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With more than 60+ hours of research by our team along with research based insights from our team Vet Dr. Iulia Mihai, with a Master’s degree in Pets’ Pathology and PhD in Pets’ Cancer, we bring in insights along with the best possible advice on questions such as “Can cats take CBD oil?”
While CBD products are used for humans and dogs, their adoption for cats is also catching up across nations. It is one of the most popular trends which people seek as a natural supplement and an alternative to veterinary medicine. Though studies are limited in this area, there are very few side effects noticed in the market as a result of extreme dosage. We know that cat lovers would like to have answers about its safety, how it works, benefits, side effects and dosage. We did our best to answer your most common questions about cats and CBD, so keep reading!
Is CBD Oil Safe For Cats?
Most veterinarians, including our team vet Dr. Iulia, agree that CBD oil is generally safe for cats when it is used in the right dosage and when the THC (the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant) levels are very low or non-existent.
Since this topic is new, there are limited scientific studies conducted, but the research is growing.
Although the FDA hasn’t approved its usage, they have clearly mentioned that they haven’t directly received any reports on adverse reactions caused by cannabis products to animals (1).
CBD oil is considered generally good for cats, but marijuana and cannabis plants are toxic. Therefore, before using CBD oil, it is better to consult a veterinarian and also check for the manufacturer and product details.
CBD Oil How It Works
To understand how it works, we must first know the role of endocannabinoids in a cat’s nervous system. Just like humans, cats too have an endocannabinoid system (2). A cat’s body produces them under stress. The endocannabinoids help in self-regulating the body’s chemicals and preserving its organs, which is known as homeostasis.
These endocannabinoids are similar to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD (cannabidiol), one of the cannabinoids, helps in reducing stress, providing comfort and alleviating pain for humans and pets when taken in the right amount. CBD is one of the active compounds that are found in the cannabis plant.
- CBD vs THC
CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) are different active compounds from the cannabis plant. Both have different effects on the body. As seen above, CBD has some medical benefits, such as improving comfort and reducing stress.
However, THC is the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that produces euphoria (people feel “high” due to THC) and mind-altering effects. It is toxic for pets and not recommended for usage in CBD oil.
There are two species of the cannabis plant, called hemp and marijuana. Hemp has less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. Hemp-based CBD oil is recommended because it has high concentration in CBD and much lower levels of THC. It is considered safe and provides medical benefits for cats.
- Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
While we looked at the difference between CBD vs THC, hemp oil and CBD oil are also not the same. Hemp oil is extracted from pressed hemp seeds that don’t have CBD. The latin name for hemp is Cannabis sativa and has less than 0.3% THC.
However, CBD can be extracted from marijuana or from hemp flowers, leaves, and stalks. Since THC is low in hemp-derived CBD oil, it is more popular among pet lovers.
Benefits Of CBD Oil For Cats
There are 8 benefits that your kitty can derive out of CBD oil. They are as follows:
- Pain Alleviation
If your cat suffers from joint pain, arthritis or inflammation, it is terrific to use CBD Oil for your cats. Sometimes, your kitty doesn’t tolerate anti-inflammatory drugs and you can try this instead. Also, in senior cats, this improves mobility to an extent.
- Inflammation due to Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Most of the cats suffer bleeding bladder walls not because of bacteria but due to primary inflammation. If your kitty is one of them, you can use CBD oil but only on the recommendation of the veterinarian.
- Anxiety, Epilepsy, and Cognitive Dysfunction
If your lovely kitty experiences high anxiety, shyness and high levels of stress, they may sometimes start exhibiting weird behaviours and may urinate all over your house. To prevent such habits, CBD oil is recommended and it helps in reducing heart rate and blood pressure in animal models as per WHO study (3).
CBD oil also offers neuroprotection and prevents neurodegeneration, which leads to dementia in senior cats. It can help in cases where cats suffer seizures and epilepsy. There are also ongoing studies which analyse CBD effects on pet’s cognitive dysfunction (4).
- Chronic Conditions
If your kitty experiences chronic vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease, CBD oil can reduce discomfort.
- Diabetic Cats
If your cat is diabetic, CBD can help in decreasing pancreatic inflammation and allow the pancreas to produce more insulin.
CBD can help fight cancer cells in your kitty’s body. It can help in providing symptomatic pain relief and also in stimulating your cat’s appetite.
- Skin Conditions
CBD oil is also generally good for providing a great, healthy, and shiny coat for your cats.
Not from a medical issue point, but generally CBD oil helps in improving the cat’s state of mind, providing more happiness and comfort for cats.
CBD Oil Dosage For Cats
Before providing CBD for your cats, please consult your veterinarian for advice on dosage. Cats usually don’t have as many cannabinoid receptors as dogs have. So, the prescribed amount could be usually twice as much as dogs. Start with 1 mg of CBD Oil if your cat weighs 10 pounds. Observe for half a month and if you see no improvement, then gradually increase your dosage but it can’t exceed 5 mg for a 10 pound cat. By observing closely and monitoring the amount of dosage and cat’s behaviour consistently at regular intervals, you can identify the right dose that keeps your cat calmer but not weak or lethargic.
Ideally, low dosage of CBD is recommended for anxiety, stress, mild pain; medium dosage for arthritis, tremors; and a high dosage for refractory epilepsy and refractory pain.
If CBD works for your cat, its effects can be seen in an hour and the effects will last till 4 to 6 hours and it depends on your kitty’s ailments, breed and activity level.
CBD Oil Side Effects
There are limited studies conducted on side effects or risks posed by CBD products on pets. However, generally, they are considered to be mild, negligible and of low toxicity (5&6). The side effects usually mentioned are changes in appetite, excessive sleepiness, or gastrointestinal upset. If your cat is already on prescribed medications, please consult your vet before starting CBD usage.
In summary, CBD products are beneficial alternatives to your cat’s medicine. Since there are not many regulations to control the quality of CBD products, please read the product labels, check for risk of contaminants and buy from trusted brands.
If you would like to know more about cats, please click to read about what cats can eat and what foods are cats not allowed to eat.