In support of less frequent—but perhaps higher—CBD doses is the idea that cannabinoids are most beneficial when flooding the body’s endocannabinoid system. Reports by owners on CBD’s efficacy in reducing or preventing anxiety attacks, seizures, and other acute incidents suggest that a carefully timed dose may be the most effective way of boosting CBD’s power.
For example, when researchers surveyed Canadian dog owners in 2019, they found that one in five used CBD to help dogs deal with one-off events such as thunderstorms and fireworks. Likewise, many prefer to give CBD around 20 to 30 minutes before a stressful or anxiety-inducing event, such as leaving for work in the morning, or turning off the lights in the evening.
Second, there’s an assumption that spacing out your dog’s CBD dosages may help dogs to better process CBD, and reduce any risks of long-term usage. As described by this post from Colorado State University, it is true that dogs under the influence of CBD show raised activity levels in their livers, including an increase in the enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP).
Research is still ongoing on the potential risks of raised ALP levels, so it could well turn out to be a benign side effect of continuous CBD usage. However, owners wanting to exercise caution—or those whose dogs have preexisting liver disease—may want to opt for a less frequent dose, or switch from oral to topical application.
Unlike daily oral CBD doses, a topical application keeps cannabinoids mostly out of the wider bloodstream, instead targeting receptors at the site of pain or inflammation. This allows for higher dosages and may be preferential for dogs who have an injury or other one-off external issue, but who otherwise wouldn’t benefit from CBD.
As said, most of the scientific literature on the benefits of CBD is drawn from tests involving high doses given daily, or multiple times per day, over periods lasting at least a week. Because of this, the benefits of single, or short-term CBD dosing are far less well established, and rely more on anecdotal reports.
So, while it’s true that many owners will confirm a positive reaction to single doses of CBD—often as soon as 15 minutes after oral ingestion, the more radical scientific claims associated with cannabis products can’t be attributed to this method of dosage.
The difficulty here is that many pups just aren’t very good at signaling when something is wrong internally. If CBD is being used to ease nervousness around separation or loud noises, then it’s going to be pretty obvious whether a single dosage is enough to elicit a positive effect.
However, when CBD is given in the hope of reducing chronic inflammation, for example, it can be harder for owners to see signs of success—especially from a one-off application. This is why many in the CBD community recommend close observation combined with a slowly increasing daily dosage.