A recently published study suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) oil may help treat or prevent seizures in dogs. The study was published in the journal Pet Behavior Science by Chie Mogi and Takaaki Fukuyama from the Yamazaki University of Animal Health Technology in Japan. Apparently, dogs and humans may have this in common.
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Research studies have looked into the effects of CBDs on various health issues and have found enough that CBD oil may helpful. This includes seizures. However, there have not been many studies conducted in animals (other than pre-clinical research on lab animals, perhaps). Will veterinary medicine follow the same course as (some) clinicians have gone?
The present study was a small case study, yet the magnitude of the effects was significant. Basically, 3 dogs (1 Labrador Retriever, 1 Papillon, and 1 Chihuahua) received hemp-derived CBDs 2x a day and efficacy was assessed every 2 weeks for 8 weeks. Scientists relied on owner reports to measure efficacy. In 2 of the 3 animals owners reported a decrease in either the frequency, severity or both, of seizures. The owner of the Papillon reported no change. Owners of the other 2 dogs also reported that their dogs slept longer and were less anxious, common side effects of CBDs in humans according to verywellhealth.com.
CBDs may help dogs with other ailments as well. In one study dogs treated with CBD oil helped ameliorate their osteoarthritis. This study had 22 dogs and used a randomized, placebo-controlled, owner and veterinarian double-blind, cross-over trial. The ability of CBD oil to help with osteoarthritis is still being debated in the research community. So far, studies in humans have not yet found conclusive evidence to support CBD oil as a valid treatment for osteoarthritis. However, that has never deterred folks from using it.
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Indeed, with the rise in CBD awareness, people have been turning to the oil for the treatment of all kinds of diseases, from cancer to autism to acne. This rise in public acceptance has outpaced scientific research. Pet owners may feel that it is okay to give their dogs CBDs due to a (mis)perception of its safety and efficacy. Many cannabis companies make CBD-infused products for pets. However, there is hardly any evidence for the safety or efficacy of CBDs in the treatment of anything in animals. Nor do we know whether long-term use of CBDs in dogs is safe for the animal. And, due to federal law, veterinarians risk losing their licenses if they recommend marijuana-based products like CBD.
Notwithstanding the publications referenced above, there is still very little research about CBDs for dogs. While CBD-infused pet treats are becoming widely available (in certain states), they may have no medicinal benefit for pets. Worse, cannabis-based products may be harmful to pets. There are some aversive side effects of CBD use in humans, so it is logical to assume, until otherwise, that pets may suffer as well. For now, I would recommend adhering to that old adage "Buyer Beware".