CBD Helped My Cat’s Growth Disappear in Less Than 2 Months

Updated: Dec. 14, 2023

When I noticed a lump on my newly-adopted cat, I started giving him a CBD tincture twice a day. In less than two months, the growth was gone.

My mom and I adopted our cat, Salem, when he was about five months old. About a month after we brought him home, we noticed a lump growing underneath his armpit in the lymph node area.

My mom has been working in the cannabis industry for 10 years. (We live in Massachusetts where cannabis is legal for recreational use.) She’s a cannabis consultant and helps educate people on a personal level about its benefits and how to use it safely. She previously worked as a cannabis consultant in dispensaries, where she saw owners concerned about their pet’s tumors. She knew anecdotally that CBD often helped dogs and cats with tumors—her clients told her that their pet’s growths disappeared and their energy levels bounced back after regular CBD use.

So naturally, when we first noticed Salem’s growth, her first thought was that we should start administering CBD oils to him immediately. My mom also uses CBDs with THC for her own seizures. We know firsthand that they do work.

When we brought Salem to the vet’s office for a regular checkup, the vet confirmed that Salem did indeed have a lump. The vet said it was something to watch, but he wouldn’t know anything more without further testing. We decided against having the lump biopsied for cancer because of the expense—it can cost thousands of dollars.

After Salem went to the vet, the lump continued growing. So I started him on CBDs and hoped they would work for him. Learn more about CBD for cats.

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The treatment

I bought a CBD tincture from Humboldt Apothecary, based in Humboldt, California for Salem. It has a 20:1 ratio, which means it has 20 parts CBD to one part THC. For an animal that’s such a minuscule amount of THC. I know a lot of people get freaked out, thinking “I don’t want to get my animal high; I don’t want it to affect them.” But with our cat, there wasn’t any difference in his mood or behavior, although he did sleep pretty well. [Editor’s note: Humbold Apothecary does not specifically advertise its products as being safe or effective for pets.]

We gave Salem a dropper full of the tincture in his food twice a day. I spent about $50 on one bottle and it lasted for about two months.

A month after we started giving him the tincture, Salem’s growth had completely disappeared!

Since then, nine months later, we’ve continued to give it to him, just a smaller amount. Instead of twice a day, we give it to him just once, as a preventative measure and for his overall health.

What the experts say…

Reader’s Digest checked in with Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinary consultant for doglab.com for her thoughts. Though she never examined Salem, Dr. Ochoa says she suspects his growth was an enlarged lymph node, due to inflammation or a reaction to something as lymphoma is possible but very unlikely in a five-month-old cat. Dr. Ochoa goes on to note that similar, non-cancerous lumps can disappear on their own, but that the CBD can be used to help decrease inflammation that could have helped reduce the swelling if Salem had been fighting a sickness or had a bad reaction to something that caused the lymph node area to swell. Lumps like that can appear at any time on a pet.

What is CBD?

According to Dr. Ochoa, CBD or Cannabidiol is found in hemp plants. Unlike what many people think, CBD does not contain THC. THC is the compound found in marijuana responsible for the euphoric state, whereas CBD acts on receptors in the endocannibals system to help with homeostasis.

“The Endocannabinoid System is responsible for managing a variety of processes associated with the immune and central nervous systems, and helps maintains homeostasis in the body,” Dr. Ochoa says. “This system is considered a ‘mega-system’ as it affects all major body systems. There are two primary receptors in the endocannabinoid system: CB1 and CB2,” according to her. CB1 receptors are found in the brain and parts of the nervous systems responsible for pain, movement, or memory. They can also be seen to a lesser degree in the pituitary gland, immune cells, reproductive tissues, intestines, heart, lungs, bladder, and adrenal glands. CB2 receptors are found in immune cells, tonsils, and spleen, she says.

“CBD helps the immune system be able to shrink these cells,” she says. “While there are no studies to show this yet clinically, I have seen CBD oil help dogs who have cancer live longer than those who did not use CBD products.”

Preliminary research has shown the effectiveness of using CBD combined with radiation to treat cancerous tumors in people. According to a study published in Frontiers in Oncology, “The advantage of combining CBDs with other therapies is that this may allow simultaneous targeting of tumor progression at different levels while minimizing toxicities for these therapies relative to toxicities from higher doses when used as monotherapies.” Curious to learn more? Here are 13 facts about CBD you need to know.

Evidence shows CBD products can be used safely for dogs

Some studies show giving CBD every day for six weeks will show a mild increase in liver enzymes in dogs. This is also seen when giving your dog many traditional medications, Dr. Ochoa says. And pure CBD does not contain THC, meaning there won’t be any behavior changes in dogs when using a CBD product without THC. Learn more about CBD use in dogs.

“There’s been one small study, giving medical-grade CBD to maybe less than 20 cats (a very small sample size) to see if CBD would cause adverse effects,” says Jamie Richardson, BVetMed, Chief of Staff at Small Door Veterinary in New York City. “But honestly, we don’t have a lot of information there.”

Make sure to follow dosage and safety guidelines

Before giving your cat any type of CBD product, be sure to speak with your vet first. Always be sure to follow the dosage and safety guidelines that come with each product. If there is no dosage, ask your veterinarian for a recommended dosage of your CBD products, and always start with less than you think, recommends Dr. Ochoa. You may also want to experiment with different forms of CBD. “Some cats do not like the oils due to the taste, but they love the tasty treats,” she says. You’ll also want to know the warning signs a CBD product is fake.