Just like humans, horses experience medical conditions that can leave owners feeling hopeless and wondering if there’s any way that they can help their beloved pet. The answer could be cannabidiol (CBD). Whether you yourself are using it or have thought about using it, or even if you’ve never heard of it, it’s worth getting more familiar with cannabidiol for horses.
We know that you want the very best for your four-legged companion, so you’re probably wondering what it all entails? You may have heard about the various benefits associated with regular CBD for humans. Perhaps you’ve even heard about how it can benefit cats and dogs by treating chronic pain and anxiety and reducing behavioral issues. The good news is that it can have similar benefits for horses.
Horses are one of the more complex pets that an animal lover can own. They are very intelligent, have a high capacity for emotion, and, of course, they are downright majestic. When problems/health conditions arise, it’s important that horse owners know their options in terms of the way in which specific ailments can be treated. This is where CBD comes into play.
While there are very few, if any, research studies that have used horses as subjects, anecdotal responses are highly favorable. In this article, we will cover everything there is to know about using cannabidiol for horses and other large animals.
What is CBD for Horses?
CBD is one of the key active compounds found in cannabis, and it possesses various healing properties for both humans and animals. Also important to note is that CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. This means that it will not make users high. The infamous compound that is known for making users high is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Any product that contains THC is not desirable for horses, but THC is also not necessary for them to experience the array of health benefits associated with cannabis since CBD has many of its own health benefits.
You don’t want to put your horse at risk of experiencing any adverse symptoms associated with THC, like changes in mood, hallucinations, increased anxiety, and other changes in brain chemistry.
Fortunately, the industry-standard limits THC content in all CBD products to below 0.3% THC. This very minimal amount of THC is processed before it can be absorbed, which means that these CBD products are very safe for all animals.
The Benefits of CBD for Horses
Horses, just like many other animals, are prone to illnesses and ailments. While conventional medical procedures and therapies may be recommended for certain diseases and injuries, natural remedies may be beneficial for chronic symptoms.
Owners are also often looking for natural alternatives to medical treatments for their pets, and these cases, CBD could be an attractive option. CBD is becoming an increasingly popular therapy for horses, especially those who are prone to anxiety, lameness, and joint problems.
Here are some of the key benefits associated with cannabidiol for horses and other large animals.
If you have a horse who struggles with digestive health problems, you may have already tried medications or exotic diets without any success. If this sounds like you and your horse, it may be worth giving CBD a try. CBD is known to help alleviate symptoms that are linked to indigestion, general stomach upset, and ulcers, by reducing inflammation in the digestive system.
Swelling and Pain
It’s very common for horses to suffer from inflammation and joint pain. The sheer weight of their body is sufficient enough to put a strain on the connective tissue and joints. If you have a horse that is very active or has a working role, the risk of swelling and discomfort is even greater. CBD for horses may offer relief for general aches and pains, joint stiffness, and arthritis.
Throughout a horses lifetime, they can endure scary, unnerving experiences, and this may contribute to anxiety. If your horse doesn’t like being contained or is anxious about traveling, CBD can help to reduce stress and make them feel more relaxed and content.
Your horse will feel happier and hopefully continue to be their fun and playful selves rather than becoming withdrawn or shying away when faced with a potentially uncomfortable situation.
CBD may play a part in promoting a healthy heart. Research suggests that CBD supports blood vessels and an irregular heart rate. CBD can also help to decrease an elevated heart rate by promoting relaxation.
CBD Interaction with Horses and Other Large Animals
So by now, you might be wondering how it all works. Cannabis and hemp both contain chemical compounds known as cannabinoids – one of these being CBD. Horses and other large animals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) – just like humans.
The receptor system interacts with cannabinoids, like CBD, to help maintain overall balance (homeostasis) within the body. As you can imagine, it’s essential that this system works efficiently.
When a cannabinoid like CBD is introduced, it helps to support the overall function of the ECS. You can compare it to the way that vitamin C supports the immune system.
Essentially, CBD interacts with receptors found in the ECS and in this way it enhances the working of the overall system. This is how CBD is able to provide its associated benefits, including pain management, anxiety relief, and promoting overall health and well-being.
Talk with Your Vet
If you live in a state where cannabis is legalized, there’s nothing stopping you from giving CBD to your pet on your own. However, experts advise that it’s a good idea to talk to your vet first. While veterinarians can’t bring up the matter of CBD on their own (only in California), they certainly can answer questions that you may have in an effort to reduce any potential harm.
If your vet doesn’t know much about cannabidiol for horses and other large animals, you can take a look at veterinarycannabis.org for help.
What is the Best Dosage for Horses and Other Large Animals?
CBD product labels should provide you with the amount of CBD per dose. However, it can be confusing.
Typically, dosages are weight-dependent and based on how severe the condition is. It’s best to start your pet off slowly and then increase the dose as and when needed. Trial and error will be necessary to find the right dose that’s best for you and your animal. Keep in mind that it can take about two weeks for the body to experience relief, and improvement will continue over time.
Dosage requirements are not standardized. But, based on research studies and applications, here are some general daily guidelines. You may want to divide the dose into two servings rather than administering one daily.
- 25 to 75 lbs: 10 to 20mg
- 75 or more lbs: 20 to 40mg
- Minis: 25 to 50mg
- Full sized (1100 lbs): 75 to 170mg
- Large breeds: 120 to 200mg
Final Thoughts on CBD for Horses
Although experts have been studying cannabis and CBD for decades, there is still a lot more research that needs to be done, especially for horses. Nonetheless, evidence thus far has been encouraging.
Offering relief from mental and physical ailments that horses and other large animals may suffer from, CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to provide its therapeutic effect.