Carbon, my 15-year-old cat, is sleeping peacefully beside me as I write this, having just eaten a dish of tuna with cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Six weeks ago, he had a constant runny nose that turned into a nosebleed. I took him to the vet, where for roughly the price of my college education, he had an MRI and biopsy. When the test results came back, they were as bleak as could be: acinic-cell carcinoma, filling 90 percent of his nasal cavity. Terminal within a few months. No treatment. Start palliative care.
The vet prescribed meloxicam, a powerful anti-inflammatory with serious side effects, one of which is renal failure. He’d have to have another vet visit in three weeks to check his kidney function, and Carbon is nothing if not a cat who loathes the vet. As I was driving home, thinking of ways to avoid taking him back to his most-hated place, I passed a local pet-supply store with a sign out front advertising CBD oil. I went back and bought him a bottle, decided to hold off on the meloxicam for a few days, and started giving him the oil that night.
I was shocked when his symptoms went away within 72 hours, and stayed gone for a month and a half. He’s starting to wheeze again, but the runny nose or nosebleeds are still gone. He’s still acting like his usual self, still eating, still doing normal cat things. Obviously, after witnessing this astonishing turnaround, I’m convinced that treating pets with CBD has merit.
Here’s some science: animals, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate inflammation and pain. When CBD binds with our (and our pets’) cannabinoid receptors, not only can we experience a decrease in inflammation and pain, but also a sense of relaxation and well-being. If your pet has an inflammatory condition such as injuries, arthritis, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or allergies, it’s worth giving CBD oil a try.
The brand I’m giving Carbon is Source (sourcecbdhemp.com), so I reached out to CEO and founder Ian Pedersen to thank him for his company’s products and ask him a few questions. Pederson is an industry expert with over 20 years’ experience helping bring cannabis into the light by launching state-licensed dispensaries and cultivations. “Source CBD offers a 100-percent clean and organic experience that focuses on a back-to-basics, sustainable approach,” he says, adding that they don’t use any flavoring or additives.
A number of companies, such as Canna-Pet and HolistaPet, offer infused treats, but Source doesn’t. When I asked Pedersen if adding CBD oil to your pet’s food is better than giving them treats, he replied, “The most direct method possible is best for the body to fully absorb the CBD. and to become fully bioavailable. We have found with our research that simply putting the oil directly on the food allows the animal to digest it easily. By baking a treat, the CBD can lose potency, as the high temps for long periods of time degrade and break down the constituents of the oil. There is also a concern for low grade materials that make up some of the ‘cheap’ CBD dog treats on the market.” (This goes for cats, too.)
Tinctures also offer a more exact control of the dose. Source recommends giving pets .1mg to .2mg per pound of body weight per day. As a 13-pound cat, Carbon’s dose is 2.6 mg. Because I’m using the 500mg bottle, which contains 16.6mg and 20 drops per full dropper, he gets up to five drops per day. A small amount makes a big difference in his health.
When choosing a tincture, look for one with as few ingredients as possible. The Source version is made with plain, unflavored coconut oil. Avoid tinctures that also contain hemp oil, which has a strong, nutty flavor your pet might dislike. I’ve had the best luck administering CBD oil by adding it to tuna or Fancy Feast Broths (if you have a sick kitty who won’t eat, you definitely need to know about the latter).
The recommended dose for cats and dogs is 1-5 mg CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. How much CBD is in each drop depends on how much CBD is in the bottle. Carbon’s is a 500mg, 1 oz. bottle, and I give him seven drops in the morning and seven at night; the exact dose he ingests varies, as he doesn’t always finish his food.
As with all supplements, let your vet know you’re giving your pet CBD. It’s semi-federally legal (grey areas still exist in the laws, but are not enforced), so don’t hesitate to mention it. My vet tells me lots of her patients take CBD oil, just as Carbon will for the rest of his life.
If your pet is ill, injured, or just creaky from old age, CBD treatment can help them feel better. I’m glad I made this choice for Carbon, and I feel so lucky to have a little more time with him, and so grateful for the medical benefits cannabis has given both of us.