CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know
Written by Jason Brett
Edited by Cathy Rozyczko on
October 14, 2021
CBD oil products are everywhere now, but ambiguity surrounding the use of CBD oil still abounds, especially in the world of veterinary medicine.
If you've been thinking about alleviating some of your cat's wellness issues like anxiety symptoms with CBD oil, you've probably found that the amount of conflicting information, as well as all those CBD products out there, can be overwhelming.
Before giving your cat CBD oil, you'll want to read on so that you can make an informed decision about your kitty's health and wellbeing.
Is CBD oil legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill (also known as the Agricultural Improvement Act) removed hemp products from the Schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This legislature made CBD oil legal on a federal level for growing and transporting: as long as it has been extracted from the hemp plant that contains 0.3% or less THC by volume.
However, this is where it gets confusing: Although hemp products are now legal on the federal level, US state laws vary on whether you can buy, sell or use CBD oil. You can check here to see if CBD oil is legal in your state, and to what extent. Keep in mind that whether CBD oil and cannabis products are legal for humans does not apply to usage on animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) position on CBD oil and other cannabis-derived products should be used on animals continues to evolve.
What is the endocannabinoid system? How does CBD work on cats?
The compounds in CBD oil work with your cat's endocannabinoid system, the system which all mammals have that is responsible for keeping immune function and nervous systems operating normally. That's why CBD oil may help keep your kitty calm and maintain overall homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system is found in all mammals, and has built-in receptors designed to receive compounds like CBD, which when processed by the body, may provide benefits like pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and calmness.
How can CBD oil help my cat?
There still needs to be a lot more research on the benefits and long-term effects of CBD oil on cats. However, anecdotal evidence and limited studies (like this one on cats and dogs) so far indicate that CBD oil may help your cat decrease anxiety-related behaviors. Anecdotal evidence from various testimonials for quality CBD for cats also suggests that cats living with other health conditions may benefit from CBD.
Can you talk about prescribing CBD for your pet with a veterinarian?
After hemp was legalized on the federal level in 2018, more studies on the benefits of CBD for pets have been launched. There have also been changes in how the AVMA and state licensing boards for veterinary medicine are approaching the subject, and these entities in general are moving towards the notion of treating animals with CBD.
As of recent developments, veterinarians can discuss but cannot prescribe or dispense CBD for animals. While state licensing boards vary in the extreme according to their responses to the extent that some states do not allow their vets to talk about CBD, others do.
In short, find a veterinarian that is willing and able to discuss CBD oil options for your cat. Your cat's system is different from your system, a dog's system, or even another cat's system, so she or he will need to be evaluated and monitored to see how she reacts to CBD, her optimum CBD dosage, and what long-term benefits she may experience.
Will CBD oil make your cat high?
CBD oil won't make your kitty high. CBD oil made from commercialized hemp has trace amounts of THC, the compound that provides that euphoric, high feeling, which is not enough to provide a high. You have the choice of getting full spectrum CBD oil, where your kitty may benefit from the entourage effect of all the naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant. Or you can get broad spectrum CBD oil without the THC, which still has terpenes and flavonoids that help stabilize your kitty's endocannabinoid system.
Is CBD oil safe for your cat?
Although more studies need to be done to determine the long-term effects of CBD oil treatments on cats, many vets consider it safe and effective, and believe that CBD oil can improve your cat's quality of life.
On the other hand, always remember that THC can be toxic to cats, so your cat should never be given cannabis that contains more than the legal limit of 0.3% THC. Be sure to work with your vet, so that your kitty is taking the right amount of CBD oil that is best for his or her long-term health.
Final words on CBD and cats
In short, there's still a lot of research left to know about the effects, benefits, and risks of CBD oil on cats. Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that it may help your furry friend live a better life if she or he lives with pain, inflammation, anxiety, or other health conditions.
Getting the dosage right and using quality CBD oil products designed for cats (not for dogs or for people) and having a real discussion with a licensed veterinarian are crucial to whether your kitty has a positive and safe experience while being treated with CBD oil.
But before you give your cat CBD oil, you'll need to choose a safe, high-quality CBD oil product made from commercially legal hemp. You also want to make sure it contains no additives, contaminants, or pesticides. You'll want the guidance of a veterinarian, and your vet will need to monitor your cat's progress to ensure that your kitty is receiving all the benefits she can from CBD oil.
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