CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis: Can Cannabis Oil Help With Canine’s Joint Pain? (2020)

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german shepherd suffering from arthritis

Aging is inevitable for everyone. For dogs, aging usually means deterioration of mobility and joint-related problems — especially when they don’t receive a sufficient amount of physical activity. After all, dogs are descendants of wolves, meaning they have been born to hunt and move around.

Arthritis is a painful condition in dogs, affecting joint cartilage as a result of chronic inflammation. Not only does arthritis impair mobility in dogs, but it also causes flare-ups, which are episodes of intense discomfort in the affected areas.

According to a recent survey, pet parents endorse hemp-derived CBD products because of noticeable improvement in an array of ailments. The respondents rated hemp products as moderately-helpful and very helpful therapeutically (1).

Most people use CBD oil in dogs with conditions like pain, inflammation, digestive problems, itching, anxiety, and phobia. CBD can also support the cardiovascular system. Stimulate appetite, and relieve nausea.

Inflammation is a common marker for arthritic pain, so it’s no wonder why many pet parents are turning to CBD oil for their dogs with arthritis.

Can cannabidiol really help manage arthritis and its symptoms?

How can it improve your dog’s daily life?

What are the best CBD oils for dogs with arthritis?

Continue reading to find out!

Best CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis

1. Royal CBD (Overall Winner)

Royal CBD Paws Pet Oil on white background

Product Details

Pros Cons
  • Locally grown organic hemp
  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Extracted with supercritical CO2
  • Available in 3 concentrations
  • Delicious bacon flavor
  • Up to 500 mg of CBD per bottle
  • 3rd-party tested for potency and purity
  • Only one flavor option available
  • A bit more expensive than competitor brands

Why We Recommend Royal CBD Oil for Dogs With Arthritis

Following the success of its CBD oil line up for humans, Royal CBD has introduced the same quality standards to dog owners. The company now offers three concentrations of full-spectrum hemp extracts for dogs with arthritis, including 125 mg, 250 mg, and 500 mg of CBD per bottle. The Royal CBD oil has been formulated for dogs of all sizes, from extra small to large canines. The available potencies are based on the average weights of dogs, so they are less potent than the oil drops for humans.

Here’s the serving size breakdown for each option:

  • 125 mg: 4 mg CBD / mL
  • 250 mg: 8.5 mg CBD / mL
  • 500 mg: 17 mg CBD / mL

Royal CBD oil for dogs is made from organic Colorado-grown hemp and extracted with supercritical CO2. The oil is infused into MCT oil for improved bioavailability and leveraged benefits of the entourage effect. The Royal CBD pet collection is free of synthetic ingredients, including the flavorings. All products are third-party lab tested for their CBD content and purity.

2. Gold Bee (Runner Up)

Gold Bee CBD oil bottle in white background

Product Details

Pros Cons
  • US-grown organic hemp
  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Up to 24 mg CBD/mL
  • Great for mid-sized and large dogs
  • Peanut butter flavor
  • Third-party tested for potency and purity
  • No potency crafted for extra small dogs

Why We Recommend Gold Bee CBD Oil for Arthritis

Similar to Royal CBD, Gold Bee has recently extended its product selection with CBD products for pets, including CBD oil and dog treats. Gold Bee has partnered with local farmers in Colorado to create their own CBD-rich strains, which they further extract using supercritical CO2. Everything in Gold Bee is kept within the hemp family, including the carrier oil that not only boosts the efficacy of CBD but also provides excellent ratios of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids on top of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Those concerned about their dog’s willingness to swallow earthy hemp oil may take a deep breath of relief; the Gold Bee CBD oil for dogs comes in a peanut butter flavor, which can turn even the pickiest dog into a CBD lover.

Will CBD Oil Help with Arthritis Pain in Dogs?

cbd oil in a bowl of dog treat

The first scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of CBD oil for dogs comes from a 2017 study conducted by Cornell University on osteoarthritis models. In this randomized and owner-blinded cross-over study, the dogs were given each of both treatments: 2mg/kg of CBD oil or placebo every 12 hours for a period of 4 weeks with a 2-week break period (2).

The CBD oil used in the study came from a strain-specific extract with high levels of CBD and lower concentrations of other cannabinoids, including small amounts of terpenes.

The authors of the study concluded that CBD oil helped improve comfort and mobility in the home environment of dogs with osteoarthritis. In addition, the veterinary assessments of pain also indicated relief thanks to CBD oil.

Pain management is of paramount importance for dogs with arthritis, especially when it comes to senior and disabled dogs.

As mentioned earlier, inflammation is a significant marker of arthritic pain in dogs, so reducing inflammation is essential for improving their quality of life. Usually, pain management methods include prescription pain medications, including opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Unfortunately, these medications have a long list of dangerous side effects, including lethal overdose, which raises concerns regarding the safety of their use, particularly for aging dogs and those with a compromised immune system.

Several animal studies suggest that CBD may help treat arthritis by relieving the associated inflammation.

Studies on CBD and Arthritis in Animals

  • A 2011 study published in Neuroscience Letters found that CBD was effective in reducing acute joint inflammation in rodents by affecting the pain receptors’ response to stimuli (3).
  • A 2016 study from The European Journal of Pain suggested that the topical application of CBD could potentially relieve arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation in animal subjects without adverse reactions (4).
  • In a 2017 study published in the journal Pain, the research team found that topical administration of CBD curbed osteoarthritis pain in rats. The authors of the study believe that preventive supplementation with CBD may suppress the development of nerve damage and joint pain (5).
  • Another study conducted on rats and mice found that CBD and THC are useful in the management of difficult-to-treat pain. Given the interaction of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) with a variety of biological processes, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties may also provide benefits for dogs with arthritis (6).

CBD for Psychological Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis can have a negative impact on both the physical and mental health of dogs. When your dog is experiencing pain, they will be likely to demonstrate changes in behavior ranging from low mood and irritability to aggression.

Studies have shown that CBD might help relieve anxiety. In a 2019 study published in the Brazillian Journal of Psychiatry, CBD was highlighted as an effective anti-anxiety agent that might help improve the response to environmental stressors (7).

CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety is also associated with improved sleep quality, lower stress levels in general, and effective management of depression.

Researchers of a study published in the journal CNS and Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets noted that CBD has therapeutic applications as an anxiety-like and antidepressant-like substance (8).

A study from The Permanente Journal in 2019 measured sleep and anxiety scores of the subjects and found that CBD could help relieve anxiety-related disorders. It might also help block anxiety-induced sleep deprivation through its anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects on the brain (9).

Please keep in mind that the aforementioned studies were performed on humans and animal models such as rats and mice, not dogs.

Nevertheless, the endocannabinoid system works in the same way among all mammals, so the results may be similar if canines receive CBD. If you want to incorporate CBD oil into your pet’s regiment for arthritis, it’s essential to always consult a veterinarian experienced in cannabis therapies before buying any CBD product for dogs.

In the meantime, the AKC Canine Health Foundation is sponsoring a study through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to investigate CBD’s efficacy in the treatment of intractable forms of epilepsy in dogs (10).

How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Improve Arthritis in Dogs?

Every dog is different and thus has a different sensitivity to the endocannabinoid system. There are smaller dogs and larger dogs; some canines are more active than others in general, so their bodies process CBD at various rates.

This is why the effects of CBD oil for dogs with arthritis may need some time to take hold. Full-spectrum CBD oil can effectively manage the symptoms of arthritis, but the symptom relief isn’t always instantaneous. While some dogs will experience relief directly after taking the oil under the tongue, others may need a few days (or weeks) to notice the difference in their pain and other symptoms.

Consistency is paramount when it comes to giving CBD oil to dogs with arthritis. Being systematic not only helps relieve the acute symptoms of arthritis, but it also improves the overall quality of your dog’s life.

Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see the results immediately. Experiment with different forms and dosages, keeping a journal or log to monitor the dog’s progress.

How to Give CBD Oil to Dogs with Arthritis

giving a dog cbd oil

CBD oil for dogs comes in three main formats: CBD oil, CBD pet treats, and CBD topicals.

Below we briefly cover each option:

  • CBD Oil: this method of administration ensures the fastest and most thorough absorption. CBD oils are made with a hemp extract that is then infused into a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or MCT oil. Administering CBD oil to a dog is relatively easy. You need to lift the lip and apply the dose directly onto the gums. Alternatively, you may add it to food, but this route of administration will take significantly longer due to the first-pass metabolism in the liver.
  • CBD Pet Treats: this is arguably the most enjoyable way to take CBD oil for dogs with arthritis. CBD pet treats are just regular treats that have been infused with a pre-measured dose with CBD for consistent dosing. While undeniably fun to eat, CBD treats have a delayed onset, as they need to pass through the digestive system to take effect.
  • CBD Topicals: when you administer CBD topically to the affected area, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors located inside the skin. This interaction is potentially helpful in relieving localized problems, such as the flare-ups triggered by arthritis in dogs. Topicals start to work within 10-40 minutes after administration.

Now that we’ve gone through all available types of CBD products for dogs with arthritis, let’s shed some light on the dosage.

So, how much CBD oil should you give your dog?

CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs with Arthritis

Based on scientific research and our own experience, we recommend starting low and slow. Veterinarians generally agree that a good dose to start is to give a dog 0.5 mg for every pound of their body weight.

For example, if your dog weighs 5 pounds, a dose of 2.5 mg should be a good starting point. You can test the dosage for a week and assess the effects. If you don’t see any improvement in your dog’s symptoms, increase the dose by another 2.5 mg — reassessing the results after another week.

You’ll know you found the correct dose when you see your dog running faster, jumping higher, and being in a better mood.

Again, remember that every dog is different, and even smaller dogs may need higher doses due to the severity of their arthritis pain.

Using CBD Oil to Prevent Arthritis in Dogs

Time catches up with everyone at some point, whether it’s a person or pet. For many of us, it’s difficult to do things that we used to take on easily. Dogs face the same problems as they age.

What you may do to prevent health impairments in your dog is to go ahead of the curve. Don’t wait for arthritis and other conditions to strike in and get out of control so your dog can’t run anymore. If you start seeing the telltale symptoms of arthritis in your dog, seek natural remedies to boost their health and reduce inflammation and pain.

The great thing about using full-spectrum CBD oil to treat arthritis pain in dogs is that it has a plethora of other benefits to their health. You will not only notice improvements in the health of their joints but also in their cardiovascular health, immune function, and cognitive performance on top of many other benefits.

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis

Dog parents understandably are curious whether or not CBD oil for dogs with arthritis is a real thing or just another way to cash in on those who are in need.

Indeed, CBD appears to be an effective treatment for the symptoms of arthritis. Although it won’t cure the disease, it can safely help manage pain, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with it. These side symptoms include behavior problems, lethargy, aggression, anxiety, and mobility issues.

Multiple studies have proven the efficacy of CBD oil in mitigating pain signals and curbing inflammation, but only a few of them have been conducted specifically on dogs. However, early research on CBD and canines, as well as the similarity of the endocannabinoid system among all mammals, suggest that dogs can experience the same kind of relief when it comes to arthritis.

A consultation with a veterinarian experienced in cannabis use is a wise step for dog owners before they purchase any CBD oil and CBD treats to supplement their dog’s arthritis treatment.

If you have a story about using CBD with your arthritis dog, share it with us in the comments below! 

References

  1. Kogan LR, Hellyer PW, Robinson NG. Consumers’ perceptions of hemp products for animals. J Am Holist Vet Med Assoc. (2016) 42:40–8. Retrieved from https://www.ahvma.org/wp-content/uploads/AHVMA-2016-V42-Hemp-Article.pdf.
  2. Gamble, Lauri-Jo et al. “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.” Frontiers in veterinary science vol. 5 165. 23 Jul. 2018, doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165
  3. Schuelert, Niklas, and Jason J McDougall. “The abnormal cannabidiol analogue O-1602 reduces nociception in a rat model of acute arthritis via the putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55.” Neuroscience letters vol. 500,1 (2011): 72-6. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2011.06.004
  4. Hammell, D C et al. “Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis.” European journal of pain (London, England)vol. 20,6 (2016): 936-48. doi:10.1002/ejp.818
  5. Philpott, Holly T et al. “Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis.” Pain vol. 158,12 (2017): 2442-2451. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001052
  6. Russo, Ethan B. “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain.” Therapeutics and clinical risk management vol. 4,1 (2008): 245-59. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928
  7. Linares, Ila M et al. “Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test.” Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil: 1999) vol. 41,1 (2019): 9-14. doi:10.1590/1516-4446-2017-0015
  8. de Mello Schier, Alexandre R et al. “Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa.” CNS & neurological disorders drug targets vol. 13,6 (2014): 953-60. doi:10.2174/1871527313666140612114838
  9. Shannon, Scott et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente journal vol. 23 (2019): 18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
  10. Brady B. (2017, Sept 6). CHF Announces Funding for Clinical Trial to Study Cannabidiol to Treat Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.akcchf.org/news-events/news/clinical-trial-to-study.html.

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