Unlike some areas of cannabis, CBD is receiving a lot of interest from the scientific community for its ability to combat seizures in both humans and dogs.
The science looks highly promising
The FDA recently made its first approval of a CBD drug Epidiolex for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome–two types of severe epilepsy that often affect children. A second cannabis-based treatment is now being developed using CBD-V.
In dogs, a randomized study from Colorado State University has shown that a dose of 2.5mg of CBD per kg of body weight is able to reduce seizure frequency and intensity when compared to a placebo.
While many more studies are required to make firm conclusions, trials like this show a clear correlation between blood CBD levels and reductions in seizure frequency, with no adverse behavioral effects reported by owners.
Read: How do you stop a dog from having seizures?
Current options aren’t good enough for many dogs and owners
Part of the excitement about CBD is due to the inadequacy of many currently accepted seizure treatments.
Pharmaceutical drugs like phenobarbital and potassium bromide can have serious adverse side effects like liver toxicity and blood cell loss. Once courses of a medication begin, they’re also usually lifelong.
In addition, researchers estimate that as many as 40 percent of canine epilepsy cases are drug-resistant. When a condition is classed as drug-resistant, it means that at least two different drugs have been tried and failed.
Another issue with traditional anticonvulsant drugs is that they’ve been known to lose effectiveness without a clear reason.
CBD, on the other hand, is showing similar and reliable results in a significant number of dogs, with a preferable side effect profile.
CBD offers a new alternative
A large reason behind CBD’s ability to treat dogs without causing nasty side effects is the way it interacts with a part of the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Also found in humans and most other mammals, the ECS is part of the body’s regulating mechanism, capable of reducing inflammation across major organs.
It’s by stimulating the ECS that CBD is able to change brain activity, altering the signals between neurons and reducing the chance of a convulsion.
No one is currently viewing CBD oil as a complete cure for seizures. But used in combination with other types of professional care, like prescription medications and regular scans, it does open up new, less intrusive treatment pathways for dogs in need.