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How CBD Can Help Dogs With Osteoarthritis

A new study found dogs with osteoarthritis had improved mobility and higher quality of life after taking specific CBD formulations.

Recent studies show it’s not just humans living longer than ever — our dogs are, too. The average life expectancy of dogs jumped from 10.5 years to 11.8 years between 2002 and 2016, partly because dogs are receiving better care from their humans.

But as dogs live longer, they become more susceptible to health problems. A common condition is osteoarthritis, which causes pain and inflammation in dogs. Your canine may have it if they struggle getting up and down stairs or generally moving around. Previous research has shown that 20% of North American dogs at least one-year old suffer from osteoarthritis, with older dogs being at higher risk.

A new study, however, found that CBD could provide relief for dogs who suffer from osteoarthritis. The research, published in the Journal of Immunology and done in partnership with hemp retailer Medterra, discovered that CBD lowered pain symptoms and increased mobility in dogs. These therapeutic effects lasted after the dogs stopped taking CBD as well.

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The double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study recruited 20 large dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis. These dogs were randomly divided into four testing groups. Every day for four weeks they were given one of four treatment options: a placebo, 20mg of pure CBD, 50mg of pure CBD, or 20mg of liposomal CBD. A liposome is a common vehicle to administer medicines. It wraps medications in tiny lipid bubbles and allows for more targeted integration into the body.

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Photo by R+R Medicinals via Unsplash

Throughout the study, owners and veterinarians — neither of whom knew how much CBD the dogs were taking — would evaluate the dogs’ pain and mobility levels.

Dogs who received a low pure CBD dosage or placebo were “just as miserable as they were before,” according to Matthew Halpert PhD, a faculty member at the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine. (He also serves as Senior Scientific Advisor for Medterra.) But dogs taking higher CBD or liposomal CBD doses saw significant improvement to their pain and mobility. “The dogs seemed happier and were able to do more,” Halpert told Forbes.

“I openly admit that I was surprised at how quickly we saw such large results,” Halpert added. “I would not have expected to see too much of anything in just one month.”

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Two weeks following the CBD administration, the dogs who had better mobility and quality of life didn’t see osteoarthritic symptoms return. Halpert believes this demonstrates that CBD wasn’t just masking the pain, but was actually treating the underlying inflammation.

CBD for pets is an emerging industry, as estimates expect CBD pet products to cross $563 million in sales at the end of this year. But anecdotal evidence is far more prevalent than research like this one. Dog owners should consult with veterinarians before pursuing CBD medicine.

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