Cat owners everywhere are beginning to open up to the idea that CBD oil may be just the thing their kitty needs. As they discover the benefits of CBD, they wonder how it might help their feline friends...
CBD oil for dogs has become increasingly common. Due to their tendency to be hyperactive at times, it seems like a no-brainer to use CBD to help calm them down.
Cats, on the other hand, are typically much more chill than their canine counterparts. But, this doesn’t mean that they have anxiety, too! It just might not be as obvious.
And CBD doesn’t only help with anxiety. It can also soothe your cat’s aching joints, ease nausea and vomiting, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Harsh prescription medications can leave your cat feeling worse long before they feel better. CBD oil can be an effective, all-natural alternative that can help get your cat get back to their happy, healthy selves. And, unlike most meds, CBD oil has very few side effects!
One great thing about CBD oil is there are no psychotropic effects but, because CBD derives from Cannabis sativa, people tend to assume it gets you high.
Well, I’m here to tell you it does not...sorry!
Even though CBD and THC both come from the same plant and are both cannabinoids, they are not the same thing.
Why Does CBD Work?
CBD activates your cat’s cannabinoid receptors, which help regulate their bodies. Cannabinoid receptors are what make up the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
All birds, reptiles, and mammals (and some random invertebrates, like the earthworm) have an ECS. Its job is to help the body maintain homeostasis by regulating the immune and central nervous systems.
The ECS’ receptors activate when you introduce cannabinoids, such as CBD. There are two different kinds of receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are generally located in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors can be found in the immune, gastrointestinal, and peripheral nervous system.
Essentially, CBD can help your cat in the same way it can help you.
But what is CBD Oil?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of over 100 identified cannabinoids - and we’ve only begun to understand the health benefits of 10% of those. In case you didn’t know what a cannabinoid is exactly, it’s a chemical compound found in Cannabis sativa that interacts with ECS receptors.
For CBD, the whole goal is to end up with a plant that’s got a high CBD content and virtually zero THC. To accomplish this, you’ve got to keep the male and female plants together. That’s because a fertilized plant will produce really low levels of THC.
Once the unfertilized hemp matures, the CBD isolate becomes extracted. This compound may then be mixed with any edible vegetable oil (MCT - from coconuts - is popular.)
And, voila! Now you’ve got CBD oil!
So...is CBD Oil Legal?
In 2014, Obama passed the Farm Bill which made any hemp product under 0.3% THC legal. Therefore, as long as your CBD product is >0.3%, it is considered legal. Though, because it’s a federal law, make sure to check your state’s laws.
To be safe, you can always buy CBD products that are guaranteed 100% THC-free—and it’s not just for legal reasons. There’s the possibility that even a mere >0.3% THC could make your cat fail a drug test—just kidding.
Seriously though, you don’t want to risk your cat getting THC poisoning. Despite the name, it won’t (or has never been reported to) kill your pet, but it would be a super-not-fun experience that could even last for days.
To make sure your CBD product is 100% THC-free, always ask the company to show you their third-party lab results, like this. Then you can verify they’re telling you the truth about their product’s CBD and THC content.
...and it’s Safe for Cats?
First off, always check with your vet before giving your cat CBD oil just like you would if you were starting them on any new medication. That said, you can’t ignore the anecdotal evidence (along with new studies every day) that are constantly singing the praises of CBD.
Unfortunately, out of the available studies, there are very few focusing on CBD oil and cats; even though vets and pet owners everywhere are pushing for more research. Recently, Cornell published results on CBD’s effect on pain in arthritic dogs, and the results were positive!
The most important thing when it comes to giving your cat CBD oil is that you’re using the right dosage. It’s always best to start with the lowest possible dose and then work your way up, monitoring—along with your vet—your cat’s response. Sometimes it can take a few weeks before you see the full effects of CBD, so keep that in mind.
What you will never have to worry about with CBD oil is that it will make your cat “high”—a common concern with many pet owners. Just make sure it’s 100% THC-free!
This article is about how - even though many vets believe it’s extremely useful - most vets often avoid bringing up CBD to patients because of the stigma surrounding it. The author talks about his personal experience about a dog diagnosed with lymphoma. The owner decided to give their pup CBD oil in addition to the prednisone typically prescribed in such cases. By adding CBD oil, the dog was able to double its life expectancy.
This study on pet owners’ perceptions of CBD and their pets is interesting:
- 66% felt it reduced pain and 56% thought it reduced inflammation “moderately” to “a great deal”
- Reported side effects were sedation (19.2%) and overactive appetite (16%)
- 88.8% rated it “very safe” for pets
- 62.48% said CBD worked as well or better than other treatments
Of course, if your cat should experience any adverse reactions to CBD products, quit using it and the symptoms should subside.
How Can CBD Oil Help My Cat?
CBD oil can help your cat in more ways than people can imagine.
So, we’ve picked five of the most common cat afflictions that CBD may be able to help.
Pain is probably the most common reason pet owners turn to CBD for their favorite feline. It can be heartbreaking to see your cat suffer day in and day out, with regular meds leaving them feeling groggy or under-the-weather.
Multiple factors cause chronic and acute pain. But one thing’s for certain; it can make your cat’s life miserable. Whether it’s old age, surgery, or cancer, CBD oil works by blocking your cat’s pain receptors so they can feel like themselves again. As of yet, there’s no research specific to cats and CBD use for treating pain, but this study shows the benefits of CBD oil for osteoarthritic dogs.
Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, and it’s not just humans that suffer from it. Chemicals in the brain can cause mood disorders, and CBD oil can help stabilize these chemicals.
Common causes of anxiety in cats might be a relocation, adding a new pet to the mix, or even past traumatic experiences like abandonment or abuse. CBD oil can help your cat relax and get a better handle on stressful situations or feel less phobic/threatened.
Research has shown that CBD oil is effective for easing anxiety in humans, so the next step for researchers is to focus on its anxiolytic efficacy in animals. Of course, anecdotal evidence supports it, but more solid stats are necessary.
Inflammation in cats can be very serious and may cause conditions like:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Autoimmune disorders
Some common symptoms are unusual tiredness, dehydration, or loss of appetite. Inflammation can sometimes be good - and is necessary - because it means that the body’s natural immune response is working.
If the inflammation is chronic, then it becomes a problem. Constant inflammation means that your cat is under continual physical stress and in danger of developing a more serious condition. Luckily, CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce and prevent chronic inflammation.
The most common type of cancer in cats is lymphosarcoma and is believed to be caused by the feline leukemia virus (also very common). The good news is that this type of cancer typically responds well to chemotherapy and 60% of affected cats will go into remission. With that said, chemotherapy itself can be an unpleasant experience.
Regardless of whether your cat’s cancer is treatable or not, CBD oil can help ease both cancer and chemotherapy symptoms. For example, lack of interest in food and nausea are pretty common chemo symptoms, and studies have shown that cannabinoids (such as CBD oil) may help stimulate the appetite and reduce nausea. Something as simple as being able to eat again can help give your cat the strength they need to get back on the road to recovery.
Studies also show that CBD oil has many cancer-fighting properties and there’s strong evidence that it can even reduce tumor size and encourage cancer cell death. It may even help prevent cancer from returning if your cat goes into remission.
Another widespread feline affliction is asthma. Just like humans, cats can be very sensitive to allergens, like pollen, parasites, or cigarette smoke. If your cat develops a persistent cough, it might be time to get them checked out by your vet because an asthma attack can be life-threatening.
A few studies have shown that CB1&2 receptors (the same ones we discussed earlier) are in the bronchial tissue. When CBD becomes introduced, it creates a bronchodilator effect which increases airflow to the lungs, making it easier to breathe. Cannabinoids are also known to have antispasmodic effects which can contribute to CBD’s ability to reduce the contraction of the airways in cats with asthmatic symptoms.
A few other common cat ailments that CBD may help with are:
- Skin Conditions
Epilepsy may be the condition most commonly linked to CBD because of its well-publicized ability to help children with severe epilepsy. The FDA has just approved a CBD epilepsy medication called Epidiolex. Unfortunately, almost all the research so far has been focused on humans, so there’s not much information about treating epileptic pets. One recent study discovered that CBD oil helped reduce seizures in 89% of the participating dogs.
The list of ailments CBD can alleviate is so long it’s almost easier to make a list of conditions it doesn’t help!
CBD shows a lot of promise in treating a variety of ailments not only in humans but with cats as well. Now that hemp has finally been legalized, more and more states are becoming CBD friendly.
Hopefully we should see more people start to take CBD seriously as a legitimate therapeutic agent.
In the meantime, if you have a cat that needs to chill a bit or suffers from any of the conditions discussed above, give CBD a try! As long as you’ve talked to your vet and they give you the green light, there’s a good chance that CBD might be able to help your furry friend.