It’s estimated that up to a fifth of dogs above the age of one are afflicted with osteoarthritis, which causes inflammation, pain and stiffness in the joints.
Canines with osteoarthritis may become immobile and depressed, but a new study suggests cannabidiol, or CBD—the main non-psychoactive medicinal ingredient from the cannabis plant—could help. The CBD market for both humans and pets already abounds with a bewildering array of oral and topical preparations, so getting a fix on what dose and form of the drug might help our faithful friends is good news. Who would have guessed CBD oil for dogs would also have a positive effect.
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine carried out the month-long randomized controlled study with 20 large dogs and in collaboration with the CBD brand Medterra. The dog owners were provided with identical medication bottles that contained lower or higher doses of hemp-derived CBD, liposomal CBD (believed to be better absorbed), or placebo. All were administered orally and neither the owners nor the veterinarian overseeing the project knew which treatment each dog received.
The results showed that in the placebo and lower dose groups, there was no change, but in those given 20mg CBD daily for 4 weeks there were marked improvements in the dogs’ quality of life as documented by both owner and professional assessments. In a statement, study author Matthew Halpert told Forbes that in the two higher dose groups “almost every dog saw significant improvement in their condition, in regard to reduced pain and increased ability to move around. [The dogs also] seemed happier and were able to do more.”
Moreover, the liposomal form achieved better results than the traditional CBD, supporting the theory that this form can get into cells more easily.
No deleterious changes were found in the dogs’ cell blood counts, nor in blood indicators of liver and kidney function, suggesting no harm from CBD at least over the month it was administered. Prior to testing on dogs, the researchers also proved in laboratory tests and mouse models that CBD reduced the production of inflammatory molecules and immune cells associated with arthritis.
The researchers say the study’s aim was actually to prove the concept that CBD might be an effective osteoarthritis treatment for humans.
In fact, the joints of man and man’s best friend may benefit alike.