Is CBD safe for cats? Many owners swear by CBD for their dogs, but we don't hear much about CBD for cats. This article takes a look at what you need to know. Is cannabis oil safe for cats? And what sorts of ailments might it treat?
CBD Oil for Cats: Uses, Side Effects & More
Many people in the dog world have been using CBD for years. But what about cats? This article will help you learn more about CBD oil for cats so that you can make informed decisions for your feline friend.
Here are the most frequently asked questions cat owners often ask about CBD oil. Click the link below to jump to the answers you are most interested in learning about:
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids found in plants from the cannabis family.
As one of the two most-researched compounds found in hemp, cannabidiol has been the subject of hundreds of research studies over the last three decades. These studies include medical research on anxiety, inflammation, pain, sleep, appetite, mood, metabolism, a wide variety of skin problems, immunity, gut health, and more.
Unlike THC, the compound found in marijuana that creates the psychological effect known as a “high,” CBD is not psychoactive . And, because the hemp strains of cannabis plants are legally required to have less than .3% of THC, CBD oil made from hemp is safe for pets, including cats.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD and the other natural compounds found in hemp interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) . This system was discovered in the 1980s, and scientists have learned that the ECS acts as a regulator for balance or “homeostasis” in a variety of bodily functions.
The ECS works with the central and peripheral nervous systems to regulate processes including pain, inflammation, appetite, mood, memory, the immune system, digestion, sleep, skin health, and more.
It’s important to understand that the ECS includes special receptors, transmitters, as well as chemicals called endocannabinoids which are produced by the body itself.
Evolutionary scientists have argued that the Endocannabinoid System and the diets of early hunter-gatherers may have coevolved. They suggest that adding cannabinoids back into the diet may help mitigate some of the issues caused by modern diets packed with processed grains and carbohydrates.
And yes, your cat has an endocannabinoid system . In fact, all mammals on the planet have one!
Are CBD Oil and Hemp Oil The Same Thing?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions from cat owners. The answer is a little bit complicated because the hemp and CBD industries are rapidly evolving right now.
The short answer is that in many cases, hemp oil and CBD oil can refer to the same thing. In some cases, however, they don’t. That’s why it’s important to dig a little deeper and learn more about the quality of the product you’re purchasing for your pet.
Most hemp and CBD oils are made by refining the hemp plant. Both usually contain the compound CBD. However, given that CBD is the active ingredient in such oils, you should only purchase products that have the CBD dosage clearly labeled, from companies backed up by third-party lab tests .
On the other hand, beware of hemp seed oil for cats. Although it may be a healthy supplement for some cats, it does not contain appreciable amounts of the compound CBD since it is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. Many manufacturers on the market are misleading on this issue, so buyer beware!
What Does “Full-Spectrum Mean and Is It Good for My Cat?
If the products are labeled as “full-spectrum” they also have trace amounts of other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.
Many believe that full-spectrum oils are more effective because trace amounts of additional flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids found in these oils have a synergistic effect in healing processes, known by scientists as “The Entourage Effect.”
For example, Lolahemp’s CBD tinctures , topicals , and chews are all made using full-spectrum organic hemp oil that is slowly processed using low temperature and pressure, producing a robust full-spectrum CBD oil for your cat. See our batch lab results to learn more.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Vets and pet owners alike have found that CBD is safe for cats. However, it’s worth mentioning that there have been no large-scale studies done on CBD for cats, and no CBD-based drugs have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of cat disorders or diseases.
We recommend that you work with your vet or consult with a holistic vet to make sure you give your cat CBD oil safely.
Does My Cat Need a CBD Oil Prescription?
CBD oil and hemp oil are now available for pets without a prescription. However, we recommend that you discuss using CBD oil for cats (as well as side effects from traditional medications) with your vet to determine appropriate dosing for his or her case as well as to avoid any potential drug interactions .
In addition, please be sure to do your research to make sure you are getting high-quality CBD products made to be safe for cats.
What’s The Right Dosage?
Again, we recommend working with your vet to work out a dose that is best for your cat’s condition. However, as a general guideline, you can start at 1mg per 10lbs of cat weight, twice daily.
Since different CBD products on the market can have very different concentrations of CBD, you need to be careful about the dose in the actual product you use.
For example, with Lolahemp tinctures , 2 drops = 1 mg of CBD. Note that this dropper guideline will not be the same with other brands so be careful when calculating dosing.
The general rule when using any hemp products is to start low and increase the dosage slowly until the desired effects are achieved. If you notice any side effects such as nausea, drooling, excess tiredness, or tremors of any kind, it is wise to stop giving CBD to your cat and consult with your vet.
What if My Vet Won’t Talk to Me About CBD?
Up until just recently, hemp-based products had a questionable legal standing. However, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp products legal in the U.S.
Further complicating matters is the fact that many veterinarians are restricted from discussing CBD with their clients due to restrictive or unclear state veterinary licensing requirements.
Some veterinarians, such as those in California , have even had to resort to legislative action to gain protection when discussing the potential therapeutic values of cannabis-based medicine with their clients.
If your vet is unwilling to discuss using CBD for your cat, you may want to consult with a holistic veterinarian. These vets have additional training that includes the use of natural products, known as nutraceuticals, in their clinical practices. Because these vets are often more experienced in the use of CBD with pets, they can be a better resource for informed cat owners.
How Do I Make Sure I’m Using High-Quality CBD Oil?
One of the most important things you can do to help your cat is to do your research before buying any CBD or hemp product for them.
The reason for this is that the demand for CBD pet products is exploding right now as word of mouth spreads. And, unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of that by selling low-quality or even harmful products.
Here at Lolahemp, quality is our number one priority. Here are some of the key features that make Lolahemp CBD the right choice for your cat:
- We start with hand-harvested organic hemp grown at a family farm in Colorado.
- We test our products three times from seed to bottle.
- We offer third-party lab testing for every single batch of our oil, tied to a QR code on every product we sell.
- We offer a robust full-spectrum CBD oil made just for pets.
- Our products contain no harmful additives like artificial flavors or sweeteners that can be toxic to pets.
- We include accurate and veterinarian-recommended dosing guidelines for our products.
- We use MCT coconut oil for our carrier oils, considered ideal for optimal cannabinoid absorption.
- We are a Pets Before Profits company with a strong commitment to animal welfare.
Is There Any Scientific Research on CBD Oil?
It is no surprise that veterinary medical research is often several years behind the human-based iterations of various supplements and drugs. However, research on CBD and hemp has been going on for decades.
Below, you can find a list of links to helpful research studies on CBD. Each link goes to a primary scientific paper published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
CBD and Anxiety
Jurkus R, Day HLL, Guimarães FS, Lee JLC, Bertoglio LJ, Stevenson CW. Cannabidiol Regulation of Learned Fear: Implications for Treating Anxiety-Related Disorders. Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:454.
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.