Yes! cannabis oil can help relieve cat skin problems
If you thought the cannabis craze was going too far, think again! Over the past years, many pet owners and professionals are swearing by cannabis oil as a successful medical management product for skin problems in cats. Whether this is truth or myth, we are here to review the evidence so you can decide if your kitty may benefit from some!
What is cannabis oil?
Cannabis oil, also known as Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in Cannabis plants. Contrary to what you might think, CBD does not illicit a ‘high’ in people or animals. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the other cannabinoid in cannabis plants that is the culprit for their famed psychoactive effects. Majority of the medical products used comprises of isolated CBD oil containing none or minute amounts of THC.
CBD oil generally has little side effects which include increased appetite, reduced anxiety and rarely, allergic reactions. As far as the current research shows (which is still rather limited), CBD oil has low toxicity levels and is quite safe for medical use. CBD oil may also have some negative interactions with other drugs, so it is always recommended to consult or inform your vet before adding on extra medications.
Cannabinoids and their many medical effects
The science of how CBD works is interesting, research has shown that CBD does not actually actively stimulate the central nervous system, which explains why it does not stimulate a ‘high’. In fact, in animal models, CBD was shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate under stress, providing sedative effects and anticonvulsive effects. There is limited research so far to explain how exactly CBD oil works to provide their other beneficial effects, but we have some idea on how it works.
The most researched use of CBD oil to date is their treatment of epilepsy in animals and humans. Animal trials were undertaken as early as the 1970s and proved to aid in reducing seizures in some animal species. Other than that, Improvements in the following conditions have also been observed in animals, but much less researched:
- Pain management
- Cancer therapy
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Immune mediated diseases
The effects of CBD oil on inflammatory skin diseases in cats
The research on CBD oil in our furry friends are quite limited as of yet, however, the science behind how CBD works does support the theory that it helps with skin issues. Most of the skin issues in cats can be grouped into several common causes:
- Allergic causes – Just like in human allergies, your pet can become sensitive to certain environmental agents such as dust, pollen and more. Thus triggering the production of histamine in the body, causing a big itch response.
- Parasites and other unwanted organisms – fleas and the little bugs causing mange can also cause potential skin issues.
- Hormone imbalance – Disease in some organs in the body can cause hormonal imbalances that may trigger some skin issues such as hair loss.
- Mental Issues – pets can also have anxiety or show compulsive behaviors under stressful situations, or just as a habit, or even a personality trait.
While there are the usual medications that are used widely to treat these skin issues in cats, there are possible side effects and issues. CBD oil may be an alternative option if needed. CBD oil can work on these skin issues because they have been scientifically shown to act on the pathways related to inflammation in the body, thus resulting in anti-inflammatory effects. Skin diseases in cats can result in inflammation in the skin due to trauma from scratching or internal agents. The inflammation results in the characteristic reddening of the skin, pain, heat and more. Thus, by interrupting this inflammatory process and reducing it, CBD oil can provide pain relief from the skin issues, reduce their angry effects on the skin and help your cat’s condition.
Itchy and flaky skin? Cannabis oil can be used to treat cat dandruff too!
Cat dandruff is commonly caused by parasites, allergies, stressors and many other underlying problems causing an abnormal shedding of dead skin cells. CBD oil can help with managing and preventing cat dandruff due to its anti-allergic, antibiotic and anti-fungal effects. Some research in human articles have tested the effects of CBD oil on skin issues caused by allergies, bacteria or fungal invasions. Furthermore, CBD oil has sedative and anti-anxiety effects which reduces stress in cats, another possible cause of cat dandruff. CBD treats and several CBD oil products are already filling the market for cats in treatment of skin issues.
Treating psychogenic alopecia with CBD oil: excessive grooming and hair loss problems
Psychogenic alopecia commonly occurs in nervous cats with behavioral issues or anxiety. This state of stress and anxiety in cats can cause them to habitually groom themselves excessively. This type of behavior is known as a displacement behavior, where your cat turns to other methods (scratching and licking) to make themselves feel better when they cannot fix or change whatever is causing them stress. This kind of behavior is similar to compulsive disorders in humans!
This over-grooming grooming can be harmful by causing breaks in the skin from excessive trauma, and over-licking can introduce more bacteria than usual into the skin breaks, making your cats more prone to skin infections. Also, with constant damage to the same spot, your cat can eventually get bald patches in those spots. The typical treatment for psychogenic alopecia in cats is to try to target it at the source, by removing the sources of stress, or providing more enrichment for your cat to remove those obsessive compulsions. However, since environmental and behavioral modification can take a long time to change, using other therapies such as CBD oil can help with the process.
As mentioned before, CBD oil has sedative effects on the nervous system instead of providing a high like THC does. This in turn can provide a relaxing effect on your cat and help reduce their anxiety. Thus, reducing their stress levels and helping to reduce their need for compulsive licking and self-trauma. Studies on many animal species and humans have provided evidence of their relaxing effects and many on the market are churning out products for pets to use for this purpose.
The use of alternative medicine and especially the use of these sorts of illicit drugs have been highly controversial and widely debated. However, when we look at the science and the growing evidence for their beneficial uses with a high safety level, alternative medicines are the therapies of the future. Why not try CBD oil on your cats today?
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