THC that can be dangerous for your pet. If you do want to share your CBD with your furry friend make sure you understand the dosing and that it is 100% free of anything that could harm them.
WLM: On that note, how much CBD should one give their dog? Can a dog overdose on CBD?
AP: We can’t stress enough that CBD is not toxic. Your dog has an endocannabinoid system that works naturally with the CBD, so it uses what it needs and flushes out the rest through their liver. A general starting point for dosing CBD to your dog is 1mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight, two times per day. See our dosing page for details and what might be best based on what you are using it for. Based on studies, this is a good foundation to start with, but as the dog parent you know your dog best and can adjust accordingly.
WLM: Does your advice for dogs apply to other pets and animals?
AP: All mammals have an ECS system like humans. We tend to use the terms “pets” and “dogs” interchangeably. These doses apply to dogs, cats, and horses. Also, we focus on dogs because 98% of our clients are dogs but we want to make sure people are educated that cats can use it too. In fact, a great success story we have is actually from a cat customer.
WLM: What about non-mammalian pets such as birds?
AP: To your example regarding birds, they can take CBD too. All animals have an ECS system. But for birds and other pets, I highly recommend that the pet owner e-mail us for clarification first.
WLM: We hear from many people that their vet won’t discuss CBD with them. Why is that?
AP: California is the 1st state as of January 1, 2019 where vets can fully legally discuss CBD with patients, but this does not include dispensing. Read the full article we wrote on the topic on Entrepreneur Green.
WLM: How does CBD work on a dog?
AP: Your dog's endocannabinoid system is made up of special receptors that can interact with CBD. There are two types of receptors within the endocannabinoid system, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are concentrated near the brain and the central nervous system. CB2 receptors live within the body's immune system and peripheral organs. Do note, your dog's endocannabinoid system is unique, like a fingerprint. That means certain dogs may be less or more sensitive to the impact of CBD.
CBD interacts with receptors / activators TRPV1, 5-HT1A, and GPR55, which regulate mood, sleep, pain, memory, appetite, inflammation, nausea, and stress levels. In canines specifically, CBD loosely binds itself to the receptors but for a longer duration than humans. It regulates what is out of balance to evoke a longer lasting therapeutic response without causing toxic effects. Once the CBD oil is completely processed, it safely passes through the liver and digestive system.
WLM: What are some of the major things that CBD can help a dog with?
AP: Cannabidiol can relieve anxiety, arthritis, seizures, pain and inflammation, while protecting the nervous system and helping with bowel problems. It has also been used in treating some side effects from cancer treatment.
When it comes to seizures, first, we always recommend you get a MRI if possible to eliminate underlying factors. However, 80% of seizures in dogs are idiopathic and CBD can help. We know from personal experience that when your dog is having a seizure it is a terrifying experience. Based on research by Colorado State University, 89% of dogs who received CBD in a clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.
As to cancer, did you know that over 50% of dogs over the age of 10 years old are diagnosed with cancer? CBD has long been believed to have anti-cancer and tumor-reducing effects, according to research at the University of Milan. Multiple studies have also pointed to the possibility that CBD may affect cancer genes by shutting down cancer cellular growth receptors. This is believed to be true for reproductive cancers as well as lung, bladder, colon, and pancreatic cancers. CBD can also help a dog be more comfortable while going through some adverse side effects that come with a cancer diagnosis.
As it pertains to anxiety, which often is the cause of excessive barking, 83% of veterinarians surveyed have prescribed an anti-anxiety medication to patients. CBD has shown to be a game changer when wanting an all-natural and effective remedy in helping calm your dog. As a dog parent you can rest easier, too, knowing that you are giving them a natural option.
WLM: What is the best method of dosing CBD for your pet?
AP: We recommend dosing 30 minutes before or after eating and putting the drops directly into your pet’s mouth. This provides the most quick and direct absorption into the bloodstream.
WLM: Should I give my pet CBD every day?
AP: CBD works best when it is dosed daily and consistently because it has a cumulative effect on the body. Some pets do have an immediate response to being dosed, and some take a few weeks to get to the desired outcome. If you want to only dose for “situational” events, such as fireworks, car rides, etc., we recommend starting a few weeks prior to see how your pet is reacting to it. If dosing for preventative care remember a huge “change” will not probably be seen since it’s working quietly on your pet.
WLM: Andreana, thank you so much for your thoughts. We have found this very enlightening and we can’t wait to use this knowledge with our pets.
AP: My pleasure. Feel free to contact me with any further questions.
We hope you have found this information helpful and are able to use it to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of your loved pets. As always, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.