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CBD: What You Need to Know

CBD: What You Need to Know

With all the hype surrounding CBD, and it being touted by many as a ‘Miracle Cure’ for every ailment under the sun, it is hard to cut through all the misinformation and arrive at a solid-state of understanding. The purpose of this article is to give you an understanding of what CBD is, how it interacts with the body, and what it can do for either you or your pets.

What is CBD?

CBD or Cannabidiol is a chemical compound that is found in all cannabis plant species like Cannabis Sativa (including hemp), Cannabis Indica, and hybrid species. CBD is one of 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) found in all mammals, which includes you, your pets, and even invertebrates. CBD is becoming more widely researched, with a growing body of evidence that shows the health benefits associated with the cannabinoid. CBD is also non-psychoactive meaning it won’t get you (or your pet) high.

CBD oil can be broken down into 3 different categories:

  1. CBD Isolate is the extraction and purification of CBD into the crystal form and the addition of that into a carrier oil of either hemp seed oil, olive oil or MCT oil to name the more popular choices. Of these 3 carrier oils, there are different schools of thought on which is better.
  2. Broad-Spectrum is an extract where each cannabinoid is removed from the plant and then individually added into a carrier oil enabling a tailored cannabinoid profile.
  3. Full-Spectrum is a whole plant extract (in the case of CBD it is from hemp) and includes all the parts of the plant. Full Spectrum Oil contains CBD, small amounts of THC (depending on which country you live in, minimum allowable amounts may vary, but in most places its less than 0.3%THC), terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils and other compounds found within the plant. In South Africa, the legal limit of THC is 0.001% unless you have approved your product with SAHPRA. At this time there are no registered cannabis-based products.

CBD: How Does it Interact with The Body?

The bodies of humans and animals have an internal signaling system known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Experts believe the ECS maintains homeostasis - a state of steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions.

“CBD and other cannabinoids are compounds that activate this system. Cannabinoids, both naturally produced by the body (endogenous), and those supplemented from cannabis (exogenous), act as ‘keys’ to these receptors, turning on a variety of functions.” (Getty)

There are two main endocannabinoid receptors:

CB1 receptors are mostly located in the Central Nervous System. CB1 receptors impact areas that control pain, memory, emotions, and appetite.

CB2 receptors are mostly located in the Peripheral Nervous System and Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract. CB2 receptors modulate immune function and help reduce inflammation when activated.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Side Effects and Safety of CBD

According to Iffland and Grotenhermen (2017), CBD has a favourable safety profile for humans and it appears that long term use is safe, but more research is always needed. If overdosed, some of the side effects include drowsiness, decreased blood pressure, diarrhea, dizziness, and fatigue. If any of these are experienced, cease use immediately and contact your doctor or veterinarian in the case of your pets.

In recent studies conducted by scientists, CBD was found to be safe for use on our pets by Vaughn, Kulpa, and Paulionis (2020). They safely dosed dogs from 32% to 64% more than what Cannable recommends as a maximum effective daily dose, even for dogs with more severe symptoms.

Any person who uses blood-thinning medication should consult their doctor prior to the use of CBD.

Administering CBD

There are many ways to get your daily dose of CBD and many novel dosage methods are coming into the market as brands look for new ways of getting ahead. It is important to understand what product and method to use for different ailments.

  • Sublingual administration involves placing the drops under the tongue and holding them there for 15-30 seconds. This method provides good bioavailability and is fast-acting. Cannable provides plastic syringes so you don’t have to stick glass dropper bottles in your pet’s mouth.
  • Oral administration involves adding CBD to food, swallowing a CBD capsule, or chewing a CBD gummy. This method takes the longest time for the CBD to take effect, but it is longer lasting than using it sublingually.
  • CBD vapes are used for pulmonary administration and have the highest bioavailability, but the shortest duration of action. Cannable does not recommend this for people with any respiratory conditions as they could be exacerbated.
  • CBD creams, butters, balms, and lotions can be used for topical application. This allows for targeted application where the CBD can be absorbed into the skin.

 Sublingual CBD Use

Concluding Thoughts

Although more research is needed, CBD is proving to boast impressive health benefits for both humans and our furry companions. Understanding what CBD is and how it works gives you the ability to confidently make the decision on whether to use it for yourself or one of your pets. If you follow the series of articles that Cannable is releasing, you will have the knowledge to hold your own with even the most competent of CBD enthusiasts.


Iffland, K. and Grotenhermen, F. (2017) ‘An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies’, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), pp. 139–154. doi: 10.1089/can.2016.0034.

Vaughn, D., Kulpa, J. and Paulionis, L. (2020) ‘Preliminary Investigation of the Safety of Escalating Cannabinoid Doses in Healthy Dogs’, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, p. 51. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00051.

Volkow, N. D. et al. (2014) ‘Adverse health effects of marijuana use’, The New England Journal of Medicine, 370(23), pp. 2219–2227. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1402309.

Kogan, L. et al. (2019) ‘US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions’, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5, p. 338. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00338.

Fitzgerald, K. T., Bronstein, A. C. and Newquist, K. L. (2013) ‘Marijuana poisoning’, Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 28(1), pp. 8–12. doi: 10.1053/j.tcam.2013.03.004.

Getty, J. M. (no date) CBD for Horses - What You Can Expect, Getty Equine Nutrition. Available at:

Raypole, C. (2019) A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System. Available at:

Holland, K. (2020) CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference? Available at:

Mcmaster, G. (2018) Veterinary experts warn cannabis can be a fatal poison to dogs and cats. Available at:

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