does cbd oil work for horses

Is CBD ok for horses, and should you try it?

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Understanding CBD for horses

Few health-related products have ramped up as quickly as CBD. What was once thought of as taboo is now a widely-available tool for humans and animals, alike.

You see CBD everywhere these days, but does it really work? Is it safe? The short answers: sometimes, and sometimes.

There is a growing body of evidence that cannabinoids, found in the hemp and marijuana plant, can be beneficial to humans and horses. Research and studies have shown cannabinoids like CBD, and even THC, can have powerful medicinal benefits ranging from things like pain relief, inflammation, anxiety, and better sleep.

More recent research has shown promise in the regrowth of bone and even controlling drug resistant ‘superbugs’ like MRSA bacteria (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

The number one rule is to source substances from brands you can trust—as in, don’t buy CBD at a gas station! And, as with any drug for your horse, always start by asking your vet for advice and guidance.

What are Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System?

Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is biological system comprised of neurotransmitters and receptors called CB1 and CB2, both endocannabinoids, which are created within the body, and phyto-cannabinoids (like CBD or cannabidiol), which are created by the cannabis plant interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors.

  • CB1 receptors are contained mostly in the brain and central nervous system.
  • CB2 receptors are found mostly in the gut, organs, and throughout the body including skin and other tissues.

The ECS is the largest system in the body and helps to regulate processes including mood, pain, memory, brain function, immune function, bone and more. The ECS functions like a regulator for the body helping it to maintain homeostasis, also called “The Goldilocks Zone.”

Cannabis is the common name for the Cannabis Sativa L plant species, the plant is split into two classifications based on the amount of THC in the plant, Marijuana and hemp. Marijuana, either medical or recreational, is generally regarded for its THC content, the cannabinoid that causes a “high.” THC also has a number of medical benefits, like pain relief.

Hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC and is legal in all 50 states (Europe is 0.2%). Non- intoxicating cannabinoids can be found in both plants, but are primarily derived from hemp due to the legal restrictions of working with marijuana. Don’t worry, as long as you steer clear of THC, your horse won’t be getting high.

Hemp can be confusing. You may have seen hemp seed oil in your local tack shop or on grocery store shelves. This is very different from the oils that contain cannabinoids.

Hemp seed products do not contain cannabinoids, but offer a lot of other benefits and are a rich source of antioxidants and a high quality source of fat and energy.

Hemp hearts and other cereals use seed and fiber from the plant’s stalk. The cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are produced in the flower or “buds” of the plant.

Cannabinoids in sports

Athletes are turning to cannabis in increasing numbers looking for alternatives for recovery from training and competitions. NFL players like Rob Gronkowski and Marvin Washington, and US Soccer star Megan Rapinoe have used CBD products as an alternative to opioid painkillers with harmful side effects.

Horse and dog owners are starting to take notice and studies in dogs have shown a reduction in the effects of arthritis and a number of promising equine trials are underway. Much like human athletes the benefits for cannabinoids in equine sports appear to have the same benefits for their horses as they are showing for riders like Olympic dressage medalist Stephan Peters who has been using a CBD product for years to help manage his own anxiety.

On the equine end of the partnership, international event rider Ema Klugman has been finding success managing the stress of early training and improving focus in her young horses by using Equilibrium from CannaHorse (use code HORSEROOKIE15 for 15% off!).

But is it safe and how much does a horse need?

When it comes to safety, high quality CBD products have shown to be safe in multiple animal species including a number of trials that have recognized safety in horses. The issue with safety is what is on the label is not necessarily what is in the product and that’s why it’s vitally important that products are purchased from reliable manufacturers using premium quality ingredients.

Companies like CannaHorse use an organic medical grade hemp that was grown specifically for human medical patients and processed in pharmaceutical compliant facilities.

Cannabinoids are complex molecules and have an interesting relationship with oxygen. Like many substances, air (Earth’s atmosphere is about 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen) can cause CBD products to degrade. Oxygen can also change the composition of certain cannabinoids like THC. When left out in the air, THC will degrade into a separate cannabinoid called CBN, which could cause more drowsiness than originally intended.

Hemp can also be an amazing bioaccumulator, meaning it will absorb anything and just about everything from the ground or that might be sprayed on it while growing. It’s important that it is grown in conditions free from toxins in the soil, or dangerous herbicides and pesticides often sprayed on crops.

Dosage is sort of a moving target in humans and animals. In humans, dosage is somewhat dictated by the desired outcome, with certain ailments requiring a higher dose than others.

In horses a couple of studies have shown that in doses below 150mg there seems to be little benefit, but doses at 250mg have shown to relieve pain in horses with injuries.

The format that the CBD is provided in is going to dictate how much you need to give your horse, as well. Water soluble products like CannaHorse Equilibrium (use code HORSEROOKIE15 for 15% off!) are designed to be absorbed orally to provide maximum effect. In comparison, pellet products have to be absorbed by the horse’s gut, which is very big and often filled with roughage, so it can be slow acting and much less is absorbed by the horse.

I want to try it, what should I look for?

CBD products for humans come in a variety of formats from oils, tinctures, capsules, to gummies and novelty products like cookies and even ice cream. Topical products are becoming more popular and can provide targeted relief of physical issues.

Tracing ingredients and knowing how much is actually in a novelty product is hard and requires a high level of trust in the manufacturer.

Manufacturers of CBD products vary in quality, and while it’s good advice to only buy from a brand you trust, it’s hard when so many brands are new. Look for brands with a quality website, high quality packaging, and transparency in their ingredients. Every company should offer Certificates of Analysis for each lot of their products.

There are a couple of additional things to keep in mind:

  • How is the product stored? Pelleted products may be convenient, but when opened, they are exposed to air. Is the CBD content the same on the day you buy it as it is on day 30 after opening? Probably not.
  • Also watch out for wild claims of medical benefits, as these are usually associated with companies making dodgy products that can’t be sold on their own merit.

Parting Thoughts

Whether to try CBD for your horse is a personal decision, and one to make in consultation with your vet. Having a natural option to try, depending on the issues you horse is experiencing, may make all the difference. If you have more questions, reach out to the team at CannaHorse!

CBD For Horses: Does it work?

The use of CBD has been most emphasized in regard to its therapeutic effects on people, and now dogs, but the benefits for horses have not been heavily addressed. Like all other mammals, horses also possess the system allowing them to benefit from this compound as well; the endocannabinoid system.

It comes as no surprise more horse lovers are looking into CBD tinctures as a natural alternative for many ailments including:

Natural healing is becoming more popular in today’s culture and efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle for not only us, but our pets as well, is extremely important.

Table of Contents

How CBD Interacts with Your Horse

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for homeostasis (balance) within the body. Just as with us and our dogs, a horse’s body reacts with the cannabinoids (CBD) to determine and resolve bodily imbalances at the cellular level. When researching the effects of CBD on animals, you may notice the research on horses is limited. But, luckily every mammal possesses an endocannabinoid system. This means the research documented in mice, cats, dogs, and other animals in regard to CBD can also be applied to horses. You can learn more about the endocannabinoid system here.

CBD is an active chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant and is known as a cannabinoid. Hemp and marijuana plants both belong to the Cannabis genus, but hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and is legal across all 50 states in the US. THC is also a well-known cannabinoid, but unlike THC, CBD does not cause any type of ‘high’ in your horse (or any pet). Instead, CBD is primarily utilized for therapeutic purposes to keep your horse healthy.

At this time, the research regarding horses is limited, but the anecdotal evidence is exceptional. First-hand accounts from horse lovers have indicated that CBD has resulted in significant improvement of their horses’ ailments.

20-Year-Old Paso Fino Horse: Beneficial CBD Effects

According to a study conducted by the AVMA, a woman named Becky Flowers decided to try cannabis for her 20-year-old Paso Fino horse who was suffering from degenerative ligament disease. The study states “The Southern Californian’s pet horse, a 20-year-old Paso Fino named Phoenix, had had degenerative ligament disease for several years. But nearly a year ago, the condition worsened. Phenylbutazone, glucosamine, Cavallo boots, cold and warm wraps—whatever Flowers tried, it didn’t help the horse for long. Eventually, Phoenix lay on her side and stopped eating and drinking.”

Prior to euthanization, Flowers made the decision to provide cannabis to her horse as she had found it to be a more powerful analgesic (pain management solution) than any medication she had seen prior. She had tried cannabis herself for various conditions including surgeries, spinal spurs, and arthritis. She wondered, if it worked for her, why couldn’t it work for her horse?

She stated within one hour of ingesting cannabis, Phoenix had begun to walk, eat, and drink. Ms. Becky Flowers stated in an excerpt, “with cannabis, I don’t worry about potential liver damage as with bute. I also don’t worry about overdosing, as I only give her a small amount. She never appears panicky or disoriented. She’s just her normal, happy Phoenix.”

Study by Texas A & M in Progress

Since the Farm Bill passed in 2018 removing industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, researchers at Tarleton State University’s Equine Center in Texas have been beginning, and now conducting, a study to learn more about CBD and horses (Tarleston is part of Texas A&M- a leading agricultural university).

According to Dr. Kimberly Guay, an Assistant Professor at the University, “horse owners have all heard the hype about the potential benefits of CBD oil. Here at Tarleton, we are working to give them reliable data.” She continued to state the level of interest associated with this study is intense as horse lovers await the data to be released. The study, led by Dr. Kimberly Guay, is measuring the effects of CBD on inflammation, stress, lameness, pain, and negative behaviors in horses.

In this study, Dr. Guay and her student researchers are administering different types of CBD (oil, pellets) to horses and measuring their heart rate and cortisol levels. They are also observing horses to determine if CBD may help with cribbing behaviors, and other types of obsessive-compulsive equine behavior.

Dr. Guay stated “By the end of this study, we hope to have the data that will define and document what exactly is going on with the horses. Is it actually helping to minimize stress and stereotypical behavior?” She hopes that once the evidence is available for horses, food production animals can be next on the list to be studied.

The results of this study are expected to be published in 2021.

No Adverse Effects

CBD is also well-tolerated without any adverse side effects aside from occasional drowsiness. According to research, CBD has been shown to help with the following conditions:

Pain: CBD may reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and/or laminitis.

Anxiety and Stress: Can be utilized for horses who become anxious when confined to a stall or prior to entering a horse trailer

Ulcers/ Gut Problems

Horse Competitions

As horse people ourselves, we understand the concerns that come along with horse life. One of the concerns here is competition involvement for those who are involved in barrel racing, shows, and other horse-related events.

If you are involved in horse competitions, the FEI and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) declared strict rules regarding any medication prior to any type of event as of September 1, 2019. THC is one of the cannabis-derived products involved in this type of violation. Unlike THC, full-spectrum CBD does not contain a sufficient amount of THC to incur a positive test result when purchased from a reliable source. If your horse has been taking cannabinoids, it may be recommended to stop dosage for approximately 10 days prior to the event.

Final Thoughts

Endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system are responsible for keeping your horse’s body in balance (homeostasis). If there is some type of imbalance, the compounds from a full-spectrum extract will assist in triggering the correct response to allow your horse’s body to heal naturally.

When cannabinoids, like CBD, are introduced into the endocannabinoid system, they help to bring balance to bodies of humans, dogs, cats, and horses, who have some type of ailment or deficiency (cancer, seizures, anxiety, inflammation, pain).

Additional research is being conducted every day, and there are continuous advances in how to best utilize the endocannabinoid system to heal the body naturally. Due to its non-psychotropic (will not get your horse ‘high’) effects, CBD has been the primary focus in cannabinoid research. The therapeutic potential here is endless.

Trove Equine CBD Oil 750

This premium CBD extract in organic MCT coconut oil may be given directly in the mouth or added to your horse’s favorite food or treat. May be helpful in:

  • promoting calm
  • surviving stall rest
  • addressing soreness
  • aiding in exercise/injury recovery
  • supporting immune, musculoskeletal, digestive and nervous systems
    • THC free
    • Organically grown USA hemp
    • Non GMO
    • Gluten free
    • Grain free
    • Vegan
    • Contains 25 mg CBD per 1 mL

    Batch ID: 255-7OE-02
    Trove Equine CBD Oil 750

    • VIEW PDF

    Batch ID: 255-7OE-01
    Trove Equine CBD Oil 750

    • VIEW PDF

    See suggested dosage information and consult with your veterinary professional. Not for use in pregnant or lactating animals or animals less than 12 months old.

    Suggested Dosage

    Up to one full dropper once or twice daily or as directed by veterinary professional. May be given directly in mouth or added to favorite food or treat. Store in a cool, dry place.

    Organic Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut, Cannabidiol (CBD)

    This premium CBD extract in organic MCT coconut oil may be given directly in the mouth or added to your horse’s favorite food or treat. May be helpful in:

    • promoting calm
    • surviving stall rest
    • addressing soreness
    • aiding in exercise/injury recovery
    • supporting immune, musculoskeletal, digestive and nervous systems
      • THC free
      • Organically grown USA hemp
      • Non GMO
      • Gluten free
      • Grain free
      • Vegan
      • Contains 25 mg CBD per 1 mL

      Batch ID: 255-7OE-02
      Trove Equine CBD Oil 750

      • VIEW PDF

      Batch ID: 255-7OE-01
      Trove Equine CBD Oil 750

      • VIEW PDF

      See suggested dosage information and consult with your veterinary professional. Not for use in pregnant or lactating animals or animals less than 12 months old.

      Suggested Dosage

      Up to one full dropper once or twice daily or as directed by veterinary professional. May be given directly in mouth or added to favorite food or treat. Store in a cool, dry place.

      Organic Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut, Cannabidiol (CBD)

      Per the California Department of Food and Agriculture, this product is not available for sale or shipment into California for use in livestock.