Research on CBD for Dogs: Osteoarthritis

Research on CBD for Dogs: Osteoarthritis

Posted by Nicole Wanner, D.V.M. on

Research on CBD for Dogs: Osteoarthritis

Welcome to Research Roundup! I'm Dr. Nicole, a veterinarian and Ph.D.-level scientist studying animals and their genes. I'm passionate about making veterinary research accessible to everyone.

This series will provide short, sweet summaries of CBD and pet health research studies. I hope this information will help you navigate the increasingly complicated world of pet health.


Why Learn About CBD Research?

Are you interested in pet wellness and holistic dog care? If so, you've probably encountered hundreds of headlines about CBD.

A headline about CBD might say, "New research shows that CBD benefits dogs with arthritis." But is the headline trustworthy or not?

trustworthy or not?

Crucial details can be lost between a research article and media coverage online or in the news. Pet parents who want more information may encounter paywalls, scientific jargon, or other barriers.

Fortunately, you don't have to be a science expert to support your pet's health.


The Study: CBD for Arthritis in Dogs

Today, we're summarizing a study called "Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs" (1). It was performed by veterinarians and scientists at Cornell University and Colorado State University. The results were published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science in 2018.

Most research reports are divided into four sections:

  • Introduction,
  • Methods,
  • Results,
  • and Discussion.

We'll break down these sections to learn about the CBD study's goals, design, major findings, and impact.


What Was the Study About?

Good veterinary research studies have clear goals to address a medical problem. This research focused on finding out if CBD oil can help dogs that suffer from osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a painful chronic joint condition common in senior dogs. The study looked at 16 dogs to see if CBD oil could help them be more active.

Key questions addressed by this study included:

  • How long does a dose of CBD last in dogs when taken by mouth? (Oral pharmacokinetics)
  • What are the side effects of CBD in dogs, if any, and how serious are they? (Safety)
  • Can pet owners effectively use CBD or hemp oil for dogs with arthritis? (Clinical efficacy)


Study Details and Methods

How did the researchers answer their questions about CBD? Scientists use previously published research to choose appropriate methods to put their research questions to the test.

  • Participants: The 16 dogs were patients treated for osteoarthritis at Cornell University's veterinary hospital.
  • CBD Dosage: Each dog participated in two treatment phases. In one phase, they were given 2 mg/kg CBD oil twice daily. In the other, they received a placebo oil. Each phase lasted four weeks, with a two-week break in between.
  • Measurements: The researchers used detailed owner questionnaires and veterinary scores to measure pain, activity levels, and mobility. Blood tests were used to check for CBD side effects and see how long it lasted in the body.


Major Findings
  1. How Long Until CBD Starts Working in Dogs? The CBD oil was absorbed quickly, with the highest concentration around 1.5 hours after the dose. The CBD lasted about four hours and was cleared from the dogs' bodies after 8 hours.
  2. Is CBD Safe for Dogs? The study found that CBD oil was generally safe for the participating dogs. A few dogs had increased liver enzymes on the blood panel, but the changes were mild.
  3. Is CBD Effective for Pain and Activity? The dogs in this study showed less pain and increased activity levels while taking CBD oil compared to the placebo.


Important considerations
  • Specific Product Used: The CBD oil used in this study was a custom full-spectrum formula. Results might vary with other CBD oil products due to different concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids.
  • Need for More Studies: While the findings are promising, more research is needed to comprehensively understand how CBD oil works for dogs with arthritis.
  • Research Funding: Scientific studies are required to report their funding sources. This study was financially supported by a company that makes CBD oil, which is important to keep in mind when interpreting the results. The study being published in a trusted medical journal adds credibility.


What's The Verdict?

CBD oil results are promising for dogs with arthritis, as this clinical trial shows. Still, "more is more" when it comes to scientific research. Additional studies are required to confirm these findings and understand the long-term effects of CBD oil in dogs. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether CBD is appropriate for your dog.



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Dr. Nicole Wanner graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2018. Currently, she is an academic research veterinarian studying CBD and DNA. Her research has been published in trusted international research journals. Dr. Wanner is passionate about pet wellness and has professional interests in genetics, behavior, and healthy aging. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and reading sci-fi novels. She shares her home with her husband Evan and their two mischievous rescue cats, Sylvie and Nemo.

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