Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CO recently issued the results of a study finding cannabidiol (CBD) oil can help significantly reduce the frequency of seizures in epileptic dogs. These findings are timely given the current trend of using CBD oil for pets to manage pain, anxiety, seizures and other conditions.
The pilot study found almost 90 percent of 16 dogs had fewer seizures versus the 20 percent given a placebo. This may not have been surprising to researchers, given that in June 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved CBD oil to treat two rare types of epilepsy in humans, both of which are resistant to other types of medication. Experts point out a larger study is needed to confirm and publish a finding that CBD oil affirmatively helps ease epilepsy in animals, yet such findings may soon be forthcoming given a substantial grant to CSU for just such a study.
Many are using CBD oil for pets for the same reason: available medications do not work or cause undesirable side effects. CBD oil is derived primarily from hemp and is not psychoactive as it generally contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the derivative in marijuana that causes its well-known, mind-altering “high.” CBD oil for pets is generally administered orally, although there are some topical treatments, and there are few, if any, known interactions with other medications a pet may take at the same time.
CBD oil provides relief to pets when the cannabinoids in the oil interact with the body’s receptors that regulate pain, anxiety and nausea. CBD oil can help —
- Minimize epileptic seizures;
- Ease anxiety;
- Reduce chronic inflammation & autoimmune disease;
- Support heart health;
- Decrease nausea and other side effects of prescription medications;
- Support the immune system and overall wellness; and
- Reduce the development and spread of cancer cells.
Thus, while some animals may not respond to CBD oil, many owners have noticed it reduced their animal’s pain symptoms, eased separation anxiety or made thunderstorms less traumatic for their pets.
Unlike many prescription medications, at proper dosages, CBD oil has minimal harmful side effects, such as liver, kidney or gastrointestinal damage. The most significant potential side effect is toxicity if the CBD oil contains too much THC (for this reason, animals should never ingest marijuana), essentially making the animal “high,” during which time animals may have trouble standing or eating, although life-threatening risks are extremely rare.
For this reason, owners should consult with their veterinarian prior to administering CBD oil and take care to give their pets the correct dosage. The FDA does not regulate CBD oil, however, therefore it is important that owners ensure they know how the CBD oil they purchase is manufactured, as oil with too much THC could be toxic to their pets (the FDA has issued warnings regarding CBD products contain little, if any, CBD). Consequently, owners should only buy CBD oil that comes with a certificate of analysis outlining from what part of the marijuana plant the oil was obtained, its CBD purity and THC content.