Canine osteoarthritis is a common condition that can affect up to 1 in every 5 dogs. One potential natural method of managing the symptoms of this condition is CBD or cannabidiol. Many people are starting to use it as a way to manage the pain associated with arthritis, both for humans and for pets. In this blog, we take a look at the current research on CBD for canine osteoarthritis.
What is canine osteoarthritis?
Canine osteoarthritis is a common condition that often develops in older dogs but can occur at any age. It is a progressive disease, which means that it degenerates over time, and it significantly affects the mobility of the joints. Like when humans get arthritis, it starts with painful and stiff joints, and it can vary in severity from dog to dog.
As the condition progresses, muscles can become weak due to the fact that the affected limbs are not being used as often as they were before. This means that a dog’s quality of life can be significantly impaired when they have osteoarthritis.
Arthritis is not curable, but the pain and the symptoms can be managed. Methods of doing this include physical therapy, specialised exercise routines, specialised diet plans, anti-inflammatory medication and perhaps other medical interventions.
Why do dogs develop osteoarthritis?
The direct cause of canine osteoarthritis is often hard to determine, but it’s thought that it becomes more likely as the dog gets older, due to wear and tear of the joints over the years.
Dogs that are at a particular risk of developing osteoarthritis include large breeds, obese dogs, those with poor nutrition and senior dogs. It can also become more likely with repetitive stress from athletic activity, injuries that affect the joints and infections that affect the joints.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of the cannabinoids present in the Cannabis sativa plant family. It doesn’t have the psychoactive effects associated with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is another chemical present in cannabis plants, although the two are sometimes confused. While THC can ‘make you high’, CBD cannot.
It is thought that CBD has a range of effects on the mind and body due to the way it interacts with a system in the body called the endocannabinoid system. Those who use it often report that it offers a sense of balance and ease, helping to lessen any physical or mental aches and pains.
CBD comes in a variety of formats, but the most commonly known is CBD oil. This is where CBD extract is diluted in a carrier oil, such as hemp seed, coconut or sunflower. It is taken orally by swallowing a few drops every day. You can also get a CBD balm, which is applied topically and can target specific areas of pain and discomfort.
What is the research on CBD for dogs with osteoarthritis?
According to research, CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is believed it could help to manage the symptoms of arthritis, both in humans and potentially animals too. Some research has actually looked specifically at CBD for dogs with arthritis, showing that some people do believe in it as a potential treatment option.
One study looked at the safety and effectiveness of cannabidiol for dogs with osteoarthritis. It found that there was a significant decrease in pain (and increase in activity) among the dogs who were given CBD oil. Plus, no side effects were reported by owners. The conclusion was that regular administration of CBD could help increase comfort and activity in dogs with the condition.
Overall, it seems that there is some promise in using CBD for dogs with osteoarthritis. Although further research needs to be carried out before we can reach any definite conclusions, CBD is considered to be safe, so it may well be worth giving it a go as an alternative arthritis treatment for your dog! Just remember to speak to your vet first, and check that you are buying high-quality CBD products that can be used by dogs.