Horses have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS), much like humans and other pets, and can therefore likely benefit from the use of Cannabidiol (CBD oil) in similar ways. Unlike marijuana, CBD oil is non-intoxicating for humans and animals. While no scientific studies have yet been completed on the use of CBD oil with horses, many horse owners are finding CBD oil to be useful in a variety of ways, to bring their majestic animals more relaxation and comfort.
CBD Oil for Horses: Is It Safe?
In particular, a CBD oil rich in beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes has been found to be helpful to horse owners who wish to help their animals with:
- Digestive issues or poor appetite
- Symptoms and effects of cancer
- Stress and anxiety
- Soreness after a long day of hauling or riding
- Join pain and arthritis
- Gastric ulcers
- Physical and emotional relaxation and well-being
- Reactions to vaccines
- Developing a healthier coat, mail, and tail
G’ddyup then Go to Sleep
The two primary uses of hemp for horses involve CBD oil and hemp bedding. According to Marty Phipps of Old Dominion Hemp, hemp is useful as bedding for horses because it’s absorbent (holding up to four times its own weight) and lasts longer than other types of stall bedding. Plus it’s extremely low-dust, which won’t aggravate a sensitive horse’s respiratory issues. It’s also low-cost, lasts longer, is highly renewable, and is biodegradable, which means it’s better for the environment and more cost-effective.
How to Administer CBD to a Horse
Some beneficial times to give CBD to your horse may include:
- Times of stress
- Before a vet visit
- Before or after shots or immunizations
- After a race or long day of riding or farm work
- Before trailering or travel
- During periods of stall rest
- After surgery or medical procedures
- During any time of change, disruption of routine, or pain or discomfort
You can give your horse the desired amount of CBD oil by dropping it directly onto the horse’s tongue, or you can add it to their feed. Additionally, you can massage CBD topically into the affected area (if your horse will allow this) for joint pain or muscle soreness.
How much CBD oil should you give your horse? Check with your veterinarian first, but be advised that he or she will likely first give you a disclaimer. A recent survey through the Veterinary Information Network intended to gauge veterinarian’s knowledge and comfort surrounding the use of cannabinoids in dogs. Of the 2100 veterinarians successfully surveyed, 92 percent indicated they had been asked by clients about CBD treatment for dogs.
More than 60 percent felt comfortable discussing the topic with colleagues, but only about 45 percent felt comfortable discussing it with clients. According to Dr. Gary Richter (owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California),
“There’s a very robust conversation going on right now about whether or not veterinarians should be able to discuss and recommend cannabis for their patience, and, if so, exactly what that looks like.”
California is currently leading the way in this conversation, with a state bill designed to spark a debate about veterinarian involvement.
While CBD oil has countless benefits for horses, it’s wise to avoid dosing your horse within forty-eight hours prior to competition, as the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) very strictly prohibits any substance (even natural supplementation) that calms or relaxes your horse. Save the CBD for after the race, to help your horse relax and recover from the exercise.
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