CBD for Cats: Not Pot for Cats

Author: Lora Schuldt, DVM

April 8, 2021

We in the Pacific Northwest are a savvy community when it comes to Cannabis. However, there can still be confusion about what is available and safe to use in a cat. It is important to know that CBD (cannabidiol) from the hemp plant is not marijuana. Although Washington State passed Initiative 502, allowing sale of recreational marijuana, a different but newer federal law passed in 2018 regarding hemp-derived products. Hemp and marijuana are different types of Cannabis plants, and with the passage of these laws there quickly became a plethora of both marijuana retailers as well as innumerable products formulated with hemp-derived CBD for sale.

Hemp contains very little THC, by definition. However, hemp can be very rich in CBD, which is purported to offer multiple health benefits, including anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal for all Americans to purchase, in contrast to marijuana or products that contain marijuana. CBD for cats is generally available as either an oil to administer with a dropper, or as a capsule to give orally.

It is not legal for a veterinarian to "prescribe" CBD for treatment of a cat's ailment, because health claims have not been substantiated in cats, although research is ongoing. Many feline veterinarians, however, have begun to discuss CBD as an adjunct to medical treatments for chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and conditions involving inflammation. Adverse effects are minimal but could include objection to the taste (the hemp oil can taste like a strong olive oil) or difficulty administering gelatin capsules. It is absolutely not recommended to administer any form of marijuana to a cat.

If you are interested in administering CBD to your cat, please consult your regular veterinarian first. For our cat-owners seeking a reputable source, we recommend that you purchase CBD from Canna Companion. This company is local, strongly advocates for feline health and welfare, and routinely tests their hemp to verify the actual CBD content.