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Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil for Cats: Is There a Difference? Our 2024 Vet-Reviewed Comparison

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Hemp vs CBD oil

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil for Cats: Is There a Difference? Our 2024 Vet-Reviewed Comparison


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Making sure their feline is safe, happy, and healthy is the priority of every cat owner. Providing healthy food, a clean litter box, a safe home to play and sleep in, and regular veterinarian visits are all part of being a good cat caretaker.

You might have heard of CBD and hemp oil as a natural therapeutic for felines, and you may be wondering if they’re worth using. What exactly are hemp oil and CBD oil? What’s the difference between the two? Are these oils safe for your cat? We’ll answer those questions and more below.

3 cat face divider

Overview of Hemp Oil for Cats

cat taking CBD oil
Image Credit: Erin Stone, Pixabay

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, which is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. The oil is made by cold-pressing hemp seeds to extract the oils. The legality of hemp oil varies depending on where you stay. For example, although a 2018 Farm Bill was passed that federally legalized certain aspects of producing and having hemp and CBD products, hemp is not legal in all 50 states throughout the U.S1.

Therefore, it’s important to know your local laws before deciding to source hemp oil for yourself or your cat. As for why hemp oil is given to cats, many owners are keen to try hemp oil for their cats for the same benefits it offers humans. However, studies proving the efficacy of hemp oil or other cannabis products in pet cats are relatively scant.

Ailments That Hemp Oil Is Often Sought For:
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • Neoplastic disorders (cancers)

There is no scientific evidence that hemp oil will actually treat these conditions in cats. However, it might be beneficial as an adjunctive therapy at the discretion of your veterinarian.

3 cat face divider

Overview of CBD Oil

cbd oil and cat on background
Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock

CBD oil is like hemp oil in that it comes from the cannabis plant, but it is sourced from different parts of the plant. Hemp oil is sourced from the plant’s seeds, while CBD oil is sourced from the plant’s stalks, flowers, and leaves. Like hemp oil, CBD oil contains little to no THC, which is the compound that makes humans “high.”

CBD oil is typically used for therapeutic purposes in humans and pets, including cats. The benefits of CBD oil are close to those of hemp oil. It can be used to treat pain and inflammation in the body. Some research indicates that CBD can help relieve anxiety in humans, so it’s possible (but not conclusive) that the same can be said for cats.

Current studies involving CBD in cats are more geared towards finding their safe doses, side effects, half-life, and the impact of the product on the blood and immune profile of cats. Therefore, the full extent of the potential benefits of CBD oil and hemp oil are not yet completely understood. Though the FDA has approved one CBD oil for humans, the product isn’t intended for use in pets. To date, there are no CBD products that the FDA has approved for use in pet cats.

So, Is Hemp Oil or CBD Oil Best for Your Cat?

CBD capsules at oil in syringe
Image Credit: CBD-Infos-com, Pixabay

The only difference between CBD and hemp oil is the part of the cannabis plant that each oil is sourced from. They have similar properties and many of the same compounds, and neither has any significant amount of THC, so there’s no need to worry about psychoactive effects. This, coupled with the fact that these products aren’t yet FDA-approved for use in pets, means there’s no clear winner between the two – at least for now.

If your veterinarian deems CBD safe for your cat, you can try a product made for pet cats to see if your cat responds favorably to it.

There Are Side Effects to Consider

While most cats tolerate hemp and CBD oil in some doses used in experiments, there are side effects that you should be aware of. The side effects may vary depending on the dose, the product composition, and your cat’s overall health status.

Potential Side Effects:
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dry mouth

If any side effects do develop after giving CBD or hemp oil to your cat, keep an eye on them and call your veterinarian.

sad lonely cat lying on bed
Image Credit: medveda, Shutterstock

3 cat face dividerConclusion

CBD and hemp oil are similar and can be used for the same purposes. As both of these formulations are not yet approved for use in pets, there’s no clear winner between the two. This also means that if you plan on using CBD for your pet, you should consult your veterinarian first.

Featured Image Credit: CBD-Infos-com, Pixabay (R)

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