It had to happen. As soon as the benefits of CBD for humans started to become widely known, pet owners wanted to know if it could help their animals too.
The jury is still out on an official declaration that CBD is beneficial to animals. However, word-of-mouth accounts swear by it.
CBD is effective in treating a range of ailments that are common to most mammals. If it works for us, why can’t it work for them?
Are you ready to try CBD oil for horses?
What is Hemp Oil?
Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant that has been specifically bred to contain very low levels of THC. Unlike its THC-laden relatives, Hemp can be grown legally in several US states.
Horses can’t enjoy the benefits of hemp straight up by eating the plant, as THC is toxic to horses, dogs, and cats.
Now, thanks to the latest manufacturing technologies, they can benefit from ingesting hemp without any side effects. CBD oils for animal use are thoroughly purified to remove all traces of THC, leaving only the good stuff behind.
What are Phytocannabinoids?
The most important ingredients in hemp oil are the phytocannabinoids. Sativa plants contain about 66 cannabinoids. Cannabidiol and THC are the best known of these.
THC is the only psychoactive ingredient of these, while Cannabidiol has the most health benefits.
Apart from phytocannabinoids, hemp is naturally laden with vitamins A, C, D, E, and K as well as 120 beneficial terpenes, although not all of them are present in CBD oil.
Terpenes and Their Benefits
Terpenes contribute to the flavor, color, and scent of plants. They are organic compounds which form the foundation of essential oils and plant resins.
Apart from these sensory properties, terpenes also have some health benefits. These are the terpenes that are most often found in CBD oil:
Borneol occurs naturally in wormwood and cinnamon. It has a sedative effect and is beneficial against coughs and colds.
Caryophyllene is what gives black pepper its woody scent. It occurs in clove oil and has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antioxidant, antibacterial and anesthetic properties.
Cineole gives eucalyptus and rosemary their distinctive fragrances. It is beneficial to the nervous system and for relieving flu symptoms.
Delta3Carene occurs in rosemary and allspice. It is good for ear, nose and throat infections.
Limonene commonly occurs in citrus and mimics the anti-oxidant properties of Vitamin C in the fight against infection.
Lavender gets its soothing properties from linalool. It has a calming, anti-anxiety effect and is a popular terpene for use in the cosmetics industry.
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene found in cannabis. It also occurs mango, lemongrass, and verbena.
This terpene has antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. More importantly, it assists the cannabinoids in binding to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Pinene assists in treating ADHD and asthma in humans. It is commonly found in coniferous trees, which is where it gets its name from.
Terpineol is a terpene alcohol found in pine oil and the oil from the bitter orange tree. It is a popular ingredient in perfumes and can help to soothe allergic inflammations.
Terpenes as Medicine
Terpenes are the reason why plants have functioned as medicine since the dawn of time. As such, terpenes deserve a place among the foundation stones of modern medical science. They are also widely used in aromatherapy and the cosmetics industries.
That’s not all that hemp oil has got going for it either.
GLA, Omega-3 and 6 Fatty Acids
Flaxseed has long been the hero of the equestrian world because of its positive outcomes for horses. Flaxseed is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. These contribute to horse health as follows:
- Balance immunity
- Protect joints and ligaments
- Diminish inflammation of airways
- Soothe skin allergies
- Support the gastrointestinal system
- Decrease nervousness
- Improved cognition
Optimum Omega 3 fatty acids are important for breeding stock as follows:
- They contribute to improved fertility
- Enrich the quality of colostrum in lactating mares
- Enhance transfer of antibodies to foals
- Increase sperm concentration, motility, and effectiveness in stallions
Both flaxseed oil and hemp oil can assist with all of the above.
Hemp oil has a slightly lower concentration of omega 3 than flaxseed oil. However, this brings it in line with the ideal 3:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. making it far superior to flaxseed oil.
Oil from the hemp plant also contains super-polyunsaturated Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).
This fatty acid is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It regulates the production of the hormone-like prostaglandin, PGE-1. At the same time, it inhibits PGE-2, which causes inflammation.
Horses on good quality pasture should receive all the omega 3 fatty acids they need from their forage. We all know that it’s impossible to know how much your horse is grazing and that all grasses are not created equal.
Hemp oil gives you peace of mind when it comes to knowing that your horse is getting all the essential fatty acid that it needs.
How Can CBD Oil Help Your Horse?
Horse owners have noticed a significant improvement in some aspects of their horses’ health thanks to CBD oil. These are:
It is devastating to watch your companion of many years succumb to the effects of aging. Arthritis can be extremely debilitating to horses. CBD works on relieving the pain of arthritis by dealing with it at its source – inflammation.
Together with Omega fatty acids, Cannabidiol is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Although nothing can reverse the effects of aging permanently, CBD oil can ensure that your horse enjoys his last few years pain-free.
A dirty word for pony owners everywhere, laminitis is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to manage. It requires extensive, ongoing treatment with veterinary supervision.
Insulin resistance as a result of a nutritional upset is usually the cause of laminitis. Omega 3 oils are instrumental in decreasing inflammation and improving insulin resistance. The high quantities of Omega 3 fatty acids in CBD oil make it effective as part of the treatment for laminitic equines.
Domesticated horses usually lead a life far from the pastoral roaming that suits their design. As such, they can become stiff and sore from over-exercising as well as lack of exercise.
Rest and physiotherapy can do much to relieve strained muscles. CBD oil takes it a step further by reducing the inflammation brought in the muscles by sudden prolonged exertion.
Likewise, horses confined to box rest for day after day can become stiff from lack of mobility. Once again, hemp oil can relieve these stiff muscles.
Horses are highly tolerant of small aches and pains, so it can be difficult to tell if their backs or legs are hurting after a long time under saddle. By including hemp oil in their daily diet, you can do much to relieve these niggling pains.
Many horses experience anxiety in their daily lives. Many of these relate to their natural status as a high-flight prey species. The anxiety-inducing instances include:
- Separation from the herd, which they see as their source of security
- Competition for food
- Traveling in a confined space while in a horse trailer
Sometimes horses experience anxiety for no apparent reason. This is usually due to unpleasant associations with items or activities that you may not be aware of.
Some horses, like people, are just born that way.
Anxiety is a complex phenomenon that is closely related to the fight-or-flight response in mammals. Anxiety levels depend on the delicate balance between the neurotransmitters, dopamine, and serotonin, in the brain.
CBD oil is an excellent treatment for anxiety. The terpenes in hemp oil work naturally to regulate the balance between neurotransmitters and soothe anxiety.
Less anxiety means less cribbing, windsucking, kicking, biting, and food aggression. In the same way that CBD works for anxiety in dogs it can help your anxious horse.
The best news is that CBD oil is no longer a prohibited substance for horses competing in FEI sports. This means equine athletes can enjoy the benefits of hemp oil without falling foul of dope-testing regulations.
How Does it Work?
It’s easy to understand the benefits of hemp oil when you consider how it acts on the physiology of the horse.
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which allows them to make the most of these hemp oil benefits. This how it works in simple terms:
- Two kinds of cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, are present in the cell membranes of animal cells.
- CB1 receptors are usually found in the brain, lungs, liver, and kidneys. CB2 receptors occur in the immune system and immature blood cells.
- Because of their location at a cellular level, these receptors can influence important bodily functions like inflammation, pain, gastrointestinal functions, and mood.
- The name ”cannabinoid receptors” stems from their ability to receive and process the Cannabinoids found in hemp.
- In this way, the benefits of the cannabinoids can travel from cell to cell, healing and soothing as they go along.
Recent studies have shown that mammals can produce their own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. This production slows down over time, and this is where the trouble starts. A poorly functioning ECS is an invitation for infection and disease to take a hold.
Adding supplemental CBD to your horse’s diet helps the ECS in one other way. It prohibits anandamide from getting broken down by FAAH.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that regulates basic functions like inflammation, immunity, body temperature, sleep and pain sensation. More anandamide means these systems can function at their best.
The gist of the story is that mammals are naturally designed to receive and metabolize CBD.
Extensive studies are still sparse with regard to domestic animals but tests on lab rats have confirmed many of the healing qualities of hemp oil.
CBD Oil for Horses
You can feed your horse CBD oil in the form of compressed hemp pellets or CBD Oil tinctures. Always consult your vet if you are unsure about any aspect of your horses care.
You should add hemp pellets to your horse’s meal in the morning and evening.
It is best to start off with one scoop per feed and progress to two scoops after a few days. This dosage includes 50mg of CBD per serving, which is an adequate amount for a medium size horse.
CBD Oil Tinctures
CBD oil tinctures consist of a combination of grape seed oil, hemp seed oil, and hemp oil rich in phytocannabinoids.
Give one or two droppers daily as needed, preferably without food.
The product you choose depends entirely on what’s easiest and most cost-effective for you.
Choosing the Best Hemp Oil Products for Your Horse
The US hemp industry remains largely unregulated. Many companies employ false advertising and bogus claims with regard to their hemp oil products.
To be on the safe side, always choose hemp oil for your horse from a well-established producer. Organically farmed hemp is the top choice for your horse’s health.
Don’t be afraid to question your suppliers and ask for proof of their claims if you feel unsure.
While veterinary surgeons cannot officially endorse CBD oil products, they are usually well-versed in the benefits of hemp oil. Your vet may be able to recommend a product that is best for your horse.
Online reviews are a good way to judge how well a product is working for other horse owners.
Stay on Top of Things
Veterinary science continues to unearth new discoveries surrounding the benefits of CBD Oil for horses.
As a horse owner, it is your responsibility to remain updated on the latest information concerning your horses’ health. Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates about CBD oil for every animal in your life.