CBD Effects on Cats

Posted on August 8th, 2020

The use of cannabidiol (CBD) has grown in popularity over the years. Not only is CBD used to help alleviate stress and aches in human beings, but it may also be used to help cats deal with issues such as anxiety or stress. As a cat owner, you always want to ensure that your cat is happy and healthy. And your cat’s health and mood may also have an impact on you. For this reason, cat owners have explored natural alternatives such as CBD for their cat’s wellbeing. CBD may be a natural way to help manage several conditions, such as inflammation and symptoms of anxiety, among other ailments in your cat. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done on CBD effects on cats. However, reports suggest that CBD may be a safe option to help manage several conditions in your cat. So, if you notice your cat experiencing any symptoms of mood change or stress, you may want to speak with your vet about introducing CBD oil. Read on to learn more about the potential effects of CBD on cats.

What Is CBD Oil?

The cannabis plant has more than a hundred active compounds. However, the one compound that is mainly used for its potential benefits is the CBD. The compound CBD is different from the compound THC, which has a psychoactive effect, leaving users with a “high” feeling. CBD oil can be derived from either the hemp plant or the marijuana plant. Hemp-derived CBD oil has a high concentration of CBD and low THC levels. CBD oil derived from the marijuana plant has high THC and low CBD levels. This difference is what makes hemp-derived CBD not only legal but the better option for both pets and humans. This is especially important when looking for CBD oil for your cat as THC and marijuana can be harmful to your pet. It’s important to look for hemp-derived CBD with THC levels that do not exceed 0.3 percent. Similar to humans, CBD may be used to help manage issues in your cats, such as aches, stress, inflammation, and may help to relax and improve their quality of life. 

While some reports from cat owners boast major successes in managing symptoms for a variety of ailments, it’s important to understand that cats process supplements differently than humans. This is why you should always speak with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplement to your cat’s routine. 

CBD oil tincture with hemp leafHow Does CBD Work in Cats?

All animals, including your cat, have an endocannabinoid system that plays a vital role in keeping their bodies healthy. Cats produce endocannabinoid substances, called endogenous cannabinoids. Cannabinoids can also be found in the cannabis plant. Once these substances have been released, they travel throughout the bloodstream. They then attach to the cells and deliver instructions and messages that tell the body how to react or respond to their external environment. This response helps the body to maintain an internal balance called homeostasis. 

Why does this matter? Well, it’s believed that almost all body processes in animals are affected by the endocannabinoid system. Hence, when the endocannabinoids aren’t delivering the instructions as expected, homeostasis can be thrown off. There is still a lot of research to be done on the endocannabinoid system and what exactly it is responsible for, however, it is believed that maintaining homeostasis is its main function. 

For example, when your cat’s system is under more stress than usual, the endocannabinoids bind to or work with endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) to let the endocannabinoid system know it needs to respond. While further research is needed to fully understand how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it’s believed that CBD may help prevent the breakdown of endocannabinoids. The CB1 receptors are mainly located in the brain and spinal cord, and they control the feeling of pain in the nerve endings. The CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are primarily found in the immune and nervous system, and help regulate inflammation.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?

Some doctors claim that CBD oil is generally safe for cats, but in rare cases, you might notice some adverse effects after giving your cat CBD oil. Some of these effects may include gastrointestinal upset and sedation, which disappear after discontinuing CBD oil intake. But because there has been little research of CBD effects on cats, it’s always best to speak with your veterinarian to see if CBD oil could help.

It’s also key to provide the correct dosage to minimize the potential side effects. As CBD products are not currently regulated in the market, be sure to do your research and purchase from a trusted source. Pet owners are advised to do their due diligence before purchasing any CBD products online. You should ensure that the CBD product you buy has been tested for both contaminants and content through a third-party lab. If you are not sure about the dosage or product, it is always good to consult a veterinarian. Note that improperly formulated CBD oil could contain high amounts of THC, which can be toxic to your cat.

How Much CBD Should You Give Your Cat?

It is essential to know the right dosage to use when giving your cat CBD oil. Since they are smaller than humans, they require far less cannabidiol. You are advised to first weigh your cat as this will help you determine the right dosage, based on their size. Your veterinarian can provide further guidance on dosage, as well.

To avoid adverse side effects, you need to start with small amounts of CBD. As you do this, observe to see how your cat reacts to the CBD. If the cat doesn’t show any adverse signs, you may then increase the amount of CBD oil you give them in small amounts. When you are observing your cat, please pay attention to their eating schedule and napping pattern. If you notice negative changes, discontinue the dosage.

Cat touching paw to human handEffects of CBD on Cats

Potential to Reduce Swelling and Aches in Cats

Just like humans, cats can suffer from arthritis and joint pain. When your cat is affected by arthritis, he or she might experience constant pain, lack of energy, and decreased mobility. CBD may offer relief because of its potential anti-inflammatory properties. CBD may also reduce the perceived level of pain by activating and desensitizing the brain’s vanilloid receptor. The vanilloid receptor is responsible for regulating pain and swelling in your cat’s brain. CBD oil is ideal for managing pain and inflammation because it targets the vanilloid receptor and prevents it from turning on. When this neuron is inactive, the pain points gradually go away because the pain and swelling signals are no longer sent throughout the body.

It May Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Like humans, cats can also experience stress and anxiety. Some of the common stressors for cats include poor human-cat relationships, health problems, change in environment, and conflicts among cats. When your cat undergoes too much stress, they may start having poor grooming habits, poor eating habits, and behavioral issues. CBD may help by moderating the stress hormone production, cortisol, and influencing the brain receptors responsible for mood regulation. 

This could help to improve the mood of your cat by reducing the stress levels. Apart from its potential to reduce stress and anxiety, CBD oil may also be effective in managing fear in pets. For example, CBD oil may be used to help ease your cat’s fear of traveling or meeting new people. If mood-altering drugs are a part of your cat’s routine, you might consider adding CBD products as a more natural alternative.

Potential to Impact Seizures And Epilepsy

Seizures are usually caused by electrical disruptions in the brain, which result in vigorous shaking of the body. They can be scary and even pose severe health issues to your cat. And while research on CBD and cats is limited, some studies suggest that CBD oil may positively impact seizures. CBD might counteract seizures by minimizing the number of electrical disruptions in the brain and hence suppressing the occurrence of future seizures. Seizure medications can have adverse side effects on your cat. Some of these side effects include kidney failure, heart failure, and an impact on mood and energy levels.

Final Thoughts 

If you are a cat owner, you may find yourself encountering some issues along the way. Just like humans, cats can experience a myriad of health problems throughout their lifetime. You may find your cat suffering from symptoms of anxiety, inflammation, pain, or even epilepsy. And while the research on CBD effects on cats is minimal, it may be worth a conversation with your vet to see how CBD may be able to help. 

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