A team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine conducted the first scientific studies to assess the potential therapeutic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) for arthritic pain in dogs, and the results could lead the way to studying its effect in humans. Researchers focused on dogs since their biological characteristics closely resemble those of human arthritis.
Published in the journal PAIN, the study showed both in laboratory tests and models that CBD, a non-addictive product derived from hemp (cannabis), can significantly reduce the production of inflammatory molecules and immune cells associated with arthritis. Subsequently, the study showed that in dogs diagnosed with arthritis, CBD treatment significantly improved quality of life as documented by both owner and veterinarian assessments. This work supports future scientific evaluation of CBD for human arthritis.
“CBD is rapidly increasing in popularity due to its anecdotal health benefits for a variety of conditions, from reducing anxiety to helping with movement disorders,” said corresponding author Dr. Matthew Halpert, research faculty in the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor.
In the current study, Halpert and his colleagues first measured the effect of CBD on immune responses associated with arthritis, both in human and murine cells grown in the lab and in models. With the help of CBD tinctures, they found that CBD treatment resulted in reduced production of both inflammatory molecules and immune cells linked to arthritis. They also determined that the effect was quicker and more effective when CBD was delivered encapsulated in liposomes than when it was administered ‘naked.’*
After four week of treatment researchers found nine of the 10 dogs on CBD showed benefits, which remained for two weeks after the treatment stopped. They noted that there were no alterations in the blood markers measured, suggesting that the treatment appeared to be safe.
"The findings support the necessity to to evaluate CBD for the treatment of human arthritis."
To date there is no effective treatment for this leading cause of pain and disability in the U.S
*Liposomes are artificially formed tiny spherical sacs that are used to deliver drugs and other substances into tissues at higher rates of absorption.