Definitive Guide to CBD for Cats
Relaxed laws around medical and recreational marijuana have launched a wave of research in to the health benefits of this magical plant. You’ve probably read about how CBD alleviates stress, helps sleep, and treats pain in humans, but did you know it can do the same for your pets?
The veterinary community is starting to embrace the curative powers of hemp and CBD oil as they shift to the forefront of medical treatment. If your cat suffers from any ailments or could use a boost in health, you might be considering trying out CBD. But the previous stigma leaves many with a lot of unanswered questions. In this article, we get you some answers so you’ll feel better informed about your cats treatment.
What is CBD for cats?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike it’s cousin THC, CBD doesn’t produce a high. It does, however, interact with the endocannabinoid system to produce a variety of health benefits in both humans and their pets.
CBD oil primarily comes from hemp, which is a cannabis sativa strain of the marijuana plant grown to contain less than 0.3% THC. Cannabis cannot be legally classified as hemp in the United States if it surpasses this THC threshold, making hemp oil for cats a safe, secure option.
Your Cat’s Natural Endocannabinoid System
As a plant-based cannabinoid, CBD has a natural counterpart in animals and humans. These are known in the scientific community as endocannabinoids. Within your cats nervous system resides the CB1 and CB2 receptors which bind to certain chemicals affecting immune system, mood, and more. When CBD is introduced exogenously, it adds additional signals to these processes and starts a domino effect.
While there’s still much to learn about this specific bodily process, both research and anecdotal evidence have shown positive results with improved mood, decreased inflammation, seizure reduction, and pain modulation.
As cannabis starts to become legalized and the popularity of CBD grows in humans, research expands in animal treatment. While humans can obviously report their results verbally, veterinarians rely on their own judgement and anecdotal evidence while research continues. CBD so far has shown great promise with minimal side effects due to it’s plant-based nature and the endocannabinoid system in cats
Is CBD OK for cats?
CBD is not only okay for cats, but it might be a better alternative than pharmaceuticals in some cases. Always consult with your veterinarian to receive an expert opinion, but if you’re considering CBD for cats, take a look at how it’s been used to treat these conditions.
CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer
Cannabidiol promotes homeostasis in your cat’s body, which can help control the growth of cancer cells. In addition to clinical success from many homeopathic veterinarians, cancer treatment for cats shows promise in the laboratory. In studies on mice and rats, CBD was shown to cause cancerous cell death. These same cancer-reduction effects were even observed in human breast cancer cells.
Finally, in humans, CBD has been especially helpful to those undergoing chemotherapy. It’s pain-relief benefits help cancer patients with daily living throughout treatment, and can help with nausea. While cats are not mice, rats, or humans, they share similar biological processes as mammals. As the stigma around cannabis starts to deteriorate, we’re now exploring its medicinal benefits for cats, humans, and all pets alike in cancer treatment with promise.
Treat Epilepsy with CBD Oil for Cats with Seizures
Any loving pet owner will be terrified by the thought of their cat having a seizure. Fortunately, one of the most promising uses of CBD therapy comes in seizure treatment.
Seizures are characterized by electrical disruptions in the brain. Much like when your computer starts to freeze or lights flicker in your house, electrical issues in the brain can cause violent shaking in the nerves and muscles. Research shows that CBD reduces seizure frequency, although it’s not isn’t exactly clear why. Further investigation is needed to determine the exact mechanism of seizure treatment in cats, but this is game-changing for pet owners.
Traditional seizure medication comes with side effects such as decreased energy level, depressed mood, heart or kidney failure, and in rare cases, death. Rather than be stuck with the difficult decision of watching your kitty suffer through epilepsy or risk side effects, CBD oil for a cats seizures provides a healthy, effective alternative. Talk to your vet about CBD oil if your lovable kitty has epilepsy.
CBD Oil for Anxiety and Depression In Cats
Both anxiety and depression are mood disorders that stem from hormonal imbalances in the brain. Our pets suffering from depression or anxiety may have appetite issues, be lethargic, and just express overall malaise or fear. No one likes to see their healthy cat appear sad and anxious.
Remember that the endocannabinoid system regulates mood as well as appetite and sleep quality. Therefore, disruptive mood issues can be alleviated with CBD use.
CBD acts on the CB1 receptors in your cat’s brain that control release of neurotransmitters. Anxiety is characterized by overactivity of norepinephrine and epinephrine to prepare your cat to pounce on any danger. However, chronic anxiety for your domestic cat doesn’t do it any good. CBD has been shown to calm anxiety symptoms by rebalancing everything and returning these hormones to a normal level.
CBD can be especially effective for your pet when traveling, moving to a new home, or introducing them to a new daily living environment (such as a new pet in the home or loss of owner). Not only will CBD quell their stress, but it may also improve your quality of life, allowing you both to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
CBD For Treating your Cat’s Pain and Arthritis
Pain and inflammation are modulated by something known as the vanilloid receptor in human and cat brains. When animals are injured and swelling is induced, these receptors transmit signals through the central nervous system so it registers as pain. Research has shown that CBD targets that exact vanilloid receptor to keep it from signaling pain.
Typical pain medication for humans or dogs can actually be toxic to cats. For example, cats are highly sensitive to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin, even in size-appropriate dosages, and they can cause kidney failure, vomiting, or severe bleeding. If they’re used to treat acute or chronic pain, it must always be under close supervision and recommendation of a vet.
What Can You Give a Cat for Pain?
Typically, vets will treat chronic pain with prescription opioids. However, much like in humans, long-term use of opioids can be costly and dangerous.
Instead of risk if with constant monitoring and very careful prescription of NSAIDs or opioids for cats, combine CBD with a diet high in omega-3s. Good fats can counteract physiological inflammation while CBD interacts with the vanilloid receptors to reduce perception of pain.
Can CBD oil hurt cats?
The short answer is no. According to the general veterinary community, CBD oil has little to no negative side effects for cats. However, as each case is different and animals are wildly diverse, make sure to discuss with your local vet before beginning any new medical treatment.
What CAN hurt your cat is regular marijuana. As discussed previously, there’s a large difference between a regular marijuana plant and hemp. Recreational use of THC in humans is pretty harmless, but the biochemistry and size of cats makes it toxic for your pet. Make sure whatever CBD oil you’re purchasing come from a hemp plant, and please don’t even try to give them regular marijuana directly.
The most common side effect is a slight inclination toward lethargy. Cats on too high of a CBD dose can appear more sedated than normal, so make sure to ease them in to treatment. Other rare side effects include:
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Increased anxiety
- Appetite issues
How long does it take for CBD to work in cats?
You’ve probably noticed that a cats brain is a little smaller than the typical human brain. Although the structure is similar, it makes sense that their dosages and affect time will be different than ours.
The fastest way to get CBD in to the system is to vape or smoke it. While a cat with a little vape may be a humorous Halloween costume, it’s not a feasible way to regularly administer CBD for cats. Putting CBD in food or treats works best for chronic condition, but will take a little longer to process as traveling through the digestive system is indirect. According to Dr. Angie Krause, it can take around 2-4 weeks to see lasting changes for chronic issues.
For acute issues, such as acute pain or anxiety, using a dropper promotes faster absorption of CBD oil. Time to action depends on the dosage and issue being treated, so talk to your veterinarian about specifics.
Can you give a cat too much CBD oil?
With little negative effects of CBD oil, it’s hard to give a cat a dangerous amount. However, each body, breed, and ailment differs, and it is possible some cats have severe negative side effects with too much CBD.
Always trial CBD in very small dosages first to see how your cat reacts. Most veterinarians recommend around 0.5 mg/kg twice daily. A starting dosage as small as 0.1mg/kg is appropriate for issues such as pancreatitis, while treating seizures might take a larger intervention. For a complete understanding of how much to give your cat, check out this veterinary guide to CBD oil dosage.
Again, make sure to discuss in detail your worries, treatment plan, and exact dosage with your vet. Always stick to the exact recommended dosage to avoid any potential issues.
Conclusion: Does CBD oil work on cats?
Yes! The list of conditions that improve with CBD treatment grows daily. From anxiety relief to killing cancer cells, daily CBD dosages work. In case you just skimmed through the above (go back and read it!), holistic vets say CBD improves the following in cats:
- Increased Immune Function
- Appetite Stimulation
Your cat deserves a healthy life, and you deserve less trips to the vet. CBD oil for cats is only getting started, but it’s a natural solution to many worries facing pet owners today. With little side effects, this lovely plant derivative can become a staple in your cat’s healthcare. The best way to start treatment is through tinctures in their food. Head to a trusted CBD source and order yours today! Your cat will thank you, even if they don’t always show it.
Kimber Rozier is an entrepreneur, former Harvard coach, and decorated professional rugby player for the USA who loves sharing her knowledge through coaching and writing. Certified by the NSCA and Precision Nutrition as an expert, she brings her wealth of experience to the page, sharpening the lens by which we see the world. She writes for many small businesses, as well as large publications such as Men’s Health, MyFitnessPal, and EliteFTS. She now owns her own business, Dare Performance, in which she promotes a healthy lifestyle through journalism. Contact her at Kimber-Rozier.com.