Last updated on 20 May 2022
Can CBD Help With Seizures and Epilepsy in Cats?
- Seizures are one of the most common nervous system problems in cats that affect between 1% and 3 percent of the total cat populace (1 ).
- The information on seizures among cats are not available in the literature on the field of veterinary medicine. Therefore, the recommendations for treatment and diagnosis of seizures in felines are based on research information on humans and canines (2 ).
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has granted approval to Epidiolex which is a CBD medication for the treatment of seizures resulting from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome as well as Dravet disorder in human beings (3 ). It is important to note that the FDA has not imposed any limitations on the use of extra-label of Epidiolex for animals. However, pet owners must always seek advice from an animal veterinarian prior to prescribing Epidiolex or any other medication to their pet.
- Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine discovered CBD could help reduce seizures and regulate the brain’s rhythms Angelman syndrome, which is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder (4 ).
- Since the endocannabinoid systems (ECS) of mammals functions in a similar way (5 ) CBD’s effects on health that have been demonstrated in animal and human studies, could also be effective in cats. However, it is recommended to consult an animal veterinarian prior to making use of CBD for cats suffering from seizures.
Why Cat Owners Are Turning to CBD Oil for Seizures in Cats
Research has shown CBD’s health benefits could be beneficial in the treatment of a variety of medical ailments. The conditions that are considered to be chronic include anxiety, anxiety, IBS, inflammatory digestive bowel disease (IBS) as well as cancer(6).
In the year 2018 in 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) approved Epidiolex which is a CBD medication that treats seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut as well as Dravet syndromes.
Epidiolex is the very first medication that was approved by FDA to treat the disease (7 ).
The Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994 (AMDUCA) permits the off-label (off-label) usage of human-derived drugs for animal models (8 ).
In the meantime it is worth noting that it is worth noting that the FDA has not imposed any restrictions on its use Epidiolex in the field of veterinary medicine.
However, prior to administering Epidiolex or any other medication to pets, pet owners should always consult a vet to get advice.
In a study in 2019 conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine discovered that CBD could help reduce seizures and help regulate the brain’s rhythms Angelman disorder (9 ).
Angelman syndrome can be described as a very rare disorder that affects nerve development.
The research was conducted using mice. However, considering that the endocannabinoid systems (ECS) in mammals functions in the same methods (10 ) CBD’s claimed beneficial effects could also be effective on cats suffering from seizures.
The ECS is a system that contains cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids within your body that regulates the body’s functions to ensure the state of homeostasis (balance).
Seizures are one of the most common neurological disorders (nervous system diseases) in cats, which affect between 1% and 3 percent of the total cat populace (11 ).
Epilepsy and seizures are not the same medical issues.
Epilepsy is a condition that lasts for a long time and is that is characterized by frequent epileptic seizures (12 ). A diagnosis of epilepsy requires at least two seizures that are unprovoked (13 ).
A seizure that is epileptic in and of itself is not a sign of a disease but rather a sign of irregular brain functioning (14 ).
The characteristics of seizures in cats could differ from those seen in dog. But the root causes of seizures are the same (15 ).
Unfortunately, information about the causes and alternatives to treat seizures among cats are scarce in the medical literature of veterinary medicine.
Therefore, guidelines for the treatment and diagnosis of feline seizures are based on research information on humans and canines (16 ).
CBD for Seizures: What the Research Says
CBD has been proven to have anticonvulsant effects in animal models, and has decreased the frequency of seizures in a few human research.
For instance researchers discovered the antiepileptic and antiseizure properties for CBD during generalized seizure (17 ).
Generalized seizures affect each side of your brain, and frequently result in the loss of consciousness.
Another study also had similar results. The study found that CBD decreased the proportion of animals having severe seizures of the tonic-clonic type (18 ).
Tonic-clonic (also known as grand mal) seizures can occur in two phases. The first is an onset of unconsciousness, that can last from between 10 and 20 minutes. Then, muscle contractions that typically last one to two minutes. (19 ).
The findings of the study also show CBD’s anticonvulsant properties. The research strongly suggests CBD as a potential therapeutic option for various types of epilepsies in humans (20 ).
Researchers from a study in 2017 believe that, in comparison to CBD, CBD shows a more specific anticonvulsant profile in animals (21 ).
The findings suggest that CBD could be effective in preventing generalized and focal seizures.
There aren’t any studies that specifically study how CBD affects CBD usage in cats suffering from seizures. The few studies that have been conducted on epilepsy and seizures were conducted mostly with animals and human subjects.
However, the beneficial effects of CBD usage in cats could also be similar because of the same methods in which the ECS operates in all mammals.
How CBD Works to Help With Seizures in Cats
CBD is a molecule that interacts with the body’s endocannabino system (ECS) via the receptors for cannabinoid. The two main receptors include CB1 as well as CB2.
For cats, CB1 receptors are prevalent in the nervous system and brain. In addition, CB2 receptors dominate those organs that are peripheral (including the organs of the endocrine system) as well as immune cells.
CB1 receptors play a role in the regulation of motor function, pain sensation and memory processing sleep appetite, sleep, and the mood (22 ).
When cannabinoids are activated, CB2 receptors trigger a reaction that combats inflammation. This reduces pain and damages in tissue (23 ).
The antiseizure properties are of CBD as well as cannabidivarin (CBDV) which are both antiepileptic cannabisoids, could be affected by their actions upon TRPV1 (transient potentiated receptor) which is a pain receptor.
TRPV1 is found in the epileptic brain regions. Research suggests that the suppression by TRPV1 within the hippocampus could be a novel method to prevent epileptic seizures (24 ).
The Pros and Cons of CBD for Cats
- Epidiolex is an CBD medication used to treat of seizures resulting from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet syndrome it is FDA-approved for humans. But, prior to applying human-derived drugs to cats, pet owners should speak with a vet first to get guidance.
- CBD is not addictive(25), making it safe for cats when given in veterinarian-approved doses.
- CBD-derived hemp products are accessible without prescription in a variety of countries. CBD cat products can be found in a variety of types, including drops or tinctures, CBD treats (soft chews or bites) capsules, salves.
- The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has not received any reports of adverse reactions resulting from pets given cannabis-based or other cannabis-related products (26 ). The only reports we received were those of accidental consumption from cannabis in pets.
- There are no extensive studies done specifically on CBD’s health benefits or its therapeutic use for cats suffering from seizures. There are no reports on CBD’s long-term effects on cats.
- It is important to note that the FDA has not endorsed any cannabis-based products for use on animals. Before you use CBD for pets, such as cats and dogs, you should consult with your veterinarian about various treatment options (27 ).
- It is believed that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to classify CBD as the Schedule I (28 )Substances that belong to this category are not considered to be medicinally effective however they have a significant potential for misuse (29 )
- In the state of California the veterinarians don’t have the legal authority to discuss cannabis usage with their clients (30 ). Cat owners must be proactive during consultations and inquire about cannabis.
- CBD can result in adverse drug interactions with prescription medications consumed by cats. The adverse effects of CBD can include diarrhea, fatigue dry mouth, fatigue, and decreased appetite (31 )
How CBD Compares to Alternative Treatments for Seizures in Cats
An article published in British Journal of Nutrition revealed that ketogenic diets high in triacylglycerols of medium chain (TAG) reached ketosis levels that were beneficial in preventing seizures in dogs suffering from epilepsy (32 ).
Dietary ketosis is high fat and low-carbohydrate diet. The MC TAG are fat acids that aid in ketosis, a process whereby the body uses stored fat to generate energy, instead of blood sugar.
They were fed with or MC TAG diet or placebo for three months, following the switch to a different diet was made for a further three months.
The results showed that the frequency of seizures and seizure frequency per month were significantly lower for the 21 dogs who completed the 12 weeks, compared to the dogs on the diet that was placebo (33 ).
Natural solutions, such as changing your diet are a great option for cat owners who wish to avoid the negative side effects that come with traditional prescription medications for seizures.
Certain herbal remedies, such as skullcap, passion flower and ginger, can aid in reducing the frequency of seizures.
Passion flower is utilized to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizures (34 ). It has been known to relax overactive nervous systems , which can cause seizures.
The flavonoids naturally found in skullcap could be the active ingredients that contribute to the anticonvulsant properties (35 ).
Like skullcap, ginger is a powerful anticonvulsant, according to the researchers of an experiment conducted on mice (36 ).
The research mentioned above was not conducted on cats. But, considering that it is believed that the ECS in mammals functions similarly The herbal remedies discussed could also be effective in cats suffering from seizures.
In addition, CBD in itself is an extract of the hemp plant which can also aid in seizures.
A study has identified cannabis as among the top commonly used herbs used to treat epilepsy (37 ). The antiepileptic components of cannabis are CBD (38 ).
Recent research has confirmed CBD that it has anticonvulsant and antiepileptic effects (39 ).
It is possible to find CBD products that are infused with love flowers, skullcap, or ginger, which are designed to calm dogs.
The potent mixture with CBD benefits and the medicinal properties of these herbs could be beneficial to treat seizures in cats.
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil Products for Cats
CBD oil is an extremely powerful Cannabis Sativa extract which may be extracted from cannabis or hemp (also known as cannabis).
CBD extracts are available in a variety of kinds of oils or forms. Full-spectrum CBD oil is a complete blend of the cannabinoids, vitamins and fat acids (like omega-3 and omega-6) and flavonoids, terpenes and various other substances that are naturally found in cannabis.
Terpenes are the natural compounds present in cannabis plants. They provide the plants with unique flavor and aroma. Flavonoids give cannabis plants their vibrant hues.
Broad spectrum CBD oils are full spectrum oils that do not contain THC.
Broad-spectrum oils have only tiny quantities of THC (less than 0.3 percent) which makes them perfect for people who don’t desire the psychoactive effects of THC.
In contrast, CBD isolates contain only pure CBD. This is by far the most pure and most powerful version of CBD.
Whichever type of oil pets choose to use it is important to select only top-quality CBD items for their pets to ensure reliability and potency.
Here are some helpful tips for pet owners who want to purchase and test CBD for their pet.
- Select CBD oil derived from hemp that is 100% natural organic, non-GMO, and organic. Be aware that the majority of credible CBD companies grow their hemp on their farms or purchase their hemp from certified producers.
- Find out the state laws applicable to the region in which CBD will be purchased and used. Although medicinal cannabis (medical cannabis) can be legalized in a number of states, it is still prohibited at the federal level.
In addition, CBD is legally available in all states of the USA provided it is less than 0.3 percent THC.
- Find CBD cat products made by companies that employ CO2 extraction as a method of extraction.
CO2 methods utilize carbon dioxide pressurized to efficiently as well as safely remove all the important compounds from hemp plants.
- Make sure that you are sure that the CBD hemp oil product is made using natural carrier oils. Hemp seed oil MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides made from coconut oil) and extra-virgin olive oil are all natural carrier oils, which also possess the therapeutic properties.
- Request third-party lab tests, as well as the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for each CBD product.
The COA contains all other active cannabinoids that are present in the product. The certificate also identifies that the item is containing additional additives, preservatives or other contaminants, such as herbicides and fungicides.
- Follow the dosing guidelines of the manufacturer that are printed on the label of the product. Importantly, prior to giving CBD to your cat, check with your veterinarian to get advice and guidance.
CBD Oil Dosage for Seizures in Cats
CBD dosage is largely based on the body weight of the cat and diet, as well as health conditions and age. There hasn’t been a standard dose that has been recommended for medical conditions for both animals and humans.
Additionally, various cats CBD oil brands have different dosage guidelines. In addition, the majority of producers of CBD pet products offer dosage values within a range.
Holistapet For instance, Holistapet is a vet-approved CBD dosage guidelines for cats and dogs. The company suggests between 0.25 mg of CBD (a regular dosage) up to 0.5 mg of CBD (a high dosage) per kilogram of body weight (40 ).
Regular doses are advised to maintain health and wellness and to boost immune system functioning. The dose is believed to treat skin issues as well as appetite, and offer relief from pain.
Regular doses are suitable for mild anxiety and stress, digestive problems and nausea moderate joint and joint inflammation and for allergies.
However, the high dose can be beneficial for chronic arthritis, severe pain, joints, issues with mobility, as well as epileptic seizures.
The high dose is advised for severe nausea and vomiting extreme anxiety, tumors and cancer-related symptoms.
Other companies recommend between 1 and 5 mg of CBD every 10 pounds of a cats bodyweight.
But, when it comes to you are introducing CBD oils to the diet of a cat, being cautious and avoiding overdosing is an effective strategy.
Beginning with a small dosage start gradually increasing your dose of CBD until the desired effects are obtained.
If you experience cat seizures, you can increase the dose of CBD oil gradually until you see an improvement in the dosage.
Positive reactions could indicate that the next seizure may be less intense or frequent as the ones before them.
A diary or record of seizures in the cat and their causes is an effective instrument for vets to assess the cat’s development.
How CBD Oil Can Be Given to Cats
CBD drops or tinctures of oil are packaged in bottles with droppers, which allow precise dosing. Cat owners can gradually introduce CBD drops, drop by drop in their pet’s diet using the tinctures.
Tinctures are also administered under the tongue of the cat (sublingually), or applied to the gums using the tip of a finger.
Apart from offering CBD cats treats sprinkle CBD capsules’ contents CBD capsules’ contents on the cat’s food or drink is another method of providing CBD to cats by mouth.
In addition, CBD topicalssuch as balms, salves and tinctures that can also aid. CBD topicals can be applied transdermally on the skin of the cat’s ears, or onto the paws of the cat to allow it to lick.
Cats benefit from CBD oil by massaging. Massage these CBD-infused products on the body of a cat can provide calm and improves functioning of the body.
A report from The American Veterinary Medical Association says there is a lack uniformity in epilepsy research regarding definitions, classifications, and the outcomes of treatment (41 ).
So the task force was formed comprised of human and veterinary neurologists and neuroscientistsas well as other experts from all over the globe.
This was the very first instance that several neuroscientists and veterinarians have come to an agreement on the most important characteristics of epilepsy for both dogs and cats.
Every breed of cat or dog may suffer from seizures and eventually develop epilepsy. As per Ned Patterson, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM (SAIM), the task force will work to develop consensus statements regarding the treatment for seizures in an emergency (42 ).
Dr. Patterson of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine is a specialist in seizures, genetics, as well as molecular medical.
CBD has been proven to have potential for healing in a variety of animal and human studies. But, there are no enough studies that are scientifically based on CBD and seizures in cats.
In the meantime, until more research is conducted to prove that the use of CBD can be effective in reducing seizures in cats, pet owners must make use of CBD with cautiousness.
If you are you are using CBD to treat pain or to reduce the severity and the frequency of seizures all actions in the direction of CBD administration and dosage should be overseen by an experienced veterinarian who is knowledgeable about cannabis or CBD usage.
- Hazenfratz, M., & Taylor, S. M. (2018). Cats with recurring seizures: A diagnostic method – is it epilepsy idiopathic?. The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 20(9), 811-823. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098612X18791873
- USFDA. (2018, June 25). FDA approves First Drug Comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of Epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
- UNC Neuroscience Center. (2019, Sept 30). CBD May Alleviate Seizures, Benefit People With Neurodevelopmental Conditions. Retrieved from https://www.med.unc.edu/neuroscience/cbd-may-alleviate-seizures-benefit-people-with-neurodevelopmental-conditions/
- Silver R. J. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals: an open access journal published by MDPI, 9(9), 686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686
- Xiong, W., Cui, T., Cheng, K., Yang, F., Chen, S. R., Willenbring, D., Guan, Y., Pan, H. L., Ren, K., Xu, Y., & Zhang, L. (2012). Cannabinoids reduce neuropathic and inflammatory pain by blocking a3 glycine receptors. The Journal of experimental medicine, 209(6), 1121-1134. https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20120242; Linares, I. M., Zuardi, A. W., Pereira, L. C., Queiroz, R. H., Mechoulam, R., Guimaraes, F. S., & Crippa, J. A. (2019). Cannabidiol exhibits an inverted U-shaped dose response curve in a mock exam for public speaking. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999), 41(1), 9-14. https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2017-0015; De Filippis, D., Esposito, G., Cirillo, C., Cipriano, M., De Winter, B. Y., Scuderi, C., Sarnelli, G., Cuomo, R., Steardo, L., De Man, J. G., & Iuvone, T. (2011). Cannabidiol decreases intestinal inflammation through the regulation of the neuroimmune axis. PloS One, 6(12) 28159. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028159; Ivanov, V. N., Wu, J., Wang, T., & Hei, T. K. (2019). The inhibition of ATM Kinase increases the levels of death caused by g-irradiation and cannabidiol in human glioblastoma cell lines. Oncotarget, 10(8), 825-846. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26582
- USFDA. op. cit.
- USFDA. (2020, May 8). Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994 (AMDUCA). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/acts-rules-regulations/animal-medicinal-drug-use-clarification-act-1994-amduca
- UNC Neuroscience Center. op. cit.
- Silver R. J. op. cit. Hazenfratz, M., & Taylor, S. M. op. cit. International Cat Care. (2018, Aug 20). Epilepsy/seizures in cats. Retrieved from https://icatcare.org/advice/seizures-epilepsy-in-cats/
- Mayo Clinic. (2020, May 5). Epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20350093
- International Cat Care. op. cit. Moore S. Seizures and epilepsy in cats. Vet Med (Auckl). 2014;5:41-47. https://doi.org/10.2147/VMRR.S62077
- Hazenfratz, M., & Taylor, S. M. op. cit. Jones, N. A., Hill, A. J., Smith, I., Bevan, S. A., Williams, C. M., Whalley, B. J., & Stephens, G. J. (2010). Cannabidiol exhibits antiepileptiform and antise properties both in vitro and the vivo. The journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, 332(2), 569-577. https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.109.159145
- Jones, N. A et al. op. cit.
- Mayo Clinic. (2019, June 18). Grand mal seizure. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/grand-mal-seizure/symptoms-causes/
- Jones, N. A et al. op. cit.
- Perucca E. (2017). Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?. Journal of Epilepsy Research, 7(2), 61-76. https://doi.org/10.14581/jer.17012
- ECHO. (2017, April 18). Retrieved from https://echoconnection.org/look-endocannabinoid-systems-cb1-cb2-receptors/
- Turcotte, C. Blanchet Turcotte C, Blanchet Laviolette M, Flamand Turcotte C, Blanchet MR, Flamand. Turcotte C, Blanchet MR, Flamand N. CB2 receptor as well as its function in the regulation of inflammation. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016;73(23):4449-4470. DOI:10.1007/s00018-016-2300-4
- Naziroglu M. (2015). TRPV1 Channel: A Potential Drug Target for Treating Epilepsy. Current neuropharmacology, 13(2), 239-247. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159×13666150216222543
- Nora Volkow. NIDA. Researching Marijuana for Therapeutic Purposes: The Potential Promise of Cannabidiol (CBD). National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2015/07/researching-marijuana-therapeutic-purposes-potential-promise-cannabidiol-cbd. July 20, 2015. Accessed January 31, 2020.
- US FDA. (2020, March 11). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
- DEA. Drug Scheduling. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling#:~:text=Schedule%20I%20drugs%2C%20substances%2C%20or,Schedule%20II
- Peachman, RR. (2019, April 11). Should You Try CBD for Your Pet? Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/should-you-try-cbd-for-your-pet/.
- Mayo Clinic. Bauer, B. (2018, Dec. 20). What are the advantages of CBD — and is it appropriate for use? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700
- Law, T. H., Davies, E. S., Pan, Y., Zanghi, B., Want, E., & Volk, H. A. (2015). A randomised study of a medium-chain TAG diet for dogs suffering from epilepsy idiopathic. The British journal of nutrition, 114(9), 1438-1447. https://doi.org/10.1017/S000711451500313X
- Law, T. H et al. op. cit. Nassiri-Asl, M., Shariati-Rad, S., & Zamansoltani, F. (2007). Anticonvulsant properties of the aerial parts of the extract of Passiflora incarnata in mice the involvement of benzodiazepine as well as opioid receptors. BMC Alternative and complementary medicine, 7, 26. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-7-26
- Liu, W., Ge, T., Pan, Z., Leng, Y., Lv, J., & Li, B. (2017). Epilepsy: the effects of herbs on. Oncotarget, 8(29), 48385-48397. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16801
- Hosseini, A., & Mirazi, N. (2014). The acute administration of the ginger (Zingiber officinale Rhizomes) extract in a an intravenous pentylenetetrazol-infusion timed mouse model. Research in epilepsy, 108(3), 411-419. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2014.01.008
- Liu, W et al. op. cit. Devinsky O, Cilio MR, Cross H, Fernandez-Ruiz J, French J, Hill C, Katz R, Di Marzo V, Jutras-Aswad D, Notcutt WG, Martinez-Orgado J, Robson PJ, Rohrback BG, et al. Cannabidiol is a pharmacological agent with a potential therapeutic value in neuropsychiatric epilepsy and related disorders. Epilepsia. 2014;55:791-802
- Colasanti BK, Lindamood C, 3rd, Craig CR. The effects on marihuana cannabinoids on the activity of seizures in cobalt-epileptic rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1982;16:573-78; Jones NA, Hill AJ, Smith I, Bevan SA, Williams CM, Whalley BJ, Stephens GJ. Cannabidiol exhibits antiepileptiform and antise properties both in vitro and in the vivo. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2010;332:569-77; Jones NA, Glyn SE, Akiyama S, Hill TD, Hill AJ, Weston SE, Burnett MD, Yamasaki Y, Stephens GJ, Whalley BJ, Williams CM. Cannabidiol has anti-convulsant properties in animals that have models of temporal lobes as well as partial seizures. Seizure. 2012;21:344-52
- Holistapet CBD Oil Dosage Chart For Dogs & Cats. Retrieved from https://www.holistapet.com/cbd-dosing-chart-for-pets/
- Larkin M. (2015, Nov. 17). Neurology experts join forces on epilepsy: a task force of 26 members created seven papers that were deemed consensus. Retrieved from https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2015-12-01/neurology-experts-put-heads-together-epilepsy