Feline Leukemia and Lymphoma Feline Squamous Cell Carcinoma Mammary Cancer in Cats The Endocannabinoid System Why CBD For Cats With Cancer? Can You Give Human CBD Oil To Cats? Are CBD Oils Right For My Cat? Can CBD Oil Treat Cancer? As people, we can consume as much THC as we deem desirable because our endocannabinoid What are the best CBD oils for cats suffering from cancer? We review the products, look at the scientific evidence, and explain how to best use CBD for cats.
Best CBD Oil For Cats With Cancer: What is CBD Oil and How Does it Help?
As people, we can consume as much THC as we deem desirable because our endocannabinoid systems, or ECS, are equipped to handle THC molecules. However, the endocannabinoid system of a cat cannot handle CBD with a THC concentration of more than 0.3%, which is the official THC limit for CBD.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a compound that comes from the cannabis plant family. Both marijuana plants and hemp plants contain CBD. When people take CBD, they have the option of choosing between CBD extracted from hemp plants or CBD from marijuana plants. The situation is different for cats. The oil that is safe for cats is fully hemp-derived.
So, CBD is a plant-derived substance with a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration at or below 0.3%. So, what does CBD do, and why is it suggested for cats with cancer?
Well, cats can be given CBD to relieve a lot of the pain-related side effects of cancer treatment. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are three of the most common treatment options for cancer in cats.
While it’s impressive that there are ways to treat cats with cancer, the treatment options come with a lot of undesirable effects. From dizziness and nausea to muscle soreness and cognitive stress, there are many adverse effects from the most popular cancer treatment options.
There is a seemingly endless number of health benefits and positive effects of CBD on cats with cancer. Let’s take a look at the many ways CBD can drastically improve the quality of life for cats with cancer! As well, we’ll discuss the best CBD for cats with cancer.
- Calming of inflammation
- Soothing of aching bones
- Relief of upset stomachs
- Reducing/minimizing pain
- Lowering of high-stress levels
- Relaxation for anxious cats
- Helping with depression symptoms
- Reducing the frequency of seizures
Please know that CBD is in no way, shape, or form intended to treat cancer in cats. The compounds in CBD may be able to stunt tumor growth and even cause cell death of cancer cells, but that should be considered a bonus if it happens.
CBD is not a cure for treating cancer, but instead, CBD helps your cat stay comfortable while undergoing other medical treatments for their disease. CBD oil is not able to prevent cancer in cats, either. It simply alleviates the unwanted pain and intolerable discomfort caused by your cat’s cancer treatments, as well as the disease itself. As well, by helping to stimulate appetite, CBD can help a cat keep up their strength when fighting cancer.
Just like pet owners, cats run the risk of receiving a cancer diagnosis at any point in their lives. Many different types of cancer threaten the health and well-being of cats. While there are more than four types of cancer in cats , we are going to focus on the most common types of feline cancer growth, including leukemia, lymphoma, feline squamous cell carcinoma, and mammary cancer. Unlike many other diseases, the symptoms of cancer are not as obvious. Symptoms of cancer are dependent on where the cancer is followed by how big it is and its effects on the surrounding areas and organs. Common signs and symptoms of cancer include immense fatigue, weight loss, changes in the skin, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, bumps, and sores.
Feline Leukemia and Lymphoma
Both feline leukemia and lymphoma in cats stem from a virus known as the feline leukemia virus. Abbreviated as FeLV, the virus transfers very quickly from one cat to the others. For this reason, cats that are infected with FeLV should not be allowed to play with healthy cats, and vice versa. As one of the many types of feline cancer, FeLV arises when cancer cells make a home out of a cat’s immune system. Often mistaken for lymphoma, leukemia is a more fatal form of feline cancer because it targets the immune system directly. Feline lymphoma is lymphatic cancer, meaning it affects the lymph nodes of cats. Lymph nodes communicate with a large percentage of the rest of your cat’s body. Since lymphoma is malignant, the cancer cells can move from the lymphatic system to other parts of the body by way of lymph nodes. Both leukemia and lymphoma are cancers of the blood, making them both incredibly high priority because they pose a severe danger to the full body of cats. The cancer cells of leukemia and lymphoma are fast-moving as well.
Feline Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma in cats is a type of skin cancer. Malignant tumors develop in the squamous epithelium, which is the outermost layer of a cat’s epidermis. As a skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma might travel from one layer of the skin to another, meaning its cancerous skin cells can metastasize over time, especially if it goes undetected. This means not only can it cause additional skin tumor growth, it can cause cancer in other parts of the body, leading to breast and ovarian cancer along with many others.
Mammary Cancer in Cats
Feline mammary cancer is a cancer of the breasts. Female cats are at a considerably greater risk for developing mammary cancer, even more so if they have not been spayed. Male cats do have mammary glands and can form breast cancer cells and get breast cancer, however, it’s very rare because their mammary glands are undeveloped.
CBD oil for cats is not only safe for cats to consume, but it’s also legal! CBD for cats is hemp-derived, meaning the oils are extracted from hemp plants rather than marijuana. Even though hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, hemp plants naturally contain less than 0.3% THC, which makes it safe for cats to ingest!
There’s a misconception that CBD oil for cats has to be in the form of a CBD isolate, meaning it only contains CBD and absolutely no THC and not full spectrum CBD. Cats can consume CBD that includes a THC concentration of no more than 0.3% because this percentage is considered to be a trace amount of THC, so it won’t cause your cat to get high.
To get high, a much more significant amount of THC must be present. However, there should never be more THC present in the CBD oil that you give to your cat. No matter if THC is present in high or low doses, any amount of THC above 0.3% is incredibly toxic for cats. Our feline friends can lose their lives as a result of ingesting CBD with more than 0.3% THC.
It’s necessary to pay close attention to the amount of THC in CBD oil before giving it to your cat. Even so, when you use CBD to improve your cat’s quality of life, it’s essential to make sure that there’s a label on the container that says the cannabidiol oil is intended for use with pets. When extracted from hemp plants, CBD is accompanied by many different essential oils, terpenes, and flavonoids, all of which are also naturally occurring in hemp.
While the oils, terpenes, and flavonoids are safe for human beings to consume, they might cause adverse reactions in pets. This doesn’t happen every time with every cat, but the fact that it’s possible should be reason enough to avoid administering CBD for people to your cats. For the sake of erring on the side of caution, make sure you only give pet-friendly CBD products to your cats!
There are three main variations of CBD products.
Full spectrum hemp means it contains not just cannabidiol, but all 113+ cannabinoids along with the aromatic terpenes found in cannabis, including THC. Full spectrum CBD products are the most popular version of CBD. This is because it appears most, if not all the cannabinoids, as well as the terpenes, have therapeutic benefits of their own.
Broad spectrum CBD means one or more of the cannabinoids have been removed during the extraction process. While most of our CBD products use full spectrum hemp extract, we do offer a very high-potency broad spectrum CBD oil but use broad spectrum extraction to keep the THC under 0.3% while increasing the concentration of all the other goodies.
CBD isolate isn’t an easy thing to find for either dogs or cats. CBD isolate can be particularly difficult to figure out the best dosage for cats and other non-speaking animals. This is due to isolates requiring a precise dosage not based on body weight, unlike broad spectrum as well as our full spectrum CBD oil. This happens because the cannabinoids and terpenes work with both the endocannabinoid system and each other to make sure everyone is able to do their job fully.
Because they are easier to dose and the benefits of CBD itself are greater, full spectrum CBD organic hemp is our first choice.
Hemp Seed Oil
Unlike the hemp extracts from above, hemp seed oil or just organic hemp oil comes from the seeds of the cannabis plant, and while hemp seeds don’t contain CBD or THC, they are rich in omega fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and other goodies that can help the body fight off cancerous cells. Full spectrum hemp extract or another, without a substance to increase bio-absorption, will let most of the CBD will go to waste. For CBD oils, we choose hemp oil over MCT oil. Hemp oil has fewer calories and better fats than MCT oil which can be unhealthy for our pets in large amounts. Just like everything else, we only select organic hemp in the creation of our hemp oil.
The Endocannabinoid System
We mentioned the endocannabinoid system briefly before. The endocannabinoid system in cats is the reason CBD has its major effects. Within the endocannabinoid system are cannabinoid receptors that latch onto CBD molecules, allowing them to become activated, meaning your cat can yield all of the health benefits of CBD! THC is unsafe for cats because it can overstimulate too many CB1 cannabinoid receptors, triggering a strong high they aren’t prepared to handle. Items like CBD oils, by the other hand, don’t overstimulate the cannabinoid receptors.
When properly activated, the receptors release signals in various parts of the body that help stabilize and repair the area, resulting in homeostasis. The receptors are naturally activated by neurotransmitters, but when under a lot of stress their numbers can fall on the wayside, leading to an abundance of health issues. This is why CBD can turn the tide against so many health problems.
Why CBD For Cats With Cancer?
While prescription medication options have been proven to be effective, they each come with a very long list of potential side effects, many of which are extremely concerning. Unlike prescription medication, CBD oil is entirely natural. One of the best qualities of CBD oil for cancer is that it’s an all-natural pain reliever. When it comes to pain management, there are many different prescription medications out there, but the one caveat is that they are partially artificial, if not entirely.
As a natural remedy for cancer pain and pain-related symptoms, CBD doesn’t contain any artificial by-products, additives, preservatives, or anything of the like. Natural remedies also have a much smaller list of adverse effects, especially when compared to those that might result from man-made prescription pain medications for cats.
Even so, just like everything that offers health benefits, there are a couple of effects you need to be aware of when giving CBD to your pet cat. Pet CBD oils are not toxic or fatal for cats to consume, but supplements don’t have to be deadly to cause adverse effects.
The first potential effect of CBD on your cat is sedation. This generally results from situations where pet owners give their cats a higher dose of CBD than they need. Nothing major will happen if a cat swallows too much CBD oil.
Your feline friend will simply drift away into a deep sleep, only to wake up at some point, feeling very relaxed. Some cats experience slight confusion when waking up from a CBD-induced nap, but being disoriented is pretty rare.
The other potential side effect of administering CBD to cats is something called gastrointestinal upset.
This is a fancier way of saying too much CBD can cause your cat to have an upset stomach. Ironically enough, CBD is a common natural remedy for upset stomachs, so the fact that it can also cause discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract of cats is shocking.
But think about it like this. Imagine your cat is eating their favorite dry food. When they eat just enough to satiate their hunger levels, your cats will feel full in a comfortable way. However, if they eat beyond the point of feeling satisfied, their stomachs will not take well to the extra food, which leads to an upset stomach.
The same goes for CBD! With the right amount, CBD won’t cause gastrointestinal upset. It only happens if too much CBD is administered to your pet.
After learning about the harmful effects of CBD on cats, the consensus is that it all comes down to properly dosing the CBD. Make sure you pay very close attention to the directions and dosage instructions on the side of the CBD oil bottle.
Cannabidiol oil and other products containing CBD are incredible, and we hope you don’t let the possibility of a negative side effect overshadow the numerous positive health benefits of feline CBD. As long as the dosage is correct, a cat’s life will seriously improve with the help of pet CBD.
Using CBD for your cat isn’t something you need to obtain a prescription for! Unlike other vet-approved pain medications, cannabis oil for cats can be purchased without a note from your cat’s veterinarian. Also commonly referred to as hemp oil, cat CBD oil is a controlled substance, but it doesn’t require a prescription before purchasing. Even though you do not legally need to secure a prescription from a vet before buying and administering CBD oil, we highly suggest discussing CBD with your cat’s vet. It’s highly likely that the veterinarian will support your decision to use CBD in your cat’s life, but it doesn’t hurt to consult your veterinarian first.
Our vets should always know what we are giving to our dogs and cats, including CBD. Additionally, if you ever have any questions about CBD, you can always turn to your cat’s vet and ask for their advice. If they aren’t as in tune with CBD for cats, they might even know a holistic veterinarian who can help answer your questions, too!
CBD oils are not the only CBD product available for treating cats. There are so many different CBD products on the market, and there’s undoubtedly more to come as the cat cannabis industry continues to evolve. Aside from CBD oils, a few other examples of CBD products for cats include…
- Full spectrum Pet tincture
- Sprayable CBD Capsules for swallowing
- CBD cat treats
- CBD-infused chews
- Hemp-based dry treats
Can You Give Human CBD Oil To Cats?
As long as your CBD doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC, your CBD product should be A-OK for your cat. One thing that can make it unsafe is your CBD product vs. pet CBD is likely much more concentrated and potent than your cat’s to account for the weight difference. So cat owners should be very careful when giving their cats hemp oils meant for humans because even 1 mg of CBD is a moderate amount depending on their size. As well, don’t be tempted into thinking that you’ll get a higher quality CBD oil if it’s for humans vs. pet CBD.
Cat owners can find a lot of comfort in knowing that CBD is a fantastic option for helping soothe their pets with cancer. As the most natural supplement out there, CBD is also the safest addition to the life of a cat in pain. As we mentioned, you should consult a vet before introducing CBD oil into your cat’s lifestyle. Every cat is different, and some cats won’t take to CBD as well as others.
There is no singular best CBD for cats with cancer.
Are CBD Oils Right For My Cat?
If you aren’t sure if CBD is suitable for your cat, seek advice from professionals or reach out to us today! We can offer more information to help you make your decision. If you’re struggling with getting your cat to take their hemp oil, CBD cat treats are available. While it is easier to be precise with CBD oil dosage, a general dosage is more than perfect for most pets. At Innovet Pet, our goal is to constantly strive to create the best CBD oil for cats with cancer.
Before using CBD, you first need to find the right CBD oil for your cat! At Innovet Pet , we offer the best high-quality CBD oil with hemp seed oil that pet owners can trust. Every CBD product from Innovet Pet is third-party lab tested to triple-check the quality, so you can rest assured knowing that we only sell the best of the best!
You can find the lab results, better known as Certificates of Analysis, easily on our website. Free of pesticides, MCT oil, and other unsavory chemicals, we only select the best organic hemp plants to create our CBD oil and other products. Check out our inventory of cat CBD products today.
Can CBD Oil Treat Cancer?
It’s important for us to state again, that CBD oil is not a cancer treatment for fighting cancer itself. However, for many humans and pets, CBD oil has been an essential tool for use alongside common cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
While effective and many times life-saving, modern cancer treatments take a heavy toll on the body. But many have found tremendous success using CBD oil to mitigate the harsh side effects of pain, fatigue, nausea, inflammation, and more. CBD isn’t the end-all-be-all, but it sure is one of the most exciting things for us, dogs, and our lovely cats.
Best CBD Oil for Cats With Cancer: Reviews & Guide (July 2021)
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Early research suggests that CBD can alleviate some symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy, and even slow tumor growth.
Unfortunately, the CBD market is filled with thousands of products of varying quality. Many contain less CBD than advertised, while others carry pesticides or other contaminants.
That’s why we compared more than 30 pet CBD oils and treats based on their third-party lab test results, hemp quality, potency, formula, customer reviews, price, and other criteria.
Read on for our picks of the best CBD oil for cats with cancer, plus a science-based guide on using CBD for this debilitating condition.
Best CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer
- Terpenes: aromatic plant compounds with a wide variety of beneficial properties (1).
- Minor cannabinoids: CBN, CBG, and other beneficial cannabinoids found in smaller amounts than CBD. For hemp, THC also counts as a minor cannabinoid.
- Hemp: non-intoxicating cannabis variety with high CBD and low THC levels (less than 0.3%).
- Full-spectrum: whole-plant hemp extract containing multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This form of CBD is about 4 times more potent than pure CBD (2).
- Broad-spectrum: whole-plant hemp extract similar to full-spectrum CBD, but with THC removed (may contain trace amounts).
- CBD isolate: pure CBD with all other hemp compounds removed.
Receptra Naturals Pet Tincture (Best Overall)
- Two potencies
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Great price
- Extensive third-party testing
- Organic Colorado hemp source
- Free shipping
- No flavored options
Use code RECEPTRACBD10 for 10% Off
Our top pick is Receptra Naturals, a company recognized for its high quality. Its pet CBD oil is an excellent choice for cats with cancer.
This tincture is made with full-spectrum CBD, which means it contains multiple beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum products are more effective than those containing a pure form of CBD (isolate).
It’s available in two strengths (16 mg/ml and 25 mg/ml) although we recommend the stronger version since cancer is a serious condition. This tincture provides a total of 480-750 mg of CBD in a 30 ml bottle.
Receptra Naturals grows its organic hemp on a small family farm in Colorado. Its products are comprehensively tested by a third-party lab.
Receptra’s full-spectrum pet CBD oil costs $0.09 per mg of CBD. As far as pet CBD tinctures go, this price is considered below-average.
Lazarus Naturals CBD Pet Tincture (Best Value)
- Exceptionally low price
- Full-spectrum CBD and isolate versions
- Extensive third-party testing
- Multiple bottle sizes
- Organic, high-quality Oregon hemp source
- Only one potency option
If you’re looking to get the best value, we recommend Lazarus Naturals.
This company is known for offering high-quality products at unbeatable prices. Its pet CBD oil costs only $0.03 per mg of CBD, which is far below the price of most competitor brands.
These third-party tested tinctures are made with full-spectrum CBD. You can choose the classic or salmon flavor.
Lazarus Naturals’ pet CBD tincture contains 300-2400 mg of CBD and has a potency of 20 mg/ml, which is fairly high for cats. It comes in multiple bottle sizes (30 ml, 60 ml, 120 ml) and has a salmon flavor.
Better yet, the CBD is derived from organic hemp grown in Oregon which comes from Lazarus Naturals’ own farm. An employee-owned company, Lazarus Naturals is known for its excellent quality, transparency, and commitment to low prices.
NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil (Strongest)
- Very high potency
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Great price
- Extensive third-party testing
- Organic Colorado hemp source
- Free shipping
- No flavored options
Use coupon code CBDTHINKER for 20% Off
Because cancer is such a serious condition, you may need to use a high-potency product to provide your feline friend with optimal relief. For these cases, we recommend the pet CBD oil from NuLeaf Naturals, an established brand known for its high quality.
Its pet tincture has a high potency of 60 mg/ml, which is ideal for serious conditions such as cancer. It comes with a total of 300-1800 mg of CBD in a 5–30 ml bottle.
This CBD oil is made with full-spectrum CBD, which means it contains multiple beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum products are more effective than those containing a pure form of CBD (isolate).
Like all NuLeaf products, this pet tincture is sourced from organic Colorado hemp. It also undergoes comprehensive third-party testing.
Nuleaf’s full-spectrum pet CBD oil has a per-mg price of $0.08–0.10, which is cheaper than average for pet tinctures.
Cannimal Eva’s Blend (Best Formula)
- Anti-cancer formula
- Whole-plant hemp extract
- Third-party tested
- Organic Colorado hemp source
- Free shipping
- Lacking third-party tests for contaminants
The Eva’s blend tincture from Cannimal is one of the only pet CBD products formulated specifically for cancer. Although it was inspired by a dog suffering from cancer, there’s no reason it can’t be used for cats.
This CBD oil contains dried turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor), which has been used in cancer treatment in Japan for decades. Research studies show that it can improve immune system function in cancer sufferers and may potentially suppress tumor growth (3, 4).
Cannimal’s 50 ml tincture is available in four strengths containing 150, 250, 1000, or 2000 mg of CBD derived from organic, Colorado-grown hemp. It’s made with broad-spectrum CBD, a type of hemp extract which contains multiple beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes but no THC.
Cannimal’s tincture comes with a gel pump to make it easier to administer to pets and a Miron glass bottle, which extends CBD’s shelf-life by protecting against sunlight.
It costs $0.08–0.27 per mg of CBD. That’s a fairly reasonable price for such a unique, cancer-focused product.
Holistapet CBD Cat Treats (Best Treats)
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Affordable price ($0.17 per mg)
- Cat-friendly flavor
- Third-party tested
- Free shipping
- Organic Colorado hemp source
- No third-party tests for contaminants
Although CBD oil tinctures are the ideal form of CBD for cancer, infused treats can be an effective addition. Our top pick for this category is Holistapet, a company dedicated to CBD products for pets.
The company’s CBD cat treats contain 2 mg of full-spectrum CBD each. By comparison, the vast majority of cat treats are made with CBD isolate, a pure form of CBD. Full-spectrum hemp extract is the ideal form of CBD for cancer because it offers stronger benefits than CBD isolate.
These edible treats have a pleasant salmon flavor and contain only natural ingredients. There are 75 pieces per bag, for a total of 150 mg of CBD, sourced from organic Colorado hemp.
Holistapet’s CBD cat treats cost $0.17 per mg of CBD. This price is similarly to most CBD-infused pet treats.
Buying Guide for CBD Oil Products for Cat Cancer
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids present in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the best-known cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t make you high.
CBD offers a wide variety of health benefits for both humans and pets, such as reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and alleviating pain and inflammation.
There’s also some evidence that it can help with cancer and other debilitating conditions. CBD is typically sourced from hemp, a legal type of cannabis with low (<0.3%) THC levels.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is the most popular type of CBD product. It consists of two major ingredients:
- CBD extract: cannabinoid-rich oil extracted from the flowers and other above-ground parts of hemp. Cannabidiol is the main active compound in this extract but it can also contain other cannabinoids and many other beneficial compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids.
- Carrier oil: a plant-based oil that helps the body absorb CBD and makes it easier to dose. Coconut-derived MCT oil is the most common carrier oil.
CBD oil can also contain flavoring and other active ingredients.
Keep in mind that CBD oil is not the same thing as hemp seed oil, which is cold-pressed from hemp seeds, not the plant. This oil does not contain any CBD or other cannabinoids.
Benefits of CBD for Cat Cancer
CBD has many beneficial properties that can improve the lives of cats suffering from cancer. There’s evidence that:
- CBD can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation
- CBD can reduce pain associated with cancer and chemotherapy
- CBD can alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by cancer and chemotherapy
- CBD can also help with allergic reactions that may be caused by some chemotherapy drugs
- CBD may even be able to directly slow cancer tumor growth
Let’s take a closer look at specific research studies highlighting these effects.
CBD and Cancer: The Research Evidence
There’s a growing volume of research demonstrating the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids for cancer. For starters, there’s evidence that CBD has direct anti-cancer effects that can slow tumor growth: (5)
- Several petri dish studies found that CBD had anticancer effects against leukemia cells (6, 7)
- A 2006 study found that CBD suppressed breast cancer growth better than four other cannabinoids, while a 2018 study found that it promoted the death of breast cancer cells (8, 9)
- A 2012 study reported that CBD reduced tumors and had other beneficial effects in mice with colon cancer (10)
- According to a 2015 review paper, animal studies suggest that CBD may slow the progression of breast, lung, prostate, colon, and other types of cancer (11 )
Furthermore, there’s evidence that CBD can alleviate symptoms caused by cancer and chemotherapy, such as pain, nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions:
- One 2013 study reported that CBD reduced pain caused by Paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug (12 )
- A 2010 clinical study found that the combination of THC and CBD relieved pain in cancer sufferers better than THC by itself (13)
- A 2002 study found that CBD alleviate nausea in rats, leading the researchers to conclude that it “may have therapeutic value in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea” (14)
- A 2019 study found that CBD reduced inflammation in mice with allergic asthma, suggesting that it may help ease allergic creations to chemotherapy drugs (15)
Although more research specifically looking at feline cancer is needed, the current evidence suggests that CBD can improve the quality of life of animals suffering from cancer and potentially even slow cancer tumor growth.
How Can CBD Oil Help Cats With Cancer
CBD produces most of its anti-cancer effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is about 600 million years old and present in humans, cats, dogs, and many other animals (16).
The ECS regulates major bodily processes such as pain, immunity, sleep, mood, digestion, cognition, and appetite to maintain an internal state of balance called hemostasis. It consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the body), and enzymes that help break and build these compounds.
Although the ECS in cats and other animals has not been studied extensively, we do know that it functions similar to how it works in humans.
Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system can help with cancer in many ways:
- Cannabinoid receptors affect cell survival and other processes that hold the key to suppressing cancer (17)
- The endocannabinoid anandamide has been shown to promote the destruction of cancer cells, reduce the migration of cancer cells, and prevent the formation of new blood vessels by tumors (18, 19)
- Cannabinoid receptors can also stimulate the immune response against cancer (17 )
- The endocannabinoid system’s regulatory effects mean that it can help with pain, inflammation, nausea, and other symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment
CBD helps support these and other functions of the endocannabinoid system by elevating the levels of endocannabinoids (20).
In addition, CBD has been demonstrated to help with symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy in other ways, such as:
- Interacting with other parts of the body that regulate pain and inflammation, such as glycine receptors and adenosine (21, 22)
- Interacting with serotonin receptors, which may explain CBD’s anti-nausea and anti-vomiting effects (23)
The bottom line: cats have an endocannabinoid system just like humans, and it can respond to CBD and produce beneficial effects.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
CBD is considered safe for cats and other animals. Although one study did mention increased licking and head shaking in some cats who were given CBD oil, there were no serious side effects reported (24).
Aside from that, numerous studies of CBD in dogs and mice have also found that it’s a generally safe substance with few side effects.
Additionally, CBD has been shown to have few and minor side effects in people, such as tiredness, dry mouth, and diarrhea, so it’s possible that similar effects may occur in cats and other animals (25).
The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded in its 2018 report that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” (26).
Nonetheless, we recommend consulting your vet before giving your cat CBD. If available, a qualified vet is always the best source of knowledge.
Tips to Maximize The Benefits of CBD Oil in Cats
If you’re interested in trying out CBD oil to help your cat’s cancer, here are some key tips to keep in mind:
- Opt for full-spectrum CBD products over pure CBD (isolate). Full-spectrum products offer greater benefits thanks to the entourage effect (1).
- You may need to find pet CBD products with a higher potency than normal for optimal relief. Look for products with a potency of 4 mg/ml or higher.
- Only buy from companies that provide third-party lab test results confirming the potency and safety of their CBD products.
- Try to apply CBD oil directly under the tongue or at least the mouth rather than adding it to your cat’s food, as this will result in greater effects due to greater absorption.
- CBD oil is far more effective than edible cat treats. Edible CBD products should only be used in addition to CBD oil.
CBD Oil Dosage for Feline Cancer
Just like with people, there’s no ideal dosage of CBD that will work for all cats with cancer. There are simply too many factors, such as the severity of the symptoms, the benefits you’re looking to achieve, the weight of your cat, and the type of product you’re using.
The best-case scenario is to talk with a veterinarian knowledgeable about CBD or cannabis to suggest the right dosage for your cat.
If that’s not possible, start with the dose recommended by your product. From there, you can assess how your cat responds and gradually increase the dosage over several days and weeks until you see the desired effects. Be patient and consistent as the effects of CBD can be subtle and build up over time.
As a general guideline, doses of 0.25–0.5 mg of CBD per lb of body weight are sufficient for cats. However, since cancer is a serious condition, you may need to use higher dosages.
How To Give Your Cat CBD Oil
Although CBD oil can be simply added to your cat’s food, we highly recommend using the sublingual (under-the-tongue) method, or at the very least applying it directly to the mouth.
While your cat is unlikely to cooperate, this method of administration has greater benefits because the CBD can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels in the mouth.
By comparison, oral products have notoriously low absorption because they have to pass through the digestive system.
CBD Oil vs. Edible Treats for Feline Cancer
Aside from tinctures, cat CBD products also come in other forms such as edible treats. Although such products are also beneficial, they are not nearly as effective as standard CBD oil due to low bioavailability (absorption).
Simply put, when CBD is ingested, much of it is lost in the digestive tract before reaching systemic circulation. In fact, research studies estimate that only about 6–19% of CBD that’s taken in an oral form reaches the blood (27, 28).
Due to this, it’s best to only use cat treats as an addition to CBD oil rather than a replacement.
CBD Oil vs. Standard Cat Cancer Treatments
Feline cancer is treated in a similar way to cancer in humans. Surgery is the most common option for cancer-related lumps or bumps and is the most likely to cure the disease.
Meanwhile, more aggressive types of cancer are typically treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. This includes lymphoma, the most common type of cancer in cats.
Unfortunately, the survival rate for cats undergoing these treatments is lower than with surgery, and treatment is focused primarily on improving quality of life rather than a cure. Additionally, the costs of all of these treatments are not cheap, and can easily cost upwards of $5000.
In that sense, CBD can be a cheaper alternative that can also be used alongside standard medical therapy. Still, we want to stress that while CBD is promising, there isn’t yet enough evidence to call it a reliable treatment for cat cancer.
Can I Give My Cat “Human” CBD Oil?
You absolutely can use regular CBD oil for your pet. After all, the two main ingredients, CBD extract and carrier oil, are the same in both pet and human products.
Having said that, regular “human” CBD oil is much more potent than tinctures designed for cats. Due to this, we recommend paying close attention to the potency of your oil and using small doses.
Gleb is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada specializing in CBD and cannabis. He’s read thousands of studies on CBD and other supplements, helping him translate complex science into plain language. Gleb has tried and reviewed dozens of CBD brands and products, written third-party testing reports, and knows the CBD industry inside and out. When not writing, he likes to kickbox, travel, and tell everyone how awesome intermittent fasting is.