Why Dosing Matters: The Plateau and the Biphasic Effect
As the use of CBD as a medical agent for pets grows in popularity, many pet owners are left wondering “Why did this product stop working?” There are myriad possibilities, but one not to overlook is that pets, like humans, can build up tolerance to CBD, THC and other key cannabinoids. What does this mean when you use CBD for you pet?
Many clients who come to us state that they tried off-the-shelf CBD products, from either hemp or cannabis, and while there may have been some initial improvement in the pet’s condition, the “magic” stopped after the first bottle, or within a few weeks. There are at least three facts that may explain why many off-the-shelf products ultimately fail: (1) inadequate quality or quantity in the bottle to achieve desired efficacy; (2) inappropriate ratios for the specific disease process; and (3) failure in appropriate dosing including understanding the importance of biphasic curve and what it means for cannabinoid use.
The Plateau – Off-the-Shelf Dosing Limitations
Because off-the-shelf products are designed to work for all sizes and shapes of pets, they typically have a generic dosing formula, such as 10-25 lbs 1mL twice daily. The problem with stock dosing is twofold: (1) it is totally weight dependent and fails to account for age and breed; and (2) it does not address potential tolerance by the pet concerned.
Our data has repeatedly confirmed that a pet’s age, breed and other medical conditions and overall health are equally or more important in determining the correct dosing regimen for using medical cannabis like right:ratio. For example, a 10 year old, 80 pound Golden Retriever can easily be more sensitive to key cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid, than a 2 year old, 12 pound Chihuahua. Our database has scores of examples, starting with simple arthritic pain cases.
Stock dosing also misses the mark when it comes to addressing a pet’s potential tolerance to key cannabinoids. Many of our long-term clients have pets that are on their 6th, 7th or 10th bottle of right:ratio.
At each formulation, we can, and often do: (1) adjust the potency of the next bottle making it slightly more potent to address the development of tolerance as well as making it last longer/be more economical for long-term customers; and (2) make any changes to the formula (ratio or key cannabinoids based on current research) to create an even more efficacious formula.
The Biphasic Effect
The biphasic effect can be expressed with respect to cannabis as a curve where dosing is either too low to be of therapeutic value or too high, leading to loss of medical benefits and potential discomfort for your pet. We use titration and careful instructions to achieve optimal medical benefits while avoiding the “highs” and “lows” as a result of the biphasic effect.
When talking to pet owners about medical cannabis, it is often easiest to explain the biphasic effect in terms of other ingested compounds like coffee, nicotine or alcohol. Most people are familiar with the feeling of too much caffeine or alcohol, where the body is overstimulated and the optimal feelings are long gone. Proper dosing to achieve medical benefits of cannabis for pets follows a similar logic in our experience, which is why off-the-shelf may not always be the optimal solution for pet owners seeking the medical benefits of cannabis for their ill pets.
AB-2215 Allowing Vets to Discuss Medical Cannabis with Pet Owners Moves On
Because of the importance of this issue, we continue to promote our readers’s awareness of AB-2215, to lift California legal limitations that prevent veterinarians from discussing or recommending medical cannabis. The bill has passed an important phase – the Appropriations Committee – and may be voted on this year. Jump on the cause by writing Ash Kalra’s office or by signing the petition started by Dr. Gary Richter, DVM.
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