Whether your horse is starting to spook easily on your daily rides, they’ve begun to grind their teeth excessively, or they’re experiencing gastrointestinal issues, it’s critical that you get an uneasy horse the help they need.
Fortunately, animal-friendly CBD oil may help to ease your four-legged companions—no matter their size. CBD oil may help to relieve nervousness and physical aches and support your horse’s overall health.
That said, when considering CBD for your horse, it’s important to understand the potential benefits of CBD oil for animals, what to look for in a CBD company, and what constitutes a safe and effective CBD dosage for horses.
The Science of CBD
Cannabidiol oils—or CBD oils—are products derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant that has low or no levels of THC. Since THC is the chemical in marijuana that can lead to psychoactive effects, CBD oils can provide a way for users to experience the potential positive effects of the Cannabis Sativa plant without risking the less desirable psychoactive effects.1
CBD can interact with the group of neuromodulatory lipids and receptors known as the endocannabinoid system (or ECS for short), which is found in both animals and humans. The ECS regulates certain immune, nervous, and cardiovascular system functions within the cells, and it may interact with the cannabinoids of CBD when it is consumed orally or applied topically.
CBD for Horses
When incorporating CBD into your horse’s diet, it’s recommended to start slow, observe your horse’s reaction, and increase the dosage as needed.
While the dosage will vary depending on the CBD product’s concentration or your horse’s size, you can check the product’s label to determine how much you should give your horse. For example, when using Canna-Pet® CBD for Horses, it’s recommended that horse owners start with 15 drops (0.5ml) under the tongue three times a day.
When determining how best—and how often—to share CBD products with your horse, always follow the specific instructions on the packaging or given to you by your vet.
Additionally, try to avoid using multiple CBD products at the same time unless your vet tells you otherwise, as that can lead to you giving your horse more CBD than the manufacturers intended.
Bioavailability of CBD in Horses
While the research on horses and CBD is limited, one study conducted by Colorado State University vet resident Alicia Yocom found that CBD is bioavailable in horses when administered orally, meaning horses can metabolize and tolerate CBD oil.2
The study involved 12 mix-breed mares who were divided into two groups. The first group was given a low dose of CBD oil (1 milligram per kilogram of body weight) and the second group was given a high dose of CBD oil (3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight) once a day for six weeks.
Note: The higher dosage was more than CBD manufacturers typically recommend
After taking blood samples to measure the amount of CBD in the horses’ blood, it was discovered that CBD can stay in a horse’s body for 24 hours or longer and is particularly effective when administered every 12 hours after a high-fat meal. Additionally, there were no signs of adverse effects.
Potential Benefits of CBD
The ECS is found in all mammals, including dogs and mice. As such, studies conducted on these species suggest that CBD may provide similar positive effects to horses, such as:
- Positive mental effects – Research on mice suggests that CBD consumption can induce anxiolytic- and antipsychotic-like effects, which is similar to the effects caused by some anti-depressants. If this effect extends beyond mice to other animals, CBD could help your horse relax and have a higher quality of life.3
- Increased physical comfort – Research on dogs suggests that CBD consumption can help your dog feel more physically comfortable, and it may work similarly in horses.4
While young, healthy animals are unlikely to need the extra physical comfort, CBD products may be helpful for older animals that are recovering from an injury.
- Increased mobility – In a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study of dogs with osteoarthritis who received daily CBD, it was found that CBD consumption can help decrease proinflammatory proteins while promoting anti-inflammatory proteins.5 That effect can make movement easier for dogs with osteoarthritis and may have the same effect on horses.
- Positive effect on arthritic joints – One study on arthritic mice found that consuming a set amount of CBD appeared to help block some of the arthritic symptoms from developing further.6 If your horse has joint pain, you might consider talking with your vet about whether or not incorporating CBD oil for horse arthritis into your pet’s care could positively affect their quality of life.
- Delaying certain symptoms of ALS – In one study of mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS), mice who consumed CBD had ALS symptoms that developed more slowly than in the control group. This suggests that CBD may have significant neuroprotective effects.7 While we need more research before we can confidently extrapolate these findings to other species or diseases, the initial findings are certainly a cause for optimism.
- Treatment of certain seizures – In 2018, following three randomized trials with 516 Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome patients, the FDA approved a CBD-based treatment for patients under two who had certain rare types of epilepsy.8 The development is obviously promising for humans, but it could also prompt researchers to begin studying CBD as a treatment for animal seizures. That’s important since epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders handled by veterinarians.9
If you have questions about CBD’s potential effectiveness for your horse’s overall health, we recommend reaching out to your vet. And if you choose to conduct additional research, we recommend prioritizing information found in respected medical journals—many of which can be found through the National Library of Medicine website. You want to make sure you’re getting the best possible information when deciding what supplements to give your horse.
How to Find CBD For Your Horse
While humans have cultivated the cannabis Sativa plant for centuries, it’s only recently that we’ve begun to conduct pre-clinical and clinical studies on CBD’s potential benefits. While some of the results suggest promising possibilities, it’s important to note that some CBD products are unregulated.1
Knowing how to find a CBD product you trust can help ensure you share the best possible product with your horse. As such, when selecting a CBD product for your horse, it’s important to:
- Purchase from a brand you trust – Find a CBD company that offers ethically sourced products derived from organic hemp. You’ll also want to read the label to ensure that the product is free from alcohol, carrier oils, pesticides, and heavy metals.
- Look for veterinarian-recommended brands – Look for brands like Canna-Pet® that are backed by veterinarian-conducted research and pet insurance companies like Petplan and Trupanion under specific circumstances. Even if you use a smaller insurance brand, knowing which CBD brands the big insurance companies trust can help steer you toward trusted CBD products that are made with your horse in mind.
- Consult your own veterinarian – After doing your own research, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian before incorporating daily CBD into your horse’s regular care. Your veterinarian can help decide if CBD makes sense for your specific horse and help set realistic expectations around CBD’s potential benefits. One thing to note: A recent survey found American veterinarians were more likely to keep up with and recommend pet CBD products if they themselves lived in a state that legalized marijuana consumption, so it’s possible your location may affect the depth of your veterinarian’s animal CBD knowledge.10
Taking the time to do some extra research can help you rest easy knowing that you’re providing your horse with a carefully developed, trusted product.
CBD products designed for animals may come in the form of:
- CBD biscuits
- CBD oil (liquid)
- CBD oil (capsules)
For horses, we recommend a highly concentrated liquid CBD oil because your horse can absorb the CBD faster.
Is CBD Safe For Horses?
Research suggests CBD is safe for horses, but it’s always best practice to talk to your vet before introducing new foods or supplements into your horse’s care routine.11
Additionally, we recommend sticking to CBD products specifically designed for horses. While the basic ingredient stays the same across products intended for different species, the CBD concentration, recommended amount, and delivery method may change depending on what species a given product is intended for.
Explore CBD for Pets with Canna-Pet®
At Canna-Pet®, we believe in going the extra mile to give the animals in our lives the highest possible quality of life. That’s why we’ve worked with respected veterinary schools to research and test CBD for pets.
Our proprietary hemp plant extraction and formulation technique creates unique whole-plant CBD products. From biscuits and capsules to our most concentrated CBD oil, we create safe, natural CBD products that can help your pet live more comfortably—and more relaxed.
Whether you’re a cat mom, a dog dad, or a horse whisperer, we provide premium CBD products to help your four-legged friend feel their best.
- Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31447137/
- The Horse. CBD Study In Horses Paves Way for New Research. https://thehorse.com/1109375/cbd-study-in-horses-paves-way-for-new-research/
- British Journal of Pharmacology. Antidepressant-like effects of cannabidiol in mice: possible involvement of 5-HT1A receptors. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20002102/
- 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/
- Pain. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of daily cannabidiol for the treatment of canine osteoarthritis pain. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345916/
- 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/
- FASAB journal. Increasing cannabinoid levels by pharmacological and genetic manipulation delay disease progression in SOD1 mice. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16571781/
- FDA. FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
- NC State. Companion Animal Epilepsy. https://cvm.ncsu.edu/research/labs/clinical-sciences/companion-animal-epilepsy/
- 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. Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in a randomized crossover trial in senior horses. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35895770/