Cannabinoids May Relieve Some Symptoms of Canine Osteoarthritis

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), osteoarthritis (joint inflammation caused by deterioration of cartilage) is a common problem in dogs, particularly senior dogs and large breeds. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that is associated with pain and discomfort. Supplements and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed, but with continued use can produce side effects that may affect the kidneys, liver, and gastrointestinal tract.

Now with emerging scientific evidence to support therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for human pain conditions, some investigators have begun to explore whether these agents can be used safely and effectively in the veterinary space.

One recent study investigated the effects of oral CBD-enriched oil in dogs with osteoarthritic pain. After a single dose, veterinary assessments indicated a significant decrease in pain intensity (as determined by the canine brief pain inventory and activity scores). Notably, no side effects were observed by pet owners. Likewise, in a recent online survey from Canada, pet owners reported purchasing cannabinoid-based products for treatment of pain and inflammation in dogs. From their observations, owners perceived cannabinoid-based products to be equally or more effective than conventional treatments. 

Based on these results, clinical research is warranted to determine the safety and efficacy of CBD in dogs. However, the AKC warns that that currently there is no scientific data on the use or benefits of CBD for canine arthritis or pain, therefore care must be taken when giving CBD and other cannabis-based products to your pet. Although CBD is thought to be safe, THC can be toxic for dogs. Always check with your veterinarian before giving cannabis-based products to your canine friend.


Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, Schwark WS, Mann S, Wolfe L, Brown H, Berthelsen ES, Wakshlag JJ. Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018 Jul 23; 5: 165. 

Kogan LR, Hellyer PW, Silcox S, Schoenfeld-Tacher R. Canadian dog owners’ use and perceptions of cannabis products. Can Vet J. 2019 Jul; 60(7): 749-755.

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