CBD for cats

CBD for Cats | 2020 Guide

Cannabidiol oil or CBD oil is slowly gaining ground when it comes to helping people deal with chronic pain, anxiety, and seizures 1 A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Bellman, Z. D., Yates, A. S., England, T. J., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2019). A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 85(9), 1888–1900. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14038 . There's been enough research on the endocannabinoid system in humans that there is now an FDA-approved prescription drug for epilepsy made from 100% CBD oil 2 Clinicians' Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils VanDolah, H. J., Bauer, B. A., & Mauck, K. F. (2019). Clinicians' Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 94(9), 1840–1851. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003 . Since the endocannabinoid system is found in almost all animals, the public naturally wants to know more about cannabis products for pets 3 The Endocannabinoid System of Animals Silver R. J. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(9), 686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686 . Cats, in particular, are prone to anxiety; some are able to go with the flow, but many cats will hide in a drawer for days whenever there is a change in their environment.

In this article, we’ll talk about all the essential facts you need to know about giving CBD oil to cats. Is CBD oil safe, and how can cats benefit from this supplement? We’ll touch on the few studies that are out there and then discuss how to give CBD oil to your cat. And of course, we will provide you with tips on how to choose the right product and tell you about our favorite products.

Is CBD oil safe for cats?

As far as we know, pure CBD oil is safe for cats and won’t hurt them. Studies have shown that cats absorb less CBD into their bloodstream compared to dogs. Because less of this chemical is available to bind to receptors in their body, we likely don’t need to worry about giving cats too much CBD, but they also don’t experience as much of the therapeutic effects of CBD as we would hope 4 Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats Deabold, K. A., Schwark, W. S., Wolf, L., & Wakshlag, J. J. (2019). Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(10), 832. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100832 . What cats do respond to is THC. One recorded clinical case in Europe described a 6-year-old cat showing out of the ordinary agitation and aggression. It turns out, the owner smoked cannabis at home and exposed the cat to secondhand smoke. The vet’s advice? Don’t smoke around your cat 5 Antitussive activity of some naturally occurring cannabinoids in anesthetized cats Janeczek, A., Zawadzki, M., Szpot, P., & Niedzwiedz, A. (2018). Marijuana intoxication in a cat. Acta veterinaria Scandinavica, 60(1), 44. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13028-018-0398-0 !

Due to this sensitivity to THC, it’s not a good idea to give your cats human CBD products. The industry isn’t as heavily regulated as it should be, and many products contain low levels of THC.

Combine this with the still-unknown number of endocannabinoid receptors in a cat’s body, and you could be making more trips to the vet than you wanted to. Plus, THC is a psychotropic drug, and cats won’t know what is happening when they get “high.” This can cause them to become more anxious over time. Moral of the story? It’s probably a bad idea to give your cats human CBD products.

What are the potential benefits of CBD oil for cats?

There aren’t many studies that focus specifically on cats. However, what we know so far about the endocannabinoid system, receptors, and the CBD molecule itself can give us glimpses into how cats might react to CBD. The most-cited study to date was conducted by three vet schools in the United States. Researchers drew blood to look at how the animals absorbed and processed this cannabis extract. Cats were more or less unaffected by the CBD, except for more excessive licking and head shaking when researchers fed them the oil 4 Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats Deabold, K. A., Schwark, W. S., Wolf, L., & Wakshlag, J. J. (2019). Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(10), 832. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100832 .

There were more studies conducted in the ’70s and ’80s on CBD for cats than there have been in recent years. One study observed that CBD did not work to suppress coughs compared to approved anti-cough medication 6 Antitussive activity of some naturally occurring cannabinoids in anesthetized cats Gordon, R., Gordon, R. J., & Sofia, D. (1976). Antitussive activity of some naturally occurring cannabinoids in anesthetized cats. European journal of pharmacology, 35(2), 309–313. https://doi.org/10.1016/0014-2999(76)90233-8 . Another one showed that CBD decreased motoneuron responses. Scientists concluded that CBD could act as a central nervous depressant, but how that relates to anxiety or pain is still up for debate 7 Cannabidiol-caused depression of spinal motoneuron responses in cats Turkanis, S. A., & Karler, R. (1986). Cannabidiol-caused depression of spinal motoneuron responses in cats. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 25(1), 89–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-3057(86)90235-2 . Unfortunately, there were no follow up studies to either of these experiments, and the cats were all unconscious or anesthetized.

CBD for Chronic Pain?

Based on what we know about CBD, it might be useful when it comes to chronic pain management in cats. First, we know that cats have endocannabinoid systems, just like dogs and humans. While we don’t know if they have more or fewer receptors, we do know that CBD affects how nerves fire. Second, we also know that pure CBD is reasonably safe and does not affect major organs such as the liver and kidneys. This gives CBD an advantage over a lot of current cat therapies and drugs, which are much harder on these critical organs. However, it’s still essential that you talk to your vet if you do want a start a regimen of CBD supplements. Vets may have dosage or brand recommendations, and they can help make sure that the CBD product doesn’t interfere with any other drugs your cat is taking.

How to give CBD oil to cats

Remember the study comparing the effects of CBD on cats versus dogs? It turns out that the cats consumed CBD-infused fish oil on an empty stomach. One interesting characteristic of CBD is that it is lipophilic (fat-loving) and does not dissolve in water, sort of like how water and oil don’t like to mix 8 Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in dogs Samara, E., Bialer, M., & Mechoulam, R. (1988). Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in dogs. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals, 16(3), 469–472. . Blood is mostly water, which might explain why so little CBD appeared in the cats’ blood plasma. The CBD wasn’t moving from the intestines to the bloodstream without the help of oily foods. Research on dogs also showed that CBD oil mixed with food is a better way of getting this molecule into the body 9 Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol administered by 3 delivery methods at 2 different dosages to healthy dogs Bartner, L. R., McGrath, S., Rao, S., Hyatt, L. K., & Wittenburg, L. A. (2018). Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol administered by 3 delivery methods at 2 different dosages to healthy dogs. Canadian journal of veterinary research = Revue canadienne de recherche veterinaire, 82(3), 178–183. .

So, given this information, using CBD treats is likely the best and most effective method of providing CBD to pets. The second-best option is to mix CBD oil in with cat food. In terms of CBD dosage, start with the lowest dosage possible (giving only one treat, for example) and observe your cat for any changes in behavior. Does he seem less anxious? Is she more relaxed and skittish? Then, increase the dosage as needed.

How to choose a CBD product that is right for your cat

When picking out a CBD product, you want to look for USDA organic, 3rd party tested products. It’s the same as picking out a quality product for your dog. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure that whatever you give to your cat doesn’t contain THC. Stick to pure CBD products if possible or check the lab results to make sure the THC levels are ND (non-detectible). Full-spectrum hemp oil should contain less than 0.3% THC, but even at such low levels, we don’t know what negative side effects kitty might experience. And unfortunately, there’s not really a way to reverse these effects except waiting it out.

Another option is to use a CBD spray. These types of products use an emulsifier to dissolve CBD in water. This is a good choice if you just want to try CBD out without risking it sitting in the digestive system of your pet for hours. Each spritz contains less CBD than what you would find in a treat, making it the ideal way to “start low and go slow.”

Best CBD oil for cats

With the number of CBD companies out there, we did the research and found one that falls in line with the scientific information we know so far. Enter Treatibles. Not only do they display their 3rd party testing lab results for each product, but they also sell CBD soft chews specifically for cats. The dosage is low in these treats (0.18%), and THC levels are not detectable, despite it being a full spectrum product. With these treats, you don’t need to worry about without overdosing or adverse side effects from residual THC.

Sources
  1. Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Bellman, Z. D., Yates, A. S., England, T. J., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2019). A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 85(9), 1888–1900. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14038
  2. VanDolah, H. J., Bauer, B. A., & Mauck, K. F. (2019). Clinicians' Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 94(9), 1840–1851. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003
  3. Silver R. J. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(9), 686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686
  4. Deabold, K. A., Schwark, W. S., Wolf, L., & Wakshlag, J. J. (2019). Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(10), 832. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100832
  5. Janeczek, A., Zawadzki, M., Szpot, P., & Niedzwiedz, A. (2018). Marijuana intoxication in a cat. Acta veterinaria Scandinavica, 60(1), 44. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13028-018-0398-0
  6. Gordon, R., Gordon, R. J., & Sofia, D. (1976). Antitussive activity of some naturally occurring cannabinoids in anesthetized cats. European journal of pharmacology, 35(2), 309–313. https://doi.org/10.1016/0014-2999(76)90233-8
  7. Turkanis, S. A., & Karler, R. (1986). Cannabidiol-caused depression of spinal motoneuron responses in cats. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 25(1), 89–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-3057(86)90235-2
  8. Samara, E., Bialer, M., & Mechoulam, R. (1988). Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in dogs. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals, 16(3), 469–472.
  9. Bartner, L. R., McGrath, S., Rao, S., Hyatt, L. K., & Wittenburg, L. A. (2018). Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol administered by 3 delivery methods at 2 different dosages to healthy dogs. Canadian journal of veterinary research = Revue canadienne de recherche veterinaire, 82(3), 178–183.

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