Categories: drugs

CBD oil for cats – potential side effects such as damaged liver?

I am extrapolating a review of research concerning the use of CBD oil (cannabidiol) for humans to warn that this new health treatment might damage the liver and the immune and reproductive systems as reported by The Times. It can also cause lethargy, sedation, drooling, tremors, diarrhoea and vomiting. This is a long list and it seems pretty bad but it needs to be stated as a quiet warning. There is a certain amount of hype surrounding CBD oil as a wonder cure-all.

Side effects of CBD for cats? Photo: Holistapet (modified image).

I admit that it is a bit of a stretch to take research designed to inform people about human treatments and relate it to cat health but I think that it is sensible as the physiology of cats and humans is similar.

The research was carried out for the UK government by the Committee of Toxity chaired by Alan Boobis. He said that:

There are certainly potential side-effects of CBD and this taking it should be aware of these.

Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy at the Food Standards Agency advised people to think carefully before taking CBD which is sold in various forms such as foods, supplements, oils and lotions. Regulations may be issued in the future. These products may be removed from shelves.

I have written about CBD, a cannabis extract, before in August 2019. The question was whether it can be used on cats. The answer, at that time, was that I had found no research on the product and therefore the answer had to be no. I don’t believe veterinarians are up to scratch on the possibilities of cannabis extract as a medicine but I’d certainly enquire and ask for advice.

There is quite a big discussion about medicines to treat pain, anxiety and depression in cats. It is a very fraught topic and I’d say a dangerous area because we don’t know for sure if a cat is depressed or chronically anxious and we don’t really know how conventional antidepressants affect cats. Jackson Galaxy recommends these drugs under certain strict conditions. Personally I’d avoid them. CBD oil seems like a safer alternative.

CBD oil has been marketed, or it is has been suggested, that it is side-effect free but that appears not to be the case. Although the data comes from trials run by GW Pharmaceuticals on a strong version of CBD called Epidiolex which is used to treat severe epilepsy in people.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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