07 Feb CBD for Horses
Is CBD for horses safe? This is a commonly asked question among horse owners. Horses are mammals and have an endocannabinoid system. We’ll explain this as well as if giving CBD to your horses is safe.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is present in all mammals. It is a signaling network within the body that works with the central and peripheral nervous systems to help maintain balance in the body. In this signaling network are cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are located mostly in the brain and spine. CB2 receptors are located throughout the body, in the skin and in most organs.
Some of the functions of the endocannabinoid system include:
- Regulating appetite
- Regulating memory
- Immune system response
The body produces endocannabinoids to help repair itself when a signal indicates that something is out of balance. In some cases, however, the body is not capable of producing enough endocannabinoids itself and requires assistance from an outside source. When an imbalance is noticed by the body the endocannabinoid system is activated which releases enzymes to synthesize endocannabinoids.
From here, cannabinoid receptors are activated to send chemical messages between varying nerve cells to make necessary adjustments. The result of this action is returning balance (homeostasis) to your horse’s body.
Horses and CBD
Given that horses are such large animals; their dose of CBD is going to be quite different than that of a dog or cat. Capsules may be a better option for horses since they can be made available in larger doses. CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid – meaning that your horse won’t seem inebriated or incapable of functioning after taking a dose.
You may see CBD spoken of as non-psychoactive. Psychoactive means affecting the brain, in simple terms. CBD does affect the brain by regulating mood, memory, response to pain, anxiety and other symptoms – it just does not cause intoxicating effects.
In some publications, you may see a reference to PCR oil. This is phytocannabinoid-rich oil. Phytocannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis and hemp. As long as CBD from full spectrum or broad spectrum preparations is the primary ingredient, it’s likely that the product is a quality one. Isolate may not produce effective results since cannabinoids and other natural elements of the original plant are missing.
CBD oil may also be referred to as hemp oil from some manufacturers – these are the same thing.
CBD oil may work well with your horse’s endocannabinoid system to help promote balance and system regulation.
How to Introduce your Horse to CBD
It’s said that the ideal starting dose of CBD for pets is 0.05 mg per pound. Horses are very large animals, so this is a substantial amount in terms of volume, but is likely a good starting point for your horse. We suggest speaking with your vet to see if he or she agrees with this dose or if your horse should start at a different amount.
Give your horse the starting dose twice daily for one week and see if you notice an improvement. Move up to the next dosage level, as shown in our CBD Dosage Guide for Pets, and monitor your horse again for a week. If a larger dose is still needed, move up to the largest suggested dose and monitor again.
Your vet may be able to provide some guidance.
Is using CBD for horses safe? Yes. It may take a bit of time to find the ideal dose for your horse. The choice of delivery method (oil or capsule) is absolutely up to you. If you give your horse dry feed, CBD oil could be added to the feed so it’s easier to give your horse a dose of CBD. Allow the oil to soak into the feed for a couple of minutes first.