CBD Treats and Edibles for Cats
Cannabidiol (CBD) has a wide variety of holistic health benefits. People use it to help with anxiety, insomnia, pain, arthritis, seizures, migraines, and many other health issues.
As it happens, cats, dogs, and other pets suffer from many of the same issues. And because they also have an endocannabinoid system, CBD can similarly benefit pets.
Consequently, many CBD brands now offer products designed specifically for pets, such as oils and edible treats.
How can CBD edibles help cats? Is there any proof they work? Are they safe?
Read on to find out how CBD pet treats can boost the wellness of your furry companion.
How Can CBD Benefit Cats?
Cannabidiol achieves its beneficial effects largely by interacting with the endocannabinoid system: a network of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and the enzymes that build and break them down.
This system works to maintain homeostasis: a healthy state of balance. As such, it regulates many key processes, such as metabolism, immune and brain function, mood, pain, and sleep.
You may be surprised to learn that many animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and even sea urchins, have an endocannabinoid system, which is believed to have developed some 600 million years ago.
This means that cats can benefit from cannabinoids such as CBD much in the same way that we do.
Indeed, CBD can help cats with a wide range of issues such as separation anxiety, pain, arthritis, nausea, seizures, sleep problems, gastrointestinal issues, and neurodegenerative conditions.
In sum, CBD offers a holistic way to improve the overall quality of life and wellness of cats.
CBD for Cats: The Research
What does science say about using CBD to benefit cats? Unfortunately, there isn’t much research looking at the use of cannabinoids in cats. However, there’s plenty of evidence that animals can benefit from CBD.
To begin with, studies in dogs have shown that CBD is beneficial. For example, a 2018 study examined the effects of CBD oil on dogs with arthritis.
Compared to placebo, CBD oil decreased pain and improved comfort and activity levels. Similarly, a 2019 study reported that CBD improved seizures in dogs with epilepsy. Also, a 2018 safety study noted that CBD was “well-tolerated” in dogs.
Furthermore, studies in mice have reported benefits. For example, a 2016 study showed that CBD gel reduced pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis. Meanwhile, a 1990 study highlighted the anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties of CBD.
Aside from this, there are many anecdotal reports of CBD having benefits in cats. For example, a 2016 study discussed the perceptions of pet owners on the effectiveness of CBD-rich hemp products.
This study noted that cat owners found hemp products to be helpful for pain and anxiety relief, nervous system support, reducing vomiting, nausea, seizures, and inflammation, and improving skin conditions and digestive tract problems.
Additionally, 93% of 632 participants reported that CBD pet treats performed as well or better than standard medications and therapies.
Furthermore, widely recognized American veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter argues that anything that cannabis can help people with can also be beneficial for cats and dogs.
In his veterinary practice, Dr. Ricters’ seen cannabis preparations help with “pain, inflammation, arthritis, gastro-intestinal related things, stress, anxiety, seizures, cancer, you name it.”
In sum, although direct evidence that CBD is beneficial for cats is currently lacking, many animal and human studies, as well as anecdotal reports, suggest that it may help with a wide range of health issues.
Are CBD Edibles Safe for Cats?
On the whole, cannabidiol is considered a safe substance. Decades of human and animal studies show that CBD does not have any significant side effects and a 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report stated that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
Having said that, the previously mentioned study of pet owner perceptions of hemp products noted that cat owners reported side effects such as sedation, lack of energy, dry mouth, and excessive drinking.
However, in the vast majority of cases, these effects were rated as “minimal.”
Nonetheless, it’s important to reiterate that CBD has yet to be properly studied in cats. As such, it’s important to take care and start with as low a dose as possible.
CBD Edibles for Cats: Things to Keep in Mind
CBD-infused pet treats are the most popular way to bring the holistic benefits of CBD to your cat. Whereas it may be difficult to give your furry companion CBD oil, it’s quite easy to get cats to eat tasty, flavored treats.
However, it’s important to keep a few considerations in mind. For starters, you should always look for CBD treats that come with easily accessible third-party lab test results.
These documents are necessary to confirm that the given product contains as much CBD and THC as advertised, meaning that it’s both safe and effective.
Indeed, according to a 2018 study on the toxicology of cannabinoids in dogs and cats, it’s possible for low-quality CBD products to “result in signs consistent with marijuana intoxication” because of the presence of high THC levels.
Furthermore, it’s best if you can find a CBD product that contains full-spectrum hemp extract.
Full-spectrum products contain the complete range of beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp compounds, which makes them more effective than pure CBD (isolate).
Lastly, it’s crucial to figure out the right CBD dosage for your pet. For starters, cats are much smaller than in size than humans. Also, CBD may affect cats differently.
For example, dogs are more sensitive to the effects of cannabinoids because they have significantly more cannabinoid receptors than other animals.
Therefore, it’s possible that cats can also have slight differences in their endocannabinoid system that can change how CBD affects them in comparison to people.
With all this information in hand, we highly recommend starting your cat with the lowest possible dosage of CBD.
For example, you can start by breaking a treat into four pieces or in half and seeing how it affects your four-legged friend before slowly increasing the dose until you notice the desired effects, such as anxiety relief.
CBD Edibles May Benefit Cats, But More Research is Needed
In sum, current evidence suggests that cannabidiol in the form of oil or edibles can be beneficial to cats in many ways, such as improving anxiety, pain, nausea, seizures, arthritis, skin conditions, and digestive problems.
Also, it’s unlikely that CBD will cause any significant side effects in cats as it’s been shown to be a relatively safe, non-psychoactive substance.
However, more targeted research is needed. As it stands, there are no studies on the effects of CBD in cats, and all that we know comes from clinical research, studies in other animals, and anecdotal reports.
Thankfully, this may soon change as the commencement of studies in dogs suggests that cats may be next.
If you do decide to give your furry companion a CBD-infused treat, look for a high-quality product with available third-party test results and be sure to start with a small dose.