Catnip and CBD (cannabidiol) are two popular supplements for felines. But what exactly are the differences between them? Can CBD get your cat “high” like catnip?
Let’s explore the distinctions between these two cannabis-derived products and their effects on cats. Read on to learn whether CBD is simply “weed for cats” or something different altogether.
Table of Contents
What is Catnip?
Catnip is a minty herb from the Nepeta cataria plant that has a potent effect on cats.
The key active compound is called nepetalactone. When cats sniff, eat, or roll in catnip, it binds to receptors in their brain causing euphoric effects.
These effects may include:
- Intense pleasure and relaxation
- Playful, excitable behavior
- Sensory stimulation
- Purring, drooling and vocalizing
- Head shaking and head rubbing
The stimulant “high” from catnip usually lasts about 10 minutes. Catnip is not addictive and has no serious side effects. Most cats have a strong innate response to catnip.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of over 100 active compounds found in cannabis plants. Unlike other cannabinoids like THC, CBD has no intoxicating properties.
CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help regulate various functions like mood, pain, appetite, and immune response.
Potential benefits of CBD include:
- Reduced anxiety and pain
- Anti-seizure effects
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Anti-nausea effects
- Stimulated appetite
- Anti-cancer benefits
CBD is increasingly popular for both humans and pets. But it does not cause a mind-altering “high” like marijuana or catnip.
Can CBD Oil Get Your Cat High?
No – CBD is non-psychoactive and will not get your cat “stoned.” Here’s why:
❌ CBD oil should contain little to no THC (less than 0.3%), the compound responsible for highs.
🧠 CBD does not bind directly to cannabinoid receptors in the brain like THC and catnip.
🙂 Effects are subtle and therapeutic rather than mind-altering.
🐈 Made for pets, not people – safe potency for cats.
While hemp and marijuana are related plants, quality CBD supplements are formulated specifically for pets and should not have intoxicating effects.
How Do The Effects Compare?
Catnip and CBD work very differently on cats:
|Mental state||Euphoric “high”||No high, subtle calming|
|Behavior||Playful, excitable||Relaxed and tranquil|
|Use||Occasional recreational||Daily supplemental|
So while catnip causes a short-lived giddy high, CBD induces a gentle sense of calm. Catnip is for occasional fun, while CBD helps manage ongoing issues.
Can Cats Take Both Together?
There are no known safety issues with giving cats both catnip and CBD. However, their combined sedative effects may intensify.
It is best to avoid giving CBD and catnip together until you know how your cat responds to each one individually.
Monitor your cat closely if trying them together. Make sure they don’t become overly drowsy or lethargic. Adjust dosage if needed.
Are Some Cats Unaffected by Catnip?
Yes, about 20-30% of cats seem unaffected by catnip. There are a few possible reasons:
- Genetic predisposition – not all cats inherit the sensitivity
- Olfactory issues – some cats cannot smell it well
- Breed tendencies – Persians, Ragdolls and Bengals are often susceptible
These cats can likely still enjoy CBD oil safely. Genetics should not affect how CBD interacts with your cat’s endocannabinoid system.
Can CBD Help Cats With Catnip Sensitivity?
For cats overly sensitive to catnip’s intense effects, CBD may help mediate their reaction.
Some effects of CBD that may counteract catnip sensitivities include:
- Anxiety and stress reduction
- More balanced mood and behavior
- Decreased hyperactivity
- Normalized digestive function
Under veterinary guidance, CBD could allow highly reactive cats to enjoy catnip more safely.
The Bottom Line – Two Tools for Feline Wellness
In summary, CBD and catnip provide entirely different experiences for cats:
- Catnip causes a short-term euphoric high
- CBD offers longer-lasting therapeutic relief
View catnip as an occasional treat for fun. Use CBD judiciously to manage chronic issues like pain, anxiety, seizures, etc.
Talk to your vet about whether trying organic CBD for your cat is appropriate. With proper dosing, it could enhance your kitty’s quality of life.
So rest assured CBD is not just “weed” for cats. While both derived from cannabis, CBD offers health benefits without the mind-altering effects.
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