CBD and arthritis in cats

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in humans. But did you know that it can also affect our four-legged friends, like cats and dogs ? Osteoarthritis makes it difficult for your pet to move its joints because of the pain it causes. Let's take a look at how to recognize the early inflammatory signs of this condition, and how to use CBD to relieve your cat's symptoms.

veterinarian cat and cbd

What is osteoarthritis in cats ?

Osteoarthritis is responsible for an abnormal change in the joints of cats, and more generally in other animals. It usually appears with age, and results in a progressive degradation of the cartilage of one or more joints. The condition may occur in the hips, knees, elbows, or discs of the spine. Gradually, the degeneration of the joint will lead to a bone deformation due to the thinning of the cartilage or its disappearance. The cat will then feel more or less important inflammatory pains, which can have an impact on its quality of life, and even provoke changes in its behavior. The animal may be subject to anxiety, stress, and sometimes loss of appetite. That's why we recommend that you consult your pet's veterinarian at the first sign of concern.

What is the role of cartilage ?

In cats and other animals (including humans), cartilage is an extremely smooth, pearly white tissue that covers the bones at the joints to provide a sliding surface to avoid friction between 2 bones (knee, elbow, etc.). It also plays a role of shock absorber, by attenuating the pressures and the shocks. When your cat jumps off the table, the cartilage will absorb part of the energy due to the impact on the ground.

In cats, osteoarthritis manifests itself as premature wear of the cartilage. As a rule, this wear and tear occurs slowly, and gradually the thickness of the cartilage decreases. This decline reduces the efficiency of its cushioning and gliding power, which will further increase its premature wear. Osteoarthritis is classified in 2 categories :

  • Primary osteoarthritis is normal wear and tear, which mainly affects animals in advanced age.
  • Secondary osteoarthritis can occur when the cartilage of the joint has been damaged by an injury or disease of the cat.

What are the symptoms of this condition in cats ?

To find out if your cat has the beginnings of osteoarthritis, you can observe her behavior when she stands up, runs, or jumps. Does your cat have problems going up or down stairs, jumping up or down ? Does he follow an object you throw to him ? Does she run at ease, with long strides ? When one or more of its joints are in pain, the cat will reduce its activity and avoid running or jumping, it may even limp. In the same way, you can observe that at rest, he will refrain from putting all his weight on the joint that bothers him. Your pet may also change his behavior and be less perky when you start a game with him. He may also shy away from being petted, or become aggressive, when someone approaches him. In the advanced stages, the affected joints may even become permanently locked, making it difficult and painful for the animal to move.

All of these symptoms are effects of, and markers of, the pain inflicted by the disease. By noticing them in their early stages, you can take action before your cat's health condition deteriorates too much.

Diagnosing osteoarthritis in cats 

If you've noticed any of the above signs, regardless of your cat's age, make an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she will perform a thorough examination of all of your cat's joints. The diagnosis will also be based on x-rays that will confirm or not the assumptions of the veterinarian.


Osteoarthritis is a disease that unfortunately cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be reduced. The veterinarian can prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Even if the pain is present, it will be necessary to maintain a sufficient physical activity so that the animal does not lose its muscles. In the most disabling cases, surgery may be considered depending on the health of the cat and the affected joint.  

CBD and osteoarthritis in cats

You've probably already heard about the benefits of CBD (cannabidiol). Perhaps you are even a fan of CBD oil? You can also give CBD to your pets.

A little reminder about CBD 

CBD is the abbreviation of cannabidiol, this molecule comes from hemp (Cannabis Sativa). It is found in the flowers and aerial parts of this plant. CBD is a molecule that comes from cannabis, but it should not be confused with another substance produced by the same plant, the famous THC which produces psychoactive effects. To better understand, you need to know that cannabis is a family of plants, represented by 3 sub-genres:

  • Cannabis Sativa or industrial hemp : Very rich in CBD, it is used for the production of CBD (cannabidiol), THC is present in its flowers in negligible amounts, less than 0.2% in accordance with the law. Hemp is used in many industries (textile, food processing, construction, etc.).
  • Cannabis Indica : Very rich in THC, cannabis Indica is illegally cultivated to make recreational products, such as marijuana or resin.
  • Cannabis Ruderalis : low in THC and CBD, this variety has no known use.

We reassure you immediately, CBD is not psychotropic, and CBD products for humans and animals do not contain THC. Your pet can consume all the oil it wants, it will never get high. We still recommend that you follow the dosage indicated by the product manufacturer.

stethoscope hemp leaves

What are the effects of CBD in cats ? 

Today, in France and in Europe, there is a multitude of CBD products. For us humans, there are CBD oils, gums, herbal teas, and even CBD to vapourize. For our animal friends, it is wiser to prefer CBD in the form of oil, because it can be easily deposited on the tongue for animals that accept it, such as dogs. On the other hand, if your pet is a cat, we advise you to incorporate the oil in its food. Here are the properties of CBD:

  • Anti-inflammatory : CBD effectively fights inflammation. Several studies have shown that CBD is as effective as a classic anti-inflammatory, but without the side effects. In vivo studies have shown the anti-inflammatory capabilities of CBD (MECHA, et al. 2013, KOZELA et al. 2013, BUCCELLATO et al. 2011, RIBEIRO et al. 2012). In 2016, a new study showed that CBD consumption led to an increase in the concentration of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in the study subjects (KOZELA et al.).
  • Pain relief : Thanks to its anti-inflammatory action, CBD helps reduce associated pain. Many pet owners are successfully using CBD to treat pain. A study from the University of Philadelphia in the United States showed that CBD could be useful in some forms of pain.
  • Sleep : Osteoarthritis can greatly disrupt the sleep of cats, as the pressure exerted by the body when resting can have the effect of awakening pain in the diseased area. The cat then wakes up, and changes position to relieve the sore spot. One study showed that CBD oil could increase total sleep time as well as its depth (Chagas et al. 2013).
  • Anxiolytic and anti-stress : Pain that reactivates with every movement, and sometimes even at rest, can have devastating effects on the health of cats, and generate anxiety disorders. Thanks to its soothing effects in both animals (cats, dogs, etc.) and humans (Campos et al. 2012, Elbatshet al. 2012), CBD oil will be able to soften the effects of pain, reducing anxiety and stress.

How to choose your CBD oil

In its natural state, cannabidiol is found in hemp flowers. After harvesting, it is time to extract the CBD. There are several methods of extraction, and some should be avoided:

  • The extraction of CBD through a vegetable oil : The cannabidiol is extracted from hemp flowers through a vegetable oil, such as olive oil, hemp oil, or sesame oil. The cannabidiol then benefits from the nutritional qualities of the oils used. This method of extraction, if it is interesting for its contribution in nutrients, unfortunately does not give good results, and much CBD is lost in the operation.
  • The extraction by solvents : The flowers are embedded in a solvent (isopropyl alcohol, butane, propane, ethanol, etc.). This method is very cheap, but it often leaves traces of these products in the final solution. This means that the consumer will absorb them. Our opinion is very unfavorable and we do not recommend buying products made from this process.
  • Supercritical CO2 extraction : This is the queen method for healthy cannabidiol. It has been used since the early eighties in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries to carefully extract molecules from plants like hemp. The low extraction temperature protects the heat-sensitive molecules such as phytocannabinoids (CBD, CBG, etc.), and terpenes. The quality of the oil obtained by this method is fantastic, because the product is perfectly pure. This is the only method we recommend for your CBD oil purchases.

Check the origin of the hemp

To buy high quality CBD, we recommend that you check the origin of the plant :

  • What country was it grown in ? Depending on the local growing code, various plant protection products may or may not be allowed.
  • What is the quality of the soil in which the plant is grown ? If the soil is full of nutrients, then hemp will produce CBD-rich flowers.
  • Is it organic ? Hemp is a soil purifier, so if it is organically grown, the final product will be healthier.Choose a broad spectrum product
  • kibble and cannabis leaf