Does CBD Oil Interact With Phenobarbital In Dogs


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Can I Give My Dog CBD Oil And Phenobarbital? Phenobarbital is a common prescription seizure drug your vet may give your dog. With CBD pet treats and products quickly rising in popularity, many Cannabidiol (CBD) and the barbiturate phenobarbital carry a high risk of interacting. It’s wise to avoid using CBD if you’ve been prescribed Luminal. The first time you witnessed your dog having a seizure was likely a terrifying and scary experience. One option your vet may suggest is Phenobarbital for dogs…

Can I Give My Dog CBD Oil And Phenobarbital?

Phenobarbital is a common prescription seizure drug your vet may give your dog. With CBD pet treats and products quickly rising in popularity, many dog owners are aggressively on the hunt to find a more natural solution (with fewer side effects) to stop their puppy from having seizures.

Medical journals show CBD is an effective & potent alternative to phenobarbital. Further results show a significant increase in effect & potency in combining both CBD with trace amounts of THC didn’t show to be helpful. The most recommended CBD is broad-spectrum tincture oil.

Two broad spectrums CBD oil tinctures we recommend inlcude.

Below, we’ll look at how several dogs owners managed to ween their puppies off the phenobarbital. Additional information we link to and discuss are clinical trials, veterinarians specializing in CBD and neurology, CBD dosage, and more helpful information to have the best experience for your dog with CBD.

CBD Vs Phenobarbitol – Why Dog Owners Are Considering CBD over prescription meds?

After scrolling through my Facebook feed, a question caught my eye and piqued my curiosity about giving CBD to your dog – for a specific reason.

The gentleman asking CBD questions first realized there are SO many types of CBD products to choose from and then he listed a few CBD brands he was aware of and was hearing people talk about.

He then described the size of his dog and revealed his fur baby was on Phenobarbital.

He and his vet were in the process of weening the pup off of the Phenobarbital and was heavily considering starting his pup on CBD.

At his wits ends, he then admitted he was at the point and willing to try anything.

CBD got his attention because of all the wonderful stories he was hearing and the positive effective reports of using CBD for their puppy.

Not only was this gentleman concerned about his puppy’s abnormal episodes triggering randomly, but he was also noticing a lot of fear and worry after an extreme violent shaking episode.

After reading through all the “sales” based Facebook comments, most of the people attempting to help this gentleman with his puppy were quick to push him to buy their affiliate CBD brand, so they could get a quick commission.

I too admit to being a wee-bit guilty of sharing information about a CBD brand I personally recommend, however, I was noticing everyone’s comments were not too helpful.

The concerned gentleman mentioned that he was wanting to start giving his puppy CBD oil “without” discussing this decision with his veterinarian.

This part of the story GRABBED my attention and my immediate concern was wondering if there are any potential negative effects that could occur from mixing CBD and phenobarbital together?

Were there any potential drug interactions between the two that would cause a potentially life-threatening event? I had no idea, and it was very strange that no one else seemed to be interested in the potential dangers of mixing medications. So I started doing some research.

What are medical journals saying about mixing CBD with phenobarbital?

My initial Google search popped up quite a few CBD brands explaining everything except the answers I was looking for.

Some of these lower quality CBD brand blogs were going around the horn asking the basic questions and avoiding the critical question of potential drug interactions of CBD and phenobarbital.

Some of the questions these other bloggers were asking were questions you could easily look up, including, what is phenobarbital, what is CBD, how does phenobarbital work in dogs, what are the side effects of phenobarbital, and they even where blogging about the price of phenobarbital going up.

This had nothing to do with legitimate research in mixing CBD with phenobarbital.

Also, I was noticing, none of these blog posts were persistently avoiding answering the basic question.

Is it safe and effective to give you puppy both CBD and phenobarbital at the same time?

Or should you completely ween them off of the phenobarbital before you give them CBD?

One blog post I found casually said there are no reports of negative effects of using both CBD and phenobarbital or any other vet prescribed medication.

My problem with this statement on this particular low-quality CBD brand blog was there were no links to any medical journal supporting their casual claims, it was just another CBD blog saying things without linking to authoritative research.

After vigorous research, I finally came across a few medical journals providing the information and research I was looking for.

The first medical journal I came across mentioning CBD and phenobarbital was The Journal Of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics (J Pharmacol Exp Ther.).

In this medical journal, they compare both the effects of both CBD by itself, THC by itself, and the mixing CBD with other drugs (phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, ethosuximide, and trimethadione).

The results found CBD to be effective and potent.

Additional results showed the potency of mixing CBD and phenobarbital to significantly increase.

However, CAUTION – when mixing CBD with any of the other of these listed drugs did in fact reduced the effects and potency.

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Should I try full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate?

Further concerning questions asked included, are there any risks with using a full-spectrum CBD oil that includes THC? What is the worst that could happen to my dog tried a CBD oil that also included THC?

In the medical journal referenced above, there is no indication that THC was helpful.

One blogger went into extensive detail in how she was able to ween her puppy off of phenobarbital.

She also gave some insight as to why you should not give you puppy THC is because dogs are very sensitive to THC.

Therefore a quality broad-spectrum CBD might be ideal because there is zero THC in it, but, it will include a large variety of other helpful cannabinoids that will make the CBD oil work more effective.

Whereas, CBD isolate brands are mostly ineffective, due to the bell-shaped dosage response curve you must overcome through providing an exact precise dosage, to even get a minimal effect.

Anyways, in her blog, she references Dr. Stephanie McGrath who is a veterinarian specializing in neurology and advocates for CBD use in veterinary practices.

Published in the Journal Of The American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. McGrath led a clinical trial study in assessing the effects of oral CBD giving in addition to conventional treatment.

Results from this clinical trial showed 89% of dogs receiving CBD experienced a significant return to normal function.

How much CBD do I give my dog?

When starting your puppy on CBD, it’s recommended you start with the lowest dose possible and then keep increasing the dosage every week or two until you’ve achieved the results you’re aiming for.

It’s best to discuss the best CBD dosage for your puppy with your veterinarian.

Although my preliminary research indicates there are no drug interactions, it’s best to verify the research with a licensed professional.

Reports from Dr. McGrath’s clinical trials listed the exact procedure and dosage of CBD-infused oil giving to dogs.

In the group of dogs receiving CBD, the dosage was 2.5 mg/kg [1.1 mg/lb] two times a day for 12 weeks.

  • A specific example of how much CBD to give a 12-pound dog is 13.2 mg.
  • For a 55-pound dog, you’ll need to give them about 60.5 mg of CBD.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how many milligrams (mg) of CBD is in each drop, enter in the numbers into the CBD Dosage Calculator and it will tell you exactly how much CBD is in each drop of your CBD oil.

Does CBD help your dog with worry, nervousness, or unease?

Yes. CBD is shown to help bring the mind back to normal function.

If you notice your puppy feeling uneasy, nervous, tense, jittery, etc., CBD can have the powerful potential to help them return to feeling optimal levels of normal.

How do you calm a dog down after an episode?

The best way to calm your dog down is to remain calm. When you remain calm, your dog tends to reflect your behavior patterns and follow your lead. If they look fearful, you might want to sit down and spend a few moments comforting them until they feel better.

Most of the time, a little treat after an attack can help take focus their mind in a better direction.

What’s the best CBD oil for your dog?

The best CBD oil to give your dog are the brands that put extra care and caution into producing the absolute best quality possible. Yes, there are a good handful of good CBD brands out there. However, one main concern I’ve noticed about different CBD brands is the consistent quality factor.

Some CBD brands have had problems, not necessarily creating an initial high-quality CBD oil, but, the real challenge appears to be in the long-term maintenance of that high-quality standard.

In some states, like Idaho, where consistency is a critical factor, it’s highly recommended that you choose a CBD brand that can consistently create a high-quality broad-spectrum CBD oil, that won’t run the risk of popping positive for THC.

Currently, Idaho law is very strict and essentially says if the CBD oil has any little bit of any trace amounts of THC, then they consider it illegal marijuana.

Another primary reason I like Joy Organics is because of the thorough “complete” lab testing on all batches.

These strict lab testing protocols not only reveal the safety, but also lets you know whether or not it’s a CBD isolate product or a true broad-spectrum CBD oil.

Does CBD Interact With Phenobarbital (Luminal)?

CBD may interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize phenobarbital.

This interaction is considered risky and should be avoided whenever possible.

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Phenobarbital (Luminal) is a long-acting anticonvulsant drug used to treat most types of seizures. It’s one of the oldest used anticonvulsant drugs still in use today.

Phenobarbital and CBD require the same enzymes for metabolism and may therefore interact.

Taking both substances together will increase the chances of experiencing side effects — some of which may require medical attention.

Table of Contents

Does CBD Interact With Phenobarbital (Luminal)?

Yes. CBD can interact with phenobarbital.

CBD can increase the level of phenobarbital in the blood by slowing its metabolism and potentiating some of the side effects.

The most concerning side effects possible from this interaction are liver damage, hyperactivity, confusion, and lapses in memory.

CBD interacts with phenobarbital in two ways:

A) Increase in the Effects of Phenobarbital (Agonistic Interaction)

CBD and barbiturates exert similar effects on the body. Both compounds have an inhibitory action on the central nervous system — causing users to feel calm and relaxed in normal doses and sedated in higher doses.

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If two central nervous system depressants are combined, the sedative action could become too strong — leading to side effects.

B) Slowed Elimination (Metabolic Competition)

The cytochrome P450 enzymes are responsible for metabolizing most of the drugs in the body. Several drugs may use the same enzymes for metabolism, and taking them together can cause these drugs to compete against each other for the said enzymes. This causes their metabolism to slow down.

The enzymes CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP2E1 are responsible for metabolizing phenobarbital in the body. CBD also gets metabolized by CYP2C19 and CYP2C9 too, as well as other enzymes, including CYP3A4.

Because of the overlap, it’s possible that taking CBD and phenobarbital together will result in both substances competing for metabolism via the CYP450 enzymes — leading to slowed metabolism and elimination of both compounds.

Similar Medications: CBD & Barbiturates

Phenobarbital is classified as a barbiturate. CBD and barbiturates all share similar risks for interaction and side effects. It is used for treating seizure disorders and is used as a sedative and hypnotic.

Here’s a list of similar medications that share a similar level of risk when combined with CBD:

  • Amobarbital (Amytal Sodium)
  • Butabarbital (Butisol Sodium)
  • Mephobarbital (Mebaral)
  • Pentobarbital (Nembutal Sodium)
  • Secobarbital (Seconal)

Is It Safe to Take CBD and Phenobarbital (Luminal) Together?

No, CBD and phenobarbital are not safe to be taken together.

Using CBD and phenobarbital together can have a high risk of interaction. CBD can raise phenobarbital levels in the body to unhealthy levels.

If you’ve been given a prescription for phenobarbital, it’s wise to speak to your doctor about using CBD or any other supplements first. Your doctor can assess your individual level of risk based on other health factors, family history, and underlying health conditions to determine if it’s safe to use CBD or not.

Is CBD A Viable Alternative to Phenobarbital (Luminal)?

While CBD doesn’t even come close to the potency of phenobarbital, there’s plenty of evidence that it can support many of the same disorders.

Many people turn to CBD or other non-toxic and non-addictive substances first before moving on to strong pharmaceuticals like Luminal. In many cases, CBD offers enough relief to avoid using phenobarbital. CBD is less specific and less potent than phenobarbital, so it may require a few days of treatment before seeing improvements.

CBD has received approval for use in the treatment of two seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Studies have shown that using CBD as an adjunct in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome decreased their seizures significantly [1].

CBD’s sedative effects on the nervous system have been shown to induce better sleep in users suffering from sleep disorders [2].

However, it may not be useful in severe cases of seizure disorders that need stronger drugs like phenobarbital.

What is Phenobarbital (Luminal)?

Phenobarbital is a prescription-only anticonvulsant drug belonging to the barbiturate class. It’s one of the oldest anticonvulsants still in use today. Luminal (the most common brand name for this medication) is used to treat various kinds of seizure disorders.

Phenobarbital (Luminal) Specs:

Drug Name Phenobarbital
Trade Names Luminal, Epitan, Gardenal, Hypnobarb, Phenoseize, Pheno, Donnatal, Phenobarb, Phenohytro
Classification Barbiturates
CYP Metabolism CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2E1
Interaction With CBD Metabolic competition, Agonist
Risk of Interaction High

What Does Phenobarbital (Luminal) Do?

Phenobarbital is a long-acting barbiturate and is used as an anticonvulsant, sedative, and hypnotic. It’s used to treat most types of seizure disorders, with the exception of absence seizures (it could make them worse).

Phenobarbital may cause sedative and hypnotic effects by acting on the polysynaptic midbrain reticular formation, which controls CNS arousal.

Phenobarbital works by increasing the amount of time the chloride ion channel remains open. It does this by interacting with gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA) receptor subunits.

Because of this, phenobarbital can increase the flow of chloride ions into the neuron, decreasing the excitability of the postsynaptic neuron. Hyperpolarizing this postsynaptic membrane decreases the general excitation of the postsynaptic neuron. It makes it harder for it to depolarize the neuron, causing the threshold for the action potential of the postsynaptic neuron to increase.

Phenobarbital stimulates GABA to create this hyperpolarization. It also directly blocks excitatory glutamate signaling, causing hypnotic and anticonvulsant effects. This ability increases the threshold of seizure and reduces its spread from a seizure focus.

Phenobarbital may also inhibit calcium channels, decreasing the release of excitatory transmitters.

Its use must be monitored very carefully as it can cause decreased levels of consciousness and decreased respiratory competency.

Side Effects of Phenobarbital (Luminal)

Phenobarbital can cause dependence and addiction. Phenobarbital is prone to abuse following long-term use.

Stopping the drug abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, nausea, restlessness, etc. This can be avoided or reduced by lowering the amount used very slowly over a long period.

It may also increase the risk of suicide. It is not recommended for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding. It must be used with caution and in low doses in users with poor liver or renal function. It is contraindicated in severe respiratory depression, hypersensitivity, and porphyria.

Side effects of Phenobarbital (Luminal)

  • Ataxia
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dysarthria
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Hypocalcemia
  • Irritability
  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Mental dullness
  • Memory lapse
  • Nausea
  • Nystagmus
  • Osteomalacia
  • Paradoxical excitement, hyperactivity in younger patients
  • Paresthesia
  • Rash
  • Respiratory depression
  • Restlessness
  • Rickets
  • Vertigo
  • Vomiting

Key Takeaways: Is it Safe to Take Phenobarbital (Luminal) With CBD?

It’s unsafe to take CBD with phenobarbital as they have a high risk of interaction. CBD can slow down the metabolism and elimination of phenobarbital — making it more potent and increasing the risk of side effects.

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Take these two drugs together only if recommended by your prescribing physician, and never take them on your own accord. In such conditions, side effects may be reduced by using a minimal dosage of both drugs. If you experience any unusual side effects after using phenobarbital and CBD together, seek medical attention immediately.

CBD has been approved to treat two seizure disorders, but its use in treating other seizure disorders like phenobarbital is a topic that needs more research.

Phenobarbital for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Natural Alternatives

The first time you witnessed your dog having a seizure was likely a terrifying and scary experience. Whether its a full body grand mal seizure , or a localized petit mal seizure, it doesn’t look pleasant. But once you’ve learned more about dog seizures, you will realize that they are not painful for your dog, though you probably still want to prevent them.

One option your vet may suggest is to put your dog on Phenobarbital.

So is it worth it to put your dog on this drug?

Table Of Contents

What is Phenobarbital?

Phenobarbital is a generic name for a type of barbiturate drug. Barbiturate drugs have been around for many decades; they were widely used in humans in the 1960s and 1970s to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.

For dogs, Phenobarbital is commonly used to treat seizure disorders such as epilepsy. It is a very effective drug and also inexpensive compared to the other drugs with the same purpose.

Phenobarbital can be given to your dog daily to prevent seizures, but can also be administered to your dog to stop seizures in progress.

Phenobarbital is also available under the brand names Luminal® and Solfoton®.

How does Phenobarbital work?

Seizures often occur when there is a change in brain activity, like when sleeping or waking up.

Phenobarbital works by reducing the neuron activity in the dog’s brain – think of it as a central nervous system depressant. At the same time, Phenobartial increases the natural brain chemical called GABA, a neurotransmitter that blocks nerve impulses.

As a result, the dog feels more tranquil and relaxed after taking Phenobarbital.

Dosage of Phenobarbital for dogs

The FDA has not approved Phenobarbital for veterinary use, but it is still widely used. You must follow your vet’s dosage recommendation (usually based on the dog’s weight, severity, and frequency of the seizures) and instructions carefully.

You can only get a prescription for Phenobarbital from a DEA-licensed veterinarian since it is a controlled substance.

In general, Phenobarbital comes as a tablet to be given to your dog every 12 hours with or without food.

Missing a dose can result in your dog having seizures. Overdose can cause depression in the nervous system. Therefore it is essential to give Phenobarbital to your dog as prescribed and instructed by your vet.

Blood tests by your vet are essential every 2-6 months to monitor the level of Phenobarbital in your dog’s blood to make sure your dog is taking the proper and safe dosage.

Side effects of Phenobarbital in dogs

While Phenobarbital is a relatively safe medication, side effects can occur. Side effects to watch out for include:

  • Agitation
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased thirst or appetite
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Liver damage (long-term use)
  • Loss of coordination
  • Restlessness
  • Sedation
  • Weight gain

Phenobarbital can cause liver damage (such as scarring in the liver) after prolonged use (over three months). In rare cases, it can even cause liver failure, which is why frequent blood tests are necessary for your vet to monitor the liver function.

How does Phenobarbital interact with other drugs?

Phenobarbital is avoided or used with extreme caution in dogs suffering from:

  • Addison’s disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory problems
  • Existing liver disease

The following medications can have interactions when combined with Phenobarbital:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Opioids
  • Phenytoin
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Carprofen (Rimadyl)
  • Rifampin

The effect of Phenobarbital can either be increased or decreased when combined with many other drugs, including Keppra for dogs.

You should always consult your vet if your dog is taking one or more medications before being put on Phenobarbital to avoid potentially harmful side effects.

Are there any natural alternatives to Phenobarbital?

The natural alternative with the most potential is CBD. The FDA recently approved a CBD drug (Epidiolex) for people with rare forms of epilepsy that are not treatable with conventional seizure medications.

A small 2019 study at Colorado State University found that CBD reduced seizures in most dogs when combined with anti-seizure medications like Phenobarbital.

The best part is that the side effects of CBD in dogs are relatively minimal even at extremely high dosages.

The Factor that will improve your dog’s chance of success with CBD are to use a product with an appropriate dose of CBD for your dog’s weight, generally above 0.45mg/lb twice a day for oils placed in the mouth, and more for CBD treats or oil that’s swallowed, as less is absorbed that way.

Relievet CBD dog oils and freeze-dried CBD treats for dogs are designed to make it safe and easy to provide an effective dose of CBD for dogs between 1 – 200lbs.

If you decide to explore CBD for your dog, we suggest you do it under the guidance of your vet. This is especially important if your dog is already on seizure medications, as they shouldn’t be stopped abruptly.

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