As pet owners, we know our beloved creatures have little (sometimes big) personalities and need regular care and attention. They can suffer from the same medical problems as humans, such as anxiety, depression, seizures, chronic pain, cancer, and more. In humans, CBD and hemp have experienced a surge in holistic medicine recently. But can this wonder plant work the same in horses? Let’s investigate.
Hemp, marijuana, CBD – what’s the difference?
Sometimes, it seems like you need an advanced degree in horticulture to understand all of this terminology. It all stems from the Cannabis sativa plant, the grandparent of this whole family, so to speak. Both hemp and marijuana come from that family tree.
While cannabis (marijuana) plants tend to be shorter, flowered, and full of THC, hemp plants are bred differently. They are taller, thinner, more fibrous, and virtually void of THC, the compound that produces a high. By law, hemp plants have to contain less than 0.3% THC.
CBD oil can be derived from either marijuana or hemp, but the former is more likely to feature THC as well. Hemp oil, on the other hand, is only derived from hemp stalks, harvested for its cannabidiol content. Hemp seed oils are used in cooking or animal foods for their omega-3 and protein content.
How do hemp oils work?
Cannabidiol, the compound commonly known as CBD, is a cannabinoid compound found in the hemp plant. But plants aren’t the only ones with cannabinoids. Recent research has determined the human body contains endocannabinoids – chemicals that mimic neurotransmitters and other hormones. Taking extra cannabinoids (like CBD) adds to our natural reserves of these compounds, assisting in pain reduction, sleep, stress reduction, neuroregulation, and more.
Do horses have an endocannabinoid system?
As it turns out, horses also have this mysterious endocannabinoid system. The receptors within their brain interact with CBD to improve health, much like humans. It’s similar to providing good fats to target inflammation or fortifying their diets with vitamins and minerals. Horses with a wide range of health issues can benefit from hemp.
What does hemp oil do for horses?
Although research is still new, veterinarians agree that hemp oil can work wonders on horses. It’s entirely possible further research will uncover more benefits, but for now, hemp oil can help horses with:
- Mood disorders
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Skin and hoof conditions
- Neurological health
- Metabolism and diet
The endocannabinoid system spans the entire body. Therefore, supplementing a horse’s diet regularly with CBD and hemp kicks off a domino effect to improve health at target locations. We’ll dig into the science behind each soon, but first – is hemp really safe for horses
Is hemp oil safe for horses?
Commercial hemp oil is extracted using pressurized CO2 to pull the desired contents from the plant. Full or broad-spectrum CBD oils contain terpenes, phytochemicals, and flavonoids alongside the cannabidiol. You can think of these as the flavors and smells of a fine wine compared to pure alcohol. CBD isolate hemp oil is pure CBD.
Both forms of hemp oil are non-toxic and all-natural, completely safe for horses. Make sure your products are manufactured and tested by trusted suppliers, however, as careless processing may accidentally inject other compounds into their products. Despite the belief that hemp oil is safe, consult with a veterinarian if you’re considering giving it to your horse for a medical condition.
Doses of hemp oil vary based on weight, breed, lifestyle, and conditions treated. You also should avoid giving hemp oil to horses that are pregnant or nursing. Side effects, while extremely rare, can include agitation, anxiety, exhaustion, or strange behavior.
Key Benefits Of Hemp Oil For Horses – Which Conditions Can Hemp Oil Cure?
If your horse gets anxious in the arena, hates to travel, or in general experiences elevated anxiety – hemp oil is here to help. Owners can give them concentrated hemp oil drops before stressful situations to calm them down instantly. Remember, there’s no THC present in hemp oil, so you won’t have to worry about them becoming “high”.
Hemp oil can also help chronic mood disorders such as depression. It works to elevate natural levels of neurotransmitters, similar to antidepressants in humans. Whether brought upon by a change in ownership, living situations, or some unknown cause, it might be worth it to talk to a vet about regular treatment with hemp oil.
The CBD from hemp acts on vanilloid receptors within a horses body to control perception of pain. Even better, hemp oil has little to no side effects. Any horse owner hates to see their beloved four-legged-friend in pain, and typical pain medication can cause negative reactions in horses. Therefore, hemp oil serves as a good, effective alternative to treat pain in horses.
Skin and Hoof Conditions
As hemp oil treats inflammation, it can be a useful medicinal solution to skin and hoof conditions. A horses skin and hooves are derived from similar biological systems. Research has shown that hemp oil successfully treats inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis, in humans. That same effect can transfer to horses as well. For example, CBD assists in reducing symptoms of laminitis, or inflammation within the hoof. Hives, allergies, or other causes of severe itching can also be treated with topical hemp oil.
One of the leading uses of hemp oil in veterinary medicine is for neuronal growth and function. Research shows that CBD can not only reduce erratic electrical activity in the brain, but it can reduce brain cell death. The better your horse’s neurons can function, the rest of the body will follow.
Metabolism and Digestive Health
Research in humans has noted improvements in digestion with hemp seed oil. Hemp seeds contain natural polyunsaturated fats – omega-3s, omega-6s, and omega-9s – that can manage insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. It’s possible that these rich, good fats may aid digestive health in horses as well. Consult with your veterinarian about adding hemp seed oil to your horse’s diet.
CBD For Horses With Arthritis
Chronic inflammation of the joints, especially osteoarthritis, is pretty common in horses. They’re carrying a lot of weight just by themselves, not to mention the addition of a rider. Add racing or shows in to the equation, and it makes complete sense that their joints would hurt.
Arthritis is incredibly painful for horses. Fortunately, hemp oil can help. Research shows that oral ingestion of hemp oil can reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the long-term. In small doses, inflammation is a good thing. It’s a natural part of your horse’s immune system that brings fluids, white blood cells, and other nutrients to a diseased or injured site. Too much inflammation, however, can overwhelm the body and start producing negative outcomes.
That’s what happens in cases of equine arthritis. Inflammatory enzymes that stay too long can break down collagen and surrounding tissue, which in turn causes more inflammation and more breakdown. Worn-down cartilage at the joints causes terrible pain, especially in active horses. If your horse suffers from arthritis, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about using hemp oil as treatment.
Ways to administer hemp oil to your horses
A horse isn’t going to just stop in to the store and buy some CBD oil. Therefore, it’s up to you to help them out. Using hemp pellets or cold-pressed hemp oil as part of a comprehensive treatment plan completes a multifaceted approach to therapy.
Hemp Pellets For Horses
The most simple method of administering CBD oil for horses is to feed them hemp pellets. The best hemp pellets combine full-spectrum CBD extract and hemp seed oils. That way, your horse benefits from the antioxidants and flavonoids in hemp, the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD, the polyunsaturated fats from hemp seed oil, and healthy amino acids.
Hemp pellets are basically a superfood for horses. Whatever you buy, investigate the manufacturing processes. Some companies may claim to include hemp as a superfood, but include additional additives that negate the health benefits. Others, on the other hand, add other natural ingredients and antioxidants that can enhance the effects.
Again, different animals require different doses. Consult with your veterinarian about which type of hemp pellets to buy for your specific horse.
Cold pressed hemp seed oil for horses
Cold pressed hemp oil takes the nutrients from the seed of the plant to decrease stress and improve cognition within horses. Naturally occurring fats in hemp seed oil act similar to the ones in olive or avocado oil.
Omega-3 fats have been shown to improve thinking and general nervous system health. Hemp oil contains high amounts of linoleic and gamma linoleic acids, two brain-boosting compounds for horses.
Cold-pressed hemp oils might contain less CBD than hemp pellets, however, so it’s important to understand why you’re choosing your product. After consulting with your veterinarian, consider heading over to Amazon to read reviews and make your purchase.
Conclusion – Can CBD oil help horses?
Simply put – yes. CBD oil for horses is an emerging, naturopathic medical alternative to pharmaceuticals. Holistic vets all over the world are embracing its benefits. From relieving anxiety and depression to reducing symptoms of arthritis, the benefits of hemp oil for horses grows daily.
Just as a quick overview, hemp oil can help horses dealing with:
- Chronic pain
- Hoof problems
- Skin conditions
- Digestive issues
- Brain health
- General cognitive functioning
Your horse deserves to live a happy and healthy life. Treat them with CBD oil for horses as part of a multifaceted, modern, and safe approach to veterinary medicine. With little to no side effects, what do you have to lose? Visit your vet to discuss options and head over to Amazon and order some hemp oil for horses today.