A sick, older cat under a blanket.
A sick, older cat under a blanket. Photography © Tanchic | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Have You Ever Given Your Cat Medical Cannabis? Would You?

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When I first noticed that my 18-year-old cat Siouxsie’s wisdom-filled eyes were also filled with pain, I knew I had to take action. I knew Siouxsie had arthritis, and it was clearly getting worse. She was walking hunched up, she wasn’t able to jump like she used to, and she spent most of her time curled up in her heated cat bed instead of on my lap.

I took Siouxsie in for her semiannual senior exam, and I mentioned my concerns to my vet. I told her that the pain control methods I had been using (glucosamine-chondroitin treats and even gabapentin) didn’t seem to be helping her. Dr. Brandon took some X-rays, and the results left no doubt about why she was so sore.

There was almost no cartilage at all where her femur bones meet her hips. The left hip was worse than the right. I cringed when I saw the results: I have my own share of chronic pain and I knew poor Siouxsie had to be hurting 24/7.

Medical Cannabis for Cats

Canna Cannabis. Photography courtesy JaneA Kelley.

I’d heard that Dr. Brandon and her husband, veterinarian Dr. Greg Copas, had developed a treatment that’s non-toxic and known to be a very powerful pain reliever. That treatment: medical cannabis.

I know people who have benefited tremendously from using medical cannabis to manage pain, and I was thrilled to know that my vet had developed a formula that is safe for pets. I asked whether it could help Siouxsie, and my vet said she’d seen good results in other arthritic pets, so I decided to give it a try.

Canna Companion is made from hemp with an extremely low THC content. It’s made from 100-percent organic, non-GMO hemp in vegetarian capsules. The active ingredients, known as phytocannabinoids, have a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and appetite stimulant effect. Phytocannabinoids can also reduce the spread of cancer and even provide seizure control.

Canna Companion is legal in all 50 U.S. states. Because of its extremely low THC content (less than 0.3 percent) and because it is not meant for human consumption, it meets the current definition of hemp supplements for companion animals. I’m not sure about its legality in other countries or international shipment of the product, however.

Our Experience With Medical Cannabis for Cats

Siouxise is back to shoulder rides! Photography courtesy JaneA Kelley.

I ordered a package of 30 capsules, which I began mixing into Siouxsie’s food twice a day. Even after the first dose, she started showing signs of feeling better. As time passed, I noticed other changes in her behavior.

She started climbing on my lap again. She began climbing the cat tree again. Her walk became much more fluid and easy. Her jumps became smoother and more successful. And soon enough, Siouxsie was asking for her “purry hugs” and shoulder rides again … something she hadn’t done in months!

I’ve been giving Siouxsie the Canna Companion for about four months now, and she’s continued to thrive. She’s been to the vet for a couple of follow-up exams since then, and Dr. Brandon is also impressed with the positive effect the medical cannabis has had on her quality of life.

I know Siouxsie is old.  I don’t know how much time I have left with her, but I want to make every minute of that time as happy and pain-free as possible. Medical cannabis is helping me to do that.

An Important Note on Cannabis for Cats

Keep in mind here that I am not talking about marijuana. Higher concentrations of THC are toxic to cats, so here’s a common-sense warning: For the love of all things cute and furry, do NOT smoke your cat up or give him human-grade medical cannabis!

Tell us: Would you use medical cannabis on your cats? Have you used it? Does this intrigue you or freak you out? Share your thoughts and your stories in the comments, and let’s talk!

Thumbnail: Photography © Tanchic | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.

Read more about cat health on Catster.com:

26 thoughts on “Have You Ever Given Your Cat Medical Cannabis? Would You?”

  1. Got a solution to all my questions related to my Lily. Can you please give some suggestions about the health of my cat? I mean how to deal in winter as temperature goes down -2 degrees.
    Will be thankful if you share some kind of information.
    Thanks

  2. I manage a feral cat colony from my home in the mountainous area of Northwestern Virginia.
    I noticed blood on my porch and in the food/water bowls. The cat responsible was a large, possibly older Tomcat who had bloody, mutilated ears and surrounding areas likely from fighting other Tomcats in the colony. I put out a crate and he walked right in it! I shut the door and brought him inside (first feral cat to get inside). Soon he was steaking out his territory and terrorizing the poor dogs.
    Soon I realized he was mutilating himself and when I was able to pet him just recently, I discovered the source of his problem, huge abscesses (or tumors) around the head and neck, most likely from male cat fighting. His fluffiness hid the large lumps although I had noticed a big, stiff neck. He was mutilating himself due to pain.
    I suffer from chronic pain and empathised. I tried CBD oil until I could get a vet to visit my feral feline friend. It immediately helped with his pain and even tempered his bad attitude. Clearly, he was in need of medical care, but CBD offered some temporary respite.
    All of a sudden this wild, sick, painful cat with a bad attitude was giving my hand head butts and even quietly purring!. Although I quickly learned through a few gentle palpitations anf subsequent slashes to my hand, that his lumps were painful. I am putting out the $$$ to have a home vet come bye today as coralling him into a crate and transportating him to a vet would be traumatic for him (and me!).
    CBD oil has also given me some relief from my chronic nerve pain and recent acute pain from soft tissue damage brought on by an accident. I also noticed a mood change in myself and was not quite as depressed and anxious from my pain. I felt a calmness not normal for me. Again, temporary pain treatment is no alternative for for medical treatment, but seems to offer some benefit to discomfort and a bad attitude (likely due to the pain and illness). On a side note, 3 days after bringing in the Tomcat a tiny kitten appeared on my porch half frozen from a mid-December cold snap. All of a sudden my dog only home became a 2 cat home (to my husband’s dismay)! Before naming our “temporary” cats, they were referred to as “The big cat” and “The little cat”. Now BigCat (an obvious choice) and Kitty Whiskers (named by my 6 year old son) are going to be lifelong family members. Kitty Whiskers is a sweet, playful, friendly addition, forever saved from the hard life of a feral cat and old, grumpy, temperamental BigCat is getting the treatment he needs, as well as a cushy retirement home and frequent pets from yours truly. CBD oil has helped both myself and BigCat with not only physical pain but mental well-being as well. ????????

  3. I support whatever helps the cat’s quality of life. Question thought – when you say you give the cat the product twice a day, does that mean you’re using one capsule split between two meals, or do you use two capsules a day? Just wondering how expensive a proposition this could be.. $1/day or $2/day? In the time since you posted this article, are you still using the product, and have you adjusted dosage at all? What’s you’re opinion nearly one year on?

  4. Patricia Ann York

    Yes, I would use Medical Marijuana on my cat. He has feline hyperesthesia and I hate to see him when he has his seizures. I feel so bad for him and wish he could talk to me and tell me what to do for him. But since he can’t, I’ll try to help him anyway I can. I know he must be hurting. I will call my vet and see if he can get some. I’ve tried everything I know and I’m at my wits end. Thanks for the information.

    1. Our cat has feline hyperesthesia as well and we have successfully been treating her for 11 years with Gabapentin and Prednisolone. Hers was quite severe.
      And as for canna companion, yes!
      Candace Wells

  5. Interesting read! One of my older senior cats has arthritis pain. Maybe I could try this out so he can start being more active around the house again. Thanks!

  6. Colleen Moceri

    I DEFINATELY would bever hesitate to provide my kitty with Canna Companion or similar as advised by a Vet. As a person with EDS-H I am in constant chronic pain ALL OVER and after years of different opioids and some bad experiences, I am considering this type of option for myself, saving my liver and kidneys. ANYTHING to help my kitty!!!

  7. I loved the article about Canna- Pet, my cat will be 20 years old on May 4th and has arthritis, I ordered the Canna-Pet, now I have to figure out how to get her to eat it, I put it in her food and she could smell it and walked away. Any other suggestions

    1. I have a cat with IBD, AND a finicky eater. There is no way he would take it in his feed. I found a product from EARTHBUDDY.com. It comes in a small injector tube. One pump = 2ml which I put on my finger and then administer it inside my cats ear where there is no hair. Wow, after weaning from months of 5. prednisolone , this has seemed to remove more of the inflammation, and he is happier, and gaining weight !

  8. GaiaofSpiders

    Many people seem open-minded, others, so closed minded, they might not consider the facts of medicine, and what we know of the humane brain. Not to Alcohol or any compounds in cigarettes, but to the marijuana botanical-the human brain has evolved neuro-receptors, Specifically for THC or CBD. These human neural pathways are NOT Physically addictive…further down the human reward center are addictive opiates. Pain in cats is difficult to control. Humans have been using Cannabis medicinally for an unknown time, but long enough, to have formed Cannabis recognized compounds in the human brain. Its medicinal value is considerable, as it can tailor to each patients needs. Controlling Chronic pain, especially Arthritis pain (that’s why I use it, and come get me), are known to benefit from medical cannabis. Just because something is a Law or is legislated, doesn’t make it right…especially if we are not considering the voice from a political majority.

  9. Thank you for being informative. I would definitely want my pancreatic senior cat to try it. He’s always throwing up and I can’t seem to be able to help him.

  10. Fork no! And anyone who makes decisions based on emotional impulses or desperation should not be allowed to provide medical care to man or beast. Government regulations are in place to protect us all, and anyone practicing medicine without a license belongs in jail.

  11. yes, would definitely if I knew where to get some! all 3 of my cats have arthritis, 13 yrs old, and it hurts me to see them sleep most of the time, or when they walk, they walk painfully. I know the feeling, I have it in my feet! I would love to see them move easier, sleep less (and lose weight too), and be able to play.

    where can I get some? although I couldnt even attempt to give in a capsule/pill like that, can they taste it mixed in food? heck, knowing them, they probably wouldnt even eat then…….

    1. belvoir admin

      Hi Kat,

      You can definitely talk to your vet about using medical cannabis to treat your cats’ conditions.

    1. I have a cat with IBD, AND a finicky eater. There is no way he would take it in his feed. I found a product from EARTHBUDDY.com. It comes in a small injector tube. One pump = 2ml which I put on my finger and then administer it inside my cats ear where there is no hair. Wow, after weaning from months of 5. prednisolone , this has seemed to remove more of the inflammation, and he is happier, and gaining weight !

    1. Hi Sandra,
      This seems like a good question for your vet.
      Here’s more info on kidney disease in cats:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-tips-feline-chronic-kidney-disease
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-9-facts-feline-chronic-kidney-disease
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-tips-facts-kidney-function-dysfunction-disease-injury

  12. Of course! Isn’t it amazing how judgemental people can be? I find it no different from any other pharmaceutical products.
    If it helps, I’m totally for giving pets animal medical marijuana.

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