What can CBD do for cats?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis sativa that is very different from THC which is the cannabinoid that creates the “high” typically associated with this plant. Humans and cats both produce their own natural cannabinoids. This naturally occurring, internal endocannabinoid system’s purpose is to keep the body in a state of homeostasis, or balance. Science has discovered that plant based cannabinoids such as CBD are able to support our internal endocannabinoid system to maintain balance in bodily functions. Since this maintenance of healthy homeostasis has been proven to provide many health benefits, interest in CBD has skyrocketed. Interestingly, Cats have even more cannabinoid receptors in the brain than humans. There are few cat specific studies, but so far CBD appears to affect cats in the same way that it affects humans. It interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems to maintain homeostasis in the body. Many maladies are due to imbalances in the body so CBD really is able to help with a wide variety of health related issues.
What cat health problems can CBD treat?
CBD can treat the same health issues in cats that it can in humans. Some of the more well known treatments include: inflammation, pain, seizures, anxiety, nausea and appetite. There are also possible anti-cancer benefits. There is currently one FDA approved drug, Epidiolex, which is a massive dose of pure CBD used to stop seizures in humans. This drug is ample evidence that CBD is powerful and is seen as legitimate by current modern medicine. Let’s look at each potentially treatable condition that CBD is used for.
Pain, Inflammation and Joint Problems
This is the best scientifically researched treatment for CBD in pets. CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). We have all probably taken ibuprofen in our lives for pain relief but it is deadly for cats. However, CBD lowers inflammation and relieves pain but is completely safe for cats. And researchers at Cornell University found that dogs taking CBD for arthritis were more active and showed a decrease in pain. Also, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Pain in 2020 found that “Cannabidiol possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties and significantly improved the mobility of large domestic canines afflicted with osteoarthritis.” In that study, eighty percent of the dogs showed improvement in their pain and mobility. Yes, there are pain meds for cats like Gabapentin but they do have negative side effects. These drugs can cause deterioration in joints and soft tissues and they can damage your cat’s liver. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that doesn’t carry the same risk of side effects because CBD works by binding to CB1 receptors in the brain. These CB1 receptors stimulate the immune system to reduce inflammation and the way the brain responds to pain.
Much like humans, pets experience anxiety. This can take the form of noise phobia, aggression, fear and most often, separation anxiety. CBD eases nervousness and provides feelings of calm. Experts believe this is because CBD may activate some of the same areas of the brain as serotonin. Once again, there are anti-anxiety drugs available, but CBD is being studied and used as an anxiety treatment because it is gentler and doesn’t carry unwanted side effects.
CBD has been proven to help with epilepsy in dogs by lowering the frequency of seizures. It is thought to prevent nerves in the brain from firing too much and lower the number of electrolytes believed to have a role in seizure conditions. The only current FDA approved drug, Epidiolex is a huge dose of CBD that is given to humans to stop seizures. Since CBD affects cats in the same way it affects humans, it is no surprise that it is an effective seizure treatment.
1 in 5 cats will get cancer. Animal studies show CBD oil has cancer-fighting abilities and can slow the growth of tumors. The anti-nausea effects of CBD seen in people who undergo chemotherapy have also been documented in rats and ferrets, suggesting that cats receiving chemotherapy may benefit from CBD treatment.
There is also a second separate endocannabinoid system that is found in our largest organ, the skin. This system is tasked only with keeping the skin in homeostasis. This means that CBD can be used to treat imbalances like skin allergies and relieve dry, itchy skin as well as promote the growth of new skin cells. You can give CBD internally for allergies as well as use a CBD balm externally on hot spots and cysts.
How much CBD should I give my Cat?
In the 2018 study that found that CBD helps dogs with osteoarthritis, researchers gave the dogs 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight, twice daily. This is a good starting point, but as with any medication it is recommended to start with a low dose and then increase it until you get the desired effect. Certain conditions such as seizures may take a much larger dose than needed for minor pain. Also when used for anxiety, CBD appears to be most beneficial when given over a period of time. So if a cat is prone to stress, a lower daily dose might work best.
Is there any danger to giving my cat CBD?
As in humans, science indicates that pure CBD is incredibly safe in cats. There is no known toxic level of CBD for cats so it is impossible to fatally overdose them with it. However, since good quality CBD supplements are not cheap it makes financial sense to only give your cat as much as it actually needs. The only possible danger could be using a CBD product that also contains THC. Also, some CBD oils use sweeteners or other additives that are not well tolerated by cats. Always purchase pet formulated CBD with little to no THC and no sweeteners.
How do I give CBD to my Cat?
CBD oil is typically administered orally to cats. Simply dropping CBD oil into your cat’s food works great. It is also worth noting that CBD oil has the best pharmacokinetic profile, meaning it reaches the highest concentration in the blood and stays in the bloodstream the longest. So CBD treats may be slightly less effective than oil. Also it is much easier to accurately control dosage by using oil.
Which CBD should I give my Cat?
Only use a pet formulated CBD oil that has no THC. This should be verifiable via a lab analysis that can be provided by reputable CBD brands. It is also a good idea to keep the product organic, meaning no solvents or pesticides. Most importantly, be sure that the product clearly states the total mg of CBD in the product. If you cannot easily find this, it could mean it is only hemp seed oil with little to no CBD at all. Also, without knowing the exact amount of milligrams of CBD in a bottle it will be impossible to provide an accurate dosage for your cat. Luckily, Cordial Organics has created a high quality CBD oil called Calm for Pets that meets all these criteria. As pet lovers ourselves we wanted to make sure that our furry family members get the best quality of life possible.