The Best CBD Oil for Cats With Cancer — Reviews and Research-Backed Guide

Article by: , last updated September 13, 2020

Overview

Some pet owners use CBD oil to help cats suffering from cancer. Although research in this area is just beginning, there’s some evidence that CBD can alleviate symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy, and even slow tumor growth.

In addition, cannabis-based medicines containing THC and CBD are already widely used to help cancer patients with pain, nausea, vomiting, appetite stimulation, and other issues, so we know that cannabinoids can be beneficial.

How can CBD oil help with feline cancer? What’s the best way to use it? Which CBD oil products are ideal? 

In this detailed article, we’re going to review the best CBD oils for cats suffering from cancer and cover everything you need to know about using CBD for this debilitating condition.

CBD Terminology

  • Hemp: a legal variety of cannabis with low THC levels (0.3% or less).
  • Full-spectrum: A whole-plant extract containing CBD, THC, and all other beneficial hemp cannabinoids and terpenes. This is considered the most effective form of CBD.
  • Broad-spectrum: A whole-plant hemp extract similar to full-spectrum, but with THC removed.
  • CBD isolate: Pure CBD with all other hemp compounds removed.

Best CBD Oils for Cats With Cancer Reviewed

Best Overall — NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil

Our top pick is NuLeaf Naturals, a company recognized for its high quality. Its pet CBD oil is an excellent choice for cats with cancer.

NuLeaf Naturals doesn’t offer any CBD product except oils, which speaks to its focus on preparations that provide the strongest therapeutic effects.

For starters, this tincture is made with full-spectrum CBD, which means it contains multiple beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum products are more effective than those containing a pure form of CBD (isolate). 

This CBD oil also has a high potency of 60 mg/ml, which is ideal for serious conditions such as cancer. It comes with a total of 300-1800 mg of CBD in a 5–30 ml bottle.

Like all NuLeaf products, this pet tincture is sourced from organic, non-GMO hemp cultivated in Colorado, the state with the most advanced hemp farming industry. It also undergoes comprehensive third-party testing.

Nuleaf’s full-spectrum pet CBD oil has a per-mg price of $0.10–0.13. As far as CBD tinctures go, this price is considered slightly below average. 

Pros:

  • High potency ideal for cancer
  • Full-spectrum hemp extract
  • Reasonable prices ($0.10–0.13 per mg)
  • Extensive third-party testing
  • High-quality hemp source
  • Free shipping

Cons:

  • No flavored tincture options

Best Formula — Cannimal Eva’s Blend

The Eva’s blend tincture from Cannimal is one of the only pet CBD products formulated specifically for cancer. Although it was inspired by a dog suffering from cancer, there’s no reason it can’t be used for cats.

This CBD oil contains dried turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor), which has been used in cancer treatment in Japan for decades. Research studies show that it can improve immune system function in cancer sufferers and even suppress tumor growth (1, 2).

Cannimal’s 50 ml tincture is available in four strengths containing 150, 250, 1000, or 2000 mg of CBD derived from organic, Colorado-grown hemp. It’s made with broad-spectrum CBD, a type of hemp extract which contains multiple beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes but no THC.

Cannimal’s tincture comes with a gel pump to make it easier to administer to pets and a Miron glass bottle, which extends CBD’s shelf-life by protecting against sunlight. 

It costs $0.27–0.08 per mg of CBD. That’s a fairly reasonable price for such a unique, cancer-focused product.

Pros:

  • Anti-cancer formula
  • Whole-plant hemp extract
  • Reasonable price ($0.27–0.08 per mg)
  • Third-party tested
  • High-quality hemp source
  • Free shipping

Cons:

  • Lacking third-party tests for contaminants

Best Value — Lazarus Naturals Calming CBD Oil Pet Tincture

If you’re looking to get the best value, we recommend Lazarus Naturals. 

This company is known for offering high-quality products at unbeatable prices. Its calming CBD oil pet tinctures cost only $0.03–0.04 per mg of CBD, which is well below the price of most competitor brands. 

These third-party tested tinctures are made with full-spectrum hemp extract, so your feline friend will be getting the full benefits of the hemp plant. You can also choose the CBD isolate version if you wish to avoid THC completely.

Lazarus Naturals’ pet CBD oil is available in 15, 60, and 120 ml bottles, with a total of 300, 1200, or 2400 mg of CBD. That’s a potency of 20 mg/ml, which is fairly high for cats and ideal for a serious condition such as cancer.

Better yet, the CBD is derived from organic hemp grown in Oregon which comes from Lazarus Naturals’ own farm. An employee-owned company, Lazarus Naturals is known for its excellent quality, transparency, and commitment to low prices.

Pros:

  • Excellent prices ($0.03–0.04 per mg)
  • Extensive third-party testing
  • Employee-owned brand
  • High-quality hemp source
  • Free shipping

Cons:

  • Only one potency option
  • No added flavoring

Best Potency — Endoca Hemp Oil Extract

Because cancer is such a serious condition, you may need to use a high-potency product to provide your feline friend with optimal relief. For these cases, we recommend the hemp oil extract from Endoca, one of the oldest and most respected CBD brands in the world.

Although this product is intended for big dog breeds and other large pets, it can be used just as effectively for cats.

This hemp concentrate contains 2000 mg of full-spectrum CBD in a 10-gram syringe, which gives it an incredibly high potency of 200 mg/gram.

This potency is high even for humans, so it’s important to carefully measure the doses and only use small amounts.

You can use it as a regular CBD oil by either applying directly under your cat’s tongue or adding it to their food.

This extract is derived from organic, non-GMO hemp grown directly by Endoca in Denmark. It goes through extensive third-party and in-house testing.

Endoca’s hemp oil extract for pets costs €0.09 per mg of CBD, which is an affordable price compared to other CBD concentrates.

Pros:

  • Very high potency
  • Full-spectrum hemp extract
  • High-quality hemp source
  • Extensive third-party and in-house testing
  • Great price (€0.09 per mg)
  • Worldwide shipping

Cons:

  • European rather than American hemp source

Best Treats — Holistapet CBD Cat Treats

Although CBD oil tinctures are the ideal form of CBD for cancer, infused treats can be an effective addition. Our top pick for this category is Holistapet, a company dedicated to CBD products for pets.

The company’s CBD cat treats contain 2 mg of full-spectrum CBD each. By comparison, the vast majority of cat treats are made with CBD isolate, a pure form of CBD. Full-spectrum hemp extract is the ideal form of CBD for cancer because it offers stronger benefits than CBD isolate.

These edible treats have a pleasant salmon flavor and contain only natural ingredients. There are 75 pieces per bag, for a total of 150 mg of CBD, sourced from organic, non-GMO hemp grown in Colorado.

Holistapet’s CBD cat treats cost $0.17 per mg. This price is similarly to most CBD-infused pet treats.

Pros:

  • Full-spectrum hemp extract
  • Affordable price ($0.17 per mg)
  • Cat-friendly flavor
  • Third-party tested 
  • Free shipping on U.S. orders
  • High-quality hemp source and extraction process

Cons:

  • No third-party tests for contaminants

Buying Guide for CBD Oil Products for Cat Cancer

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids present in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the best-known cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t make you high.

CBD offers a wide variety of health benefits for both humans and pets, such as reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and alleviating pain and inflammation. 

There’s also some evidence that it can help with cancer and other debilitating conditions. CBD is typically sourced from hemp, a legal type of cannabis with low (<0.3%) THC levels.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is the most popular type of CBD product. It consists of two major ingredients:

  1. CBD extract: cannabinoid-rich oil extracted from the flowers and other above-ground parts of hemp. Cannabidiol is the main active compound in this extract but it can also contain other cannabinoids and many other beneficial compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids.
  2. Carrier oil: a plant-based oil that helps the body absorb CBD and makes it easier to dose. Coconut-derived MCT oil is the most common carrier oil.

CBD oil can also contain flavoring and other active ingredients. 

Keep in mind that CBD oil is not the same thing as hemp seed oil, which is cold-pressed from hemp seeds, not the plant. This oil does not contain any CBD or other cannabinoids.

Benefits of CBD for Cat Cancer

CBD has many beneficial properties that can improve the lives of cats suffering from cancer. There’s evidence that:

  • CBD can reduce pain associated with cancer and chemotherapy
  • CBD can alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by cancer and chemotherapy
  • CBD can also help with allergic reactions that may be caused by some chemotherapy drugs
  • CBD may even be able to directly slow cancer tumor growth

Let’s take a closer look at specific research studies highlighting these effects.

CBD and Cancer: The Research Evidence

There’s a growing volume of research demonstrating the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids for cancer. For starters, there’s evidence that CBD has direct anti-cancer effects that can slow tumor growth:

  • A 2006 cell culture study found that CBD promoted the death of leukemia cancer cells (3)
  • A 2006 study done in Italy found that CBD suppressed breast cancer growth better than four other cannabinoids (4)
  • A 2012 study reported that CBD reduced tumors and had other beneficial effects in mice with colon cancer (5)
  • According to a 2015 review paper, studies have shown that CBD can slow the progression of many different types of cancer (6)

Furthermore, there’s evidence that CBD can alleviate symptoms caused by cancer and chemotherapy, such as pain, nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions:

  • One 2013 study reported that CBD reduced pain caused by Paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug (7)
  • A 2010 clinical study found that the combination of THC and CBD relieved pain in cancer sufferers better than THC by itself (8)
  • A 2002 study found that CBD alleviate nausea in rats, leading the researchers to conclude that it “may have therapeutic value in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea” (9)
  • A 2019 study found that CBD reduced inflammation in mice with allergic asthma, suggesting that it may help ease allergic creations to chemotherapy drugs (10)

Although more research specifically looking at cat cancer is needed, the current evidence suggests that CBD can improve the quality of life of animals suffering from cancer and potentially even slow cancer tumor growth.

How Can CBD Oil Help Cats With Cancer

CBD produces most of its anti-cancer effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is about 600 million years old and present in humans, cats, dogs, and many other animals (11).

The ECS regulates major bodily processes such as pain, immunity, sleep, mood, digestion, cognition, and appetite to maintain an internal state of balance called hemostasis. It consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the body), and enzymes that help break and build these compounds. 

Although the ECS in cats and other animals has not been studied extensively, we do know that it functions similar to how it works in humans.

Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system can help with cancer in many ways:

  • Cannabinoid receptors affect cell survival and other processes that hold the key to suppressing cancer (12)
  • The endocannabinoid anandamide has been shown to promote the destruction of cancer cells, reduce the migration of cancer cells, and prevent the formation of new blood vessels by tumors (13, 14)
  • Cannabinoid receptors can also stimulate the immune response against cancer (15)
  • The endocannabinoid system’s regulatory effects mean that it can help with pain, inflammation, nausea, and other symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment

CBD helps support these and other functions of the endocannabinoid system by elevating the levels of endocannabinoids (16). 

In addition, CBD has been demonstrated to help with symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy in other ways, such as:

  • Interacting with other parts of the body that regulate pain and inflammation, such as glycine receptors and adenosine (17, 18)
  • Interacting with serotonin receptors, which may explain CBD’s anti-nausea and anti-vomiting effects (19)

The bottom line: cats have an endocannabinoid system just like humans, and it can respond to CBD and produce beneficial effects.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?

CBD is considered safe for cats and other animals. Although one study did mention increased licking and head shaking in some cats who were given CBD oil, there were no serious side effects reported (20).

Aside from that, numerous studies of CBD in dogs and mice have also found that it’s a generally safe substance with few side effects. Additionally, we already know that CBD is safe in humans, and the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded in its 2018 report that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” (21).

Tips to Maximize The Benefits of CBD Oil in Cats

If you’re interested in trying out CBD oil to help your cat’s cancer, here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Opt for full-spectrum CBD products over pure CBD (isolate). Full-spectrum products offer greater benefits thanks to the entourage effect (22).
  • You may need to find pet CBD products with a higher potency than normal for optimal relief. Look for products with a potency of 4 mg/ml or higher. 
  • Only buy from companies that provide third-party lab test results confirming the potency and safety of their CBD products.
  • Try to apply CBD oil directly under the tongue or at least the mouth rather than adding it to your cat’s food, as this will result in greater effects due to greater absorption.
  • CBD oil is far more effective than edible cat treats. Edible CBD products should only be used in addition to CBD oil.

CBD Oil Dosage for Feline Cancer

Just like the case with humans, there’s no ideal dosage of CBD that will work for all cats with cancer. There are simply too many factors, such as the severity of the symptoms, the benefits you’re looking to achieve, the weight of your cat, and the type of product you’re using.

As such, we recommend starting with the dose recommended by your product. From there, you can assess how your cat responds and gradually increase the dosage over the span of several days and weeks until the desired effects begin to occur. Be patient and consistent, as the effects of CBD can build up over time.

As a general rule of thumb, doses of 0.25–0.5 mg of CBD per lb of body weight are sufficient for cats. However, since cancer is such a debilitating condition, you may need to go beyond this dosage range. 

How To Give Your Cat CBD Oil

Although CBD oil can be simply added to your cat’s food, we highly recommend using the sublingual (under-the-tongue) method, or at the very least applying it directly to the mouth.

While your cat is unlikely to cooperate, this method of administration has greater benefits because the CBD can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels in the mouth. 

By comparison, oral products have notoriously low absorption because they have to pass through the digestive system.

CBD Oil vs. Edible Treats for Feline Cancer

Aside from tinctures, cat CBD products also come in other forms such as edible treats. Although such products are also beneficial, they are not nearly as effective as standard CBD oil due to low bioavailability (absorption).

Simply put, when CBD is ingested, much of it is lost in the digestive tract before reaching systemic circulation. In fact, research studies estimate that only about 6–19% of CBD that’s taken in an oral form reaches the blood (23, 24).

Due to this, it’s best to only use cat treats as an addition to CBD oil rather than a replacement.

CBD Oil vs. Standard Cat Cancer Treatments

Feline cancer is treated in a similar way to cancer in humans. Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer-related lumps or bumps and is the most likely to cure the disease.

Meanwhile, more aggressive types of cancer are typically treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. This includes lymphoma, the most common type of cancer in cats.

Unfortunately, the survival rate for cats undergoing these treatments is lower than with surgery, and treatment is focused primarily on improving quality of life rather than a cure. Additionally, the costs of all of these treatments are not cheap, and can easily cost upwards of $5000.

Although CBD has not been proven to treat cancer in cats or any other animal, it’s a much cheaper alternative. Besides, it can be used alongside standard treatment, especially for pet owners looking to ease the suffering or prolong the lives of their feline companions.

Can I Give My Cat “Human” CBD Oil?

You absolutely can use regular CBD oil for your pet. After all, the two main ingredients, CBD extract and carrier oil, are the same in both pet and human products.

Having said that, regular “human” CBD oil is much more potent than tinctures designed for cats. Due to this, we recommend paying close attention to the potency of your oil and using small doses.

Summing Up: CBD Oil for Feline Cancer

Thanks to ongoing research studies, CBD is beginning to gain recognition for its anti-cancer benefits both in humans and animals such as cats. 

While it’s far too early to say anything conclusive about CBD’s ability to slow the growth of cancer tumors, there is enough evidence to suggest that it can at least ease your cat’s suffering by reducing pain, nausea, and other symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy treatment.

As one final note, we recommend consulting your vet before giving your cat CBD. A qualified healthcare professional is not only the best source of health advice but will also know your cat well enough to make better recommendations for your particular case.

Referenced Studies:

  1. Torkelson, Carolyn J., et al. “Phase 1 clinical trial of Trametes versicolor in women with breast cancer.” ISRN oncology 2012 (2012).
  2. Sun, Chen, et al. “Polysaccharide-K (PSK) in cancer-old story, new possibilities?.” Current medicinal chemistry 19.5 (2012): 757-762.
  3. McKallip, Robert J., et al. “Cannabidiol-induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells: a novel role of cannabidiol in the regulation of p22phox and Nox4 expression.” Molecular Pharmacology 70.3 (2006): 897-908.
  4. Ligresti, Alessia, et al. “Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 318.3 (2006): 1375-1387.
  5. Aviello, Gabriella, et al. “Chemopreventive effect of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol on experimental colon cancer.” Journal of molecular medicine 90.8 (2012): 925-934.
  6. McAllister, Sean D., Liliana Soroceanu, and Pierre-Yves Desprez. “The antitumor activity of plant-derived non-psychoactive cannabinoids.” Journal of neuroimmune pharmacology 10.2 (2015): 255-267.
  7. Ward, Sara Jane, et al. “Cannabidiol inhibits paclitaxel‐induced neuropathic pain through 5‐HT1A receptors without diminishing nervous system function or chemotherapy efficacy.” British journal of pharmacology 171.3 (2014): 636-645.
  8. Johnson, Jeremy R., et al. “Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC: CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain.” Journal of pain and symptom management 39.2 (2010): 167-179.
  9. Parker, Linda A., Raphael Mechoulam, and Coralynne Schlievert. “Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis and its synthetic dimethylheptyl homolog suppress nausea in an experimental model with rats.” Neuroreport 13.5 (2002): 567-570.
  10. Vuolo, Francieli, et al. “Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma.” European journal of pharmacology 843 (2019): 251-259.
  11. McPartland, John M., and Patty Pruitt. “Sourcing the code: searching for the evolutionary origins of cannabinoid receptors, vanilloid receptors, and anandamide.” Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics 2.1 (2002): 73-103.
  12. Pyszniak, Maria, Jacek Tabarkiewicz, and Jarogniew J. Łuszczki. “Endocannabinoid system as a regulator of tumor cell malignancy–biological pathways and clinical significance.” OncoTargets and therapy 9 (2016): 4323.
  13. Adinolfi, Barbara, et al. “Anticancer activity of anandamide in human cutaneous melanoma cells.” European journal of pharmacology 718.1-3 (2013): 154-159.
  14. Picardi, Paola, et al. “Anandamide inhibits breast tumor-induced angiogenesis.” Translational [email protected] UniSa 10 (2014): 8.
  15. Pyszniak, Maria, Jacek Tabarkiewicz, and Jarogniew J. Łuszczki. “Endocannabinoid system as a regulator of tumor cell malignancy–biological pathways and clinical significance.” OncoTargets and therapy 9 (2016): 4323.
  16. Leweke, F. M., et al. “Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.” Translational psychiatry 2.3 (2012): e94-e94.
  17. Xiong, Wei, et al. “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors.” Journal of Experimental Medicine 209.6 (2012): 1121-1134.
  18. Booz, George W. “Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 51.5 (2011): 1054-1061.
  19. Parker, Linda A., Erin M. Rock, and Cheryl L. Limebeer. “Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids.” British journal of pharmacology 163.7 (2011): 1411-1422.
  20. Deabold, Kelly A., et al. “Single-dose pharmacokinetics and preliminary safety assessment with use of CBD-rich hemp nutraceutical in healthy dogs and cats.” Animals 9.10 (2019): 832.
  21. CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Critical Review Report. (WHO).
  22. Russo, Ethan B. “The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis: no “strain,” no gain.” Frontiers in plant science 9 (2019): 1969.
  23. Zhornitsky, Simon, and Stéphane Potvin. “Cannabidiol in humans—the quest for therapeutic targets.” Pharmaceuticals 5.5 (2012): 529-552.
  24. Millar, Sophie A., et al. “A systematic review on the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in humans.” Frontiers in pharmacology 9 (2018): 1365.

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