CBD oil has risen in popularity over the years, with people turning to different hemp products for a multitude of benefits. People of all walks of life have been trying out the easy-to-use product, but did you know that our pets may benefit just as much as we do?
If you have some familiarity with CBD, you may know that when humans ingest it, the cannabinoid interacts with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system serves to regulate certain functions, such as mood, sleep, appetite, and pain. When CBD (which does not have psychoactive effects like THC) is introduced to this system, it may enhance certain functions, leading to the many benefits associated with CBD products like anxiety and stress relief, pain management, and relaxation.
Our four-legged pets have this same communication system, meaning their bodies interact with CBD products in a similar way. Just like in humans, CBD may help pets dealing with a host of issues, like pain, anxiety, seizures, and sleep problems.
When looking online, you may not find quite as much information about CBD use for cats as you would for dogs, but that doesn’t mean cat owners haven’t found good use for CBD-based products for their feline friends.
In a survey published in 2016, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association asked over 600 pet owners about their use of CBD products for their cats. Pet owners in general found the most success using CBD for a variety of issues, including pain relief, sleep assistance, anxiety relief, reduction of seizures, reduction of inflammation, and prevention of nausea and vomiting.
When cat owners who had used or were using CBD for their cats were asked about their experience, they reported success with the following:
It is important to note that some owners did report certain side effects or adverse effects. The most frequently reported side effects were sedation (19.2% reported a moderate or significant effect) and overactive appetite (16% reported a moderate or significant effect). While the active compounds in the hemp plant have shown some promise, more evidence is needed before these products are declared safe.
If you choose to use a CBD oil for your cat, it is important to keep a few things in mind before getting started. As you are looking into options, you will want to make sure you are looking for formulas specifically made for pets, rather than humans. CBD products that are targeted towards humans might have ingredients that aren’t safe for cats, so it is best to go for a pet-friendly option. They will also have more appropriate dose options for cats.
When it comes to dosing, it is best to start small and then add more if necessary. A general guideline is to give 0.2mg per pound of body weight. For example, if your cat weighs 10 pounds, you could start off with 2mg on the first day.
Keep in mind the optimal amount of CBD to take for people, let alone in cats and dogs, is unknown. The best advice is to be careful with any cannabis product, talk to your vet, and gradually increase dosages. A dose of CBD that hopes to improve quality of life may be very different from a dose to treat a specific condition, like inflammatory bowel disease. Tread lightly with CBD supplements.
You can administer the oil on your cat’s tongue, but that can be tricky. If you cat isn’t cooperating, try putting it in their food, or simply dropping the oil on the top of their paw to lick off when they clean it.
CBD has not been approved by the FDA as a treatment for cats, nor have major veterinary organizations weighed in. If you are considering purchasing CBD oil for your cat, talk with your veterinarian to determine whether a CBD product best suits their needs—and always administer CBD with care.
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