Is cannabidiol (CBD) effective to ease separation anxiety?

Heliyon. 2024 Feb 5;10(3):e25851. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e25851. eCollection 2024 Feb 15.


CBD is the primary noneuphorizing and nonaddictive compound of cannabis. It has recently been shown to possess considerable therapeutic potential for treating a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders in humans, such as anxiety. In addition to humans, domestic cats are provided with such endocannabinoid system with which CBD interacts almost in the same manner researchers think it does in humans. However, little has been known about the clinical implications of CBD in the animals. Here the effects of CBD administration upon separation anxiety were evaluated in ten healthy cats. The animals experienced brief separation from their caregivers twice, once following the administration of CBD 4.0 mg/kg/day over a 2-week-period and once following the administration of sunflower oil alone as placebo. Upon the caregiver's return from a brief absence, response of the animal can be categorized into these three categories: reduced stress one with contact-exploration balance with the caregiver (the Secure Base Effect), remaining stressful and keeping proximity excessively, and avoidance behavior or approach/avoidance conflict (disorganized behavior). When receiving placebo administration, the cats spent more time in physical contact with the caregiver or, in avoidant behavior than when receiving CBD administration whereas they spent more time in proximity to the caregiver when receiving CBD administration than when receiving placebo (ps < 0.01). With the brief separation from their caregivers, the cats became distressed, and signs of such distress was more evident after the placebo administration whereas the Secure Base Effect was more distinct in the results of SBT when receiving CBD administration than when receiving placebo. The results suggest anxiety-reducing effects of CBD in cats.

Keywords: Anxiety; Attachment; CBD; Cannabidiol; Domestic cat; Fear; Separation.