Can cats take CBD?
CBD, CBD For Pets

Can cats take CBD?

The growing trend of using cannabis products for pet healthcare has caught the attention of many cat owners, especially those eager to alleviate their feline companions’ discomfort. As cannabis becomes increasingly accessible for human use in various states, both for medical and recreational purposes, it’s also gaining popularity in veterinary care. 

However, employing cannabis in animal treatment is not straightforward. The intricate mix of state and federal laws, along with the complex and politically charged history of cannabis use, adds layers of complexity. This is evident in the regulations that have, in some regions, prohibited veterinarians from discussing cannabis options with pet owners. Nonetheless, there’s a shift towards more openness.

In 2021, Nevada set a precedent by legalizing cannabinoids for veterinary use. This paved the way for other states like Michigan, Utah, and California to enact laws explicitly allowing veterinarians to talk about and recommend CBD (cannabidiol) for pets. CBD, a component of the cannabis plant, is commonly used for treating various ailments in cats. Importantly, it’s distinct from THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive element in cannabis that produces the ‘high’ in humans.

Veterinarian Perspectives on Cannabis for Cats

Dawn Boothe, DVM, esteemed in the field of veterinary clinical pharmacology and serving as a professor emeritus at Auburn University. Addresses the shifting complexities within the realm of cannabis regulations in veterinary medicine. She acknowledges the anticipation for more coherent and straightforward laws in the future. Emphasizing that the present regulatory framework is undergoing considerable transformation and growth.

Boothe points out that while a plethora of hemp-based CBD products are available online. Their legal status only adds to the uncertainty. These products, marketed as supplements, lack human and veterinary medicine regulatory oversight. They are not evaluated by the FDA, leading to a significant dilemma for pet owners. Currently, there isn’t a single, reliable source to answer crucial questions about these products, such as their quality, effectiveness, and safety for cats.

Potential Benefits of CBD for Feline Health Issues

Despite the existing regulatory challenges, Dr. Dawn Boothe suggests that current knowledge indicates CBD’s potential effectiveness in addressing several common ailments in cats. These conditions include:

Epilepsy: CBD may offer relief in managing seizures in cats, similar to its use in humans.

Arthritis Pain: Cats suffering from arthritis may experience pain relief with CBD treatment.

Cancer-Related Pain: CBD can be a supportive therapy for alleviating pain associated with cancer.

Appetite Stimulation: It can help maintain the appetite of cats during illness, ensuring they continue to eat.

Behavioral Disorders: There’s potential for CBD to help in managing certain feline behavioral issues.

Chronic Vomiting: This condition, often distressing for cats and their owners, may be alleviated with CBD use.

Gastrointestinal Upset: Particularly in older cats, CBD might offer relief from gastrointestinal discomfort.

Dr. Boothe emphasizes the need for well-structured, controlled clinical trials in cats, akin to those conducted in human medicine, to fully validate these potential benefits. She notes the lack of such comprehensive studies in the feline field, which are essential to establishing the efficacy and safety of CBD in treating these conditions in cats.

Integrating CBD with Conventional Veterinary Treatments

Dr. Trina Hazzah, an oncologist who also specializes in herbal medicine, has noticed an increasing demand from her clients for holistic approaches to treating their cats. She acknowledges the benefits of cannabis and CBD in this domain.

Hazzah highlights that the cannabis plant contains compounds, many of which possess therapeutic properties. Extensive research on CBD and THC has demonstrated anti-cancer effects, with over a hundred publications supporting these findings. Beyond cancer treatment, cannabis plays a role in enhancing the well-being of sick cats. It is often used alongside traditional care to provide a more comprehensive treatment approach.

According to Hazzah, cannabis can greatly improve a cat’s quality of life. It aids in areas such as stimulating appetite, reducing nausea, and relieving pain. As a result, cats become more social and happier by actively engaging with their environment. Even cats undergoing treatments like chemotherapy can experience effects from cannabis usage by reducing stress levels, alleviating pain, and minimizing nausea. This ultimately leads to a better quality of life during therapy.

In 2020, acknowledging the necessity for increased awareness and support in this field, Dr.Hazzah co-founded The Veterinary Cannabis Society, a non-profit organization based in the United States. Their main goal is to educate people about using cannabis as an option for pets. The Society also collaborates with veterinarians and state licensing boards to tackle obstacles and make it easier for pet owners to receive cannabis-related advice.

Exercising Caution When Purchasing CBD for Cats

If you’re considering using CBD as a treatment for your cat’s symptoms, it’s essential to ensure that you choose a high-quality product. Here are some steps to help you make a decision:

Seek Veterinary Recommendations: Talk to your veterinarian about CBD treatments that have been clinically tested or subjected to research. They can provide expert advice on products.

Look for Transparency in Manufacturing: Trustworthy CBD manufacturers will provide certificates of analysis for their products, confirming their safety by verifying the absence of pesticides and impurities.

Utilize Resources Like the National Animal Supplement Council: This council can offer information and insights on CBD products, enabling you to make a well-informed choice.

However, be cautious about the presence of mislabeled products on the market.

Recent research has uncovered a concerning issue: many cannabis products for pets have inaccurate labels when it comes to their ingredients. This poses a risk to the health of our hairy friends.

To tackle this problem, the Veterinary Cannabis Society is constantly working on a program that will provide a seal of approval. The goal is to establish and enforce standards specifically for CBD products intended for animal use. However, it will take some time before this program is fully implemented. In the meantime, pet owners are advised to exercise caution and consult trusted professionals when choosing CBD products for their cats.

Administering CBD to Your Cat: Guidelines and Precautions

Administering CBD to your companion can be quite challenging, as any cat owner can attest based on their battle scars. This challenge also extends to CBD itself, which comes in forms such as oils, treats, chews, and tinctures. Each has its own way of being absorbed by the body. Due to this variety, it becomes tricky to determine the amount of CBD your cat is actually receiving.

The recommended method for administering CBD is through tinctures. These are mixtures of CBD in an oil base. Are often considered the most effective way to give your cat CBD. It’s important to ensure that these tinctures do not contain alcohol, as it can be harmful to cats. Tinctures allow you to make adjustments in dosage by adding drop by drop.

After you’ve determined the dosage for your pet, such as 2 milligrams, you can explore options like CBD-infused chews or treats that have the same dosage. Choose based on what your cat prefers.

Easing Access to CBD for Cats

During conferences held by the American Veterinary Medical Association, experts have been discussing the therapeutic benefits of certain compounds found in cannabis. The increasing interest and demand from owners may lead to the availability of CBD treatments for cats, even in states with strict regulations on cannabis.

The Importance of Professional Guidance in Using CBD

It is important to be cautious when self-diagnosing and administering CBD or any other treatment to your cat. Some compounds found in cannabis may have adverse effects on cats with heart conditions. Dr. Boothe emphasizes that while CBD products are generally safe, it is crucial not to disregard established therapies in favor of alternatives. She suggests using CBD alongside treatments, recognizing its potential but highlighting the necessity of veterinary guidance to ensure pets are not put at risk. This approach ensures that pets can benefit from CBD while minimizing any harm.

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