CBD for Cats: the feline endocannabinoid system
Like humans, cats also have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) and therefore cannabis products including CBD can have an effect on our feline friends. For example, a cat’s brain, GI tract, lungs, and muscles have one type of cannabinoid receptors called CB1, and another type called CB2 in the bones, spleen, and skin.
First of all, it’s important to emphasize that CBD for cats must contain no THC at all, as this may have some ugly untoward effects on your cat.
The case for CBD for cats
There are some areas of concern where CBD may be of help to your cat.
1. Cat anxiety.
Some cats may have experienced traumatizing abandonment issues early in life which now manifest as anxiety. Certain events, whether it be the arrival of guests at your home or fireworks on Independence Day, can trigger this anxiety. Because CBD has been shown to help in reducing anxiety, may be able to assuage the nervousness and help your cat relax.
2. Cat pain and inflammation
We know that CBD has a beneficial effect on inflammation. Along with aging, joint degeneration and various feline diseases can cause serious pain. Anecdotally, cat owners report improvement in some pain syndromes in their cats, e.g. able to move around a lot better in spite of arthritis.
Some of the signs of dementia in cats include the following:
- Extreme irritability
- Avoiding social interaction
- Changes in activity levels, such as excessive licking
- Increased meowing
- Lack of self-grooming
- House soiling and inappropriate elimination
- Changes in sleep cycle or lethargy
Of course the above symptoms are very distressing for the cat’s human, and can be themselves stressful to the cat themselves. But while CBD for cats has been a hope for treatment of feline dementia, there have been warnings about possible dangers of CBD in demented pets–dogs, for example. Other substances have been more extensively studied and recommended.
The bottom line, again, is that studies on the use of CBD for feline dementia are lacking and not sufficient to recommend CBD definitively.
CBD for cats: what dose?
The first most important thing to bear in mind is that we can’t give cats CBD in a carrier like coconut oil or other plant-derived oils, because the carnivore-based feline system cannot digest such oils. Therefore, look for CBD in sardine oil, for instance.
A recommended dose is 2-4 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of your cat’s weight. So if your cat weighs 20 pounds, that would be 4 mg dose to start and titrate upwards to 8 mg for an effect.
This table is taken from Austin and Kat’s website:
Whether you choose to use CBD for cats, consult with your vet and dose your cat low and slow.