Equine joint inflammation can be crippling to horses of all breeds and ages and speaks to a sometimes chronic and painful degradation of cartilage along the bones of your noble companion. Typically, the spine, joints, and jaw can each be affected, which may lead to lameness, aches, and an uneven giant.1
In addition to regular rest, CBD may help ease the discomfort that comes with joint inflammation by interacting with your horse’s endocannabinoid system. This guide will discuss the causes and symptoms of equine joint pain and how to use CBD oil for horse arthritis relief.
Joint Pain Explained
Before we can talk about CBD oil’s potential for helping your horse feel more comfortable, let’s talk about why your horse might be experiencing cumbersome aches.
Joint pain occurs when one or more of your horse’s joints becomes inflamed, causing stiffness and discomfort. In many cases, you can ease chronic joint inflammation, and horses with acute inflammation can oftentimes make a full recovery.1
Joint inflammation happens when the bones in a given joint no longer fit smoothly together.
This can happen if:1
- An injury damages the bone or cartilage
- An infection damages the bone or cartilage
- A new, rough bone lacking in cartilage grows to replace a damaged bone
When an injury or infection damages the bone or cartilage, the roughened surface moving against other bones and cartilage can result in acute inflammation.1 When the bone itself re-grows roughly after an injury and causes inflammation, that’s referred to as chronic inflammation.1
If your horse has an arthritic joint, its symptoms may include:1
- Swelling of the joint
- Movement restriction
If you think your horse might be experiencing joint inflammation, reach out to your veterinarian as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Catching arthritis early can make it easier to treat.1
There are several different ways to treat joint inflammation, depending on your horse’s specific situation.
A vet may recommend any of the following:
- Rest – Your vet may prescribe barn rest for weeks or months to give your horse time to heal
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – Your vet may recommend drugs that can ease pain, reduce inflammation, and help the joint function normally again
- Artificial joint fluid – Injecting medication and artificial joint fluid into your horse’s joint can help re-establish the normal joint lubrication necessary for healthy joints
- Surgery – In some cases, surgery can help correct a problematic bone growth that’s leading to joint inflammation
In situations where you want to help your horse feel more comfortable, CBD oil for horses may help to ease the physical discomfort your horse experiences due to joint inflammation. That said, always consult your vet to determine if it’s the right option for your horse.
CBD Oil For Horses
CBD oil, also known as hemp oil, is created by extracting cannabidiol from the Cannabis Sativa plant. CBD oil can be taken by your horse orally as droplets or edible capsules or applied topically.
That said, CBD oil is highly bioavailable for horses when consumed orally, according to a study conducted by Colorado State University.2 Additionally, it was found that CBD can stay in a horse’s body for 24 hours or longer, which may help to relieve aches associated with inflamed joints.
Additional research suggests that CBD oil causes no harm to horses when ingested in small amounts.3
How Often to Give Your Horse CBD Oil
When giving your horse CBD oil, it’s recommended to stick with a veterinarian-made plan or follow the instructions as stated on the product’s label. For example, Canna-Pet® CBD for Horses recommends that horse owners:
- Administer about 15 drops, or 0.5 ml, into your horse’s mouth. If possible, apply the drops just underneath their tongue. (This amount may change if you’re using a less concentrated oil than Canna-Pet® CBD for Horses).
- Repeat this three times a day.
If you don’t see an effect after a few days, you can shift to giving your horse four CBD oil supplements a day.
Potential Benefits of CBD Horse Oil
When consumed or applied topically, the cannabinoids in CBD oil can interact with your horse’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that helps to regulate homeostasis. The ECS is found in most vertebrates and mammals, including dogs, mice, and humans.
While further study is certainly needed to fully understand the potential benefits of CBD oil in horses, some early studies on dogs and mice suggest promising results for animals who experience regular joint inflammation:
- Dogs – Research on dogs and CBD suggests CBD supplements may help to ease doggy discomfort associated with acute joint inflammation.4 As such, we can speculate that CBD may have a similar effect on horses.
- Mice – It’s believed that CBD is anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive. One study of mice with inflamed joints noted that CBD can block the progression of the mice’s symptoms to protect the joints from more severe damage. That said, we need more research to determine if CBD could have similar effects on other animal species like horses.5
As for your feline friends, does CBD oil calm cats? Much like mice, CBD can also relieve pain in cats. Unfortunately, the complicated laws surrounding CBD products can make it more difficult for researchers to study CBD compared to other supplements.
That said, it’s believed that more in-depth data will arrive as more states legalize marijuana use: A recent survey of U.S. veterinarians indicated that veterinarians living in states with legalized recreational marijuana were more likely to recommend CBD oil to their patients, especially when trying to help pets relax and feel more comfortable.6
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Your Horse
You’ve read the CBD literature. You’ve talked to your vet. And you’ve decided you’re open to trying anything that could help your beloved horse feel better.
But how can you choose the best CBD oil for your horse? You’ll want to consider the following factors:
- Liquid vs. capsule – Both liquid and capsule forms of CBD oil can deliver CBD to your horse. However, liquid CBD oil can have a faster effect since it’s metabolized more quickly by your horse.2 Additionally, liquid may prove an easier option if your horse dislikes eating capsules.
- Organic vs. added ingredients – Avoid CBD oils with additional ingredients like alcohol and carrier oils, as well as pesticides and heavy metals. Instead, look for CBD oils labeled as 100% organic hemp.
- Whole-plant hemp oil – Also known as whole-flower hemp oil, whole-plant oil uses the cannabis Sativa plant’s entire flower. By using the whole plant instead of only pure CBD extract, you mimic the variety of compounds found in nature.
- High vs. low concentration – The ideal CBD dosage for horses depends on how severe the arthritis is. A higher concentration level means you’ll only have to give your horse a few drops three or four times a day to give them the recommended level of CBD. If you choose an oil with a lower concentration of CBD, you’ll have to feed it to your horse more frequently throughout the day.
- Testing history – Find a CBD company that worked alongside respected veterinarians or veterinarian institutions when testing and formulating its CBD products for horses. It’s important to seek companies that prioritize working with medical experts to ensure your horse is getting the best.
- THC – Some CBD oils designed for humans include THC, the chemical that causes marijuana’s psychological effects. As you can imagine, that’s not what you want when trying to help your horse feel relaxed and comfortable. While most CBD for pets won’t include enough THC to cause a problem, make sure you’ve selected a CBD oil tested by an independent lab to ensure you’re getting exactly what’s on the label.
- Pet insurance – If you have the right policy and an official recommendation from your veterinarian, some major pet insurance companies like Petplan and Trupanion will cover certain brands of animal CBD products, such as Canna-Pet®. Researching what your insurance plan covers ahead of time can save you money in the long run—leaving you with more funds to spend on delicious horse treats.
And for a product that aces each of these categories, we recommend Hemp CBD for Horses.
Support Your Horse with Canna-Pet®
Administering CBD oil to your horse orally may help to ease the aches associated with inflamed joints.
At Canna-Pet®, we’re dedicated to discovering new ways to make your pet’s life as comfortable as possible. After spending several years working with respected veterinary universities like Colorado State University Study, we’re proud to offer a line of CBD capsules and oils for dogs, cats, and horses that’s vet-approved.
Each product is ethically sourced from organic hemp and contains over 24 cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids to help enhance your pet’s health. They’re veterinarian-recommended, refined in US laboratories, and crafted for maximum bioavailability. And after cultivation, each product is tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents to ensure our CBD hemp oil is natural and safe.
- VCA Hospitals. Arthritis in Horses. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/arthritis-in-horses
- The Horse. CBD Study In Horses Paves Way for New Research. https://thehorse.com/1109375/cbd-study-in-horses-paves-way-for-new-research/
- American Journal of Veterinary Research. Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in a randomized crossover trial in senior horses. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35895770/
- Research in Veterinary Science. Cannabidiol-based natural health products for companion animals: Recent advances in the management of anxiety, pain, and inflammation. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34391060/
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10920191/
- Frontiers in Veterinary Science. US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6338022/
- American Journal of Veterinary Research. Determination of the prevalence and severity of metacarpophalangeal joint osteoarthritis in Thoroughbred racehorses via quantitative macroscopic evaluation. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21034319/
- Forbes. CBD Oil: 9 Science-Backed Benefits. https://www.forbes.com/health/body/cbd-oil-benefits/
- VCA Animal Hospitals. Arthritis in Horses. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/arthritis-in-horses