Study Summary: Safety & Tolerability of Cannabinoids for Cats

Updated: Oct 9

Welcome to Higher Learning LV's Study Summary series. This series reviews and summarizes peer-reviewed research studies and was developed specifically for cannabis industry professionals. These study summaries provide easily digested quick reads for a variety of important issues regarding the commerce and chemistry of legal cannabis.

A 2021 study entitled "Safety and Tolerability of Escalating Cannabinoid Doses in Healthy Cats" that was published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery investigated the safety and tolerability "of escalating doses of orally delivered cannabis oils predominant in cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or both CBD and THC in healthy cats."


This was the first feline study "to explore the safety and tolerability of CBD and THC, alone and in combination, in a controlled research setting."


The Study

This study was designed as a placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial in which neither the participants nor the researchers were aware of which subjects were receiving placebo and which consumed cannabinoids, increasing the objectivity and accuracy of the data collected.


The clinical trial involved 20 feline subjects that were divided into five treatment groups, two of which received placebo and three of which were treated with "plant-derived cannabinoid oil groups" that included the cannabinoids CBD, THC, and a CBD/THC mix.

The clinical trial involved 20 feline subjects that were divided into five treatment groups, two of which received placebo and three of which were treated with "plant-derived cannabinoid oil groups" that included the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) alone, the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) alone, or a combination of CBD and THC (in a 1.5:1 ratio).


Each group received 11 escalating doses of each formulation (orally via syringe) while fasted, with three days separating the doses. Maximum doses included "30.5 mg/kg CBD (CBD oil), 41.5 mg/kg THC (THC oil), and 13.0:8.4 mg/kg CBD:THC (CBD/THC oil)."

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The Results

The study's authors noted that all dosage levels were safely tolerated by all cats. "All observed adverse events were mild, transient and resolved without medical intervention," observed the scientists.


The study's authors noted that all dosage levels were safely tolerated by all cats.

The study noted that cats receiving the CBD/THC combination product experienced higher plasma levels "of the cannabinoids and their metabolites, suggestive of a pharmacokinetic interaction."


"These findings will inform veterinarians of the safety profile of cannabinoids, particularly when considering the potential therapeutic use of CBD in cats or recognizing clinical signs associated with accidental exposure to THC-containing products," concluded the study's authors.


View the original study.


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