CBD oil has gained fame worldwide for its reported ability to help people with painful and debilitating conditions like arthritis. Is it true, though, that CBD has just as much potential to help dogs with arthritis as people? Let’s explore the evidence surrounding CBD for arthritis in dogs, covering everything from the basics of CBD oil for dogs to which CBD products are best for joint pain and dog arthritis.

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol)  is a natural cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. “CBD oil” is the term commonly used to describe orally ingestible hemp extracts that are high in CBD, combined with a carrier oil for higher bioavailability. Unlike certain other cannabinoids, CBD is not intoxicating. To be legal, CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC. At this concentration, THC is not capable of having an intoxicating effect.

How CBD Can Help Dogs with Arthritis

CBD works in mammal bodies in a unique way that mostly bypasses conventional cannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD acts primarily on two systems in the body that have to do with inflammation and the sensation of pain — the TRP and 5HT neurotransmitter networks.

The mechanism of action of CBD is quite complex, and scientists are still studying the exact ways CBD affects human and animal bodies. What’s clear, though, is that cannabinoids like CBD affect humans and dogs in nearly identical ways. Dogs and humans share a similar enough neurophysiology for CBD to act on the same brain systems in canines and their owners.

Potential Benefits of CBD for Dogs

There are a few specific ways that research indicates CBD may be useful for dogs:

  • Reduction in pain and inflammation: As we’ve already mentioned, CBD appears to act on neurological systems involved in pain and inflammation in both dogs and humans.
  • Longevity: By reducing chronic pain, stress, and other conditions that negatively impact long-term canine health, dogs may be able to spend more years with their owners.

Does CBD Help Dogs with Arthritis?

There is direct scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that CBD may be useful in dogs. In addition to the inferences that can be made about the effectiveness of CBD in arthritis due to research on humans, research has also been conducted into the usefulness of CBD oil for dogs, specifically for osteoarthritis (OA). A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 2020, for instance, found that “CBD significantly decreased pain and increased mobility in a dose-dependent fashion among animals with an affirmative diagnosis of OA.”

Furthermore, a meta-analysis of the subject conducted in 2023 found that five relevant studies have been conducted into using CBD for dog arthritis. The authors of this analysis were cautious in voicing their results, but they found sufficient grounds to suggest that “treatment with oral full-spectrum CBD oil may reduce pain severity scores… and pain interference scores” in dogs.

We call upon the scientific community to continue its inquiries into CBD’s usefulness for dog arthritis. Initial results may be positive, but more data are needed.

How Much CBD Should You Give Your Dog to Help with Arthritis Pain? 

Here’s a basic idea of how much full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil for dogs is appropriate to give to your dog based on its size:

  • Small dogs (12-24 lbs): 1-5mg CBD
  • Medium dogs (24-60 lbs): 5-10mg CBD
  • Large dogs (60+ lbs): 10mg+ CBD

The proper amount of CBD oil for dogs with arthritis has not yet been authoritatively determined. However, there seems to be little risk in giving your dog too much or too little CBD. Even at very low doses, pet CBD oil is often reported as effective for dog arthritis. If you give your dog too much CBD, the worst you can usually expect is mild digestive discomfort.

CBD itself — and the rest of the cannabis plant — is not inherently toxic, assuaging concerns regarding overdose in dogs. Concerns over other substances, either purposefully or accidentally included in CBD products for dogs, however, may be legitimate. For this reason, it is very important to choose the right CBD oil for dogs.

Is CBD Better Than Glucosamine for Dogs?

Glucosamine and CBD are both supplements that are commonly suggested for arthritis-related issues in dogs. The two substances have entirely separate effects, so it’s best to consider how CBD and glucosamine might be able to help dogs with arthritis together rather than pit them against each other.

As a natural amino acid, glucosamine is found in the cartilage of both humans and dogs. Scientists have correctly determined that the depletion of glucosamine is related to the development of arthritis, and in some cases, supplementing with glucosamine can help halt the progression of this disease.

CBD, on the other hand, affects the neurological pathways involved with the pain and inflammation that accompany arthritis. Since the two substances do not interfere with each other and each provides unique benefits, it might make sense to give your dog both glucosamine and CBD.

Are There Any Potential Side Effects of CBD for Dogs?

The potential side effects CBD may have in dogs are mild in almost all cases. Common negative effects include lethargy, digestive discomfort, and vomiting. Even these side effects are rare, though, and CBD is tolerated by almost all dogs. In extremely rare cases, cannabis plant allergy can occur in both humans and dogs, but the same is the case for nearly all commonly used substances, including Aspirin.

Can CBD Interact With Other Medications or Supplements?

Yes, CBD has the potential to interact with other substances by increasing their effects. This is because CBD and many other common drugs, supplements, and other compounds use the CYP enzymes produced by the liver to break down. If CBD is present alongside other substances, fewer CYP enzymes will be available to break those substances down, potentially leading to increased or longer effects.

This issue, called contraindication in medical literature, is not problematic for CBD, which can be tolerated even in greatly heightened doses. With dose-specific or overdose-prone drugs, however, interactions with CBD could lead to unexpectedly intense or drawn-out effects. Generally, any drugs that come with a “grapefruit warning” on the label should only be taken with CBD after consulting with a doctor.

How Long Does It Take for CBD to Show Results in Arthritic Dogs?

It can take both human and animal bodies a while to adjust to the effects of CBD. Usually, the endocannabinoid system becomes sufficiently tuned for CBD to exert its full effects after the cannabinoid has been administered for two weeks or more. At this two-week point, many pet owners begin to notice CBD working wonders in pets that had previously shown obvious signs of suffering from arthritis.

If you have given your dog CBD for more than two weeks and a reduction in arthritis symptoms has not yet occurred, a few factors could be at play. For one thing, CBD has varying effects on different individuals. Some people (and dogs) are simply more likely to experience strong effects when using the cannabinoid.

It could also be the case that CBD has not yet had time to take effect properly. At this point, it’s important to determine whether CBD needs more time to kick in, your dog isn’t receptive to the effects of CBD, or the product you’ve chosen isn’t effective. Sometimes, just switching to a better product — such as broad-spectrum CBD oil — can provide your dog with the desired effects other CBD products could not produce.

Can I Rub CBD Oil On My Dog’s Leg?

It is technically possible to rub CBD oil on your dog’s leg as a way of directly applying CBD to a painful area. CBD products designed for oral ingestion, however, offer little in the way of skin-penetrating power. You’d experience better results with a CBD product intended for topical use, even if the product is designed primarily for humans.

Do Vets Recommend CBD for Dogs with Arthritis?

Yes, veterinarians commonly recommend CBD oils as potential treatments for dog arthritis. Multiple prestigious publications connected with veterinarian’s associations have published glowing reviews of the benefits of CBD for dog arthritis. Overall, veterinarians seem to find little to be concerned with regarding CBD and commonly promote the cannabinoid’s benefits to pet owners.

What is the Best CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis?

Comparing the two, broad-spectrum CBD oil is better for dogs than full-spectrum hemp extract. While full-spectrum CBD contains small amounts of THC, broad-spectrum CBD oil does not, eliminating that concern from the process of giving CBD oil to your dog.

Previously, forms of CBD that removed THC were inferior to forms that did not. With the advent of broad-spectrum extract, however, pioneers in the CBD industry have become able to offer THC-free pet CBD products that are even more effective than the full-spectrum alternative.

Colorado Botanicals leads the industry with fully certified, THC-free broad-spectrum hemp oil for dogs. Regardless of your dog’s size or culinary preferences, our third-party-tested and unflavored broad-spectrum CBD oil for pets is easy for dogs to tolerate and offers excellent bioavailability with its base of organic MCT oil.

Featuring CBD extracted from organic Colorado hemp and backed by a 60-day return policy, Colorado Botanicals Broad Spectrum CBD Oil for Dogs offers the full benefits of CBD with zero risk and zero THC.

Summary: CBD, Arthritis, and Dogs

From the pros and cons of CBD dog treats to whether CBD is better for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in dogs, there’s still a lot more to learn on this subject in future guides. In this article, however, you’ve learned everything you need to know to choose the best organic hemp oil for your canine companion. Arthritis pain is never something we want to see a friend suffer through, and with the help of CBD, your dog’s arthritis pain can increasingly become less of a concern to both owner and pooch.