Study review: Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol following single oral and oral transmucosal administration in dogs

Date: 06 January 2023
Publication: Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Authors: Rocca Giorgia, Paoletti Fabiola, Conti Maria Beatrice, Galarini Roberta, Chiaradia Elisabetta, Sforna Monica, Dall’Aglio Cecilia, Polisca Angela, Di Salvo Alessandra
Location: Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
Using: a single dose of 1 mg/kg of isolate CBD oil
Full study:


When CBD is taken orally, the effects of the “first-pass metabolism” during digestion mean that a significant amount of CBD is not absorbed into the body.

Because of this, researchers wanted to find out if there is any extra benefit to giving dogs CBD transmucosally, which means rubbing it into their gums, over standard oral administration.

To test the absorption rates of both administration methods, researchers gave 12 dogs of mixed ages and breeds who were suffering from mild pain and gave half of them CBD oil orally, and half transmucosally.

Blood samples were then taken from the dogs at time intervals, to check CBD plasma concentration, as well as how long the CBD stayed in dogs’ systems.

The researchers didn’t find any significant differences in CBD absorption between the two administration methods. Because of this, the study concluded that there’s no real benefit to transmucosal application, and dog owners can feel confident in giving their dogs CBD simply by dropping it into their mouths or adding it to food.


For their study, researchers picked 12 dogs of different ages and breeds. All of the dogs were assessed by a vet as being healthy, aside from chronic conditions causing them mild pain. Ten of the dogs were diagnosed with osteoarthritis and two had Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Researchers split CBD administration methods to the dogs equally among the groups. They also fitted each dog with an IV to take blood samples. Dogs in the oral administration group had their CBD dropped on food, while dogs in the transmucosal group had CBD rubbed into their inner cheeks.

CBD used

The CBD for the dogs’ pain used in the study was made by a pharmacy using an isolate CBD extract (synthetic CBD crystals) infused into MCT oil.

Researchers gave dogs one single dose of CBD, at a strength of 1 mg/kg.


For both administration methods, CBD was detectable in some of the dogs’ blood within 15 minutes, most of them within 30 minutes, and all of them within an hour.

Also for both groups, the maximum concentration of CBD in the dogs’ blood occurred between one and four hours after taking CBD.

Ten hours afterward, CBD was still detectable in all of the dogs’ blood, at varying lower concentrations.

Contrary to some advice, the researchers found that massaging CBD into dogs’ gums did not increase its bioavailability compared to dropping it onto food.