Everyone is praising CBD oil for helping their pets with various health issues, but is CBD oil really worth the hype? Find out what a veterinarian thinks about CBD oil for cats and whether there is research to back up the claims. Learn about the side effects of CBD oil for cats – health impact, doses and more. See what other owners say and shop CBD oil for cats. Is cannabis oil safe for cats? And what sorts of ailments might it treat?
Is CBD Safe for Cats?
CBD has taken the pet world by storm; however, scientific research on the impacts of CBD on dogs and cats is still in its infancy—especially for cats.
Let’s look at what cat parents should consider before giving their cats CBD oil or CBD cat treats.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s the second most common active ingredient found in the cannabis plant.
While CBD is present in all cannabis plants, it’s primarily derived from the hemp plant—which a recent study defines as, “Cannabis sativa with a total THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) less than 0.3% dry weight in leaves and buds.”
It is also important to note, that legally, a hemp plant cannot contain more than 0.3% THC or else it is considered a Schedule I controlled substance (illegal narcotic).
Unlike hemp oil and hemp seed oil, CBD is extracted from the stalks, leaves and buds—not just one part of the plant.
Has Research Been Done on CBD for Cats?
As far as I’m aware, no scientific studies have been published regarding the use of CBD with cats.
So, as is often the case, we’re left to interpret research results in dogs, people and other animals combined with anecdotal evidence to try to determine if giving CBD to cats is a good idea.
Research on CBD Use in Dogs and People
Recent studies indicate that CBD can help relieve pain and promote activity in dogs with osteoarthritis and can reduce seizure frequency in cases of severe epilepsy.
The fact that CBD has been shown to help dogs with epilepsy correlates nicely with the 2018 US Food and Drug Administration approval of the human CBD medication Epidiolex for the treatment of certain types of childhood epilepsy.
Other common uses of CBD for which there is at least some supportive scientific evidence (in people or non-feline animal models) include inflammatory conditions—like inflammatory bowel disease—as well as asthma, anxiety, pain and nausea.
So, Is CBD Safe for Cats?
Based on reports from veterinarians and pet parents, CBD itself appears, on the surface, to be very safe for cats.
Some people report that their pets become sleepy or develop upset tummies, particularly when given very high doses, but these problems resolve when CBD is discontinued or the dose is lowered.
A Word of Warning About CBD for Cats
Although CBD gets good reviews from pet parents, there is one big problem with the use of CBD in cats: an almost complete lack of regulatory oversight.
This lack of oversight has resulted in a wide availability of low-quality CBD products.
One study tested CBD products and found that many have little—if any—CBD. Or they have more CBD than is reported on the label.
Studies have also found that some CBD products contain potentially harmful contaminants.
This is especially concerning for cats because of their increased sensitivity to medications and toxins.
How to Find Safe CBD for Cats
If you choose to try CBD for your cat, here are a few ways that you can protect your pets from poor-quality CBD:
Find products that carry the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority ™ or the National Animal Supplements Council (NASC) Quality Seal, as these meet industry-imposed standards and have passed a third-party audit.
Use only products that are designed for cats or that contain just CBD oil—and maybe a benign carrier like hemp oil, coconut oil or MCT oil.
Talk to an experienced veterinarian. The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association provides a “Find a Vet” tool on its website if your veterinarian is unable to help.
Are There Any Side Effects Of CBD Oil For Cats?
As CBD oil continues to prove its effectiveness, more and more people are choosing it for their pets. It’s used to reduce anxiety in cats, relieve joint pain for aging feline friends, and research shows it’s also an effective means of stopping seizures. With first-hand testimonies and anecdotal evidence, there are still holes in what we know about this all-natural substance. We need more research to give us specific answers to our questions.
Related: Need a more in-depth guide to CBD for cats?
CBD Oil Cat Side Effects Explained
One of the biggest questions on the minds of cat owners has to do with safety. Are there any side effects of CBD oil for cats? Are there risks? It’s important to note that there is always a measure of risk when introducing your pet to something new, but we’re here to help clear up the confusion.
The Basics of CBD Oil
CBD oil is a cannabinoid (one of many) that’s found in the cannabis plant. It’s extracted from the plant to create a tincture, and that substance is currently proving to have incredible health benefits. CBD oil owes its effectiveness to its relationship with the endocannabinoid system. Found in mammals, the endocannabinoid system is a network or receptors that acts like the body’s control center for health and healing. The different receptors communicate with bodily systems to maintain balance. When CBD oil enters the body, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors to initiate a response. The specifics of the response will vary depending on what’s happening in the body.
Because CBD is a component of cannabis, it can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp. CBD oil by itself is nonpsychoactive (meaning it can’t make you or your pet high), but when it comes from marijuana, there’s risk of it also having trace amounts of another cannabinoid called THC. This cannabinoid is the part of marijuana that’s responsible for the plant’s psychoactive properties. Hemp, on the other hand, has negligible levels of THC, and so CBD oil from hemp has no risk of mind altering side effects.
Side Effects of CBD Oil for Cats
It’s always important to consider potential side effects before administering anything new to your pet. For CBD oil, most pet owners have reported no serious side effects. Boulder Holistic Vet says the most common side effect of giving a cat CBD oil is overly sedate behavior. They advise that if a cat seems to be too calm or sleepy, it’s best to speak with a veterinarian to adjust the dose.
Another possible CBD oil side effect for cats is gastrointestinal upset. This typically only happens if the tincture is abruptly introduced to a cat’s diet. When first introducing CBD oil to your cat, it’s recommended to administer the lowest suggested dose. Continue at this amount for one week while closely monitoring your cat. If she shows signs of nausea or gastrointestinal upset, stop and wait for the CBD oil to exit her system. Consult a holistic vet about lowering the dosage.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats
Like humans and dogs, cats can experience several positive health effects of CBD oil. Every cat is different, and the results you see in your furry friend will vary. Here’s a list of health concerns CBD oil is known to help with:
- Chronic GI issues
- Chronic upper respiratory infections
Choosing CBD Oil for Your Cat: Avoid CBD Side Effects for Your Cat
While you’re considering CBD oil for your cat, it’s important to find a product you trust. Not all companies are truthful in their claims, and you need a product that is organic and free of toxins. Cannanine™ Organic Hemp Oil is made from organically grown Colorado hemp. It’s tested for heavy metals, bacteria, mold, and yeast, and unlike other CBD oils manufactured for pets, Cannanine™ contains absolutely no trace of THC. It’s ideal for cats ready to start living better lives.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.
CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know
As cat owners look for ways to keep their kitties happy and healthy, they’re starting to explore alternative treatments not previously considered by Western medicine. Among these alternative treatments is cannabis oil.
This isn’t much of a surprise, considering that more people are turning to cannabis as a natural treatment for their health issues and research studies have consistently shown the plant’s positive impact on inflammation and other ailments. However, as studied as cannabis’s effect on humans may be, there have been no official major scientific studies into its impact on pets.
So, is cannabis safe for cats? And what sorts of ailments might it treat?
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabis plants contain more than 100 active compounds, but the one most often used for medicinal purposes is cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD differs from cannabis’s major active compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in that it does not have a psychoactive affect, meaning it will not get users “high.” CBD oils contain a high concentration of CBD and can be used for therapeutic purposes.
“There are not many classical medical studies that explore the effects of CBD oil in cats,” says Dr. Daniel Inman, a veterinarian at Burlington Emergency Veterinary Specialists in Williston, Vermont. “While we don’t recommend CBD oil for our patients, holistic veterinarians are using it to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, anxiety and pain.”
Inman is careful to specify that CBD oil is often used to subjectively increase comfort and improve quality of life in pets, not necessarily cure ailments. This type of treatment should be advised by your veterinarian and not initiated without their consent.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Although there have been no scientific studies that specifically investigate the impact of cannabis on pets, Dr. Gary Richter, a holistic veterinarian and owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, says that CBD oil is generally safe for cats. However, there can be some adverse effects to giving your cat CBD oil, including gastrointestinal upset and some sedation, both of which can be relieved by discontinuing the use of the oil.
“I think the bigger issue, from a medical perspective, is making sure that animals are dosed appropriately. This means that the CBD oil is having the affect you want it to have, and that you’re not accidentally overdosing,” he says.
Dr. Liza Guess, a clinical assistant professor at the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, says that the lack of official, documented research into the affects of cannabis products for cats would make her hesitant to recommend them.
“I have heard that, in humans, marijuana products can be used for neuropathic pain, intractable seizures, anxiety, and appetite stimulation. I have plenty of medications in each of those categories [that are not cannabis] that have been safely used in cats for years that I am very comfortable using and understand well,” she says. “These medications have gone through rigorous studies and are approved by the FDA. Why would I want to use a poorly understood treatment that I can’t guarantee is safe or even effective?”
She adds that the FDA does not regulate the CBD products that are available on the market, so consumers can’t be sure that they’re giving their pets the dosage that they think they are.
“Pet owners looking to give their animals CBD oil should do their due diligence before purchasing anything online,” Richter says. “The marketplace is very much a ‘buyer beware’ environment, and people should be sure that the product they’re buying has been laboratory tested for both content, as well as contaminants like bacteria, fungus, and heavy metals.”
Also, it’s worth nothing that while CBD oil is typically quite safe for cats and dogs, cannabis plants are not. “There is plenty of documentation of marijuana toxicity in cats, for those that nibble on the plants,” Guess says.
Inman adds that as an ER veterinarian, he often sees marijuana toxicity in the animals that come into his practice. “You can usually tell if a pet has gotten into someone’s marijuana. And, in more severe instances, I have had to hospitalize animals until the affects have worn off.”
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Regardless of how well CBD products work for cats, there is also the issue of legality. If a cannabis product contains less than 0.3 percent THC, it’s classified as “hemp,” which is not a restricted substance. Most, if not all, CBD oil fits this description. The bigger issue is discussing this course of treatment with your veterinarian.
“In a perfect world, your veterinarian would be able to discuss this treatment as an option for your pet, but depending on where you live, your veterinarian may or may not be legally at liberty to have this conversation with you,” Richter says. “Even if you live in a state where cannabis is legal, it can be illegal for a veterinarian to tell a pet owner how to appropriately use these products.”
There are activists looking to change these laws, Richter among them.
“For example, there’s a bill being brought to the California State Legislature to debate the use of medical cannabis for animals and veterinarian involvement,” he says. “There’s a very robust conversation going on right now about it whether or not veterinarians should be able to discuss and recommend cannabis for their patients, and, if so, exactly what that looks like.”
Being able to discuss all types of treatments with your veterinarian is key, and Richter advises checking in with your vet before giving your pet any sort of cannabis. “There’s no reason to ever start giving any kind of medication or supplement without having a conversation with your veterinarian first,” he says.