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cbd oil for epilepsy in dogs

The term CBD is shortened from cannabidiol [6] and it is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients found in marijuana, also known as the cannabis or hemp plant. Oil derived from the hemp plant is high in cannabidiol (CBD) but doesn’t cause the high for which one of the other prevalent active ingredients, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is known.

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What Canine Health Problems Can CBD Oil Treat?

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When it comes to the best CBD oil for dogs, Honest Paws offers a wide variety of choices. Their CBD oil is a great option for dogs with seizures [2] because you can adjust the dosage according to your dog’s weight and choose from additional benefits like mobility, anxiety relief, or immune support. Not only are their products organic and all-natural, but they are lab-tested to ensure safety and efficacy.

The medicinal forms are highly refined and of guaranteed quality. However cannabis oil that is bought over the internet is not regulated and so the levels of active ingredients cannot be guaranteed. There is also no way to know if there are other substances are in the oil. This may also mean you risk buying not a CBD (cannabidiol) oil but another cannabis oil which may have much higher levels of the THC part of the plant and which is illegal in the UK.

There has been a great deal of press recently about the use of cannabis oil for the treatment of human epilepsy, but what about cannabis oil for dogs with epilepsy? Medicinal cannabis oil (CBD Oil) mainly contains the active ingredient cannabidiol. This is not responsible for the “high” or psychoactive activity associated with cannabis use. However its use does have side effects such a drowsiness, diarrhea and decreased appetite. On the plus side it has been shown to reduce seizures in some epilepsy syndromes in children by nearly 40%. So is this an option for the treatment of epilepsy in our dogs?

There are two main medical licensed cannabis oils available. Sativex which is licensed in the UK for multiple sclerosis and Epidiolex which is licensed in the USA for epilepsy. Epidiolex has high levels of cannabidiol. Sativex has equal levels of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. Tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, has been linked to the more psychoactive ‘high’ properties that are associated with cannabis oil. This includes lightheadedness and anxiety in humans.

Cannabis oil and epilepsy.

The medication Epidiolex is currently being used in treating two forms of epilepsy in humans: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Both of these syndromes are rare and affect children. Neither have been recognised in dogs. They are mostly very difficult to treat and can lead to between 50 to 60 seizure episodes per day. Due to the number of seizures and the conditions themselves often the affected children suffer from developmental problems.

In contrast our epileptic dogs most commonly have idiopathic epilepsy. This develops as young adults and they usually have seizures at a much lower frequency than seen with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Epilepsy in dogs is thought to be linked to reduced seizure threshold of the electrical pathways in the brain and sometimes can be linked to genetics. Luckily epilepsy in your dog is usually well controlled with licensed medications such as Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide. There has currently been no clinical published evidence that cannabis oil for dogs is either a safe, necessary or effective treatment for epilepsy. Epilepsy in dogs is generally different to that seen with the syndromes treated with cannabis oil in humans so it is not a recommended treatment for your dog if they have epilepsy. However there is another oil with more promise!

McGrath acknowledges that the numbers are good, but she’s a little disappointed that they weren’t better. “We did have significant reduction in seizures in the treatment group as compared to the control group, but we didn’t quite hit our mark,” she says. The control group showed a 33% median reduction in seizures. “We really like to see a 50% reduction and we didn’t get there.” But she remains upbeat: “Hopefully this study has shown that CBD does have potentially anticonvulsant effects.”

McGrath’s recently led a small pilot study at CSU on the use of CBD to treat canine epilepsy.

Canine idiopathic epilepsy affects up to 5.7% of the pet dog population worldwide. McGrath, a neurologist and researcher at Colorado State University’s (CSU) Veterinary Teaching Hospital who says she’s frustrated at the lack of good options for treating it, thinks cannabidiols (CBD) might be one answer.

The results of that study, just published in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, are “promising,” says McGrath.

Her interest in the hemp byproduct was sparked when she started hearing anecdotal stories about the successful use of CBD in treating adult and pediatric epilepsy. When pet owners and veterinarians started calling her to ask if she knew of any studies going on at CSU about the use of CBD to treat pets, she started checking around: “Across the board, people were saying no.” They’d heard the anecdotal stories, McGrath said, but no one was doing the research.

So McGrath asked herself, “Could we be doing the research?”

The CBD product used in the study was derived from a hemp plant, which has 0.3 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),the psychoactive component of cannabis.