You may have heard of the multitude of benefits regular CBD use can have for humans. Maybe you've even heard of how it can benefit dogs and cats by treating chronic pain and reducing behavioral issues. What you may not know is that it can have similar benefits for horses.
Horses are one of the more complex pets an animal lover can own. They are very intelligent and have a high capacity for emotion, along with being downright majestic. Because the bond between an owner and their horse is so strong, seeing them struggle with a chronic health issue can be hard to watch.
Fortunately, CBD has been proven to have numerous health benefits for a wide range of species. As the stigma around the compound is beginning to shrink, you might be considering how incorporating CBD into your horse's routine can benefit their quality of life. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about using CBD oil for horses.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What Is CBD Oil For Horses?
2. How Does CBD Oil Work?
3. Benefits of CBD Oil For Horses
4. CBD For Chronic Pain and Arthritis
5. CBD For Inflammation
6. CBD For Emotional Distress
7. CBD For Digestive Health
8. CBD For Cancer Treatment
9. CBD For Improving Your Horse's Overall Health
10. CBD Benefits For Other Animals
11. Should I Give My Horse CBD Oil?
12. CBD Oil Side Effects
13. Will CBD Oil Give My Horse A High?
14. Finding The Best CBD Oil For Your Horse
15. CBD Oil Dosage For Horses
16. CBD Oil For Horses: The Bottom Line
What Is CBD Oil For Horses?
CBD oil is a tincture made from the compound known as cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of the active compounds present in cannabis, and it possesses numerous healing properties for both humans and animals.
It's important to note that CBD does not have any psychoactive effects on its users. The compound in cannabis that gives users a high is the infamous tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the compound that has made the herb popular for recreational use.
Not only does CBD not have any psychoactive properties, but if you purchase a high-quality CBD product, it will never have come into contact with THC.
CBD oil is a highly concentrated form of the compound made by placing a solvent (like alcohol or olive oil) on the surface of a hemp plant. This solvent then makes its way through the plant, absorbing CBD along the way. The solvent is then extracted from the plant, and what you are left with is a high concentration of CBD in an all-natural, non-toxic form that is safe for use with animals and humans.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD helps regulate the user's mood, sleep cycle, appetite, immunity, and pain levels. It does this by stimulating cannabinoid receptors in your brain and supplementing your ECS system. This system is responsible for various aspects of your health. CBD that comes from hemp strains of cannabis is THC-free, so they give you the health benefits of the plant without any psychoactive effects. Humans, cats, dogs, as well as birds, reptiles, and mammals, share this system, which is why they are all able to benefit from the effects of CBD.
CBD oils act as a traditional vitamin supplement. In the same way that taking a Vitamin E supplement will boost your heart and skin health by increasing your body's Vitamin E supply, CBD oils give your overall health a boost by giving your ECS system cannabidiol to stimulate your cannabinoid receptors. Even though you may be hesitant at the idea of giving your horse CBD due to the stigma around cannabis, it isn't much different than giving them a standard vitamin.
Benefits of CBD Oil For Horses
CBD oil is able to help manage a large variety of health issues in horses. While most of the research on this compound has been conducted on people, cats, and dogs, each day there are more and more studies looking into the benefits it can have for horses and other animals.
CBD can be used to manage pain, inflammation, stress, mood, digestion, and more. Unlike other treatment options for these issues, cannabidiol has no life-threatening side effects for horses. It is important to note, however, that it can only help with the symptoms of these conditions, not cure them. You should not use CBD as a cure for serious health issues.
CBD For Chronic Pain and Arthritis
Chronic pain can have a huge impact on your horse's quality of life, and it's not uncommon for horses to develop chronic pain issues. Due to their large size, they're very prone to issues like arthritis, which can eventually lead to lameness. This is especially true for competitive horses since their bodies undergo much higher levels of stress.
Prescription painkillers for chronic joint pain and arthritis usually have negative side effects that leave your horse feeling sedated and sluggish. CBD, on the other hand, is able to treat these conditions without leaving your horse feeling sedated. It has already been proven to have a positive effect on mice with chronic pain issues, and there is a lot of evidence to support its effect on other animals like cats and dogs.
It has an inflammatory property that reduces the swelling around your animal's joints. This relieves some of the pain and pressure off of your horse's joints. CBD also targets the pain receptors in your pet's brain and blocks them from activating. When these receptors are blocked, the neurons stop sending pain signals throughout your horse's body. These two effects combined allow your horse to run and play like their old self again.
CBD For Inflammation
Because horses are such active and muscular animals, issues with inflammation are practically inevitable. Their large size means that their tendons and muscles are under severe amounts of stress when performing a rigorous exercise, which leads to inflammation. Long-term inflammation can cause arthritis, chronic pain, and even heart problems.
While inflammation lets you know that your horse's immune system is working the way it's supposed to, it can have a damaging effect over the course of your horse's life. Using CBD regularly to manage your horse's inflammation can help prevent it from causing more serious health issues. It eases the immediate pain and discomfort that comes with inflammation. Also, if your horse has recently had surgery, giving them CBD afterward can help reduce swelling. Just make sure that you discuss it with your vet beforehand to avoid any potential complications.
CBD For Emotional Distress
Perhaps the most well-known health benefit of CBD is its ability to help users with chronic anxiety and depression. Because the areas of our brains that cause us to experience these are much the same in other animals, many animals can experience these benefits, including horses.
Horses are one of the most emotionally intelligent animals that we keep as pets, so making sure their emotional health is in peak condition is essential. If you transport your horse often and notice that they do not respond well to traveling, CBD can help keep them calm during the experience.
It's also great for pre-competition nerves if your horse competes in races or sports. Competing in a closed space can give your horse a serious case of "arena anxiety," which will have a negative effect on their performance and health. Fortunately, CBD is able to manage both of these issues in horses in a safe and natural way.
CBD For Digestive Health
Because horses generally live off of a grain-only diet, they are highly susceptible to developing gastrointestinal issues. Gastrointestinal issues can include bloating, ulcers, nausea, indigestion, and a lack of appetite. Horses that compete in sports are even more likely to develop these issues due to the demanding nature of their lifestyle. The combination of a difficult to digest diet and a physically intense routine can lead to serious issues with your horse's digestive system.
Using CBD oil for horses can help manage these issues thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. A grain-only diet, especially if it's processed grains, can lead to irritation in your horse's digestive tract. CBD counteracts this irritation, preventing your horse from developing these issues and managing them if they have already developed.
CBD For Cancer Treatment
Cannabidiol oil is useful for reducing the negative side effects of cancer treatment, and could even work to prevent the spread of the disease. CBD has been shown to have an effect on cancerous cells that prevents them from growing, and possibly even induces cell death. CBD also boosts the user's immune system, allowing the body to fight the formation of cancer cells.
Despite there not being enough evidence to know why CBD is effective for managing cancer, there is enough to say that it has a positive impact. While you shouldn't use it in place of traditional cancer treatments, using it alongside these treatments can help your horse through the process.
CBD For Improving Your Horse's Overall Health
Even if your horse isn't suffering from any of the previously mentioned conditions, they can still benefit from regular CBD treatment. Stimulating your pet's ECS system with CBD promotes homeostasis throughout the body. Processes that regulate your horse's mood, appetite, and health could be stabilized through regular CBD treatment. CBD also has a preventative effect on several conditions that could affect your horse's health in the future.
CBD Benefits For Other Animals
While you may not own other pets like cats or dogs, it helps to be aware of the benefits that those animals experience because they may carry over to your horse. For example, CBD can revive the coats of dogs and cats, making their hair stronger, softer, and shinier. It also has a positive effect on animals with skin conditions and allergies.
CBD is also capable of managing seizures and epilepsy if used in higher dosages. Most medications for treating these conditions have negative side effects that leave the user feeling sedated and lethargic. CBD is able to interrupt and reduce the frequency of seizures without these side effects.
Should I Give My Horse CBD Oil?
If your horse is suffering from any of these conditions or leads an active and demanding lifestyle, you may be considering using CBD oil to improve your horse's quality of life.
CBD is generally believed to be completely safe for most animals. However, before giving your horse any new medication, it's important to make an informed decision about whether or not it's right for your animal's routine.
The best way to determine if CBD oil is right for your horse is to consult with your local holistic vet, especially if you have taken your pet to that vet before.
They'll be able to properly assess your pet's lifestyle and give you advice on whether or not they should take CBD, how much they should take, how to introduce it to them, and more.
This is especially important if your horse is already on medication, as mixing medications without consulting a vet can have serious consequences.
CBD Oil Side Effects
The chances of CBD harming your pet are exceedingly small. Like any form of medication, CBD oil can have a negative impact on your horse if improper dosages are administered. You should only give your horse THC-free CBD oil. THC is toxic to some animals, so always opt for pure, high-quality CBD supplements. Never give your horse marijuana directly.
Some of the negative side effects that could occur include lethargy, depression, agitation, or other unusual behaviors. If you notice any of these, speak to your vet before continuing to manage your horse's health with CBD.
Will CBD Oil Give My Horse A High?
While it's a completely reasonable concern to have, CBD oil will not have any psychoactive side effects (so long as it has never come into contact with THC).
While the words hemp, marijuana, and cannabis are used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. Hemp and marijuana are separate strains of the cannabis plant. Marijuana, the strain you are probably most familiar with, contains a compound called THC. THC is the compound that produces a psychoactive effect, which has led to its popularity as a recreational drug. Marijuana also contains the CBD compound, so those who use it recreationally can still benefit from the effects of CBD.
Hemp, on the other hand, is a strain of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% of THC, which is too low to have any psychoactive effects on the user. While marijuana is currently illegal throughout most of the United States, hemp is legal in all 50 of them. This is why you've likely seen hemp lotions and oils in your local grocery stores, and it's why purchasing CBD oil for your pet is completely legal.
Finding The Best CBD Oil For Your Horse
Because CBD is harvested in as a concentrated oil, it's easy to manufacture it in a variety of ways. The type of CBD product you use for your horse depends on what kind of condition you are trying to manage.
The easiest method is CBD oil. This form of CBD is able to effectively manage a variety of conditions in horses with little side effects. It's also easy to administer, as you can give it to them orally with treats or feed. It also comes in topical solutions that are helpful if you're applying it to a targeted area like a joint or rash.
While smaller animals like dogs and cats can use similar CBD oils interchangeably, horses require a specialized product due to their large size. Make sure that the CBD oil you purchase for your horse is intended for horses. Higher purity levels are best since it means that there is a minimal amount of additives and pesticides included in the oil.
CBD Oil Dosage For Horses
Dosage is the most difficult aspect of administering CBD oil to your horse. It primarily depends on your horse's weight. When you purchase CBD for horses, the manufacturer should provide proper dosage instructions. If you're unsure of the instructions, consult with your vet beforehand to get an idea of how much to give your pet.
The best way to introduce your horse to CBD oil is to start with a smaller dosage every few days; then increase it to every day, and from there you can gradually work your way up to a full dosage. Doing it this way means your horse is never overwhelmed by the new compound.
CBD Oil For Horses: The Bottom Line
If you're considering using CBD supplements to improve your horse's quality of life and manage chronic conditions, then hopefully this article was able to help you make an informed decision. If you're still unsure, talk to your local holistic vet about any concerns you may have. They're the best way to decide if CBD supplements are right for you and your pet.
So long as you purchase CBD products from a reputable seller and are responsible for how you administer it, you should quickly see an improvement in your pet's everyday life.
Sources:Treatment using cannabidiol in a horse with mechanical allodynia
Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy
Cannabinoids as Anticancer Drugs
Cannabinoids and Animal Physiology
The use of cannabinoids in animals and therapeutic implications for veterinary medicine: a review