CBD has grown in popularity for use in humans, dogs, and even cats, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding its use. Pet owners need to know what it might be useful for, whether or not it is legal, and the difference between hemp, CBD, Cannabis, marijuana, and THC. Knowing whether or not a product is safe, effective, and legal for a pet cat to use is of utmost importance in order to avoid harming your pet or breaking the law.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
There is unfortunately little to no research that has been done on cats showing that CBD is safe or effective. Until research has been done showing that CBD and hemp oil are in fact safe and help cats, it is not prudent to use it.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is actually an abbreviation for cannabidiol, and cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid, or specific component, that is extracted from Cannabis plants. When extracted, CBD can be made into an oil that can be given orally to a cat. It often contains coconut, hempseed, olive, avocado, or palm oil that acts as a carrier oil, similar to what essential oils use.
What Is the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil?
CBD and hemp oil are often confused with one another because both are sourced from Cannabis plants. Hemp oil may or may not contain CBD but it is always extracted from a specific strain of Cannabis sativa, commonly referred to as the hemp plant, that contains less than 0.3% THC. CBD, on the other hand, is a component that is found in many types of Cannabis plants, not just Cannabis sativa. So to summarize things, CBD can be found in hemp as well as other Cannabis plants and is a naturally occurring compound. Some hemp plants are specifically grown to contain higher levels of CBD while others are grown to have low to no CBD. When looking for CBD oil to give to a cat, many people are actually seeking hemp oil that contains CBD since hemp oil always has low to no THC and CBD oil may or may not have higher levels of THC in it.
Does CBD Oil Contain THC?
THC is the abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and is a psychoactive component of some Cannabis plants. Cannabis plants used for marijuana often contain around 10% THC which is why users of these types of Cannabis can "get high." Like CBD, THC is a type of phytocannabinoid that is naturally found in Cannabis plants but depending on the type of plant used to make CBD oil, it may or may not also contain THC. Many people who want to use CBD oil specifically look for THC-free or low THC CBD oils which is why they are usually actually purchasing hemp oil. In order for a product to be considered hemp oil, even if it also contains CBD, it must have less than 0.3% THC. Higher levels of THC should not be administered to cats and may pose larger safety concerns.
Is CBD Found in Marijuana?
Since the amounts of THC as well as CBD will vary from plant species to species, some marijuana will contain CBD but most growers are more concerned about the THC content. Marijuana should never be administered to cats regardless of how much CBD is in it.
Why Is CBD Oil Popular for Cats?
Cat owners want to give their pets safe and effective options and some medications may have negative side effects or not work well enough to help their cat's specific issues. New ingredients and products are constantly being formulated and the anecdotal and media success with CBD oil in people and dogs has caused it to grow in popularity for use in cats, too. Some owners report major successes in treating a variety of ailments in their dogs that were taking CBD oil after being unable to achieve it using other products. Despite this popularity in dogs, though, the safety and effectiveness is still being researched for CBD use in cats.
Risks and Concerns in Using CBD Oil in Cats
Since there really isn't any research that has been done supporting the safe use of CBD in cats, there is a lot still unknown. Whether or not there are side effects, especially with long-term use, the efficacy for use in supporting a variety of bodily systems, contraindications with medications, and administration amounts for specific uses in cats still need to be studied.
CBD oil also cannot be discussed with your veterinarian due to the individual state laws, since it is considered a Schedule I drug per the DEA, unless it is derived from hemp. Because of this, legality of purchasing CBD oil is a concern. But even if the CBD in question is contained in hemp oil from the specific strain of Cannabis sativa known to contain less than 0.3% THC, hemp oil legality varies from state to state, too.
In addition to the lack of research and legality, another concern with CBD oil is finding a consistent plant source. Manufacturers are working to produce products that contain consistent levels of CBD so consumers should look for a company with strict quality control departments to ensure products meet label claims once research has been done on cats.
Until more research on CBD use in cats has shown that it is both safe and effective, it should not be given to cats to avoid potentially causing harm to a pet.