In recent years, CBD oil has exploded in popularity. Hailed as something of a miracle cure-all, CBD oil has gained fans across the globe. But can you use this old remedy for your cats? And just how effective is CBD oil for your pets? Below, we give you all the information you need when it comes to giving your cats cannabis oil and answer those all-important frequently asked questions.
What is CBD Oil?
Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is manufactured and produced through hemp plants and generally extracted from the leaves and stalks of the plants instead of the flowers – although these can be used, too. It’s usually available in a variety of forms, from capsules and tablets to oils and extracts, all of which are said to have various effects, making it suitable for almost anyone.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD works with your body’s endocannabinoids to interact with the cannabinoid receptors. This, in turn, affects the level of neurotransmitters released by your brain. These neurotransmitters are responsible for everything from the levels and depth of sleep you undertake, through to how much pain you feel when you have an accident or are suffering with an illness.
Because of its ability to change the chemical transactions in the brain, it is never sold to anyone under 18. Similarly, we would not recommend using CBD oil for kittens and young cats for the same reason – it may affect the way your cat grows up and cause long-lasting damage to the receptors of hormonal balances in the brain.
Does CBD Oil Have THC?
Unlike marijuana, which contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD holds only very small amounts of THC – as little as 0.3%. This level is small enough that it won’t hold any significant effect on the way you feel, which THC is known for. In other words, CBD won’t get you or your cats high, as there isn’t enough THC in cannabidiol to have this effect.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
The growing consensus when it comes to whether CBD oil is safe for cats is that, when administered properly with the correct dosage, CBD oil is indeed safe for cats. As always, however, it is always best to err on the side of caution when giving your pets new treatment, and we wholeheartedly recommend discussing the application of CBD oil with your vet, beforehand.
This can allow your vet to give you a thorough breakdown as to how CBD oil can help your cat based on their medical history, as well as being able to give you a thorough analysis of the pros and cons in relation to your cat. It will also allow them to update your pet’s medical notes, for future considerations and to even use it as evidence in future, should the use of CBD oil be a success!
Is CBD Oil Legal for Pet Consumption?
In the US, there is no legal considerations for using CBD oil for pets. However, as always, there are some factors to consider when purchasing your cannabidiols. For starters, your CBD must derive from hemp plants – not the marijuana, which is likely to hold a greater concentration of THC.
You should also only ever buy from a trusted brand. While most manufacturers will stick to the legal definitions and ensure that they only ever use the correct dosages and derivatives, there are always the odd occasions whereby you can find a company that is willing to forego these in an effort to produce cheaper alternatives. In these cases, the results could be harmful to your pets, so always stick with the tested, trusted brands.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats
The results of testing are still coming in thick and fast, in line with the increasing popularity of CBD oil – particularly in relation to use with pets. However, there have been plenty of studies which show that CBD oil is beneficial in the following areas:
A small study conducted in 2010 has suggested that CBD oil can be used to help manage stress and anxiety. Further evidence does come from a lot of anecdotal indications, which suggest that pets respond positively to the use of CBD oil in managing and reducing anxious behavior such as acting skittish, which is often reported to change to more loving, affectionate behavior.
Similar to anxiety, CBD oil is said to help reduce the signs of aggression shown in cats. Many happy cat owners note that their previously angry, scratch-happy cat changed once they began to have CBD oil. This change has been noted in a more docile, calmer pet.
With feline epilepsy affecting roughly 2% of cats, it’s fair to say that research undertaken to combat this has proven to provide beneficial results. Indeed, studies in humans has shown that CBD oil is effective at reducing the likelihood and length of epileptic seizures, when taken alongside the traditional medicine.
With feline pancreatitis, symptoms are often shown as a reduced appetite, lethargy and weight loss. It has been found that these symptoms can be alleviated through the use of regular consumption of CBD oil, which may also be able to inhibit the growth of tumors along the pancreas.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBD is often concurrent with pancreatitis, especially as it shows the same symptoms of our previous entry, as well as further signs such as vomiting and issues with the digestive tract. Studies in this area have shown that CBD can reduce the level of inflammation along the digestive tract, easing these symptoms and alleviating the pain and distress caused by IBD.
Feline cancer is hard to diagnose and detect, and is often seen as a last resort for many vets – particularly as cats are half as likely to develop cancer than dogs. This eventually means that the cancer is often farther along than it would be when discovered in dogs, which causes your cat to suffer from more side effects and symptoms than their canine counterparts.
Luckily, this area holds more research than the other medical issues mentioned and therefore has a clearer indication of improvement. For example, CBD oil has been shown to reduce the frequency of nausea and vomiting in patients. It has also been shown to reduce the level of inflammation, while increasing appetite – two major side effects to cancer treatment.
It’s important to note that CBD has not been shown to treat any of the above, and we would always recommend discussing the use of cannabidiols with your vet before using them in relation to any of the above issues – especially as the interactions between drugs can be complex. Rather, CBD oil has been shown to improve the signs and symptoms of these issues.
Risks Associated with CBD Oil for Cats
The biggest risk when it comes to using CBD oil for your cats is the lack of research. This means you’re less likely to be aware of any negative side effects before using your new supplements. There is also a lack of research into the effects of using CBD oil alongside other medicines prescribed by your vet, which may interfere with the effectiveness of the medicine or may worsen side effects.
However, one known quantity is that any medicine given to your pets can result in gastrointestinal distress. This is usually because pet’s stomachs are very fragile, and a slight change can result in some nausea and diarrhea. For this reason, we recommend tentatively approaching the use of CBD oil and following our guidelines, below, on the best dosages to give your cat.
How Much CBD Oil Should You Give Your Cat?
Before giving your cat any CBD oil, we recommend discussing the implementation of this new supplement with your vet. They will be able to give you a clear indication of any likelihood of negative side effects or warn you of any issues the CBD oil may give in relation to your cat’s current medicine.
However, once you have the all-clear to start using CBD supplements with your pet, we would recommend starting off slowly. To begin, try to opt for the smallest dose available and see how your cat responds. In doing this, you can avoid any stomach problems and gauge a reaction in your pet. If you don’t see any negative repercussions, you can then up the dosage to the next smallest amount to check their reactions to this and so on, until you find a comfortable dosage for your pet.
As a rough estimate, it has been recommended that you use your cat’s weight to estimate the level of CBD oil required for the best health. It is generally suggested that, for every 10 pounds of weight, your cat can be prescribed 1mg of CBD oil, at the lowest dose. High doses recommend roughly 3-5mg of CBD oil for every ten pounds of weight.