Canada, 27 may, 2020 (The French Toast)- Seizure treatment was one of the first and most well-documented areas of cannabis medical research conducted on humans. The only use of CBD approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in fact, is Epidiolex, which is used for treating epileptic seizures.
So it’s only logical that epilepsy was one of the first conditions researched when veterinarians began exploring the effects that cannabis may have on man’s best friend.
A 2019 study published in the journal Pet Behavior Science showed that CBD treatment might be able to help dogs suffering from the symptoms of epilepsy, including seizures.
The most common form of seizures in dogs is called idiopathic epilepsy, and it is an inherited disorder, meaning it passes from a grown dog to its pups. Epilepsy is defined as two “unprovoked seizures” more than 24 hours apart, and idiopathic means the cause of those seizures is unknown.
It’s estimated that less than one per cent of the overall dog population suffers from seizures, but some breeds — such as Labrador retrievers and Belgian shepherds — have a higher rate. More than nine per cent of Belgian Shepherds, for example, suffer from epilepsy.
When animal researchers went to study the impact of CBD on epilepsy, they did a small trial on three dogs: a Labrador, a Papillon and a Chihuahua. It turns out that the CBD had a positive impact on the Labrador and the Chihuahua, but not on a Papillon.
It’s important to note that the study was done on a small sample size — just three dogs — and so can’t be applied widely to all animals or even all dogs. / Photo: GlobalP / iStock / Getty Images Plus GlobalP / iStock / Getty Images Plus
After eight weeks of CBD oil treatment, which the researchers mixed in with organic coconut oil, the owners of both the Labrador and the Chihuahua reported the number of seizures their dogs experienced had decreased and their dogs seemed more settled or calm. Both dogs also experienced other improvements, such as less aggression or banking.
The Papillon, though, didn’t experience a major decrease in seizures, despite it seeming more settled and sleeping more during the day.
The researchers who looked at how CBD may help with these seizures work at the Yamazaki University of Animal Health Technology in Japan. It’s important to note that the study was done on a small sample size — just three dogs — and so can’t be applied widely to all animals or even all dogs. Its wider-ranging importance lies in giving both pet owners and other researchers an initial indicator that CBD may be helpful for some other mammals in the same way it helps humans.