CBD Oil For Cats: Everything You Need To Know
You've probably heard of the many benefits of cannabidiol for humans. It's been proven to reduce pain, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and could potentially even help with cancer treatment.
What you might not know is that it can have similar positive effects for your beloved pets. With the stigma surrounding hemp and its benefits quickly becoming a thing of the past, you might be considering how you can use CBD oil for your cat to improve their health and happiness.
To help you along the way, here is a one-stop guide for everything you need to know about the uses of CBD oil for cats, dosages, side effects, and more.
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, is one of the active compounds in cannabis. Cannabis has over 100 active compounds, including the major active compound tetrahydrocannabinol; more commonly known as THC. CBD is different from THC in that it doesn't have any psychoactive effects; it won't give the user a "high" from using it. Instead, it is primarily used for its health and healing properties.
CBD oil is a highly concentrated form of the CBD compound found in hemp, allowing it to be used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. It's also known by the more familiar term "tincture". It is made by passing a solvent (like olive oil or alcohol) to a hemp plant. This solvent makes its way through the plant, absorbing the cannabinoids in the plant. This creates an all natural, non-toxic, and safe medication for giving to your pets.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Cats?
CBD oil is often used to improve the quality of life of cats and ease the symptoms of ailments; it's important to note that it might not necessarily cure these ailments. So if your feline friend is suffering from more serious issues, taking them to the vet should always be the first step.
Not only does your cat have a unique, one of a kind personality, they also have a one of a kind physical make up. Because of this, no two cats will react to CBD exactly the same way. Most holistic veterinarians agree that CBD is generally safe for cats and seldom has any adverse effects. However, you should always consult with your vet before giving your pet any form of new treatment to ensure their safety. Holistic vets are a great option for evaluating whether or not cannabidiol is right for your cat.
The biggest safety factor to keep in mind when administering CBD oil for cats is dosage. The most common reason for adverse effects in cats after being given CBD oil is a high dosage. Being aware of the proper dosage for your cat and reading the information that comes with your CBD oil product will help keep your pet safe. Also, while CBD is safe for cats, the marijuana plant is known to be toxic when consumed by cats. Never give your cat marijuana directly; CBD products are the safest way to improve your cat's health.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD, and more specifically CBD oils, work similar to the way a vitamin works. Taking a Vitamin E supplement works to the benefit of your circulatory system by increasing your body's Vitamin E supply. CBD oils do just the same for your ECS, which is why it helps regulate mood, pain, and sleep so well for those with chronic health issues. While the idea of giving your pet CBD oil may seem foreign, it's similar to you taking a vitamin.Cannabidiol works by supplementing your endocannabinoid systems, or ECS. This system is responsible for regulating bodily functions like immunity, sleep, appetite, mood, and pain. It's made up of neurons in your brain known as cannabinoid receptors. Non-THC strains of CBD stimulate these neurons without producing a psychoactive effect. So you get the health benefits of hemp without the high. Humans, cats, dogs, as well as birds, reptiles, and mammals, share this system, which is why they are all able to benefit from the effects of CBD.
Will CBD Oil Give Your Cat A High?
To put it simply, no, it will not. By itself, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, and will not give your pet, or anyone for that matter, a high. Because it has been separated from the more commonly known active hemp compound THC, it doesn't produce any of the same effects that THC would. It's chemically impossible unless you use a CBD oil that has been reintroduced to THC.
Not only will it not give your pet a high, but it's also perfectly legal. While the names hemp, cannabis, and marijuana are frequently interchanged with one another, they don't all mean the same thing. Understanding the difference is important to understanding their different uses, and which strains are illegal.
Cannabis is the blanket term for the plant. It is generally used to encompasses all of the variations and strains of the plant. Marijuana, the most infamous strain of the plant, is the one most people are familiar with. It has a higher concentration of THC, giving it psychoactive properties. Because of this, it is still illegal in most US states and on a federal level.
Hemp, on the other hand, only contains 0.2% to 0.3% levels of THC, meaning that it has essentially no psychoactive effects when consumed. Hemp is legal in all 50 states, which is why you've probably seen hemp moisturizers, lotions, and other products in local stores before. CBD oil is made from hemp, not marijuana, which is why it is able to be sold throughout the United States.
Now, just because marijuana has psychoactive properties, that doesn't mean that it doesn't share the same health benefits. Both are able to provide numerous health benefits to users suffering from chronic conditions. However, due to the stigma surrounding the marijuana strain, only hemp products are allowed to be sold in most of the US. That said, CBD oils derived from marijuana plants are not safe for dogs or cats, so make sure that you only give your pet CBD oils that are derived from hemp.
CBD Hemp Oil For Cats
The safe forms of CBD oil for your pets should come from hemp plants, not marijuana plants. CBD oil for cats is one of the most popular hemp products available today. It often comes in a liquid, tincture form. Most of the products are in a bottle with a dropper, allowing you to control dosage amounts down to the drop. The benefit of this is that you can introduce the cannabidiol into your cat's diet as slowly or quickly as you like.
Even though you may be eager to see your cat's health improve, adding it into your cat's routine slowly is often the best route to take. It gives your cat time to adjust to the substance while still seeing the beginnings of improvements. You can administer doses to your cat orally, or by adding small amounts to their favorite foods and treats.
Effects And Benefits Of CBD Oil For Cats
Because the endocannabinoid system is shared between cats and humans, the benefits to your cat's well being will be very similar to the benefits that humans experience when using the oil as well. Not only is it great for treating chronic conditions affecting mood or comfort, but it can also be used as a preventative measure for more serious issues in your pet's health.
1. Reduces Swelling and Relieves Pain
Pain and swelling are regulated by the vanilloid receptor in you and your cat's brains. CBD oils are excellent at treating pain and swelling because they target that receptor and block it from turning on. When this neuron is rendered inactive, it stops sending pain and swelling signals throughout the body, leading the pain points to gradually go away on their own. It works so well that researchers are considering making it a new drug class for treating patients suffering from chronic pain.
Thanks to this inflammatory function of CBD, it is helpful for treating a wide variety of chronic pain issues, including:
- Intestinal inflammation
- Neuropathy pain
- Nerve-related pain
- Inflammation on oxidative stress
2. Fights Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are both caused by a hormonal imbalance in the affected person's brain. While we commonly think of these as exclusively human problems, cats are susceptible to symptoms of anxiety and depression as well. Because our ECS system is responsible for regulating our mood, sleep, and appetite, using cannabidiol reduces the effect of the symptoms of these disorders. This helps to rebalance the user and returns their hormones back to a normal rate of fluctuation. CBD also stimulates the adenosine and serotonin receptors in your pet's brain, which can have long-term benefits for your animal's happiness levels.
Not only are CBD oils effective for treating anxiety and depression, but they can also help with other mood or fear issues with your pet. For example, if your cat is afraid of traveling with you in the car, CBD oils can help ease their fear. This way you can both enjoy the trip with less cause for stress. It's also good for cats that are less friendly towards new people or that spend most of their time hiding throughout the house. Often, this behavior in cats stems from a fear of unfamiliar people, loud noises, or separation anxiety. CBD oil is effective at easing the effects of all of these issues, allowing your cat to play in and enjoy its environment.
If your cat is on mood altering drugs to help with their anxiety, depression, or general friendliness, CBD alternatives are a safe and non-toxic alternative with little to no side effects.
3. Suppresses Seizures and Suppresses Epilepsy
Seizures are scary and pose potentially dangerous health issues. Fortunately, CBD oils are proven to have a positive impact on individuals suffering from seizures, both human as well as feline.
Seizures are caused by electrical disruptions in the brain. These abrupt changes to your brain's activity lead to violent shaking throughout the body. CBD counteracts seizures by reducing the number of electrical disruptions throughout the brain every time it is used, giving it a suppressive effect on future seizures. It won't cure the problem, but it can cut down on how often it happens by a significant amount.
This is a breakthrough in seizure medication for several reasons. Anyone who has ever had to take (or knows someone who takes) medication for seizures is likely well aware of the adverse side effects of these medications. It can have a negative impact on mood and energy level, and could even lead to kidney failure, heart failure, or death. Not only that, but it might not even be effective for your cat. As stated previously, each cat has a different health system and tolerance for different medications. Even if you're giving your pet the right medication with the right dosages, you might not have noticed any reduction in the number of seizures your loved pet experiences.
CBD is a safer, non-toxic, and in most cases a more effective alternative to these kinds of medications. If your cat suffers from seizures or epilepsy, talk to your local holistic vet about how CBD could be used to help.
4. Prevents Cancer and Reduces Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
While there haven't been enough studies to fully understand how or why CBD seems to be an effective method for preventing cancer and reducing its effects, there is a lot of evidence demonstrating its benefits in the area.
CBD helps promote homeostasis throughout the body. This helps to interrupt the growth and spreading of cancer cells. In studies conducted on mice and rats, it was even seen to induce death in cancerous cells. This has also been observed when CBD was introduced to human breast cancer cells. Most people who have used CBD in conjunction with cancer treatment noticed an improvement during their recovery process.
CBD is especially helpful for individuals going through chemotherapy, as it not only helps to relieve pain better than some pain medications, but it counteracts other side effects of chemo-treatment like nausea or vomiting.
Hopefully, as time goes on and the stigma surrounding this useful compound dissipates, we will have more and more concrete evidence about the benefits of using CBD oil for cats and humans alike.
5. Improve Coat and Skin Conditions
CBD oil can also improve your cat's coat and skin health. In humans, it is great for reducing symptoms of acne and dry skin, and these sorts of effects carry through to your pets. You can also apply CBD oil directly to your cat's coat and skin with certain kinds of the oil. This will help revive their coat, making it stronger, softer, and shinier. Also, if your pet is suffering from allergies or a skin condition, CBD oil can help alleviate their symptoms and get them back to being their usual self.
6. Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
If your cat suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, cannabidiol can help with that as well. Because this disease is caused by inflammation, CBD is useful for treating it thanks to its ability to reduce swelling and the discomfort it causes. It isn't a cure, but if used with frequency, your cat will be free from most of this disease's negative side effects.
7. Improve Your Cat's Overall Wellness
Alongside all of these other benefits, CBD oil is helpful for benefitting your cat's overall well being. It prevents the development of serious, long-term health issues when introduced into your pet's diet correctly. It can also improve their mood, skin, fur, and energy levels, giving you and your pet more quality time together.
Side Effects of CBD Oil For Cats
The general consensus among veterinarians is that CBD has little to no adverse side effects in most cats. That said, every cat is different, and will tolerate the effects of CBD oil differently. Make sure you always consult with your local holistic vet before introducing CBD or any other new form of medication into your cat's routine.
The most common side effect that can occur is slight sedation. While it may not be completely obvious at first since cats are known for their affinity towards napping, keep an eye on your cat's nap schedule after introducing them to CBD for the first time. If you do notice that your cat appears less energetic, reducing the dosage you give them should alleviate symptoms of lethargy.
Other side effects could include anxiety, nausea, vomiting, or changes in appetite. These are rare and usually very mild. However, if you notice any of these effects in your cat, hold off on future dosages and consult with your vet before preceding.
And never give your pet CBD oil that was extracted from a marijuana plant. The marijuana strain of cannabis, while harmless enough to be used recreationally for humans, is toxic for your cat or dog. Make sure that the oil you are purchasing was sourced from a hemp plant, and never give your cat marijuana directly.
When first starting to introduce CBD oils into your cat's routine, the old adage "less is more" is the way to go. There is no reason to rush the process by giving your cat large doses to start off with. Easing it into their diet is the best way to go, as they'll reap the benefits without giving their body any adverse reactions.
When trying to determine the correct dosage to give your cat, consult first with your veterinarian. They will be able to give you the best advice on how much your pet should be taking. A general rule of thumb is 1mg to 5mg for every 10lbs that your cat weighs. Starting out with 1mg to 5mg is also good regardless of your cat's size; from there, you can steadily increase the dosage.
If you're using CBD oil to treat a chronic condition in your pet, here are the generally recommended dosages:
- Arthritis: 0.5mg of CBD per kilogram of your pet’s weight (0.5 mg/kg) twice per day
- Pancreatitis: To start off, 0.1mg/kg twice daily; over time you can gradually increase it up to 0.5mg/kg twice daily
- Asthma: 0.5mg/kg twice daily
- Seizures: 0.5mg/kg twice daily and gradually increase. Veterinarians say it takes up to 3mg/kg for CBD to treat cats with seizures
- Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections: 5mg/kg twice daily
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: 0.2mg/kg twice daily
If you notice any adverse reactions after administering these dosages to your pet, consider reducing the dosage amount and discuss a new amount with your vet before continuing.
Purchasing CBD Oil For Cats
Also, consider the amount of CBD a CBD product contains. Often times, sellers will only use a small amount of CBD in their products. This not only reduces the effectiveness of the product but also leaves one to wonder what the rest of the product is made up of.To make sure you're giving your feline companion the very best it can get, always look for CBD oils that are 100% natural, soy, and GMO-free, and sourced only from hemp plants. When purchasing, do some research on the company you are purchasing from beforehand. This will help you learn from other's experiences with that company, and you can also see if they have any certifications proving their reputability.
If you're considering using CBD oil to improve your beloved pet's quality of life, then hopefully this article gave you enough information to help with that decision. While there is a lot of stigma surrounding these kinds of products, most of it is inaccurate, costing pet owners the benefits it can provide to their cats.
Cats that are on medication for various ailments, or those that simply need a boost to their overall health, can take advantage of the natural properties of CBD oils.