By Angela Ardolino
Updated on February 4, 2021
The use of CBD has been most emphasized in regard to its therapeutic effects on people, and now dogs, but the benefits for horses have not been heavily addressed. Horses are now being introduced to CBD and, although there are not many studies available, the ones that are show CBD as being safe for horses as it is with other mammals.
Like all other mammals, horses also possess the system allowing them to benefit from this compound as well; the endocannabinoid system.
We understand, similar to in the dog world, horse lovers want to ensure their best friend is completely safe at all times. A study conducted by LSU School of Veterinary Medicine recently conducted a study involving horses focused on safety, comfort, mobility, confidence, and behavior. The purpose of the study was to determine if CBD leads to any negative effects in horses in particular.
In the study, 20 healthy adult Thoroughbred horses were evaluated for approximately two months. Before the study began, blood work (CBC and biochemical panel) was reviewed. The horses were then divided into two control groups; one group was treated with supplements containing CBD and the other was a control group who did not receive any supplementation.
The horses were monitored daily for any signs of adverse reactions. Bloodwork was evaluated on days 28 and 56 approximately two hours following administration of the CBD supplement.
The study concluded there were no adverse effects from CBD supplementation in horses. The CBD supplement did not cause sedation or any lack of muscle control. And, did not change the horse’s gait. CBD was determined to be completely safe.
Case Study: Paso Fino Horse
According to a study conducted by the AVMA, a woman named Becky Flowers decided to try cannabis supplementation for her 20-year-old Paso Fino horse. Her Paso Fino was suffering from degenerative ligament disease. According to the study, “The Southern Californian’s pet horse, a 20-year-old Paso Fino named Phoenix, had degenerative ligament disease for several years. But nearly a year ago, the condition worsened. Phenylbutazone, glucosamine, Cavallo boots, cold and warm wraps—whatever Flowers tried, it didn’t help the horse for long. Eventually, Phoenix lay on her side and stopped eating and drinking.”
Prior to making the decision of euthanization, Becky Flowers made the decision to try cannabis on her horse. She had found it to be a more powerful analgesic (pain management solution) than any medication she encountered before. She had tried cannabis herself for various conditions of her own including surgeries, spinal spurs, and arthritis. She wondered, if it worked for her, why couldn’t it work for her horse?
Within one hour of ingesting cannabis, Phoenix had begun to walk, eat, and drink. Ms. Becky Flowers stated in an excerpt, “with cannabis, I don’t worry about potential liver damage as with bute. I also don’t worry about overdosing, as I only give her a small amount. She never appears panicky or disoriented. She’s just her normal, happy Phoenix.”
It comes as no surprise more horse lovers are looking into CBD tinctures as a natural alternative for many ailments including:
Natural healing is becoming more popular in today’s culture and efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle for not only us, but our horses as well, is extremely important.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for homeostasis (balance) within the body. Just as with us and our dogs, a horse’s body reacts with the cannabinoids (CBD) to determine and resolve bodily imbalances at the cellular level. When researching the effects of CBD on animals, you may notice the research on horses is limited. But, luckily every mammal possesses an endocannabinoid system. This means the research documented in mice, cats, dogs, and other animals in regard to CBD can also be applied to horses. You can learn more about the endocannabinoid system here.
CBD is an active chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant and is known as a cannabinoid. Hemp and marijuana plants both belong to the Cannabis genus, but hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and is legal across all 50 states in the US. THC is also a well-known cannabinoid, but unlike THC, CBD does not cause any type of ‘high’ in your horse (or any pet). Instead, CBD is primarily utilized for therapeutic purposes to keep your horse healthy.
Additional research is being conducted every day, and there are continuous advances in how to best utilize the endocannabinoid system to heal the body naturally. Due to its non-psychotropic (will not get your horse ‘high’) effects, CBD has been the primary focus in cannabinoid research. The therapeutic potential here is endless. And, with more studies being released regarding safety in horses, more horse lovers will be apt to begin supplementation for overall well-being.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.