Horses and humans are both mammals. Consequently, we share many similarities within our bodies. That is because there are universal similarities in the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and metabolism of all mammalian bodies. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been growing in popularity amongst pet owners, especially horses. CBD oil can definitely be used for horses, but what does it do?
What is Cannabidiol?
CBD oil is a derivative of the hemp plant. It belongs to a class of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. All mammalian bodies naturally produce certain cannabinoids. Cannabinoids which naturally occur in the body are known as “endocannabinoids” (Anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, 2-arachidonyl glyceryl ether, etc.). CBD, however, is considered to be a phytocannabinoid.
Phytocannabinoids come from sources outside the mammalian body. Hemp is an example of a plant with high levels of phytocannabinoids. Cultavists grow and harvest hemp for it’s high level of CBD production. Most research and studies revolve around the phytocannabinoids CBD and THC. This is because experts believe these cannabinoids have the most potential.
CBD & The ECS
The body produces endocannabinoids to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is also found in every mammalian body. The ECS is in part responsible for maintaining the balance of many major systems in the body (such as pain, anxiety, stress, mood and more). Some times the body struggles to keep up with endocannabinoid production which causes an unbalance in the ECS. This unbalance is known as an “endocannabinoid deficiency”.
Luckily for us and all mammals alike we may counteract this unbalance by ingesting phytocannabinoids (CBD, THC, and other beneficial cannabinoids). Ingesting CBD may increase the number of cannabinoids in the body. By increasing the body’s cannabinoid levels, the body goes back into a natural balance also known as homeostasis.
How Does CBD Oil Work with a Horse?
To begin with, we must know that CBD is not yet approved or meant to prevent, treat, or cure any ailments or diseases.
Nonetheless, we should also know that, like all mammals, horses also have an ECS. This regulatory system in the horse’s body is comprised of cannabinoid receptors. The two basic types of receptors are:
- CB1 receptors – located primarily in the horse’s nervous system.
- CB2 receptors – located primarily in the horse’s gut and immune system.
Interestingly enough, the majority of all animals have an ECS. This includes really primitive species that have very basic anatomies. Biologists have identified that the most basic animal with an ECS and cannabinoid receptors is a sea-squirt. This primitive animal evolved and developed these physiological parts almost 600 million years ago!
You can see that this ECS and its cannabinoid receptors are universal amongst the animal kingdom. Consequently, the CBD may interact with your horse’s ECS.
Can CBD Help Horses?
CBD Oil for horses can be used as an addition to their diet. Because of the universality of how it works in all mammalian bodies, it may have the same calming effects as it does on the human body. Below are several common conditions in horses. Although CBD is not yet federally approved as a treatment for any conditions, let’s take a look at how the ECS is responsible in these cases:
This is one of the most common ailments that horses may face throughout their lifetimes. This is especially true if the horse is more active.
According to TheHorse.com, “Recent estimates show that approximately 60 percent of lameness problems in horses are related to OA”(Osteoarthritis). This condition is caused by chronic and persistent inflammation that leads to permanent deterioration of cartilage in the joints throughout the horse’s body.
Cartilage is softer than bone and it can easily be worn down by a chronic condition like arthritis. Consequently, for horses, arthritis can be a horribly painful condition that can adversely affect their quality of life.
Arthritis is not a curable condition. The ECS, however, may play a role in regulating the inflammation response within the body.
Approximately 90% of horses will be diagnosed with a gastric ulcer at some point in their lifespan. Researchers and veterinarians are not entirely certain why it is so common, but it can prove to be challenging to treat.
It is officially known as equine gastric ulcer syndrome and is incredibly painful and disruptive to the horse’s health and wellbeing. The ECS, in this case primarily the CB2 receptors found in the mammalian gut, may be responsible for the immune response associated within the gut.
This is another common ailment in horses. Horse veterinarians diagnose hundreds of Laminitis cases on a daily basis. It is the inflammation of the tissues located within the horse’s hooves.
In a sense, laminitis is similar to arthritis in that it is a chronic inflammatory condition and it similarly causes a great deal of pain, discomfort, and distress. This is especially true because it is occurring in the hooves, making it virtually impossible to even attach horseshoes.
Much like other inflammatory conditions, the ECS may be responsible for regulating the inflammatory response in the body.
This is a medical condition that is present in many mammals (including humans, particularly young children). It is another chronic inflammatory condition, this time present in the gastrointestinal tract of the horse.
They are not entirely clear to what causes Colic in horses, but it may have to do with an imbalance of healthy bacteria (also known as gut flora) in the digestive tract. It causes bloating and abdominal pain.
This is yet another inflammatory condition, this time in the horse’s ligaments (most frequently in the legs and/or coffin joint). As with all other forms of inflammation, the ECS may have a regulatory response within the body.
Skin Conditions And Allergies
The ECS may be responsible for regulating allergies and various skin conditions that are related to inflammation or auto-immune disorders. These include pruritis and hives.
So, Why Else Do People Use CBD Oil for Horses?
As mentioned earlier, although CBD is not yet federally approved to prevent, treat, or cure any ailments, we do know that it interacts with the body’s ECS.
Some other functions of the ECS include:
Inflammation is a natural immune response in the mammalian body. Symptoms of inflammation are redness, pain, heat, and a loss of function. Excessive inflammation can cause permanent damage.
Auto-immune diseases are similar to arthritis. They occur when the mammalian immune system attacks itself and results in chronic inflammation all over the body, especially the joints.
Aches & Pain
In all mammalian bodies, the ECS has a role in governing the pain response. Pain and inflammation usually come hand and hand, so the ECS may have a role in regulating both.
Anxiety & Agitation
Horses may experience these negative emotions for a variety of reasons, including traffic noise, fireworks, fear of predators, or any changes in their environment.
Appetite & Blood Sugar Levels
Just like all other domesticated animals with uncontrolled diets, horses are developing many of the same diseases as their owners, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Seizures & Epilepsy
The ECS has a role in regulating your horse’s entire nervous system, which seizures are linked to.
Homeostasis is just a fancy way of saying that your body is in balance and your health is at an ideal level.
This means CBD oil for horses is most effective when used when is integrated into your horse’s everyday diet. This is because its consumption, if taken every day, will allow your horse to achieve an overall state of cannabinoid balance within the body.
Is CBD Safe for Horses?
It is generally safe for all mammals. Recent research indicates it being gentle on your horse’s body and system.
There are few cases where administering CBD may result in some minimal side effects, including:
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Mild agitation and/or restlessness
- Mild gastrointestinal distress and/or temporary diarrhea
- Slight fatigue and/or drowsiness and/or fatigue at high doses
- A decrease in blood pressure
- Increased thirst due to a dry mouth
These side effects are quite uncommon. Most horses do not exhibit them, and even if they do, side effects pass as soon as the horse’s body gets used to the new addition. These side effects usually disappear as the body is getting used to the CBD.
Once your horse’s system has properly integrated CBD oil into their daily functioning, these side effects may disappear entirely.
Consequently, CBD is generally considered to be safe. This is especially true if you purchase it from a reliable company that subjects their products to rigorous testing. CBD is consistently tested for:
This ensures that each product you purchase contains the proper dosage of CBD oil. Monitoring the potency and dosage of the CBD oil allows owners like you to provide CBD to your horses effectively and safely.
CBD oil is a derivative from the hemp plant. Hemp crops have to be planted, grown, maintained, and harvested just like any other plant.
All of the supplements sold by Holistapet are 100% organic.
This essentially means they use no pesticides at any point or time in the growing process, resulting in an exceptionally natural product.
Manufacturers extract CBD oil from hemp plants via the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). This is a green method of production that results in no harsh chemicals or toxins remaining in the final product.
These various tests are always undertaken by impartial third-party companies in order to get certificates of analysis (COA’s) for the various products manufactured and sold.
CBD Dosage Recommendations for Horses
You should always work with your veterinarian when administering a CBD oil for horses. This is especially true if the animal takes any other medications. Besides that minor precaution, CBD is generally safe and quite difficult to overdose on. If the dosage you give happens to be too high, your horse may simply sleep it off.
It is always recommended that you consult with your vet before giving any amount of CBD oil to your horse. However, you can determine a good starting dosage by using one of these two formulas:
1/4 milligram (0.25 milligrams) for every one pound of body weight. This is considered to be a “regular dose”.
1/2 milligram (0.5 milligrams) for every one pound of body weight. This is a “strong dose” and you can use it for increased effectiveness.
Additional CBD For Horses Dosage Recommendations
You can collaborate with your veterinarian to safely adjust these doses and increase them in increments that result in maximum potency for your horse. You know your animal best, so just monitor their behavior and see if they are getting the relief they need from their distress or discomfort.
CBD oil is generally best when administered twice a day (one dose in the morning and one dose in the evening). You can also give your horse CBD oil on an empty or full stomach.