New Study Connects CBD to Seizure Reduction in Dogs

The results of a recent pilot project run by Colorado State University neurologist Dr Stephanie McGrath to determine the effect of CBD on dogs that suffered epileptic seizures were promising, said the author of the study. Seizures can be caused by a variety of health conditions, or a chronic issue that comes up throughout their lives, and epilepsy is something that around 5.7% of dogs will have.

The reasoning behind the study was sound. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound that can be extracted from the hemp and cannabis plants – the same family of plants that marijuana comes from.

However, CBD can be extracted in a way that does not contain any THC, the psychoactive compound present in marijuana.

As such, CBD has been completely legal to purchase, manufacture and consume since the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills were passed to legalize hemp and hemp products, such as CBD oil. One of the reasons why it was legalized earlier than marijuana is that CBD has been found to offer many of the same medical benefits as marijuana but without the psychoactive effects of THC.

Some early trials found that CBD medication could be used to reduce seizures and the damage they cause in humans who have epilepsy. These studies found that patients with epilepsy had the frequency and severity of their seizures reduced by taking CBD oil. In rare cases, it even eliminates entire symptoms.

seizure reduction in dogs. Photo by Burst from Pexels
Seizure reduction in dogs. Photo by Burst from Pexels

However, CBD has typically been used as a last resort in cases where stronger medications either failed to treat seizures or had side effects too severe to be viable. One of the benefits of CBD is that it has very few mild side effects, if any. The compound is readily available as an oil, and there are supplements on the market such as Joy’s CBD Dog Treats that are specially formulated for dogs.

Those studies on the effects of CBD on humans with epilepsy formed the basis of the theory on which Dr. McGrath formed her pilot study to investigate the effects it had on dogs with the same condition. The results that her study found were significant.

For this study, Dr. McGrath tested nine dogs with epilepsy, to which she administered CBD oil. Another seven dogs were part of a control group, and all animals were required to stay on traditional anticonvulsant medications to control their seizures. While the results did not meet a 50% effectiveness threshold to be considered solid proof, it did find that 89% of the dogs who took CBD saw a reduction in seizures.

For some dogs, the reduction was significant. The study found that the effectiveness increased with a greater concentration of CBD in the dogs’ systems. The results were very encouraging, and more in-depth research has been suggested to seriously look into the benefits of CBD in dogs who are epileptic.

Clinical trials are currently underway to further explore the effectiveness of CBD in dogs that have epilepsy, and to determine the optimal dosage for best results.