Is cannabis oil safe for cats? And what sorts of ailments might it treat? Learn about the side effects of CBD oil for cats – health impact, doses and more. See what other owners say and shop CBD oil for cats. CBD (hemp oil) treats are becoming more popular to give pets, and some of the same dangers exist as with THC. Find out the symptoms and treatment plans.
CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know
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.
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 affect, 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 affect 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 affects 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 adds 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 says.
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 affects have worn off.”
Is CBD Oil 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.
Are There Any Side Effects Of CBD Oil For Cats?
As CBD oil continues to prove its effectiveness, more and more people are choosing it for their pets. It’s used to reduce anxiety in cats, relieve joint pain for aging feline friends, and research shows it’s also an effective means of stopping seizures. With first-hand testimonies and anecdotal evidence, there are still holes in what we know about this all-natural substance. We need more research to give us specific answers to our questions.
Related: Need a more in-depth guide to CBD for cats?
CBD Oil Cat Side Effects Explained
One of the biggest questions on the minds of cat owners has to do with safety. Are there any side effects of CBD oil for cats? Are there risks? It’s important to note that there is always a measure of risk when introducing your pet to something new, but we’re here to help clear up the confusion.
The Basics of CBD Oil
CBD oil is a cannabinoid (one of many) that’s found in the cannabis plant. It’s extracted from the plant to create a tincture, and that substance is currently proving to have incredible health benefits. CBD oil owes its effectiveness to its relationship with the endocannabinoid system. Found in mammals, the endocannabinoid system is a network or receptors that acts like the body’s control center for health and healing. The different receptors communicate with bodily systems to maintain balance. When CBD oil enters the body, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors to initiate a response. The specifics of the response will vary depending on what’s happening in the body.
Because CBD is a component of cannabis, it can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp. CBD oil by itself is nonpsychoactive (meaning it can’t make you or your pet high), but when it comes from marijuana, there’s risk of it also having trace amounts of another cannabinoid called THC. This cannabinoid is the part of marijuana that’s responsible for the plant’s psychoactive properties. Hemp, on the other hand, has negligible levels of THC, and so CBD oil from hemp has no risk of mind altering side effects.
Side Effects of CBD Oil for Cats
It’s always important to consider potential side effects before administering anything new to your pet. For CBD oil, most pet owners have reported no serious side effects. Boulder Holistic Vet says the most common side effect of giving a cat CBD oil is overly sedate behavior. They advise that if a cat seems to be too calm or sleepy, it’s best to speak with a veterinarian to adjust the dose.
Another possible CBD oil side effect for cats is gastrointestinal upset. This typically only happens if the tincture is abruptly introduced to a cat’s diet. When first introducing CBD oil to your cat, it’s recommended to administer the lowest suggested dose. Continue at this amount for one week while closely monitoring your cat. If she shows signs of nausea or gastrointestinal upset, stop and wait for the CBD oil to exit her system. Consult a holistic vet about lowering the dosage.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats
Like humans and dogs, cats can experience several positive health effects of CBD oil. Every cat is different, and the results you see in your furry friend will vary. Here’s a list of health concerns CBD oil is known to help with:
- Chronic GI issues
- Chronic upper respiratory infections
Choosing CBD Oil for Your Cat: Avoid CBD Side Effects for Your Cat
While you’re considering CBD oil for your cat, it’s important to find a product you trust. Not all companies are truthful in their claims, and you need a product that is organic and free of toxins. Cannanine™ Organic Hemp Oil is made from organically grown Colorado hemp. It’s tested for heavy metals, bacteria, mold, and yeast, and unlike other CBD oils manufactured for pets, Cannanine™ contains absolutely no trace of THC. It’s ideal for cats ready to start living better lives.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.
FAQs about CBD Use in Pets
A: Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid produced by the plant Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana. After many anecdotal reports of CBD’s potential health benefits, studies are now underway to look at the potential benefits of CBD for controlling pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis, calming anxious pets, and as a possible treatment for epilepsy in dogs. CBD is being used by many pet owners today, so it’s essential to know enough about it to discuss the potential risks of use.
Q: Is CBD psychoactive?
A: No; however, there are several possible reasons a dog who has ingested CBD may look high:
- The product that the pet ingested contains both THC and CBD. There are many products on the market, some even labeled for use in pets, that contain both CBD and THC at varying concentrations, so check the labels or look up the product online to see what’s in it.
- The pet ingested enough of a CBD product to cause THC toxicity. Hemp can legally contain up to 0.3% THC, so if a pet ingests a large amount of a hemp-based CBD product, mild THC toxicity can occur.
- The product has not undergone quality assurance testing and contains THC.
- The dog also found some marijuana or THC edibles. Ask about any other cannabis products in the home.
Q: What are the most common signs reported in pets after the ingestion of CBD products?
A: Vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, and diarrhea are the most common clinical signs reported. Ataxia can occasionally occur with large ingestions.
Q: How do I treat these cases?
A: Most cases need no treatment, aside from symptomatic care for gastrointestinal upset if it occurs. If it’s a large dose, where the THC content might be a factor, mild sedation, urinary incontinence, hyperesthesia, and ataxia could develop, and the pet should be confined to prevent injury from misadventure. If you see significant signs that look like THC toxicity, treat the pet in front of you and provide IV fluid support, anti-nausea medication, and good nursing care as needed.
Q: Is there anything special I need to know about pet hemp treat overdoses?
A: Products sold as “soft chews” can have an osmotic effect when large amounts of chews are ingested and pull fluid from the body into the gastrointestinal tract. In mild cases, this can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. In severe cases, hypernatremia, hyperglycemia, hyperkalemia, azotemia, and acidosis can occur. Aggressive fluid therapy, while monitoring hydration status and electrolytes in these pets, is critical.
Q: What about interactions with other medications? Any long-term effects to be concerned about?
A: CBD is an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 and has the potential to affect the metabolism of other drugs. While this appears to be of minimal clinical significance in most cases, this may be important when CBD is used in a pet for seizure control. Doses of other anticonvulsants may need to be adjusted. Remember that owners may discontinue anticonvulsants on their own if they feel that CBD is controlling their pet’s seizures, so this is an important discussion to have.
CBD has also been shown to cause dose-dependent elevations in liver enzymes in various safety studies. This has not been noted in acute overdose situations but could be a concern in pets taking CBD long-term. Monitoring liver enzymes and total bilirubin in these pets is recommended.