By Melissa Garcia
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A new study by Colorado State University in Fort Collins finds cannabis is helping to significantly reduce the frequency of seizures in epileptic dogs.
A university researcher spoke in Denver on Monday at a veterinary medical conference regarding the group’s latest study finding.
The hot topic drew a packed crowd with standing room only.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has been shown to help children suffering with seizures, so it may be no surprise to learn that epileptic canines can benefit from the marijuana ingredient too.
“Unfortunately, epilepsy is a fairly common condition in dogs,” said Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a CSU veterinary neurologist in charge of the study.
McGrath said in search of a better treatment for canine epilepsy, scientists have been studying the effects of CBD on seizure-suffering dogs. For some pets, she said, the pharmaceutical medications on the market fail to work or cause unmanageable side-effects.
“At this point, we don’t have great drugs to treat the disease. So we’re always searching for a newer better drug,” McGrath said.
In the pilot study looking at 16 pooch patients, nearly 90 percent of epileptic dogs had fewer seizures when taking the chicken-flavored oil, as compared to about 20 percent on placebo.
“Although really exciting results, it still has to be taken with a little bit of a grain of salt, because the power of the study is diminished when you don’t have a lot of dogs involved,” McGrath said.
Experts said a bigger study was needed in order to confirm and publish the findings. CSU recently received a substantial grant for that purpose and plans to move forward with the research.