Friday, August 3, 2018

What is CBD oil and why would I give it to my cat?




I have six cats and, by veterinarian standards, they are all seniors (Skippy is nine if you can believe that). My three oldest are 16 years old and Muffin has been dealing with arthritis for several years now. I have tried many things over that time to help her. We started with Cosequin. I have tried Adaquan, increasing the amount of fish oil she takes, MSM, and hyaluronic acid. The Cosequin and the Adaquan seem to give her the most help but she still takes a long time to walk up a flight of stairs and she goes down the stairs two feet at a time and is quite reluctant to do so.

I had been looking for something "more" but there aren't good options for chronic pain in cats. There are opioids like Buprenex - which are not long lasting and has to be dosed multiple times a day and can be sedative - and a few nonopioid options that can have harsh side effects.

I have been hearing more and more about how helpful CBD oil is for pain. I should probably tell you that I am a total teetotaller.  I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs. I don't see the point in it and since most of these things are harmful to your health long term... well anyway, I am a teetotaller. I tell you this so you might understand what it took to get me to try this and that I don't support this lightly.

My research on CBD led me to many things that it is supposed to help or cure. It was starting to feel a bit like the "coconut oil" trend that it would fix anything.. or people would at least start to attribute it to cure everything anyway.. but the research I saw on pain management was quite compelling. It also helps with seizures, anxiety, cancer, and it reduces inflammation.


Researchers think that CBD interacts with receptors in your brain and immune system. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond.
The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters (*). 
Cats and dogs also have an endocannabinoid system and with CBD becoming easily available and the research on CBD is finally being done (although sadly it is still hindered in the US due to federal restrictions that are so restrictive they make no sense what so ever) - a lot of vets are even prohibited from prescribing it, but there is some information on CBD for veterinarians out there too. CBD oil made from hemp (with the low THC levels) is currently legal in all 50 states so buying it online should not be an issue. Some lawmakers are trying to change that both for easier access and for less access so your mileage may vary.

So, from my reading on the subject, I realized that CBD should help Muffin's arthritis as well as Eli's anxiety and might even help Jack feel more comfortable. As time went on, I wondered it if might help Fleurp's anemia (since we don't know the cause but prednisolone helps her) and Skippy's overgrooming/fur loss (since I don't see him overgroom) and possibly his rhinitis, so I added them into the mix as well. Even if it didn't help them with their specific issues "they" say CBD is still good for the healthy since it helps fight general inflammation, which researchers are finding is far more harmful than originally thought.

When I decided I wanted some I quickly realized I was totally out of my depth. I had no idea what I didn't know and wasn't sure what I was supposed to be looking for so I found a CBD group on Facebook for pets. It was very active and had a lot of members so I just followed along with the questions and read as much as I could with special interest in those posts about cats. I found the same questions popped up over and over.
  • Will CBD help my cat with their issue?
         Depending on the issue - very likely
  • How much CBD should I give?
         1 to 3mg per 10lbs is the general recommendation You start low to see how your cat reacts
         Start with once per day, to make sure your pet is okay with it and increasing from there.
  • What is the best brand of CBD?
         That is a very subjective question. Every member of the board had their own opinions
There are several types of CBD oil. CBD oil made from "hemp" and CBD oil made from "cannabis" / marijuana. Because of the laws in the US, purchasing CBD oil from cannabis with the higher concentrations of THC is only available if you are in a state with recreational marijuana laws. Humans can get them if they live in a state with medical marijuana laws, but from what I have read a vet cannot prescribe these.

Hemp-derived CBD has minimal amounts (less than 0.3%) of THC which is the active ingredient in cannabis that causes you to become high. Cats and dogs have a low toxicity threshold for THC, but most cases of overdose come from the animal consuming the whole plant either fresh or dried. Higher levels of THC (over 0.3%) seem to have a synergistic effect on the CBD making it work 'better', from what I have read. It is recommended if you are dealing with tough cases or cancer to try to get a full spectrum CBD oil with THC which is made from marijuana. I have not gone that extra step, but I am considering it. If you want to learn more about higher concentrations of THC, I recommending joining a support group for CBD oil and doing a lot more reading on the subject

There is also some confusion about labeling because of regulations and lack thereof. Some companies call CBD oil "hemp oil" but that is confusing as there is also an oil made from hemp seed called "hemp oil". Some companies call it a tincture. If you are unsure of what you are getting, you can usually find some feedback by searching the internet for pages that are willing to go further in depth for you or support groups in places like Facebook (and there is much more to learn about CBD, I am only touching on the things I wish I had known when I was looking into it). For what it is worth, at this time, Amazon will not sell CBD oil.

There are also two general types of CBD: isolate and full spectrum. There are a few reasons to try isolate; one it has no taste (the isolate I bought tastes like the carrier oil) and there is zero THC so if you are at risk of being drug tested you will not come up positive.

Full spectrum CBD includes other cannabinoids and terpenes which can help. The full spectrum oils I have purchased all taste very grassy. Some were much stronger than others. I believe the theory is the stronger the taste the more "full spectrum" it is but my cats refused to consume the very bitter ones. When picking an oil, you want to find one that has independent testing and makes the labs available to you.

I started with Treatibles, on the recommendation of a friend and because I had met someone who then started working there, which comes in a 90mg bottle. I liked it because the carrier oil is grapeseed whereas most CBD is coconut oil based (one company said because it makes it easier to give transdermal). After that, I have tried several other products and I have yet to settle on one brand. Ideally, I would like a product that would not use coconut oil as a carrier oil, would be full spectrum with some good grassy notes but not overwhelmingly so. Right now the closest I've come is CBDistillery (it is coconut oil based) but I have several others to try.

I have moved on to human versions of CBD because they are *generally* higher quality and they are most certainly available in higher concentrations which often leads to lower prices. The 90mg bottle of CBD from Treatibles was $34 where the human version 500mg bottle at a different company was $35. You just want to avoid those oils with flavorings since they come in flavors like orange, mint, or chocolate.

CBD is weird in that they label the bottle with the full amount of CBD in it.  So a 1 ounce CBD oil that is 90mg has 90mg of CBD in it, if you drank the entire bottle you would get 90mg of CBD. A 1500mg bottle has just that.  So if both bottles are one-ounce you have to use a lot more of the 90mg bottle to get the same dose as one drop of the 1500mg bottle. But a two-ounce bottle of 1500mg has oil that is half as concentrated as a one-ounce bottle of 1500mg. You want to read the labels of anything you want to purchase to know for certain what you are getting and then what an appropriate dose would be.



When I started giving the oil I mixed it in with meat baby food. My cats LOVED it. My problem with that was I could not be sure how much CBD each cat was getting. Some cats were more aggressive at licking the spoon and the bowl than others. If I had one cat, or even just two, I would probably still use this method. I started buying higher concentrations of CBD so I can dose just one or two drops (Jack, Fleurp, and Skippy get minimal amounts - actually it didn't seem to help Fleurp and Skippy so I no longer give it to them - and Eli and Muffin get higher concentrations) and I have found that a freeze-dried salmon treat soaks up the oil easily. Once again, my ideal use would be to be able to dose them directly in the mouth because there is better absorption if you can get it on the gums/inside of the mouth/under the tongue (how I dose it when I've used it) but I want my cats to love getting medication whenever I can so this works for us.

Yes, I have used my cat's CBD. I have suffered from headaches for decades and I had one that was killing me and I had a bottle of CBD that my cats would not consume due to the strong taste. It helped me quite a bit and I am a fan. Even if you don't have a reason to take it, it will not hurt you to try it so you know how it tastes before giving to your cat. I have done some readings on contraindications and there are some but most of them are abated if you take it a few hours before or after the medication you might be taking/giving. I hope one day CBD becomes more and more acceptable and one doesn't have to go to a skeezy "smoke shop" (to be fair, not all smoke shops are skeezy, but I have found that cannabis products are generally sold at shops that have catered to the 420 set so they have that type of feel to them - please don't tell  me they aren't all that way, I know that) to buy it locally. While I have found it in my local natural food store, it was only one brand and it was priced quite high vs the online stores I've searched.

Want to learn more? Check out the following links I thought were helpful.

Lastly, disclosure time: The effectiveness of CBD Oil has not been evaluated by the FDA for treatment of any health issues. The information on this page is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care, or even your own research as this is intended as a primer - a place to start if you want to learn about it. While ideally, you would have a discussion about CBD with your vet before using it (or doctor if you want to use it), remember that many vets and doctors have their hands tied or they might come with their own prejudices against marijuana. You do not need a prescription to get it

Have you tried CBD oil? Do you have any other information you think would be helpful or see any inaccuracies in my article? I am totally open to feedback..

19 comments:

  1. My human may want to give this a try for Boodie. Maybe Binga too... although I don't think it does much for insanity.

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  2. Wondering if it helped with your kitty's anxiety? I have a very anxious guy who worries about everything. Would love to try CBD oil if it would help.

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    1. It has been a tremendous help for Eli's anxiety/paranoia. I had a house guest the other day that not only saw him but actually patted him. I was SHOCKED.. I can tell when I forget to give it to him because he walks around the house meowing, and I say he is asking for his next dose.

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    2. Absolutely great for anxiety. My kitty boy likes to go on leash walks(yeah a cat) but sometimes I'm doing something else, tired,etc. But he gets walks 3-4 times a week. When he doesn't I have caterwauling for 2 hours! Nothing stops him! He's also neutered! So I use a little over .24mg for him. (He's a big breed Russian Siberian 18 lbs) The evening is much more peaceful without his demands. He even goes to bed on his own! lol His brand is made for pets. So he gets about 4mg of CBD oil in coconut oil.

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  3. I have been considering CBD oil for myself and found your post very interesting. I have an appointment with my oncologist on Monday and intend discussing it with him then. Obviously I don't want anything to counteract with my chemo pills, but from what I have read it does sound encouraging.

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  4. well that is interesting (though - math... haha) we don't have anyone here that could use it we don't think (since like Summer said about Binga - it won't fix crazy). but it is something to think about certainly

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    1. Yup, there is quite a bit of math trying to figure out what dose I'm giving each time I buy a new bottle.. but there are people out there who have done that for you so you just need to ask for help

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  5. We bought CBD oil for Chuck, hoping it would stimulate his appetite, but we never got into the habit of giving it to him regularly. Angel is showing signs of arthritis, so I am going to find the bottle, and start mixing some into her food. Thanks for this post!

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  6. We will need to read more on this.

    Emma and Buster

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  7. Thanks for the info. The mom has a bottle of Charlotte's Web. But she's reluctant to give it to us. Mainly because of dosing timing. It's supposed to be given at least 2 hours apart from other meds and supplements. And given that we're all on different meds, this makes giving us the CBD oil a little difficult. Also she doesn't know how much to give. Everyone has a different opinion on it.

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    1. Charlotte's Web should have the Total mount of CBD oil on the label. Their customer service is pretty good. Call them and ask! Tell them the weight of your pet. The key to dosing would be between what ever you are treating. We always go by weight so using a small dose first is always best.

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  8. Wow. I learned a lot. I'm not a big fan of supplements - but CBD oil is temptimg.

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  9. Sam I Am8:11 PM

    My vet reached out to me last week to let me know that she has been looking into using CBD oil for some of her patients, and has recommended I try it for my 15 year old arthritic kitty. We started with Cosequin and have since moved on to a combination of Adequan, Tramadol, and photo therapy. We have an appointment next week to further discuss, but it's nice to know there are other kitties who have used it and are experiencing the benefits!

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  10. I have heard from my friend who has three dogs, that acapulco gold has a good effect for animals fur. Is that true?

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    1. I have use Lazarus for pets (for my anxious cat) works like a charm. At 18 lbs. which is a little over .25mg or 3mg of CBD he is calm and not caterwauling to go out! He is one of the big cat breeds(I usually take him for walks)

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  11. Thank you for this information. As you know, I was looking into it for Benny's joint issues but went with something else. However, I am open to using it in the future.

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  12. Never heard of it but I don't have an pets now days, that s aid if it helps then all good I don't like to think of any creature in pain

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  13. The friend was taking it for depression, but I was surprised to know that CBD oil had many other scientific benefits as well. benefits of CBD oil

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  14. Mom says thank you for such a thorough and informative post. It answered a lot of questions she had about CBD.

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