Cat cannabidiol (CBD). Sounds fancy, right? Recently, a lot of cat owners have turned to CBD oil for cats with pain because of the help it may be able to provide. Since 2018, when hemp was federally legalized, there has been a lot more research and popularity for this compound, especially when it comes to helping pets. At a glance, it may seem that dogs have received the majority of the attention in this area, but as it goes, the market is meeting the people’s demands and finally catering to cats as well.
But how could CBD oil help cats? Is it okay for cats to use? And, of course, it is right for my beloved cat? All cat owners know that cats are quite different from any other pet. They are smart, entitled, sometimes sassy individuals, each with their own unique preferences and demands—and we love them for it!
So, I repeat, cat CBD—fancy? For sure. But is it fancy enough for your purrfect cat? We at Companna want to make sure that you know for sure. So, let’s find out together.
Somethings to know about CBD
CBD has become a household name over the last couple years, and for good reason. There has been a lot of recent research that suggests that CBD could be incredibly helpful. But what is CBD?
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound derived from plants of cannabis genus. To get more specific, it is one of many different cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Marijuana is another plant that falls within the cannabis genus, but you probably already know this because of its controversial history related to another infamous cannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Up until 2018, CBD was federally illegal, largely due to its association with THC. But this changed when hemp, a different cannabis plant with very little THC, was legalized. So long as a CBD product contains less than 0.3% THC, it falls within the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) guidelines.
The major difference between the two cannabinoids is the way in which they interact with endocannabinoid receptor cells in our brain. The human body has the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is made up of receptors that interact with the cannabinoids. THC is psychoactive. It binds strongly with the cells expression the cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1R), producing what is commonly referred to as a “high.” CBD is not psychoactive. It binds very weakly with the CB1 receptor and does not produce a high. That being said, CBD certainly produces its own unique effects. After using it, most people report a relaxed feeling. This key difference is the main reason hemp was made legal by the USDA, and why we can all enjoy CBD and its many wonders today!
The cat that ate the CBD
As it turns out, we’re not the only ones with ECSs, cats have them as well! This means that CBD can interact with their own endocannabinoid system, allowing our favorite furry friends to also reap the potential rewards this incredible gift nature has given to us.
Before we dive in, it is important to know that scientific research has yet to find definitive proof to support any claims that CBD can be used as a medical treatment or cure. That being said, more and more research has been pointing to the idea that CBD oil for cats with pain may be able to help. In particular, CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, and a potential ability to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures, stimulate appetite, and relieve feelings of anxiousness.
Poor joint health is a common condition in cats, and particular in older cats. Studies on CBD and inflammation have suggested that CBD could help with stiffness and pain. A 2016 study on rats found that four days of receiving transdermal CBD patches helped reduce the rats’ pain, as well as the swelling in the treated areas. Another study found that CBD prevented the progression of arthritis and protected “the joints against severe damage” related to chronic inflammation.
Anxiety is not an uncommon issue for cats. While our cats (unfortunately) cannot put into words their emotional experiences, there are reliable behaviors associated with anxiety. This includes increased or decreased activity, aggression, excessive meowing, loss of appetite, restlessness, and an increase in scratching behaviors. Currently, there aren’t any studies on CBD and anxiety for cats. However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence from owners that suggest that it helps. Based on anecdotal support and preliminary research, it is possible that CBD may be able to help relieve your cats’ anxious behaviors, like aggression, restlessness, and loss of appetite.
Seizures are an especially interesting topic when it comes to CBD. The first ever CBD-based medication to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration is called Epidiolex. It is a medication made to help with epilepsy. Unfortunately, studies on CBD for the treatment of seizures in cats is sparse, so conclusions can only be (carefully!) extrapolated from research on canines and humans. However, given that our cats have an endocannabinoid system similar to our own, it is possible that CBD may be able to help alleviate and maintain their seizures as well.
Is CBD safe for cats?
Now we arrive at what is arguably the most important question: is CBD oil for cats with pain safe? In short, yes—and especially compared to pharmaceutical medications, which typically come with a longer and more severe list of side effects. There appear to be minimal risks associated with CBD, as long as it’s used carefully. Possible side effects include fatigue, increased thirst, decrease in coordination, decreased blood pressure, and slower heart rate. Mind you, many of these side effects make sense when looking at the particular ailments CBD may alleviate. If your cat seems less active than normal, it could be the anxiety-relieving effects. Again, because research on CBD is only just beginning and we have yet to determine the long-term effects, it is highly recommended and important that you speak with a veterinarian before deciding if CBD may be a viable option for your cat. After you talk to your vet, come on back here to Companna, so that you can get the best pet CBD products around!