In recent years, CBD has risen rapidly in popularity as a supplement for humans, appearing in everything from lotions to liquids to capsules. While there are a lot of benefits that people purport CBD to have, one of the most interesting claims is that CBD can help reduce seizure activity in people with seizure disorders and epilepsy.
As CBD has risen in popularity for use in people, many companies have begun investing in CBD products for the pet market as well. You’ve likely spotted CBD for dogs and cats in online shops and in stores, which may have led you to wonder if CBD might also benefit cats with seizures.
Here’s what science has to say.
Does CBD Help With Seizures in Cats?
There are very few studies on cats with seizures and even fewer studies focus on CBD use for relieving seizures in cats. This makes it extremely difficult to know how beneficial CBD may or may not be for cats with seizures. Some small studies have indicated that CBD may be something that can be of benefit to cats with seizures.
Anecdotally, many people report CBD helping to relieve their cats’ seizures. Some people administer it daily and report that it keeps seizures from occurring, while others may administer it during or immediately after seizure activity.
CBD and the FDA
CBD is an extract from cannabis that lacks the THC that leads to feelings of being “high”. Because of its relationship to cannabis, CBD is not legal in all states, so it’s important that you check the legality in your area before you purchase it for your cat.
The FDA considers CBD a supplement, so they do not monitor things like dosages and strengths. Because it is not FDA-approved, companies are extremely limited in the claims they can make of their CBD products. Because it is not a medication, very few vets will recommend or prescribe it, so it may be necessary to talk to a holistic vet if you’re interested in using CBD for your cat’s seizures.
Although the FDA doesn’t consider CBD as a whole to be a medication, they did approve a CBD-based medication in 2018 called Epidiolex. This medication is used for treatment-resistant seizures and is not widely used for most seizure disorders. It is approved for use in humans, but there is a legal precedent for veterinarians prescribing human medications to animals as off-label use.
Concerns with CBD Use in Cats
Since CBD oil is branded as a supplement and very few studies have been done on its use in animals, there are a few concerns associated with its use. The primary concern is that no safe range of administration has been set, and it’s unknown if there are long-term concerns associated with CBD use in cats.
Because it is a supplement, the strength of CBD can vary between products and even between lots of the same product. This means that your cat may not consistently be receiving the same dose of CBD, even if you’re administering the same amount each time. The lack of standardization and knowledge of the use of CBD are the two main reasons most traditional vets won’t prescribe it.
CBD oil has shown great promise in managing seizures in cats. However, less than 3% of the population of domestic cats suffer from seizures, so it’s extremely difficult to know just how effective it may be. There are many anecdotes that praise the efficacy of CBD oil in managing seizures for cats, but very little is known for sure.
The FDA approved a CBD-based medication for managing seizures in humans in 2018, so this medication may be promising for cats with seizures as well. Although, most people won’t have access to this medication, and most vets won’t prescribe it at this time due to its cost and relative newness on the market. More long-term studies need to be done to better establish the safety and efficacy of CBD oil in managing seizures for cats.
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