Dosing CBD: With or Without Food?

CBD Dosing Part 2

According to research, the food eaten along with CBD could have a dramatic effect on how much CBD the body absorbs. Bioavailability is critical. The lower the bioavailability, the more CBD your dog will need to consume for optimal efficacy. Likewise, the higher the bioavailability, the better the results.

In the past, scientists believed administering CBD on an empty stomach would be most effective. Now, studies have shown CBD will stay in the body for longer periods of time when fatty foods have been consumed prior to administration. Since CBD is fat-soluble, when the stomach contains fatty foods, the oil is often taken up by the body at higher levels (more CBD is absorbed). 

We aren’t saying to feed your dog an unhealthy, greasy meal prior to administering CBD. Instead, we are suggesting that your dog is fed a healthy meal prior to being given her regular dose to increase efficacy of the CBD oil.


Bioavailability is the amount of time, and the rate, a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream as well as how much is excreted without any effect. Bioavailability affects how much CBD oil to provide in each dose and how quickly your dog can feel the effects of the tincture. 

We explain in our dosing instructions how to properly administer the CBD oil. The most effective being directly on the gums for optimal bioavailability. Simply lift your dog’s lip and place the dropper on the gums. With this method, the medicine is absorbed through the mucous membrane in the mouth resulting in the full-spectrum tincture traveling directly to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive tract. Application to the gums minimizes the number of cannabinoids lost in the digestive process. 

Hemp Seed Oil and MCT

At CBD Dog Health, we utilize hemp seed oil and MCT for higher levels of bioavailability in our tinctures. You will commonly hear these types of oils referred to as carrier oils. Carrier oils are exactly as they imply; they carry the CBD and other constituents through the body to make them easier to use. Cannabinoids are soluble in fats and oils which make MCT and Hemp Seed Oil incredible carriers for absorption purposes.


MCT, or medium-chain triglycerides, are short biological molecules that are easily digested by the body and are derived from coconut or palm oil. Since they are short in structure, they can move through the digestive tract without having to be broken down into smaller molecules reducing the absorption rate of the CBD. 

In addition to being an excellent carrier oil (higher bioavailability), MCT has been shown to have other health benefits including improved neurological function, hormone balance, increased energy levels and enhanced immune support.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil should not be confused with ‘hemp oil’ that’s commonly sold similar to CBD derived from the flower portion of the plant. Hemp oil is used to create hemp extract and/or CBD isolate. Rather, hemp seed oil (the carrier oil) is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are well-known for their benefits to the skin, brain, joints, and immune system adding an extra benefit to an already therapeutic tincture.

CBD with Food

According to recent research, consuming CBD with food could greatly improve bioavailability. A study published by the University of Minnesota observed how CBD affects adult patients with epilepsy with and without food in their body. There were eight patients in the study. All received a single dose of 99% pure CBD capsules. They were instructed to take the CBD while fasting. Then, they were to eat a high-fat diet. 

Results from the study showed that, when CBD is administered with fatty foods, the amount of CBD in the body increases four-fold. 

According to Harvard Medical School, conventional fats and oils are high energy fuel for the body. Fatty foods are more readily absorbed by the body; that’s why they are so helpful in increasing the bioavailability of CBD. 

Recommended Foods

The best types of foods contain medium and long-chain triglycerides (fatty acids). Foods with these fatty acids include: 

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Meat
  • Eggs

Not on Food

It’s important to note that these studies are not recommending you place the CBD directly ON the food you’re providing (or consuming). They are suggesting a diet high in fat prior to administration of CBD. 

CBD added to our pets’ food takes longer to enter the bloodstream and generally results in lower absorption rates. When the tincture is placed directly on the food, it has to go all the way through the digestive tract and the body’s filtration system. When the oil is added to the food instead of being absorbed through the gums or inner ear, less of the medicine will reach the parts of the body where it’s needed, and more will be required to reach the same effect.

Final Thoughts

Providing your dog with a meal before she’s given her regular dose of CBD could yield better results. Your dog’s body may be able to absorb the nutrients from the tincture more efficiently if she eats first. Remember, this doesn’t mean to place the CBD oil directly onto your dog’s food. Instead, provide her regular, well-balanced diet. Then, wait a few minutes to provide the CBD oil.