People have been using cannabis since ancient times. Age-old texts from the Middle Ages Greek and Asian societies suggest that cannabis was widely used as medicine. As we become more knowledgeable about cannabis, we have found reason to extend its use to our pets.
The CBD pet products market is booming—a trend expected to continue in the foreseeable future. A growing number of pet owners are turning to CBD as a new survey shows that nearly half of them give their pets CBD. The most cited conditions for CBD use in pets are allergies, inflammation, anxiety, pain, and seizures.
CBD is a substance present in cannabis and hemp plants. It is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes a "high."
Even though CBD comes in various forms, its oil version is the most common, especially for pets. Treats have also emerged as alternatives as they are easy to administer and can often be tailored for pets.
But how effective is CBD on pets? How long does it take for the effects to kick in? These are some of the questions we want to address in this article.
How soon does CBD work on dogs?
Before we answer this question, let's first understand why CBD works for non-humans like dogs and cats.
So, all mammals have a regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The term “endocannabinoid" literally means "cannabis-like substances that naturally occur in humans."
Interestingly, this critical system is named after a group of neurotransmitters called endogenous cannabinoids ("endo" means "within," so endocannabinoid basically means cannabinoids produced within the body).
For the ECS to work effectively, the body must have enough endocannabinoids. These chemicals activate various cannabinoid receptors (the CB1 and CB2 receptors) in the human body, including the central nervous system and the brain.
The ECS influences body processes such as:
- Immune function
- Motor control
The cannabinoids of cannabis are essentially phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids derived from plants), but they have the same impact on the ECS. When you smoke or ingest cannabis, these cannabinoids attach to CB receptors, stimulating various effects.
For instance, THC binds to CB1 receptors to induce a "high" feeling and promote relaxation and pain relief.
On the other hand, CBD does not have an affinity for CB receptors. In fact, it is believed to be a CB1 receptor antagonist, meaning it reduces their activity levels. This is why CBD is thought to mitigate the less desirable effects of THC.
Dogs and cats are mammals, so they have an ECS. The use of CBD on dogs is widespread because dogs have more CB receptors in their brains than humans, especially CB1. This makes them more receptive to the benefits of CBD. The downside is that this also makes them more susceptible to the toxic effects of cannabinoids like THC.
Now to the main issue - how long does it take for dogs to feel CBD's effects?
Just like humans, cannabis affects dogs differently. It is still unclear what factors cause these differences, but we can presume they may be similar to those in people.
So, it is probable that factors such as breed, activity level, pet size, symptom severity, etcetera, may play a role in how CBD affects your pet.
CBD's therapeutic effects typically kick in within 30 minutes to one hour and can last up to 24 hours. However, in smaller dogs, it may take as little as 15 to 30 seconds. Oils tend to kick in faster than edibles because they have fewer ingredients to be digested.
Keep in mind that CBD is a long-term supplement. In other words, its beneficial effects can be felt only when used consistently over a long period of time. So, for more severe issues, you may have to administer CBD for 2-4 weeks for optimal results.
How much CBD should I give my dog?
This is a tricky question because dogs respond differently to CBD.
As mentioned earlier, several factors determine how CBD affects pets and humans. Essentially, there is no exact CBD dose for any health condition. This is probably one of the persistent downsides of CBD.
So, like in people, the exact dose for your dog is subject to trial-and-error. As a rule of thumb, start with lower doses and increase gradually (ideally weekly) as you keenly monitor the changes happening in your pet.
You can enlist the services of pet and cannabis experts to advise you on how to dose CBD effectively.
Here are some guidelines to help you ensure CBD medication works for your pet.
CBD for dogs dosage
Every CBD product probably has its own dosing guidelines. For emphasis, let's repeat that there is no fixed dosage for CBD as is standard with conventional medicine.
In general, start low and slow, i.e., administer low doses, slowly increasing the dosage over time until you see the desired therapeutic benefits in your dog. Fortunately, if you use THC-free CBD oil, it is almost impossible to overdose your pet since the excess will be excreted as waste.
THC is highly toxic to pets, especially dogs, because, as explained earlier, canines have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains. A study conducted in Colorado indicates that THC can kill dogs, so be extra careful when treating your pet with CBD products.
Nonetheless, given the rising use of cannabis products in pets, researchers have begun investigating the safety of cannabinoid use in dogs.
The findings of one such study showed that dogs generally tolerate CBD quite well within the 2-62mg/kg range. Higher CBD doses were noted to have adverse effects such as hypothermia, ataxia, and lethargy.
Another study recommended 2-2.5mg/kg twice daily for up to 12 weeks. For shorter durations, i.e., six weeks, CBD doses of 5-10 mg/kg twice daily were suggested.
Some studies have reported increased liver enzymes (alkaline phosphatase) in dogs receiving CBD treatment at 2 mg/kg to 10 mg/kg twice daily within 4 to 12 weeks. Other studies observed liver enzyme increases as early as two weeks after treatment initiation.
The amount of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in the blood is measured through an ALP test. This enzyme (ALP) is present throughout the body but is majorly concentrated in the liver, kidneys, digestive tract, and bones.
High levels of ALP in the blood may signal wide-ranging health conditions, including liver disease and bone disorders.
Be consistent while you observe the effects
As with everything in life, consistency is a vital success factor. CBD is not a once-off type of supplement. Instead, people who have had the most success with CBD have one thing in common – consistency.
For the avoidance of doubt, consistency means being regular and steady in doing what works. Using CBD consistently is especially important. As earlier pointed out, the ECS is the primary target of cannabinoids in your pet's body (and yours too).
When you give your pet CBD consistently, you stabilize CBD levels in its system. This provides the ECS with more cannabinoids, thus increasing its efficiency.
Studies show that taking CBD regularly helps the ECS to be more effective and receptive to other nutrients. These studies note that CBD's impact revolves around dosing CBD consistently. This is why it is crucial to establish an effective dose for your pet and stick to it for the long term.
As dogs age, they become prone to many age-related health issues like arthritis and dementia. For the most part, you will need to put them on long-term medication to mitigate the symptoms of such illnesses and improve their quality of life.
CBD is particularly convenient for long-term use due to its excellent safety profile and minimal dependency potential. This means you can give your dog CBD throughout its life with minimal side effects.
How long do CBD dog treats last?
Despite the health benefits your dog will likely reap from CBD, unfortunately, it does not last that long. However, with proper storage, you can get 1-2 years from the date of manufacture.
Avoid giving pets expired CBD products because they are likely to be ineffective. So, instead of helping your dog, you may be exposing it to more danger. Always check the date of manufacture of CBD products to help you calculate the expiry date.
Also, remember that products like chocolate and biscuits tend to have a much shorter shelf life due to the many ingredients involved. Generally, the more ingredients used to make a CBD product, the shorter its shelf life.
How fast does CBD work in dogs?
This depends on the CBD you give your dog and other variables like pet size, CBD potency, activity levels, etcetera.
CBD oils like our Premium CBD Pet Drops typically work faster than treats because they bypass the first-pass metabolism. When given sublingually, CBD oil directly enters the bloodstream, speeding up the effects.
With CBD oil, the effects kick in in 30-60 minutes for larger pets like big dogs. It takes much shorter in smaller dogs, roughly 10-30 minutes. Also, CBD takes approximately 4-8 hours to reach its peak effectiveness. So, patience is vital.
Factors that can affect how long CBD dog treats take to work
We earlier pointed out that dogs do not react the same to CBD, just like people. Several factors have been identified to occasion such discrepancies. These include:
The brand & product quality
The quality of the CBD product you give your pet is probably the most important thing. Remember how we said consistency is the key to getting good results? Well, if you give your dog low-quality CBD, it doesn't matter how consistent you are; it may not reap the benefits.
This is why we emphasize the importance of purchasing CBD from accredited manufacturers and vendors, like FOCL. Since government agencies do not regulate it, the safety and quality of CBD products remain an issue even today.
Laboratory test reports do not paint a rosy picture of the goings-on in the CBD industry. Most CBD products on the market are untested, mislabeled, and potentially contaminated.
Your best bet is to research CBD companies and assess their growing and manufacturing practices.
CBD comes in various forms and types that affect its potency. Naturally, high potency CBD is ideal because you don't need to use much to get the desired effects. CBD potency depends on the manufacturer and typically ranges between 300 and 12,000mg of CBD per 60 ml.
Generally, anything above 33.3mg of CBD per 1 ml serving is considered "strong." Keep in mind that high-strength CBD should be administered in smaller doses.
Your dog's body
Pet size is another vital variable that determines how long it takes for CBD to work. Generally, CBD works faster in smaller pets than in larger ones, so the former typically requires less CBD to experience the same effects.
The amount of CBD you give your pet depends on the severity of its symptoms. Generally, smaller CBD doses are enough to manage mild to moderate symptoms such as temporary joint pain or mild anxiety.
Pet owners typically opt for high-potency CBD products for more severe conditions, especially if the pet is large.
This is another factor to consider because activity level determines how fast CBD is metabolized in your dog's system. The more active a dog is, the faster its rate of metabolism.
Even though this is an area where research is incomplete, there is evidence that CBD may interfere with the metabolism of other medications. So, if your dog is already on other drugs, seek the guidance of a veterinarian to avoid possible harmful interactions.
Even though dogs, like people, respond differently to CBD, we expect your pet to respond nonetheless. Every dog has its "sweet spot," so it may take time to establish it due to the differences between dogs.
Ultimately, patience and consistency are vital to making CBD work for your pet.
For a detailed breakdown on cannabis and how it can be used on pets, watch this video: