Can Cannabis Help Cats? Which feline medical issues can it treat?
In this 2-part series, Linda Hall explores the ways THC and CBD can be of benefit to our cats’ health. Cannabis can help our cats with many of the same aliments it helps humans with. But how do we know which products are safe?
by Linda Hall, Cat Behavior Expert
The Benefits of Cannabis
In Part 1 of Cannabis and Cats, we discussed how medical marijuana is benefiting many humans with their search for relief. But what about our cats?
We start watching for signs of arthritis in our feline at age seven, and it’s estimated that 90% of cats over the age of 12 have signs of osteoarthritis.
Ten of Rita and Linda’s cats are over age twelve and eight more are between 7 – 12. I haven’t seen any signs of pain in my cats, but I know they are masters at hiding illness!
How Can Cannabis Help Cats?
Let’s talk about the physiology involved. Every living being has an Endocannabinoid System. Sadly this system is not traditionally covered in medical training for both humans and animals. This system contains the receptors and the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids and allow our bodies to reap the benefits. Knowing that cats have this system also, it makes sense that Cannabis would help them as well as it helps us. But we still didn’t know which products or dosages were right for our feline friends.
CBD and THC
When we discuss cannabinoids, we often hear about CBD and THC. There has been reported success in using CBD on our feline friends for IBD, arthritis, asthma, seizures, and pain relief. CBD for pets is seen online and in our pet stores, but what about THC?
THC has gotten a bit of a bad rap, because it is the component that gives us that “high” feeling. We don’t want to get our cats intoxicated! Further concerning, I found several articles in my research that said THC is toxic to cats. I was so confused that I knew we needed to find an expert!
Enter Dr. Tim Shu
We invited Dr. Tim Shu to join us on our podcast, 19 Cats and Counting, to discuss how cannabis can help cats with health issues. Dr. Shu is a veterinarian who felt an obligation to study how Cannabis might help our animals. In fact, he left his vet practice and founded his company VETCBD, to help our animals with products we can trust.
Dr. Shu explained that most of the information regarding THC toxicity comes from reports of animals who got ill from consuming their human’s Cannabis. As he reminded us, too much of anything can be dangerous, even drinking too much water! Our feline friends are smaller and have a unique physiology, so we need to know which products to choose and what dosages are best.
How can Cannabis help our cats?
Dr. Shu uses the acronym PAINS to explain the benefits for our cats. “P” is for the pain relief. “A” is for anxiety, which we see a lot of in our behavior business! “I” is for inflammation which is common in many conditions, including arthritis. “N” is for nausea which can deprive our kitties of nutrition and hydration. S stands for seizures and they have now added “C” to this list, as it can be helpful with cancer, too.
You can find CBD in many online stores as well as our local pet supply places. But what’s really in those products? Has it been safety tested? How do we know which products to trust?
Which products should we buy?
Dr. Shu advises you look for a product that undergoes extensive lab testing. He says, “Our products go through rigorous testing through every stage of the production process from accredited state-licensed labs. We invest heavily in this effort to not only verify the appropriate potency of the extract, but to ensure the final product is free of pesticides, solvents, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and bacteria to deliver the utmost safety and quality to your pet.”
Next, you should look for something “full spectrum” as opposed to “isolate”. Dr. Shu says, “Studies have shown that full-spectrum extracts provide greater therapeutic benefits compared to CBD isolate, due to the action of multiple cannabinoids working together synergistically to deliver support to the Endocannabinoid System. This is commonly referred to as the ‘entourage effect’.”
Proper dosage for your Feline Friend!
We understand now that cannabis can help our cats. But how do we know the correct dose for our cat? Dr. Tim connected us with his a-meow-zing RVT, Paige! Paige discussed our individual cats with us, what their issues are and how much they weigh. She made some recommendations and gave us information on what dosage to start with and and how to slowly increase the dosage to get the best results. We are excited to try these products for our kitties and will let you know how the results go!
A big thank you to Dr. Shu and Paige for sharing their time and knowledge with us! You can read more information about Dr. Shu’s company, VETCBD, at VetCBDHemp.com. Be sure to read their Blog entries specifically about Cats and CBD.
And and you can listen to our podcast with Dr. Tim below: