Does Medical Marijuana REALLY Stop Seizures in Dogs?
What’s the truth? Is medical marijuana really a cure for seizures in dogs? Will is help cure seizures as a result of all causes, from epilepsy to brain tumors?
Well in this Dr Alex Answers episode I discuss this as well as the use of marijuana in dogs with anxiety and pain.
And so my final question is, does medical marijuana help dogs suffering with seizures and can it be used to treat anxiety and pain? So this question comes from an owner who's got a really old terrier. So they're 17 years old and for a few days they look like they've developed vestibular disease but also their dog has been having seizures, they had kind of low-level seizures very intermittently but that seems to have increased as well and really they're wondering what about medical marijuana? So they've discussed other options with the vets, but they've heard that medical marijuana for pets might help their dog with seizures and with some of the other problems that they’ve got going on.
What is the cause of the dogs seizures?
So there's a lot going on in this question, but I'll start by saying that I've got multiple articles on all about causes of dog seizures as well as some key facts about epilepsy in dogs that will definitely be worth checking out for any dog that's having seizures.
So older dogs are much less likely to be epileptic, especially if it didn't start when they were younger but they're still definitely worth checking out. And I've also got a comprehensive guide to vestibular disease in dogs, so that would be something to check out and I'll put links to those articles in the show notes to this podcast.
Is marijuana poisonous for dogs?
Now regarding the use of medical marijuana to control seizures in dogs. Now there are a few points here to consider. So marijuana, or the product to use is the first one. Now marijuana contains the psychotropic chemical THC and that can result in toxicity. So it's not massively toxic but if we're using it in concentrated forms especially, or if we're giving large amounts, that can result in toxicity.
Can marijuana stop seizures?
Now the alternative to that is CBD oil. Now that does not contain THC and it's actually the CBD that may have an anti-seizure action and also CBD is legal in many more parts of the world compared to medical marijuana. Although that situation is changing and it's something to really keep an eye on of what the legislation is in your area. So CBD may be legal, but it may still be illegal depending on where you are and when you're listening to this.
So I've spoken about CBD oil in dogs at length before when it comes to use to control seizures as well as it’s use in anxiety and pain. Now at the moment there are investigations underway into how well CBD can control seizures in epileptic dogs who haven't been well controlled by other drugs. So that's a small subset of dogs who are having seizures. So we don't yet know the answer to this although maybe the signs are promising and certainly in children and in people, there have been some encouraging studies done.
But, we need to remember that what is true for this small subsection of dogs who are having seizures will not necessarily relate to dogs who are having seizures due to other reasons.
For example, if a dog is having seizures because their liver is failing or because they've got a brain tumour than CBD may have no effect at all.
So my last point would be, we shouldn't ignore drugs that we already have that are known to work for something or compared to something that may or may not have an effect. So CBD may be something to consider, medical marijuana may be something to consider, but there are other options as well, and we shouldn't ignore those.
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