A new pharmacokinetic and clinical study recently completed at Cornell suggests that 2 mg/kg of cannabidiol (CBD) oil twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. The abstract was submitted to the 2017 American College of Veterinary Surgeons Summit in Indianapolis and is pending peer review.
The study was headed by Joe Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR, associate professor and section chief of nutrition at Cornell. The objectives were to determine the basic oral pharmacokinetics, determine safety and assess efficacy of CBD oil in managing pain in dogs with osteoarthritis, according to the abstract.
The team pharmacokinetically tested two different doses of CBD oil—2 mg/kg and 8 mg/kg, the abstract states. They determined the elimination half-life to be 4.2 hours at both doses. No negative side effects were noted at either dosage; however, serum chemistry did show that alkaline phosphatase activity increased (p = 0.005).
Investigators tested CBD oil’s pain management properties using a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study. Dogs received either CBD oil at 2 mg/kg every 12 hours or they received placebo oil, according to the abstract. Dogs were treated for four weeks with a two-week washout period. The dogs’ owners completed questionnaires and veterinarians conducted assessments—including physical exam, hematology and serum chemistry—before treatment and at weeks two and four. The Canine Brief Pain Inventory score and Hudson activity score (a visual analogue scale questionnaire used to assess pain and lameness in dogs) determine response to treatment. All variables were analyzed by a mixed model of variance. A p value of < 0.05 was determined significant.
The results seem to support anecdotal reports of CBD oil’s benefits. Veterinary assessment showed that CBD oil reduced pain (p < 0.03), and the Canine Brief Pain Inventory and Hudson activity scores showed clinically significant reduction in pain and an increase in activity with CBD treatment (p < 0.001), the abstract reports.
According to Dr. Wakshlag, in addition to this study, his team is completing a pharmacokinetic and safety study in cats, and there are plans for additional studies on the efficacy of CBD oil in acute pain management, behavior management, feline pain and concurrent usage with chemotherapy in oncology patients—so stay tuned.