Have you been wondering about using CBD for dogs with arthritis? While research is still limited in this area, there are promising signs. Dogs taking CBD saw improvement in pain and mobility after one month in recent study. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common ailment in dogs, affecting as many as 25 percent of all canines over the course of their lives. If your pooch has lost some of the spring in her step, seems to have more stiffness after regular activity or shows a reluctance to do things she used to enjoy, OA may be the cause.
CBD for dogs with arthritis: What does the science actually say?
Have you been wondering about using CBD for dogs with arthritis?
There’s a lot of buzz around using CBD as a treatment for arthritis in dogs. However, it’s important to separate the rumors from real science and anecdotal owner experiences.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common claims surrounding CBD for canine arthritis, and whether there’s evidence to back them up.
First, what exactly is CBD?
CBD is the non-psychoactive extract of the cannabis plant. Once extracted, CBD is often infused into oils, balms, or treats to help deliver the extract to the body.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of many cannabis compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds are known to have soothing and therapeutic effects. In fact, a majority of CBD products actually contain several cannabinoids, with CBD being the primary ingredient. Other popular cannabinoids include CBC, CBG, and CBN.
CLAIM: CBD can make dogs high – No
In the pet industry, all CBD is extracted from hemp plants, not marijuana. This helps guarantee that CBD products for dogs cannot cause a high. To remain federally legal, the hemp plants themselves must contain less than 0.3% THC, which is the cannabinoid primarily responsible for creating a psychoactive effect when inhaled or eaten.
CLAIM: CBD for dogs is illegal – No
Since amendments to the Federal Farm Bill in 2018, hemp containing less than 0.3% THC (otherwise known as Industrial Hemp), can be legally grown, sold, and possessed. This allows both humans and dogs to safely experience the benefits of hemp-made CBD products.
At a state level, there are a few specific additions or alterations to CBD laws. For example, in Idaho, CBD products must contain 0% THC and not 0.3%. Ask your veterinarian about specific laws in your state that they might be aware of.
CLAIM: CBD can oil cure canine arthritis – NO
First, it’s important to note that there is no cure for arthritis – there are just different treatment options to help manage pain and inflammation and keep dogs active.
The increased popularity of pet CBD has led to an influx of rave reviews and social media posts from owners who have tried CBD with their dogs. Among these, perhaps the most common observation is that taking CBD has helped their pup to improve their mobility and reduce joint pain.
While these reports are highly encouraging, it’s important to remember that they usually describe CBD’s effects on symptoms, not arthritis itself. Some studies have reported beneficial effects lasting for a short while after CBD treatment is stopped (see below).
If you are considering using CBD for your dog, please tell your veterinarian and always inform them about how much and how often your dog takes it, along with all other medications or supplements your dog takes.
CLAIM: CBD is anti-inflammatory – There is some evidence to suggest there are anti-inflammatory benefits.
Indications are that CBD does have an anti-inflammatory effect on many dogs. It’s able to do this by interacting with receptors (called CB1 and CB2 receptors) in a part of dogs’ bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is found in almost all mammals, including humans. Scientists believe the ECS is responsible for maintaining balance inside the body, releasing hormones, and stimulating responses to modulate how organs respond to external stimuli. The ECS is known to modulate pain signals and the activation of inflammation.
Through the CB receptors, CBD affects how the ECS activates pain and inflammatory responses, helping dogs to experience reduced pain and swelling.
CLAIM: CBD can help alleviate common symptoms of canine arthritis – Yes, for some pets
Because the major types of canine arthritis are inflammatory conditions, CBD might be able to help reduce associated pain, swelling, and mobility issues in many dogs.
While studies on CBD’s ability to treat symptoms of arthritis in animals are very limited – and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is advocating for more well-controlled clinical research and for manufacturers to seek approval from the FDA to assure safety and quality – there are some encouraging signs.
For example, in 2018, a study by Cornell University tested CBD’s effects on dogs with osteoarthritis and found it clearly improved levels of comfort and mobility when compared to a placebo.
In 2020, a similar study found that CBD was associated with reduced joint pain and quality of life in dogs, while a veterinary study published in the journal Pain also found CBD decreases canine pain while increasing mobility.
The bottom line
With so many dogs developing mobility issues, joint pain, and arthritic conditions as they age, the demand for treatments is growing. Managing canine arthritis is best accomplished by taking a multi-pronged approach that includes:
- Regular pain management, including NSAIDs
- Regular, low-impact exercise like walking or underwater treadmill use
- Maintaining an ideal weight and body condition
- Supplements that include anti-inflammatory properties such as CBD can be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan but they are not intended to be the only or even primary approach to managing arthritis.
While research into CBD benefits in animals is relatively limited, there is starting to be evidence that CBD products can provide arthritis relief by reducing inflammation and pain in dogs with joint issues, resulting in increased mobility.
When considering CBD for their dog, owners should look for pet-specific products made from Industrial Hemp. Always talk to your veterinary team whenever starting any new treatment, supplement, or medication with your dog.
CBD For Dogs? New Research Backs Canine Cannabis Use For Osteoarthritis
Brett Hartmann gives his dogs Cayley, a six-year-old-Labrador Retriever drops of a cannabis based . [+] medicinal tincture to treat hip pain and anxiety. New research supports CBD for canine osteoarthritis.
AFP via Getty Images
Is your dog suffering from canine osteoarthritis? A new study suggests that CBD may help dogs with this painful arthritic condition.
Canine osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition marked by pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility. And it can leave dogs lethargic, irritable and reluctant to play, run or jump. Unfortunately, the condition is all too common in dogs. Researchers estimate that it affects at least 20% of all dogs older than 1 year old, with higher risk for older dogs.
The recent study, published in the journal PAIN, looked at whether different doses and formulations of CBD might help dogs suffering from osteoarthritis – and the results suggested that it could.
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine worked in collaboration with the CBD brand Medterra on the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The 4 week study included 20 large dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis who were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or one of three different CBD options. The dogs were evaluated before and after the regimen by both veterinarians and their owners on factors related to their mobility and pain. Details about the amount of CBD each dog was taking was kept from the owners and veterinarians so that it wouldn’t influence their evaluations.
While the placebo group and the low CBD group showed no improvement, by the end of the one month period, the group of dogs who took higher doses of CBD or used CBD in a liposomal formulation saw significant improvement in their mobility and quality of life.
“I openly admit that I was surprised at how quickly we saw such large results” says Matthew Halpert PhD, Faculty with the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and Senior Scientific Advisor for Medterra. “I would not have expected to see too much of anything in just one month.”
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Halpert, who designed the experiment, explains that in the placebo and lower dose groups, the owners reported their dogs to be “just as miserable as before” and veterinarians didn’t see any improvement in the dog’s mobility. But in the two higher dose groups “almost every dog saw significant improvement in their conditions, in regards to reduced pain and increased ability to move around. And the dogs seemed happier and were able to do more.”
Even two weeks after the dogs stopped taking the CBD, those in the higher dose groups were still showing improvement. “This would tell us that the CBD was in fact addressing the underlying inflammatory issues” Halpert explains. “It wasn’t just masking the pain”
CBD dog treats are part of an emerging market of CBD products for pets, projected to reach $563 . [+] million in sales during 2020.
These results add additional scientific backing to the emerging market of CBD for pets. There is currently a wide variety of products geared towards dogs and other pets. According to the Brightfield Group, a consumer research group focused on the cannabis space, the US Pet CBD market expanded by more than 10 times its 2018 size in 2019, producing $321 million in sales. In 2020 it is projected to reach $563 million in sales.
The research also lends support to reports of success with CBD from dog owners, such as Zoe Lilly, who lives in Oxfordshire England with her 7 and a half year old dog Zeus – a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Zoe says she noticed Zeus getting a little stiff on one leg, so she decided to try out CBD. She says “It’s made his movement more fluid and he can play pretty well.” Zoe hasn’t noticed any negative side effects in Zeus since starting, but she does report noticing that it helps relax him before vet visits.
While there has been previous research suggesting CBD can help with canine osteoarthritis, this study looked at both traditional CBD and CBD in a liposomal formulation, a method used to make it easier to absorb CBD, which isn’t very bioavailable on it’s own. “It’s kind of like a Trojan horse, or a water balloon” explains Halpert. “We put the CBD inside of that and the liposome itself, the balloon itself, is actually very bioavailable.”
When ingested, liposomes are said to be more easily absorbed into the bloodstream of both humans and dogs, making it easier to absorb CBD. In this experiment, dogs taking a daily dose of 20mg’s of liposomal CBD did significantly better than those who took 20mg’s of traditional CBD, adding some evidence to the theory.
Still, other experts disagree. Stephen Cital, a veterinary anesthesia & pain management specialist points out this study didn’t test the CBD levels in the blood after dogs ingested these two CBD options. They just looked at the outcomes in the dogs’ behavior. He’s not convinced liposomes make a difference.
“I have never seen an added benefit to liposomal encapsulation with these molecules” he explains “I think in theory makes a lot of sense, but we haven’t seen the data to support that at this point.”
Cannabis or hemp derived CBD products may help dogs with osteoarthritis – according to new research.
Still, Cital supports the use of CBD for dogs with osteoarthritis and has even had his own success story, using CBD to treat his own 11 year old mixed breed dog, who was having shaking in his back legs and a hard time getting up the stairs.
“Within three days I noticed that his back leg stopped shaking.” Cital reports, recalling how his elderly dog was more able to walk up the stairs and play. Cital says he has seen many dogs in his practice see similar improvement with CBD. “You just see the life brought back into them. and [you] get a few more quality years out of them comfortably.”
Other veterinarians with experience using CBD in dogs also reported seeing positive results using the drug for canine osteoarthritis.
Gary Richter, a veterinarian in Oakland, CA says he’s “certainly seen quite a number of dogs that are on either CBD or some other preparation of cannabis for the treatment of osteoarthritis and many of those dogs do very, very well.”
While none of the dogs in the recent study saw negative side effects, Richter says he’s seen some dogs have minor side effects from the drug. “The one side effect that is sometimes seen is an elevation in one of the liver values, the alkaline phosphatase” he explains. Still he says that the elevation “does not appear to cause any real world issue, in the sense that it doesn’t make the dog sick. And it is reversible if you stop giving the CBD.”
Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea or vomiting also occasionally occur for some dogs, but Richter and Cital say it is unclear if this is related to the CBD or the oils and other compounds in CBD products.
Elizabeth Mironchik-Frankenberg, a veterinarian and founder of Veterinary Cannabis Consultants, also adds that “CBD can interfere with the metabolism of other drugs, so this needs to be taken into consideration.”
Richter, Cital, Mironchik-Frankenberg and Halpert all urged pet owners to talk to their veterinarian before starting a CBD regimen and to make sure you use high quality CBD products. “There are a lot of products out there and not everything is made properly, not everything is labeled accurately, not everything has in the bottle, what it says on the label” explains Richter. Cital suggests only using brands that can show lab tested results with their products to ensure dosing information is accurate and the product is free from contaminants.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common ailment in dogs, affecting as many as 25 percent of all canines over the course of their lives. If your pooch has lost some of the spring in her step, seems to have more stiffness after regular activity or shows a reluctance to do things she used to enjoy, OA may be the cause.
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis—aka arthritis—is a progressive disease, and it is important to have a veterinarian assess your dog at the first signs of pain or changes in mobility. Developing an early treatment plan is critical to doing all you can to slow the damage this degenerative condition can do to your dog’s joints as she ages.
This article takes a close look at the role CBD oil may play in a veterinarian-approved treatment plan for OA, as well as at the scientific research that demonstrates the great promise this natural supplement offers for relief from both the pain and inflammation associated with it.
If you want to know if CBD oil can help your dog with arthritis, we hope this article will assist you in making an informed decision as well as give you a starting point for a conversation with your vet about safe treatment options for your furry friend.
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2015 study points out that the number of adverse side effects from NSAIDs reported to the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is higher than for any other veterinary drug currently prescribed. Of particular concern, as this study notes, is the possibility of renal damage and/or failure as a result of using NSAIDs for chronic conditions.
A systematic review reported on in 2013 looked at the results of 35 studies and 29 clinical trials that investigated the use of NSAIDs in dogs. It found that as many as 55 percent of the studies reported significant negative side effects with this class of drugs. It may be worse for dogs with OA; as its authors noted, most of the dogs used in the research they looked at were from a young and healthy population. Since it is known that NSAIDs are more likely to be a problem for older dogs, this gives owners of senior dogs plenty of reason to pause and consider their options before jumping right into long-term NSAID therapy for their pets.
In fact, the FDA describes the veterinary use of NSAIDs with the following words of caution: “Owners and veterinarians should carefully consider the potential benefits and risks of using an NSAID and other treatment options before deciding to use an NSAID. Use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration consistent with individual response.”
Given that veterinarians already know that long-term use of NSAIDs, particularly in older dogs or those with compromised liver or kidney function, is potentially dangerous—even deadly—the search for a safe treatment for pain and inflammation has been a significant priority in vet medicine.
Not only are cannabinoid receptors found throughout healthy joint tissue, they are also found in surprising concentrations in degenerated chondrocytes (joint cells) in human OA patients. Researchers believe that these cells may respond to treatment with cannabinoids.
In fact, a few recent studies, including this one, have shown that cannabidiol may even play a role in preventing the degeneration of joints and progression of pain associated with OA. This is big news for sufferers of osteoarthritis, be they human or canine.
changes to the laws regarding hemp may soon remove that barrier to researching the benefits this natural plant may have for our pets’ health.
One of the most relevant studies that owners of dogs with arthritis should be aware of was conducted by the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 2018. Researchers administered a full-spectrum CBD oil to dogs with OA at an oral dosage of either 2 mg or 8 mg per kg twice daily.
The dogs in the study were assessed before the trial began, as well as at two and four weeks into treatment. The researchers found that the 2 mg-per-pound dose effectively reduced the dogs’ visible signs of pain and significantly improved their activity and mobility.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs with Osteoarthritis?
Significantly, in the study cited above, no side effects of treatment were observed at either dose. Also, there were no indications of any psychoactive effects, despite the fact that the full-spectrum CBD oil the researchers used contained trace amounts of THC. This builds on other research demonstrating the safety of appropriately calibrated cannabinoids for dogs.
What About Full-Spectrum CBD Oil for Canine OA?
One other question many dog owners have about the use of hemp or CBD oil has to do with the safety of a full-spectrum CBD oil for their dog. As might be inferred from the term, full-spectrum oils contain the full range of trace compounds (known as cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes) found in the source hemp, including trace amounts of THC (.3 percent or less, by law).
Many pet owners think that since dogs are known to be sensitive to high levels of THC, a full-spectrum product may not be safe.
However, this is not the case. By law, hemp contains extremely low amounts of THC, well under the threshold known to be safe for dogs. As long as you purchase a full-spectrum CBD oil made just for pets and follow dosing guidelines, it is perfectly safe for your dog.
In fact, many pet owners report that a full-spectrum CBD oil was more effective than CBD oils made with an isolated form of CBD.
This is backed up by research. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as the “entourage effect.” Dozens of studies on cannabis-based medicines have shown that the trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids found in full spectrum CBD oils may well enhance the pain- and inflammation-relieving properties of these natural compounds.
LolaHemp, to your companion’s daily supplements to help safely ease the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in dogs.
CBD may help you and your vet work out a treatment plan that reduces the use of potentially dangerous NSAIDs, and in some cases, eliminates them altogether. However, since cannabidiol can interact with other medications, it is important to have the conversation with your vet before adopting this strategy—to put your dog’s whole health needs first.
A final word of caution: Even though CBD is available without a prescription, it is critical to make sure that whatever product you use, it is formulated specifically for dogs. CBD products made for people can sometimes have high amounts of THC or other additives (such as artificial sweeteners) that can be toxic to dogs.