Can I Give CBD to My Cat?
Estimated 5-minute read
First of all, what is CBD? Cannabidiol, commonly known as “CBD”, is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant– it is what is known as the non psychoactive portion (although some might argue that this could be a misconception) of the cannabis. It is not to be confused with tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC”, which is arguably the most famous ingredient in cannabis. Although both CBD and THC are known to produce effects in the brain, to put things simply, the main difference between them when administered properly is that THC can make you high and CBD does not.
Moreover, as legislation and research progress on both the use of medical as well as recreational marihuana, CBD is steadily making its way as a more common form of prescription for humans with certain disorders such as epilepsy, anxiety, some types of pain, Parkinson's disease, among others.
So, it wasn’t really a surprise when veterinarians as well as pet owners started investigating CBD’s medicinal effects in cats, one of the world’s most popular species of beloved pets. And although there is still so much more to know and regulate accordingly, here’s a bit of what we know so far.
What is CBD Being Used for in Cats?
According to Dr. Andrew Jones, a former veterinarian and current natural pet health advocate, CBD is nowadays used to treat cats with arthritis, FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease), epilepsy, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), diabetes, cancer, and anxiety. Let’s take a look into each one of them.
Arthritis is a pretty common condition among cats that causes painful joints and makes moving uncomfortable. Sadly, there's not a cure for cat arthritis, but using CBD has been proven to be a great way to lower the pain level, given that so far the evidence indicates that it is safe to administer for a long term period of time and no real or concerning side effects have been found so far.
- FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease)
Dr. Jones argues that for most cats, FLUTD is not caused by a bacteria, but by a primary inflammation. In that sense, CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that could help ease the pain, and most cats with this condition suffer from an underlying anxiety, for which CBD can be beneficial as well.
Current research on the use of CBD for treating epilepsy in cats indicates that CBD positively interacts with the endocannabinoid system (which is responsible for managing certain functions such as pain) on maintaining a state of health and balance. So, CBD can help reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures thus improving the cat’s quality of life.
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
IBD has been a very difficult disease to treat, some of its symptoms are chronic vomiting and diarrhea, which is hard both on cats and their owners. However, CBD has been proven to be very effective in treating those symptoms.
According to Dr. Jones, hand on hand with a properly regulated diet, a little CBD seems to be helpful in decreasing pancreatic inflammation, and thus allowing the pancreas to start producing insulin again.
As we know, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can reduce pain and swelling throughout the body, in that sense, at the very least CBD can provide some symptomatic pain relief to cancer. It can also help stimulate appetite, helping boost your cat’s immune system.
In general, CBD might be helpful to treat any kind of anxiety that your cat might have– whether you moved to a new home and its having a hard time adjusting, or it's going to be inside a crate because you’re taking it on vacation, CBD could help your cat relax and have a more enjoyable time.
So, Should You Give CBD to Your Cat?
Well, technically it depends on where you live and what you think. Very little research has been made regarding the administration of CBD to pets – particularly dogs and cats – so, with no legal background and regularization path, there is always some bigger room for trouble for products. However, as you might have noticed in pet stores, there are some perfectly legal CBD treats and oils being sold. In that sense, a good way to purchase any kind of CBD for your pet is to look for products marked by the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority or the National Animal Supplements Council (NASC) Quality Seal, as these products must be audited by a third party to verify that they meet industry-imposed standards.
Another thing to consider if you are looking for CBD for your cat is to specifically purchase products that are designed for cats –not for humans–, or products that contain just CBD oil, with no other added ingredients.
As stated by Dr. Jones, the general rule of thumb for administering CBD to your cat is 1 milligram (approximately 1 drom) per 10 pounds of what your cat weighs. So, on average, a cat takes one or two drops of CBD oil a day. A great way to administer CBD to your pet is by putting a drop of oil in your finger and then rubbing it inside its mouth. But always remember to read the label of what you purchase and follow experts’ advice.
Things to Remember
Although the evidence shown on these initial facets of research seems very promising, every pet is different– what might work for one, might not necessarily work for others. Remember that the use of cannabis for animals is still constantly a work in progress. Always avoid putting your pet at risk, by contacting your veterinarian first. Cannabis can be wonderful, but there is a reason why only adults can purchase it. And even if it works, it might not be the miraculous cure that you’re looking for, but it might just be a nice way to elevate the quality of your cute little pet. Nonetheless, do your research, consult with experts if you can, and only after you have done all that, make your decision.
DISCLAIMER: This is not medical advice. The information on this article is for informative and entertainment purposes only. Nothing here substitutes advice you can get from a medical doctor or licensed veterinarian. If you have any questions about medical marijuana use, you should talk to a licensed veterinarian and/or physician.
Jones, A. (2020) CBD for Cats: Top 7 Benefits. Video Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=CBD+for+Cats%3A+Top+7+Benefits
Richter, G. (2019) The Legal Status of Cannabis for Animals. Webpage Retrieved from https://www.projectcbd.org/politics/legal-status-cannabis-animals
Flowers, A. (2021) Cat Arthritis Symptoms, Pain Relief, Treatments, and Types. Webpage. Retrieved from https://pets.webmd.com/cats/cat-arthritis-symptoms-painrelief#:~:text=Cat%20arthritis%20is%20a%20common,with%20your%20veterinarian%20right%20away.
Son, K. (2021) CBD Oil for Cats Seizures: Everything You Need to Know. Webpage. Retrieved from https://www.veterinarians.org/cbd-oil-for-cats-seizures/
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