Everyone is praising CBD oil for helping their pets with various health issues, but is CBD oil really worth the hype? Find out what a veterinarian thinks about CBD oil for cats and whether there is research to back up the claims. Before using CBD oil as a means of treatment for your cat, it's important to understanding the potential side effects. Read on for more information.
Is CBD Safe for Cats?
CBD has taken the pet world by storm; however, scientific research on the impacts of CBD on dogs and cats is still in its infancy—especially for cats.
Let’s look at what cat parents should consider before giving their cats CBD oil or CBD cat treats.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s the second most common active ingredient found in the cannabis plant.
While CBD is present in all cannabis plants, it’s primarily derived from the hemp plant—which a recent study defines as, “Cannabis sativa with a total THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) less than 0.3% dry weight in leaves and buds.”
It is also important to note, that legally, a hemp plant cannot contain more than 0.3% THC or else it is considered a Schedule I controlled substance (illegal narcotic).
Unlike hemp oil and hemp seed oil, CBD is extracted from the stalks, leaves and buds—not just one part of the plant.
Has Research Been Done on CBD for Cats?
As far as I’m aware, no scientific studies have been published regarding the use of CBD with cats.
So, as is often the case, we’re left to interpret research results in dogs, people and other animals combined with anecdotal evidence to try to determine if giving CBD to cats is a good idea.
Research on CBD Use in Dogs and People
Recent studies indicate that CBD can help relieve pain and promote activity in dogs with osteoarthritis and can reduce seizure frequency in cases of severe epilepsy.
The fact that CBD has been shown to help dogs with epilepsy correlates nicely with the 2018 US Food and Drug Administration approval of the human CBD medication Epidiolex for the treatment of certain types of childhood epilepsy.
Other common uses of CBD for which there is at least some supportive scientific evidence (in people or non-feline animal models) include inflammatory conditions—like inflammatory bowel disease—as well as asthma, anxiety, pain and nausea.
So, Is CBD Safe for Cats?
Based on reports from veterinarians and pet parents, CBD itself appears, on the surface, to be very safe for cats.
Some people report that their pets become sleepy or develop upset tummies, particularly when given very high doses, but these problems resolve when CBD is discontinued or the dose is lowered.
A Word of Warning About CBD for Cats
Although CBD gets good reviews from pet parents, there is one big problem with the use of CBD in cats: an almost complete lack of regulatory oversight.
This lack of oversight has resulted in a wide availability of low-quality CBD products.
One study tested CBD products and found that many have little—if any—CBD. Or they have more CBD than is reported on the label.
Studies have also found that some CBD products contain potentially harmful contaminants.
This is especially concerning for cats because of their increased sensitivity to medications and toxins.
How to Find Safe CBD for Cats
If you choose to try CBD for your cat, here are a few ways that you can protect your pets from poor-quality CBD:
Find products that carry the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority ™ or the National Animal Supplements Council (NASC) Quality Seal, as these meet industry-imposed standards and have passed a third-party audit.
Use only products that are designed for cats or that contain just CBD oil—and maybe a benign carrier like hemp oil, coconut oil or MCT oil.
Talk to an experienced veterinarian. The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association provides a “Find a Vet” tool on its website if your veterinarian is unable to help.
6 Potential Side Effects of CBD Oils for Cats: What You Should Know!
Cat owners are turning to holistic approaches and natural supplements like CBD oils to treat their felines more than Western medicine. And, as these alternative treatments keep proving their effectiveness, it isn’t much of a surprise that more and more pet owners are getting invested in the oils.
Although substantial research studies on these natural oils are still ongoing, the findings and the health benefits of CBD oils on humans look incredibly promising.
But then, there haven’t been official significant scientific findings on the oil’s impacts on pets even though research on humans has proven effective. So, is CBD oil safe for cats?
What is CBD Oil?
The cannabis plant contains over a hundred active compounds that humans have been using to treat various ailments for a long time. Cannabidiol, or simply CBD, is one of the main compounds extracted from the plant to be used for medicinal purposes.
After extraction, feline owners blend the CBD compound in oils like coconut, olive, avocado, hempseed, and palm oil. These oils act as carriers, just like essential oils, where owners give them to cats orally.
The primary purpose for the extraction of this compound from the cannabis plant is to create a high concentration of CBD, a substance with medicinal and therapeutic properties. Unlike the major active compound in cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not have a euphoric or psychoactive effect that may leave its users “high.”
Since CBD is not mind-altering, cat enthusiasts have been using it to improve the quality of life and contain feline issues like:
Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock
How Do CBD Oils Work in Cats?
Animals such as cats and dogs have an endocannabinoid system that helps keep their bodies healthy. This system works as the body’s control system to facilitate healing.
Since it is innate, kitties produce endocannabinoid substances known as endogenous cannabinoids. After release, these substances travel the bloodstream and help the cat’s body system maintain an internal balance known as homeostasis. This balance dictates to the body how it should respond to external events.
Therefore, when the CBD enters the body, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system to prevent the endocannabinoids from breaking down, pushing it to react accordingly. For this reason, people use CBD oils as a gentle supplement for their felines.
However, as much as some cat parents attest to major success in managing feline’s various health concerns using these oils, you should understand that cats and humans don’t process supplements the same way. For this reason, it would be best to contact your veterinarian before initiating it to your kitty.
Potential Side Effects of CBD Oils for Cats
Although no research has confirmed the substance’s safety and effectiveness in cats, some doctors claim that CBD oils are generally safe for cats. However, cat owners need to stay alert and consider potential side effects after administering CBD oil to their cats.
It would be best to visit the vet or ensure that you adhere to the correct dosage to combat some of these effects. Check out some of the adverse effects of CBD oils on your kitty.
Although cat parents use CBD oils to treat stress and anxiety in cats, the calming effect afterward can turn to drowsiness, especially if in high doses.
Image Credit: sleepy cat, Unsplash
Gastrointestinal upset is the worst and grossest adverse reaction of CBD oils for cats, especially if it manifests as diarrhea. However, cat owners can find it hard to know whether the bowel issue’s real cause is the oil or the feline’s eating habits.
The best way to discern is to remove the questionable foods one by one, including the CBD oil, to see if the situation eases.
Another most common side effect of initiating the CBD oil to your kitty is vomiting. The reason is, CBD oil is bitter, a taste that may prompt your pet to reject and vomit it.
Although some CBD products are flavored and may taste better, it can take you a lot of effort and time to find the most ideal for your kitty. It is vital to make out if the vomiting is due to the oil and take appropriate actions like consulting with your vet since excessive vomiting can dehydrate your pet and worsen it.
Image Credit: Tunatura, Shutterstock
4. May Interact and Inhibit other Pet Meds
CBD substance is an inhibitor of enzymes like cytochrome P450 that metabolize drugs in the liver. The interaction has the potential effect of affecting the metabolism of any drug that your pet might be using. For this reason, cat owners need to check with their vets for recommendations and advice on which drugs to use and the ones to stop when initiating CBD oils.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
You can expose your kitty to a drop in blood pressure if you administer the CBD oils in high doses. Your cat may start experiencing a brief feeling of light-headedness, and it may feel sluggish and sleepy.
It would be best to check with your vet immediately and mention that you were treating it using CBD oil.
Image Credit: Andrey_Kuzmin, Shutterstock
6. Dry Mouth
While you may hate your kitty’s saliva, saliva in a cat’s mouth signals good health. It helps maintain a feline’s dental hygiene and digestion. However, according to scientific research, CBD oils can decrease saliva production in cats, causing their mouth to dry.
Mouth dryness can affect a kitty’s teeth, gums, cause bad breath and difficulty in swallowing. For this reason, your kitty gets thirsty faster and drinks more water than usual to make up for the lack of fluids in the mouth.
If you notice this effect in your pet, it would be best to reduce the CBD dose and seek help from a physician it does not get better.
Cat parents share an incredible bond with their pets and will always find ways to ensure their cat’s health and well-being. And while the efficacy of this holistic treatment is still inconclusive, there’s no doubt that this versatile oil might be the key to your feline’s well-being and happiness.
Although it may be tempting to share a dog’s or human’s CBD oil with your cat, only give your cat something tailor-made for it. The reason is, ingredients that may benefit humans may be harmful to your feline friend.
As always, cat owners should check with their vets first before introducing these supplements to their pets.