Study review: Oral transmucosal cannabidiol oil formulation as part of a multimodal analgesic regimen: Effects on pain relief and quality of life improvement in dogs affected by spontaneous osteoarthritis

Date: 26 August 2020
Publication: Animals
Authors: Brioschi, Federica Alessandra, Federica Di Cesare, Daniela Gioeni, Vanessa Rabbogliatti, Francesco Ferrari, Elisa Silvia D’Urso, Martina Amari, and Giuliano Ravasio
Location: Department of Veterinary Medicine, Università degli Studi di Milano
Using: twice daily 1 mg/kg doses of full-spectrum CBD oil over 12 weeks
Full study:

What happened:

Researchers studied the effects of CBD oil on a group of 21 dogs with osteoarthritis who were already on treatment plans for their condition.

“Management of osteoarthritic pain includes treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs; non-steroidal (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids.” While these treatments are regularly prescribed to dogs and do work to reduce inflammation, they also come with the risk of short and long-term side effects and are known to have low effectiveness at treating pain.

There are additional options for treating canine pain related to arthritis the most common being Gabapentin. However, this drug can cause sedation.

Because of this, researchers wanted to see if CBD could help reduce the pain they were experiencing, which their current medications were not adequately treating.


Dogs were evaluated by owners based on the Canine Brief Pain Inventory, which contained 11 questions on the dog’s pain level, lameness, mood and willingness to move, play and jump.

CBD used

The CBD oil used in this study was a galenic formulation that can be prepared and sold only in authorized pharmacies. The CBD oil contained 40, 100, or 200 mg of CBD mL−1, according to the patient weight, with only trace amounts of the other cannabinoids (<0.01 mg mL−1). The best CBD oils for managing canine arthritis will have higher amounts of these supportive cannabinoids, suggesting the results could have been better.

The remaining ingredient was medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. Access to food was withheld for one hour before CBD administration, and was reinstated one hour post treatment. Water was given ad libitum. Oral transmucosal administration of the CBD oil was performed by the owner using a syringe without a needle, inserted into the buccal pouch.


Pain Severity and Interference scores were significantly lower for dogs who added CBD to their treatment plan – and quality of life for dogs taking CBD was judged to have increased.

In all dogs, oral transmucosal CBD administration was well tolerated, with mild or absent gastrointestinal side effects.

The researchers suggest that a “multimodal” approach is the best for treating dogs with arthritis, including CBD and pharmaceutical medications.

They also reiterated their belief that CBD oil, applied to the mouth and gums of dogs, is the best way to give dogs CBD.