Hemp oil for cats or CBD may be the current big thing. But new research shows it might not be all that good for them.
So you’ve heard all the buzz about the wonders of CBD, or hemp oil for cats, to help with everything from anxiety to cancer. But it turns out that no one has ever really researched the correct dose of hemp oil for cats. And now, new research shows it might not be all that good for them. The Food and Drug Administration isn’t exactly high on hemp either.
ElleVet Sciences, a company that makes CBD oil-infused treats and other supplements, did the study in collaboration with other researchers.
Study Shows Hemp Oil For Cats Needs More Research
The researchers watched eight dogs and eight cats over a period of 84 days. The dogs, all beagles, were happy pups for the duration of the study. But the cats, not so much.
They showed some changes in both blood chemistry and behavior. The behavioral changes included shaking their heads and licking.
The researchers also suggested vets consider a higher dose of the CBD infused fish oil they gave the cats to achieve therapeutic effects.
About Hemp: Pot, It’s Not
Hemp and the cannabis plants that become marijuana are close relatives and have a lot in common. But there are some differences, too, the main ones being their recreational value and heredity.
If you don’t know the history of that stuff you might have smoked when you were a teenager, cannabis is believed to be one of the oldest domestic plants. For centuries, people have grown different varieties for industrial, medicinal and sometimes recreational purposes.
Tall, sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils and textiles, such as rope and fabrics,” the Leafscience website says. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.”
Hemp has many uses, in addition to producing CBD for cats who are anxious or in pain. I have a beautiful hemp backpack and cruelty-free hemp moisturizer that I love. Hemp is also used for plant-based plastics, durable paper and military-grade fabric.
And the weed you used to smoke? Other types of cannabis plants “were recognized for being psychoactive and were bred selectively for medical and religious purposes,” LeafScience says. Add recreational purposes to that, since they contain ample amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that causes a high.
The Health Benefits Of Hemp Oil For Cats
Although it’s legal to buy and sell hemp in all 50 states, laws restricting the use of marijuana make studies on the benefits of medicinal marijuana and hemp challenging. So vets use anecdotal evidence when suggesting clients use hemp, or CBD, for cats.
Hemp oil for cats is said to reduce inflammation, itching, anxiety and pain and lessen or eliminate seizure activity.
Angie Krause, a holistic veterinarian in Boulder, Colo., recommends CBD for cats with irritable bowel disease, pancreatitis, arthritis, chronic upper respiratory infections, asthma, and cancer.
Dr. Krause says the most common side effects of CBD are increased appetite and decreased anxiety. But she says some cats can become sedate and should stop taking CBD.
Like anything else you feed your cat, be sure to check the label on the hemp you purchase. Was the plant grown without the use of pesticides? What is the concentration — does it contain enough hemp to be effective? Or does it contain more THC than it should? Products made with less than 0.3 percent of THC are legal in all 50 states and are usually safe for cats.
Also check for other ingredients. Products that contain only hemp are best.
Before They Chew On This
It’s always a good idea to get your vet’s opinion on a new supplement for your cats, even if you think the vet might tell you supplements are useless. What you want to know is whether the vet thinks they’re dangerous.
Something else to think about is that the FDA isn’t exactly high on hemp. In December it revised its Consumer Update, warning that hemp products could cause liver injury, interactions with other drugs, drowsiness, diarrhea and changes in mood. That followed a warning the agency issued to 13 pet product companies in November, charging that their products violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act .
The companies’ advertising claims their products can cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease.
“Claims of that nature are reserved for companies that navigate the drug approval pathway, that have submitted paperwork and gained permission to market and then receive a New Drug Approval (NDA) number,” Bill Bookout, president of the National Animal Supplement Council told PetfoodIndustry.com. “Claims that sound too good to be true probably are.”
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use hemp oil for your cats. But as you would with anything you give them, research the brand and possible side effects first. Your cats can’t do their own due diligence. They count on you to do that for them.