Q&A with Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a certified cannabis specialist and holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years
Angela Ardolino earned a professional certification in medical cannabis for therapeutic use from the University of Vermont, College of Medicine, and is an accredited terpene specialist by Cannabinoid Medicine Studies. She operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida, and is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in medical cannabis biology and therapeutic use, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Ardolino has seven dogs: Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman, Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab—plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She has been using full spectrum hemp extract daily on all her pets at her rescue farm since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds of medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals.
This interview was originally published in Nutraceuticals World
420AC: What started you on giving full-spectrum hemp to your dogs?
Ardolino: A few years ago, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and knew that I needed to find alternatives to the toxic medications being offered to me. I had heard of the benefits of full spectrum CBD oil and thought it might be a better, safer option, so I started using it. Thankfully, full spectrum CBD worked. It changed my life and made it possible for me to make it through the day without pain. I looked around and saw a lack of education about medical cannabis and CBD and decided to change that. I was invited to be a part of the inaugural class for medical cannabis from the University of Vermont, and the more I learned, the more I discovered how therapeutic CBD can be for dogs. I knew that my pets, and all our pets, deserve the same kind of relief that I had found in CBD. I own and operate a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, and since I have started using cannabis medicine on them I have seen dogs who could barely walk start to run, seizures completely stop, all levels of anxiety go away, tumors fall off and more.
420AC: What are the health benefits from CBD or hemp for dogs?
Ardolino: Humans and animals have an endocannabinoid system which interacts with the cannabinoids in the hemp plant. The endocannabinoid system regulates our mood, appetite, inflammation, and homeostasis in our bodies. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than people, meaning that they can benefit from the hemp plant the most.
420AC: Can cats take a CBD or hemp supplement?
Ardolino: Absolutely. We have a full cat line as well. All animals have an endocannabinoid system so they can all benefit from it. We give CBD to cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, bunnies, and more.
420AC: How is the product administered to animals?
Ardolino: Administering CBD is all a matter of bioavailability. This is important because bioavailability affects how much to give in one dose, and how quickly your pet can feel the effects.
420AC: What is the most effective way to give your pet CBD oil?
Ardolino: The gums are one place. Lift the lip and place the dropper on the gums for best absorption. This method works best because the medicine is absorbed through the mucous membrane (transmucosal) in the mouth and the full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) then goes directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive tract altogether. Applying CBD oil to the gums minimizes the number of active compounds, or cannabinoids, that are lost or broken down in the digestive tract. The inner ears are another effective place to administer CBD oil, directly onto the hairless area on the underside of the pet’s ear flap. This is another way to achieve quick and efficient absorption. Because of the high number of blood vessels in this skin, it is well absorbed into the bloodstream while avoiding the digestive tract. But be cautious and avoid this site if your pet has a ruptured ear drum. If possible, avoid putting CBD on food. CBD oil that is added to pet food takes longer to enter the bloodstream and generally results in lower rates of absorption. This is because they must go all the way through the digestive tract and filtration processes, like the first pass of the liver.
420AC: May CBD or hemp be good for an animal’s joint health?
Ardolino: Yes. CBD and the other compounds found in a full spectrum hemp extract are known to reduce inflammation through the body. In many cases, the pain that our arthritic dogs feel is a direct result of the inflammation in their joints. When we soothe that inflammation, we are treating the cause of the problem and preventing the hurt. Cannabis has been used as an effective analgesic dating back thousands of years. One of the ways it does this is by changing the way their central nervous system communicates the sensation of pain to their brain. My 14-year old schnauzer suffered from terrible arthritis. I first noticed it when he could not run up the stairs anymore. A week into giving him CBD he was running around like a puppy again.
420AC: What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned over the years about keeping an animal healthy?
Ardolino: One of the biggest lessons I have learned is just how similar our pet’s bodies are to ours. As we get older, we have more joint pain, we cannot tolerate certain food anymore, and we need to take better care of our body. CBD helps the body maintain hemostasis so that the body can begin to heal itself. And this is when diet comes into play. About 80% of the immune system lives in our gut. Could you imagine what would happen to our body if all we ate was overly processed food like a kibble diet? Feeding a fresh diet can change everything for our pet’s health.
420AC: Has COVID-19 caused health issues for dogs?
Ardolino: Indeed. Dogs are creatures of habit. When their routine changed with pet parents staying at home, their daily routines changed drastically. I have received so many calls from concerned pet parents about their dog acting up, or full of anxiety. It is important to keep your pet’s mental health in mind and using full spectrum CBD can help a lot. Cats have also had a huge change of life in this pandemic.
Keeping your cat stress-free not only makes them happier, it will also make them live longer. Stress is a huge contributing factor to diseases in all animals. And when it comes to our cats, the top two diseases due to stress are IBD and idiopathic cystitis.
420AC: What products are currently in stores or online?
Ardolino: At CBD Dog Health we carry a line of full spectrum tinctures with other essential oils, salves for skin irritations and freeze dried CBD treats. A total of six products.
420AC: Where is Fire Flake Farm and how many animals do you care for?
Ardolino: Fire Flake Farm, our rescue farm, is just outside of Tampa in a city called Lutz. We currently have 10 dogs but have had up to 20 at any one time. Currently, Fire Flake Farm is also home to nine geese, 19 ducks, 12 chickens, and one pig.