CBD For Seizures & Epilepsy
How CBD Helps Dogs with Seizures and Epilepsy
Our pets suffer from many similar diseases that we do. They suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, seizures, epilepsy, and more, just like their “hoomans.”
According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, epilepsy is the most common neurological disease seen in dogs, affecting up to five percent of the canine population. With almost 77 million dogs in the USA, that’s a lot of cases. Epilepsy affects one in every 100 dogs. These recurrent seizures result from an abnormality in brain function. The condition can be inherited or from an unknown cause.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, the second most prevalent phytocannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant derived from the hemp plant, and NOT medical marijuana. There are more than 80 active beneficial chemical compounds, but the two famous ones are THC and CBD.
THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, specifically the delta 9 compound that gets the user “high.” CBD does not get the user “high.” And, for the product to be categorized as CBD, there is a maximum limit of THC allowed down to zero THC.
CBD oil is currently studied for its potential role in easing the symptoms of many common health conditions, including anxiety and neurological disorders. Plus, it may benefit heart health and help relieve certain types of pain.
Epilepsy versus Seizures--What’s the Difference?
A seizure is a single occurrence, whereas epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by two or more unprovoked seizures.
Seizures in dogs can be anything from a twitch to uncontrollable violent shaking. Causes of seizures vary from dog to dog. They might be over quickly, or they might last for several minutes.
There are five types of generalized seizures in dogs:
- Tonic: Muscle contraction or stiffening that can last from seconds to minutes.
- Clonic: Involuntary rapid and rhythmic jerking or muscle contractions.
- Tonic-Clonic: Tonic phase followed immediately by a clonic stage.
- Myoclonic: Sporadic jerks or movements typically on both sides of the body.
- Atonic (drop attacks, non-convulsive seizures): A sudden loss of muscle tone causes the dog to collapse.
If you notice any of these symptoms, protect your dog’s head, and when he comes out of it, he will be scared and confused. Be comforting and supportive of your pet, and contact your veterinarian immediately.
There are many causes of seizures. Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in dogs and is an inherited disorder, but its exact cause is unknown. Other causes include liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, or toxins.
Aside from CBD being a popular natural remedy for epilepsy and seizures over the past few years, other common uses for dogs are pain management, arthritis, inflammation, anxiety, nervous system support, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and immune support, and palliative support care.
How Does CBD Help with a Seizure?
All our bodies, including our pets, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). It has only recently been realized and is now referred to as the most crucial body system you’ve never heard of.
This primary system in our bodies and our pets’ bodies is responsible for mood, pain, stress, anxiety, appetite, and more. It isn’t an isolated system like a nervous system but broadly dispersed throughout our bodies with its receptor sites that act as docking stations on every organ in the body.
The primary regulatory system acts as an internal balancing system keeping the body in balance.
CBD oil may help stop seizures by activating specific cells in these docking stations called CB1 receptors. These cells are found in the nervous systems and parts of the brain related to memory, helping them be in homeostasis or equilibrium. These CB1 receptors help calm the overactive neurons in your dog’s brain and improve seizure control. It has been shown to have anticonvulsant properties and might reduce the frequency and severity of the seizure.
How to Dose Your Dog for Seizures and Epilepsy
We recommend dosing your pet a minimum of twice a day to manage seizures. The dosage is dependent on the animal’s size. One caveat is all cases can vary significantly on the severity and frequency of the episodes. It will take some experimenting to find the proper dosage and frequency that works for your pet. Don’t be afraid of overdosing on your pet since there is no toxicity associated with CBD.
There is the medical marijuana version that you can purchase through a dispensary. You may want to investigate if this is the proper treatment for your dog. Some pet owners choose this option for very sick dogs or with very acute symptoms. If you select this option, you will have to be much more vigilant. There will be THC content that falls outside the general labeling of CBD. This version is considered a medical marijuana product.
Please read the manufacturer’s labeling for their recommendations, but this too will require some trial and error and experimentation to get the dosage right. You will want to work with your veterinarian for additional guidance.
Note: Some veterinarians aren’t always willing to discuss CBD — those who advise clients on using CBD for their pets can risk penalties and license suspension in some states.
What Type of CBD Do I Give My Dog?
When it comes to the best CBD product or medium for dog seizures, there are plenty of options out there. It is available in many forms: tinctures (alcohol-based extract), oil (uses a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil), CBD dog treats, capsules, honey with CBD, and topical ointments. Make sure the CBD product you choose is lab tested so you can be sure you’re giving your dog the safest and best opportunity for natural relief.
CBD is an excellent natural way to manage canine seizures and epilepsy, regardless of the medium of delivery you choose. It helps alleviate stress and anxiety, promotes restful sleep, or supports joint and hip pain in aging dogs. In addition to this, it makes for an ideal preventative health supplement for dogs.