Can CBD Help My Cat?

Can CBD Help My Cat?

June 28, 2019

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.

CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know

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 effect, 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 effect 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 effects 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 added 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 said.

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 effects have worn off.”

Is CBD Oil for Pets 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.

What about CBD oil for Cats?

CBD oil (Cannabidiol oil)  is used in not just human medicine, but animals too, that’s cats included!

CBD oil is an extraction product from the flowers, leaves, and stalk of the cannabis plant. Without the common psychoactive effects found in other compounds from the plant, CBD is a relatively user-friendly drug.

The benefits of using CBD in veterinary treatments are becoming vastly apparent. From increasing the quality of life to relieving inflammation, anxiety, and pain, CBD is quickly becoming a therapeutic option for cats.

6 Facts You Need to Know About Cannabidiol Oil

  1.  Is CBD oil safe for our furry friends? Yes! This, of course, is only true when prescribed through a trusted veterinarian who will ensure a safe dosage.
  2. Although CBD oil is safe for cats, there are some side-effects to be aware of! These are important and discussed in depth later.
  3. Much like our own bodies, cats have cannabinoid receptors in their brain and central nervous system. The cannabinoids we naturally produce (both us and cats) bind to these receptors and help regulate our normal bodily functions. So when CBD oil is given to cats, it is fundamentally supplementing this system!
  4. The benefits of CBD oil for cats are forever being discovered! Ranging from the anti-inflammatory effects to treating muscle spasms and even fighting cancer cells!
  5. If you decide to use CBD oil for your cat, be patient, as the effects can take up to a month to kick in!
  6. CBD oil for pets is different from medical marijuana! Marijuana contains THC (naturally found in cannabis oil) which causes psychoactive effects.
  7. Using CBD oil as a treatment for animals is legal in all 50 states!

CBD vs. THC: The Big Difference in the Cannabis Plant!

So how does cannabis differ from CBD oil? Cannabis is the plant from which many active compounds are extracted.

It is important to know that CBD differs from the other major compound found in cannabis oil, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Unlike THC, CBD oil does not produce psychoactive effects!

Without the psychoactive effects, CBD can be used as a pain relief and anti-inflammatory all with little to no discomfort for the pet. This is what allows CBD oil for treatment of cats in all 50 states!

Cannabis, on the other hand, is not legally allowed to be used for medical or recreational purposes in many states (Colorado is an exception).

So be careful to never feed your cat cannabis products alone, they can have adverse effects and even cause paranoia in your cat!

Benefits of CBD for Cats!

Watch this space! The benefits of using CBD oil for pets is a quickly growing area in medical research. CBD oil for cats especially is a hot topic in the veterinary world.

Conditions commonly stumbled upon with cats include anxiety, inflammation of the gut ( Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and arthritis.

The significant anti-inflammatory effects of CBD oil make it ideal for the treatment of these conditions along with many more. Including:

  • seizures
  • cancer cells
  • pain

CBD oil is becoming a regular therapeutic medicine in both dogs and cats. Because of the significant calming effects of CBD oil for dogs and cats, it is an effective treatment for seizures. Typically, cats are prescribed synthetic drugs for seizure management. These can have multiple adverse side-effects and cause unnecessary discomfort or stress on the owners. With CBD oil, the side-effects are minimal and being a natural drug has bigger potential for a long-term option.

By providing a natural alternative to those owners seeking treatment (other than the general prescribed type), it opens new windows for sustained health through chronic illnesses such as arthritis and anxiety.

As a pet owner, is it important to be aware of the CBD products (did you know there are even CBD dog treats?!) available for animals and the variation of quality in the products.

Factors such as below affect the quality of the product:

  • the extraction method
  • the concentration
  • added ingredients

What is the Best CBD Oil for Cats?

It is no secret our furry friends can suffer from extreme fear and anxiety. Usually associated with thunderstorms and fireworks, anxiety in cats can quickly become an issue for pet owners. Although there are many prescription drugs used to treat anxiety in animals, a lot of owners prefer to use natural remedies like CBD oil instead. With the calming effects of CBD oil, its relieves cats of the symptoms of anxiety. These symptoms may include aggressive behavior, hiding away or constant meowing.  If your cat is suffering from symptoms alike, don’t be afraid to contact your veterinarian and discuss CBD oil treatment!

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