Is CBD Good for Dogs with Seizures?

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As anyone with a beloved pet knows, a pet is more than just a pet – it’s a part of the family. Because our pets are a part of our family, and because we love them deeply, we want to ensure that we do all we can to care for their health and promote their well-being. As is the case with people, pets can struggle with any number of health conditions – from common ailments to more serious and chronic issues.

Dogs, in particular, are susceptible to a disorder that is also known to cause difficulty for people – epilepsy. The most common cause of repeated seizures in dogs is canine epilepsy. While there are a number of medications used to treat canine epilepsy, many of them can cause serious side effects. And even with the medication, research indicates that up to 30 percent of dogs with epilepsy continue to experience seizures. As a result, scientists, veterinarians, and medical researchers are continually looking for new ways to help treat this common condition in our beloved furry friends. CBD is currently being explored as one of those possibilities, which leads to the question: how, exactly, could CBD produce these beneficial effects in our pets?

How CBD Affects Pets

In many ways, our pets are obviously very different than we are. But in some surprising ways, our bodies function similarly. Pets, at least the mammal variety of pet (like a cat or a dog), have an endocannabinoid system just like people do. The endocannabinoid system was initially discovered by scientists who were conducting research as part of an attempt to determine why cannabis affects people in the manner that it does. The endocannabinoid system was discovered and was so named because “endo” is an abbreviation for endogenous (meaning something that originates inside the body) and cannabinoid (which is the term used to describe the various compounds that are responsible for activating the endocannabinoid system).

Cannabinoids, of which CBD is one of the most beneficial, occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Endocannabinoids, which are molecules naturally produced within the body, interact with and bind with cannabinoid receptors to activate them.

The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in helping to maintain homeostasis or internal balance of our bodies – and of our pet’s bodies as well. We can think of the endocannabinoid system almost as a balancing scale of sorts, making certain that we don’t have too much of one thing or another, and that our bodies remain in that “just right” zone. This maintaining of balance means regulating a variety of important functions, including metabolism, temperature, neurotransmitter and hormone secretion, and others.

The endocannabinoid system, in both people and pets, accomplishes its job of maintaining balance through various cannabinoid receptors that are located on the surface of cells and which monitor the conditions outside of the cell. Those receptors then transmit information to the inside of the cell to trigger the appropriate response to the outside stimuli.

When introduced into the body of either pets or people, cannabinoids like CBD stimulate the cannabinoid receptors in the same way as the body’s own endocannabinoids do. Essentially, CBD acts as a booster to the good work that the endocannabinoid system is already doing. Some of the good work that CBD has been proven to do in people consists of reducing the length and frequency of seizures in those who have epilepsy. CBD accomplishes this by interacting with the receptors in the brain that alter brain chemistry to reduce the effects of the seizure.

Investigating the Benefits of CBD in Epileptic Dogs

In fact, CBD has been proven so effective in treating epilepsy in people that an advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently unanimously recommended, in April, that Epidiolex, a CBD-based medication, be approved for use in the United States. As a result, in light of all of the benefits that are being discovered about CBD and particularly in light of its ability to help treat the symptoms of epilepsy in humans, questions have arisen as to whether or not it might also be helpful in treating epilepsy in dogs as well.

To begin exploring the possibilities of using CBD for treatment of epileptic dogs, the American Kennel Club recently funded a clinical trial study of the effectiveness of CBD for treating epilepsy in dogs. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study is intended to investigate what is being described as the potentially life-saving effects of CBD.

While that study is a larger-scale study, smaller-scale studies have also been conducted and have been promising. A recent study, conducted at Colorado State University, in which nine dogs were treated for epilepsy with CBD and seven in a control group were treated with a placebo, indicated that 89 percent of dogs who received the CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of their seizures[1]. “Promising and exciting” were the words used by Dr. Stephanie McGrath (who conducted the trial) to describe their findings from assessing the use of CBD for dogs with epilepsy.

What CBD Products Are Best for My Pet?

Like people, all pets are different. As a result, a certain dosage and product that might work well for one pet, might not be ideal for another. It can be a matter of trial and error to find exactly the right combination, but once you have done so, there can be a significant benefit to your pet’s overall health and well-being.

There are a variety of pet products offered. Palm Organix, for example, offers pet CBD in tincture form that can be administered orally (in much the same way that people consume it) as well as deliciously-flavored beef chew dog treats – each of which contains 2 milligrams of pharmaceutical grade, phytocannabinoid-rich, hemp oil with zero THC. Again, as with people, it is important to choose an organically sourced, quality-controlled, premium product that can effectively deliver the benefits you want for your pet, without any negative unwanted byproducts that you don’t. Begin your dog’s journey to better health and wellness today with CBD.