CBD for Horses with Colic – How Can It Help?

Horses With Colic

As such beautiful, majestic creatures, it’s easy to forget that our horses also suffer from medical issues. Whether your horse is preparing for a show, or just trying to retire into the good life, unwanted illness creates problems. Of course, you all want the best for our pets. So how can we assure they live long, happy lives?

One of those ways is through CBD. As a new, holistic form of therapy, CBD oils treat all kinds of conditions in humans. But did you know your pets can take CBD too? As research continues to grow on all of its benefits, more and more vets are starting to recommend CBD as therapy.

In this article, we’re going to talk using CBD as an anecdote against colic. If your horse has recently been diagnosed, or you’re wondering if something’s wrong, this article is for you. We’ll go over the ins-and-outs of colic in horses, what to look out for, and how to use CBD as a part of treatment.

What is colic?

In humans, colic affects newborn babies, causing them to cry incessantly in response to an unknown pain. Like babies, can’t communicate their pain in words either. Therefore, it’s up to us to pick up on signs and symptoms of equine colic before it’s too late.

How does colic affect horses?

Equine colic is a disorder causing severe abdominal pain and discomfort. Related to digestive issues, various types of colic exist. The term can be used to describe an acute, negative reaction to something in the stomach, but it’s more commonly used in chronic cases. Dehydration, parasites, digestive stones, and benign tumors present as colic in most cases. If you’ve noticed your horse pawing, rolling on the ground, or having trouble defecating, get in touch with your veterinarian right away. They’ll run a series of tests to diagnose the problem and suggest treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms to look out for?

As colic covers such a wide variety of causes, multiple symptoms can arise. A horse suffering from colic might display:

  • Mood issues, such as depression or anxiety
  • Rolling on the ground
  • Constant desire to lie down
  • Pawing at the ground
  • Lack of thirst or appetite
  • Trouble defecating
  • Frequent urination (or attempted urination)
  • Rapid pulse
  • Strange gut sounds
  • Excessive sweating
  • A drop in body temperature as the disease worsens

The severity of colic ranges from mild to fatal, so don’t take any chances. If your horse starts showing signs of the above symptoms, call your veterinarian.

Can CBD Oil help my horse with colic?

CBD may be an effective treatment to both prevent colic and treat some of the associated issues. Read on to learn all about CBD for horses, and how it can help digestive issues and pain.

What Is CBD?

First of all, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound naturally found in cannabis. Although it comes from a plant with the same name as marijuana, CBD for horses won’t get them high. CBD oils are pulled from hemp, a form of the Cannabis sativa plant grown to have less than 0.3% THC. In addition to the CBD, the terpenes, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants found in hemp oils benefit an equine diet.

As a phytocannabinoid, CBD chemically similar to molecules found in the mammalian body, making up the endocannabinoid system. These compounds, anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol, are critical to maintaining homeostasis. Research recently discovered the endocannabinoid system sends and receives all kinds of signals across a horse’s body. Giving your horse CBD, therefore, adds extra compounds for optimal function. It’s similar to taking a multivitamin, but specifically targeting certain receptors in the brain.

How Does CBD Interact With The Endocannabinoid System Of Horses?

When CB1 and CB2 receptors receive endocannabinoids, it starts a domino effect of downstream signaling. CBD’s chemical structure gives it the same shape, allowing it to bind on these receptors as well. Therefore, it acts much like any other hormone, regulating mood, pain, sleep, digestion, and overall health. Since colic equine is a disorder of the digestive system, taking CBD can both prevent it and treat symptoms.

Benefits of CBD for a horse with colic

Both directly and indirectly, CBD targets the underlying issues behind colic by:

  • Helping digestive health
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Fighting pain

CBD and the digestive system

As we touched on previously, the endocannabinoid system controls biological pathways inside a healthy horse. Specifically, CB1 receptors in the brain regulate smooth digestion. According to a study out of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, CBD “produces relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, inhibition of gastric motility and acid secretion, as well as intestinal motility and secretion”.

Certain types of colic stem from excessive, trapped gas or stones. Since giving your horse CBD keeps things moving, it’s possible they can find relief from symptoms.

CBD can reduce inflammation

CBD oils themselves contain a strong omega-3 fatty acid profile. These healthy fats are known to combat inflammation in horses, and they can play a role in long-term health. On top of that, cannabidiol itself fights both inflammatory and neuropathic pain, especially in the intestines.

Research shows that cannabidiol mediates the pathways responsible for intestinal nerves. By activating CB receptors, CBD reduced intestinal damage in both mice and humans. These results show a positive, promising new treatment for inflammatory bowel issues.

CBD can treat the terrible pain caused by colic

Once your horse comes down with colic, it’s horrible to watch them suffer. CBD can treat acute inflammatory symptoms by limiting pain. Studies show that CBD targets a specific vanilloid receptor responsible for signaling pain. By interrupting these signals, CBD slows the experience of agony before, during, and after your vet provides care. If invasive procedures are a part of treatment, CBD can help your horse relax throughout their recovery.

Finally, when colic occurs once, it’s more likely to happen again. Regular CBD administration reduces the chances of recurrence by supporting a healthy endocannabinoid system.

Has there been much research carried out on the topic?

Plenty of studies confirm that CBD regulates homeostasis, reduces pain, and combats enteric inflammation, but most are done on rats or sick humans. You see, the endocannabinoid system was only discovered a few decades ago, so research is fairly new. Add in the taboo of cannabis, and you start to understand why so few studies are done on horses. However, recent research is promising in mammals, and plenty of vets recommend CBD products as a natural, holistic form of therapy. Due to its lack of toxicity, CBD is generally considered safe for use in horses, but always follow-up with a vet before starting any treatment for colic.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Currently, CBD-administration causes little to no side effects. Adverse effects include lethargy, appetite reduction, and dry mouth in humans, but no serious issues have been reported in horses. As with any new treatment, however, monitor your horse’s health carefully, and follow the appropriate dosing guidelines.

What CBD Oils Do We Recommend For Horses With Colic?

If you’ve decided to go the natural route to treat symptoms of colic, we’ve got the CBD for you. Green Flower Botanicals makes an equine-specific line of CBD oils to add to your horse’s diet.

About Green Flower Botanicals CBD for Horses

Green Flower Botanicals pulls their CBD from hemp with the purest method known to man – CO2 extraction. After obtaining this high-quality ingredient, they mix it into MCT oil for maximum absorption. Depending on the size of your horse and the severity of the condition, choose from 1800mg, 3600mg, or 7200mg doses of CBD oil. Green Flower Botanicals uses full-spectrum CBD oils for their equine products, meaning your horse gets the benefits of terpenes and additional cannabinoids to boot. Finally, it’s virtually tasteless, with a slight, floral, natural hemp touch. If you’re not satisfied, Green Flower Botanicals offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you might as well give it a shot.


CBD oils come with a lot of benefits for horses. From fighting inflammation to reducing pain-related stress, CBD can improve overall quality of life, making both you and your horse happy. While research is still new on its use to treat colic, the lack of serious side effects makes it promising. No one wants to watch their horses suffer. Get ahead of any potential issues by taking care of their health before a problem arises. If you want to learn more about giving CBD to your horse, check out this YouTube video, or consult with a veterinary professional.