CBD Dosage for Horses – May 2022
Can CBD Help Horses, and if So, How Much CBD Should Horses Take?
- Horse owners are turning to CBD as an alternative treatment for common equine medical conditions such as osteoarthritis , gastric ulcers, laminitis (hoof inflammation), and colic (abdominal pain ).
- Research on CBD’s effects on horses is limited. However, various human and animal studies have illustrated CBD’s anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anti- anxiety , and antidepressant properties (1 ) .
- At present, there is no standardized CBD dosage for horses.
- However, a common practice among CBD brands and other individuals seem to indicate that CBD dosing depends on the animals’ weight and the severity of the health issue faced.
- Before administering CBD to horses, horse owners should first consult with a veterinarian.
How Much CBD Should Be Given to Horses
When looking for CBD dosage information for horses, pet owners should be aware that a standardized CBD dosage chart for horses has yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any regulating veterinary bodies.
There is, however, common consensus that the dosage depends on the horse’s body weight, as well as the condition that CBD is being used for (2 ) .
For safety and maximum effectiveness, horse owners should seek the advice of a veterinarian before initial administration.
Pet owners can also follow the dosage instructions indicated in the CBD product to be used.
The CBD companies that produce CBD horse products have their own standardized dosage charts, with varying amounts of CBD in each product type.
Still, the general rule is to start with small initial doses and to increase in safe increments when the desired effect is not met.
Rest assured that CBD oil has exhibited minimal side effects on animal and human subjects in several CBD research (3 ) .
Calculating the CBD Dosage for Medicinal Purposes in Horses
CBD can be administered to horses that suffer from osteoarthritis, laminitis (hoof inflammation), lameness (abnormal stance brought by joint injuries), anxiety, depression , colic (abdominal pain), and gastric ulcers.
Although CBD is not a cure for these diseases, it can be used to alleviate some of the associated symptoms, such as pain and inflammation.
- The brand recommends using regular doses (0.25 milligrams for each pound of a horse’s body weight) for stress and anxiety relief, nausea, digestive issues, moderate arthritis, and joint inflammation, as well as minor pain.
- Meanwhile, strong doses (0.5 milligrams for each pound of a horse’s body weight) should be administered for chronic pain, severe cases of arthritis and inflammation, seizures, and intense anxiety.
Strong doses are also stated to increase CBD’s desired effectiveness.
For mitigating pain and inflammation, the brand recommends administering CBD every 8 hours.
For reducing anxiety, horse owners should give CBD to the animal 30 minutes before an anxiety-inducing event, may it be a competition or traveling.
Determining the CBD Dosage for General Purposes in Horses
CBD can also be used for improving horses’ overall health.
Administration of CBD oil can impact a horse’s overall health by continuously promoting homeostasis (processes that the body’s various systems undergo to remain stable).
Examples of these processes include maintaining the balance of body temperature and fluids.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has a vital role in the body as it takes part in maintaining homeostasis.
It is through the ECS that CBD’s therapeutic effects are activated.
Taking CBD oil can help horses’ ECS in maintaining bodily functions and processes that regulate the brain, endocrine system, and immune system , among others (4 ) .
CBD oil can also revitalize a horse’s coat and hair. It can also positively affect horses’ skin quality (5 ) .
For general health purposes, horse owners can simply administer regular doses.
The CBD brand Holistapet also recommends a dosing frequency of twice a day if the purposes are for the horse’s general well-being.
Calculating the Right CBD Oil Dosage for Medicinal and General Purposes in Horses
When using CBD tincture, it should indicate how much CBD is contained within the full bottle. Select products can be potent, while others can be diluted.
As such, the manufacturer should provide precise details regarding this matter.
To calculate for the right CBD oil dosage, multiply the animal’s body weight by the recommended dose, as stated by the manufacturer or brand.
Following Holistapet’s vet-approved dosage chart:
A horse weighing 900 pounds should be administered a regular dose of 225 mg of CBD twice daily (900 pounds x regular dose of 0.25 mg of CBD = 225 mg of CBD).
Meanwhile, the same horse weighing 900 pounds should be administered a strong dose of 450 mg of CBD twice a day (900 pounds x strong dose of 0.5 mg of CBD = 450 mg of CBD).
CBD Dosing Chart for Horses
Once the horse’s weight and dosage have been calculated, refer to Holistapet’s vet-approved dosing chart for animals over 60 pounds (6 ) , which illustrates the difference in amount of CBD for regular dose and strong dose:
A Holistapet CBD tincture for large pets over 60 pounds (like horses), contains around 600 mg of CBD, with a bottle size of 30ml or 1 oz.
There are approximately 900 drops per bottle, while 1 drop contains 0.66 CBD.
However, not all CBD products have the same potency, as this can vary greatly depending on the company or the manufacturer.
Holistapet’s CBD capsule products for large pets of over 60 pounds contain 20 mg of CBD per capsule. There are approximately 30 capsules per bottle, with a total of 600 mg of CBD.
Again, not all pet CBD brands use the same formulation as Holistapet.
Horse owners should first consult with a veterinarian before adjusting beyond the recommended CBD dosage for horses.
Why Owners Are Using CBD Oil for Their Horses
Many horse owners are turning to CBD oil as an alternative means to help treat common health issues experienced by horses, including osteoarthritis, gastric ulcers, laminitis (hoof inflammation), and colic (abdominal pain).
Research done on both human and animal subjects found that CBD possesses properties that combat the effects of anxiety, inflammation, pain, nausea, vomiting, and psychosis (7 ) .
The endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for activating CBD’s therapeutic effects on the body, was also found to be present in all mammalian life, including horses (8 ) .
This discovery led researchers and various individuals to inquire about the potential health benefits of cannabinoids such as CBD, which can improve horses’ overall health and well-being.
Cannabinoids like CBD can inhibit inflammatory symptoms and chronic pain experienced by equine (horse) animals (9 ) .
CBD oil can also help alleviate commonly-occurring horse anxiety and depression due to its aforementioned neurological benefits.
The presence of the endocannabinoid system, along with CB1 and CB2 receptors, can also help in addressing equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGS) commonly experienced by foals and adult horses (10 ) .
However, there exists a lack of substantial research on the effects of CBD use on horses.
Most of the available CBD and cannabinoid research utilized human and other animal subjects, such as mice, rats, and pigs.
Horses are animals with large bodies and long generational intervals (the average time it takes for one generation of animals to be born).
These distinct characteristics set them apart from humans and the other animals mentioned, making both inappropriate models for studying equine physiology and health conditions (11 ) .
To add, most of the information available regarding the effects of CBD use on horses is anecdotal.
However, horse owners who have personally administered CBD oil to their equine mammals have given mostly positive feedback.
These individuals resorted to using CBD oil for horses when no other treatment or medication was effective in helping the animals.
Also, various equine veterinarians have been advocating for CBD use on horses due to the promising development.
However, individuals must consult with veterinarians before administering any CBD products to their horses.
Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Relieving Benefits of CBD for Horses
Horses are often subject to diseases that cause inflammation and chronic pain. One example of this is osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD) (12 ) .
In both humans and horses, a characteristic of osteoarthritis was the destruction of cartilage (tissue surrounding the joints) (13 ) .
In the case of horses, osteoarthritis occurs when advancing decay, and eventual loss of the articular cartilage (tissue surrounding the ends of bones and forms joints) is present.
It is also accompanied by bone and tissue modification (14 ) .
Osteoarthritis in horses can lead to devastating results, from the total loss of joint movement to the eventual development of chronic pain (15 ) .
Osteoarthritis commonly caused lameness in horses (16 ) , yet another common equine problem that affected equine operations and all types of horses (17 ) .
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) describes lameness as abnormal walking or movement that could hinder an equine mammal from fulfilling its intended purposes.
Horses that exhibited lameness were unable to move or even stand properly. Hence it is considered as the most common reason for the loss of use in horses (18 ) .
A common cause of both osteoarthritis and lameness in horses is trauma. Studies found that osteoarthritis occurred in both young racehorses to old horses (19 ) .
Racehorses subjected to continuous training and usage sustained severe cartilage damage and even bone fractures (20 ) .
As such, joint diseases experienced by animals with large builds (like horses) were recurrently accompanied by inflammation, albeit in varying degrees (21 ) .
Also, a study concluded that in the case of osteoarthritis, inflammation hindered the body’s ability to repair already degrading cartilage by promoting further destruction (22 ) .
Continuous damage to the affected joints activated inflammatory responses, which lead to the enlargement of tissue and unstable homeostasis (processes that regulate the body).
Researchers found CBD to possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits (23 ) .
CBD is a phytocannabinoid, a type of cannabinoid naturally found in plants.
Cannabinoids, like CBD, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating bodily functions from sleep to memory.
In animal studies, early research conducted in the 2000s found that CBD had a potential anti-arthritic effect due to its anti-inflammatory abilities (24 ) .
In the study, researchers administered CBD to mice. They found that it was able to restrict further advancement of arthritis in the subjects.
They also found that CBD was able to protect the mice’s joints against severe damage.
Another study identified a cannabis-based oral spray, called Sativex, as a safe and effective drug in alleviating rheumatoid arthritic pain and cancer pain, all of which are kinds of chronic pain considered challenging to treat (25 ) .
Sativex contained a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD.
Another study examined CBD as an alternative to arthritis treatment due to the latter’s tendency to cause adverse side effects in patients (26 ) .
The researchers utilized CBD on rats with induced-arthritis to assess its effectiveness in reducing inflammation and pain.
They found that CBD was able to reduce swelling and pain significantly.
Researchers concluded that the topical application of CBD on the skin had the potential for alleviating animal behavior related to pain and inflammation without adverse side effects.
On the same note, one notable case report saw cannabidiol as a promising treatment for horses who experienced pain (27 ) .
The report stated that a 4-year-old mare was exhibiting marked sensitivity when touched near the shoulder region. It was later diagnosed with mechanical allodynia (pain as a result of a light stroke or brush).
When several attempts in treating the mare yielded no positive results, cannabidiol was administered by mouth twice daily. After only 2 days, the horse’s pain disappeared.
Lastly, one significant study explored the use of cannabinoids as an alternative osteoarthritis treatment for horses.
The standard therapy currently available for treating osteoarticular equine disease has caused unwanted side effects on various horse patients (28 ) .
The researchers explored the idea of using cannabinoids as an alternative to pain treatment on horses due to its relationship with the ECS.
When activated, cannabinoids like CBD can employ various physiological responses, including pain relief.
Anti-Anxiety Benefits of CBD
Horses are also subject to anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that horses in confined domestic settings were prone to depression (29 ) , while horses in training were prone to anxiety (30 ) .
Domestic horses also experienced chronic stress that resulted in behavioral problems and disorders (31 ) .
These behavioral issues include unusual postures, unresponsiveness (being withdrawn), indifference to their environment, weaving, stall walking, and head shaking (32 ) .
Weaving is defined as the sideways swinging of the head and neck, while stall walking involves repeated walking in circles when inside the stall (33 ) .
An uncontrollable jerking of the head characterizes head shaking. It is also a behavioral problem believed to be caused by stress and anxiety.
Aside from its ability to inhibit inflammation and pain, cannabinoids like CBD could also combat psychiatric and mood disorders, including anxiety and depression (34 ) .
A study on mice found that cannabinoids like CBD can affect the animal subjects’ psychiatric conditions like depression and stress due to its interaction with the ECS, which all mammals have (35 ) .
In another study on rats, cannabidiol was able to elicit stress-relieving responses, triggering anxiety-reducing and antidepressant benefits (36 ) .
Although there is a lack of similar studies done on horses, the same neurological effects may apply to these equine animals.
Like rats and humans, horses are also mammals. They possess the same ECS system that allows for cannabinoids like CBD to activate within the body.
Acid-Neutralizing Benefits of CBD
The same can apply to issues plaguing horses’ digestive systems, such as gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers).
Gastric ulceration has a high prevalence rate among horses and even foals (young horses).
In particular, foals demonstrated high stomach acidity levels immediately after birth (37 ) , while horses in training were most vulnerable to developing ulcers.
The same study found active racehorses to have an almost 100% prevalence rate. In comparison, endurance horses (used for long-distance races) had 93% during competition season.
More than half of horses diagnosed with gastric ulcers also had colic (abdominal pain).
Both humans and animals, like horses, have the ECS, which are composed of two primary receptors: the CB1 and CB2 (38 ) .
CB1 are cannabinoid receptors that reduce gastrointestinal motility (movement of food from the mouth to stomach) and gastric acid secretion.
When CB1 is activated, it suppresses the secretion of gastric acid. An equine stomach perpetually secretes acid, causing gastric ulcers if the horse does not eat properly.
Cannabinoid receptor agonists, in particular, can delay gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to empty from the stomach).
Certain cannabinoids, like THC, are receptor agonists, meaning they bind to the CB1 receptors that can lessen the amount of gastric acid in the body.
Researchers discovered this activity to be effective in both human and rodent subjects (39 ) .
There is also interest in examining the therapeutic effects of cannabinoid receptor antagonists on the gastrointestinal tract.
Studies discovered CBD to be a potent CB2 antagonist of cannabinoid agonists, which are responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Despite the capability of certain cannabinoids, like THC, to inhibit stomach acid, further research is still needed to determine if other types of cannabinoids, like CBD, can have the same effect on the gastrointestinal tract.
How CBD O il Works for Horses
All mammalian life, from humans to horses, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) (40 ) .
The ECS is a signaling system responsible for regulating various bodily functions, such as sleep, mood, appetite, and memory (41 ) .
It also plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis, processes that regulate the body’s stability.
The ECS is composed of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (cannabinoids found within the body), and enzymes that synthesize and break down the endocannabinoids.
The two primary receptors found in the ECS are the CB1 and CB2 (42 ) .
CB1 receptors are found within the brain and the nervous system, while CB2 receptors within the immune system.
Endocannabinoids that bind to these receptors act as signals for the ECS to take action.
The action depends on which receptor is targeted.
For example, when an endocannabinoid binds to a CB1 receptor, it can activate a pain-relieving effect.
Meanwhile, binding to a CB2 receptor can signal that the body is currently undergoing inflammation.
Cannabinoids also exist outside the body. Cannabidiol or CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which means that it is a cannabinoid naturally occurring in plants.
CBD is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found within the Cannabis sativa plant. Another example is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is popular for its psychoactive properties that make users euphoric or “high”.
Cannabis sativa has two plant varieties: marijuana and hemp plants . CBD is naturally derived from the hemp plant, which contains less than 0.3% of THC.
Unlike its famous counterpart, CBD is not psychoactive, which means that it does not induce a euphoric state in users.
When CBD binds with any of the CB1 or CB2 receptors in the body, its therapeutic effects are activated.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Horses
- Research suggests that the careful administration of CBD is safe for both animals and humans. It was found to be non-toxic and did not affect appetite, heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature. CBD was also unable to impact physical movement or psychological functions adversely (43 ) .
- Humans were able to tolerate well high doses of CBD, coupled with chronic CBD use.
- CBD can effectively combat arthritis, inflammation, as well as pain-related symptoms in both humans and animals.
- Although limited in number, cannabinoid and CBD studies done on horse subjects have yielded positive results.
- Some studies found CBD to induce adverse side effects like decreased fertility and harmful drug interactions (44 ) .
- There are limited studies regarding the effects of CBD use on horses.
- While in competition, horses are prohibited from using CBD or any cannabinoid products, as per the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) (46 ) .
- Prices for CBD horse products can be prohibitive.
How to Choose the Right CBD Product for Horses
Horse owners must know what to look for when choosing quality CBD products for their equine animals.
Firstly, horse owners can choose either full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate CBD products.
Full-spectrum CBD contains the majority of active cannabinoid strains, from flavonoids to terpenes, and even compounds, like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
All of these active ingredients and compounds work together to boost each cannabinoid’s full potential, resulting in the entourage effect .
Broad-spectrum is essentially the same as full-spectrum , except that it has less than 0.3% THC. It is marketed as being THC-free.
CBD isolates, on the other hand, are pure CBD oil.
There are a wide variety of CBD products for horses.
Horse owners should only choose the best quality product for their equine mammal. In this way, safety and maximum effectiveness are assured.
- Review the legal provisions of CBD in the state that it will be purchased from and used. Keep in mind that the use of industrial hemp was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill states that any hemp product derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, may it be hemp seeds or CBD oil, must contain less than 0.3% THC. However, the FDA still heavily regulates cannabis products and cannabis-derived compounds.
- Purchase only from reputable brands. These CBD brands and manufacturers should have topnotch ethical standards, good manufacturing processes (cGMP), a COA (certificate of analysis), and third party lab certificates of analysis for all of their CBD products.
- When possible, buy quality products that are organic and non-GMO.
- CBD products extracted using CO2 technology is also the best indication of its quality. This method is the safest and cleanest way to extract all the cannabinoids and terpenes from the hemp plant.
- Before buying a specific product from a brand, do not forget to look at product reviews and customer testimonials. Take note of any positive or negative feedback from customers and users who have tried the product on their horses.
- Check to see if the brand has sufficient animal expertise in producing CBD for animals, like horses.
- Strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions on dosage before administering any CBD product to horses. Although various individuals claim that it is unlikely for a horse to overdose on CBD, horse owners should follow dosage and instructions to avoid adverse effects.
- Consult with a veterinarian before administering CBD to horses. Medical conditions experienced by equine animals may be underlying symptoms of more significant diseases. Remember that CBD is not a miracle cure for any ailments or diseases.
How to Give CBD to Horses
Various CBD horse products exist in the United States, with each product differing in its administration method.
It is also generally safe for horses to consume CBD oil with either a full or empty stomach.
CBD oil Tincture, Sprays and Balms
CBD tincture is one of the most popular CBD products and methods of administration among horse owners.
CBD oil tincture, like Holistapet’s CBD Oil for Horses, comes with a dropper.
This dropper allows horse owners to conveniently drop CBD oil directly into the equine mammals’ mouth, or into their food and water.
CBD oil sprays are applied sublingually (under the tongue).
At the same time, balms can be administered topically on the desired area of the skin.
CBD Horse Pellets
CBD pellets are perhaps the next most popular CBD product among horse owners.
These pellets are convenient to administer, and do not confuse horse owners in terms of dosage.
The CBD-infused pellets can simply be fed directly to the horses.
CBD Horse Powders
CBD horse powders are administered by mixing them into the horse’s food.
CBD Horse Syringe
Lastly, a CBD syringe may contain either CBD oil or paste.
Using a syringe is a more straightforward application of CBD underneath the horse’s tongue (sublingually).
CBD brands recommend that CBD be administered twice a day: one dose in the morning and another at night.
CBD has a promising potential in helping treat equine medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, chronic pain, laminitis, lameness, gastric ulcers, anxiety, and depression.
Various studies have discovered CBD’s anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant effects on both human and animal subjects.
However, limited data is available regarding the effectiveness of CBD use on horses.
Despite this limitation , promising results on significant equine studies suggest that cannabinoids and CBD may be an alternative treatment for pain and arthritis.
There is a lack of a standardized dosage guide for horses. However, common consensus indicates that CBD dose depends on the weight and the severity of the health issue.
Graduated Dosing Procedure
Because of the unique nature of cannabinoid based remedies, the smartest approach to find an effective dosage of CBD is to use a Graduated Dosing Procedure. Dosage will depend on weight, age and condition of horse being treated.
OUR VIEWS ON HORSE DOSING
- Horses metabolize chemicals differently than humans and dogs. For example, there is a compound that is commonly used on horses that requires a dose ¼ of what is required for dogs.
- Horses appear to be very efficient at absorbing phytocannabinoids.
- We believe that over-dosing is common, and not just with horses. This is why we have a suggested dosing plan. CBD response works in an asymmetrical bell curve, meaning that more product does not always create a greater effect. There is a sweet spot that works best for each individual horse as well as with humans. Starting at 25 mg for your horse will help you get to this point. Many horses find relief for symptoms at this level.
What is Graduated Dosing? Graduated dosing is a process whereby, you start with a small baseline dose and then increase the dosage slowly and incrementally over a specific time frame to determine the point at which the dosage becomes effective in treating the specific condition or symptom.
Graduated Dosing for Horses
Step 1: Determine your horse’s initial baseline daily dosage. (Suggested starting dose of 25mg CBD daily)
Step 2: Establish the incremental (step) dosage you will use to slowly raise the daily dosage level for each step. (Suggested increase of 25mg)
Step 3: Start administering the CBD at the daily baseline dosage for a full 7 days (25mg daily). Note any changes in your horse’s symptoms or condition. The 7 days gives the CBD time to build an accumulative effect.
Step 4: After 7 days at your baseline dosage, if you are not receiving the desired results, then increase the dosage by one step (25mg) to create a new baseline dosage.
Step 5: For the next 3 days (Day 8 – 10), administer the new increased dosage (25mg + 25mg). Note any changes in your horse’s symptoms or condition and document.
Step 6: Repeat. After 3 days of administering at the new dosage level, if you still have not obtained the desired results then continue to raise the dosage by 25mg every 3 days until you find the minimum effective dose that relieves symptoms. For example, if your animal’s minimum effective dose turned out to be 125mg it would take approximately 19 days using the graduated dosing procedure to dial-in the most effective dosage.
Step 7: Refine the dosage. Once you find the dose that works for your animal, you can refine the dosage by reversing the process and lowering the dosage by small 5mg steps in 3 day increments to dial in a more exact dosage.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is a prescription required from my veterinarian to purchase Innate Remedies Equine Formulations? No, all of Innate Remedies products, including our Equine Formulations, can be purchased without prescription and shipped to all 50 states.
- Will Innate Remedies make my horse high?No, Innate Remedies Equine formulations are100% THC free and will not cause any type of intoxication or high.
- Will CBD work for all horses? Yes and No. All animals, including humans and horses, can benefit from supplementation of phytocannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD). All mammals have an endocannabinoid system responsible for regulating and creating homeostasis among the various biological systems including, the immune system, skeletal system, neurological pathways, endocrine system, etc. There are many health benefits associated with the use of cannabidiol to maintain and stimulate a responsive endocannabinoid system. The anecdotal and pre-clinical evidence for cannabidiol as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic,anti anxiety, and anticonvulsant is well established. While one horse may respond positively to cannabinoid use, another may not benefit at all. Before choosing to purchase any CBD product, you should gather as much information as you can as to its effects and uses. After reviewing the research, the last step will be to obtain a premium-grade broad spectrum CBD oil and see how your animal responds to these cannabinoids specifically.
- Which works best? The Oil or the Hemp Supplement? Innate Remedies Equine formulations come in 1000 mg Broad Spectrum CBD oil or as a Phyto Cannabinoid Rich Hemp supplement in pellet form. The oil and the hemp supplement are intended for daily use. The oil can be directly applied to the horse’s mouth which makes it the most bio available or added to your horse’s daily supplement. The oil can also be used on special occasions such as trailering approximately an hour before the event to relieve any stress. The hemp supplement is intended to be used as an additive to any other daily supplements. To date there are no studies showing CBD to be counterproductive to any other supplement but can actually accentuate the results.
The milligrams listed on the label is the total CBD in the bottle. Based on a 50 mg daily dose, the 1000mg CBD oil will last approximately 20 days, and the one pound PCR Hemp supplement will last approximately 60 days, based on 25mg doses.
- Is CBD safe at high dosages? What are the side effects? There are multiple studies demonstrating the effectiveness of CBD in treating various conditions. Most of these studies conclude that CBD (cannabidiol) is safe and virtually free of side effects. A review on the Safetyand side effects of cannabidiol by the NCBI for example suggests that controlled CBD (cannabidiol) administration is safe and non-toxic in humans and animals.
- What about Competition Rules and Regulations? Global competition rules regarding horses are very strict on the matter of treating your animal before a competitive event. FEI and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) warn that the use of products causing a calming or stimulating effect in the performance of the horse is prohibited. As of April of 2019, broad-spectrum CBD was included in this list. To be safe, we recommend not dosing your horse 72 hours prior to any competitive event and always refer to your industry’s governing board regarding prohibited substances.
It is important to note: CBD products are not approved by the FDA for the diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of any disease. When seeking to add any new supplement to your animal’s diet you should seek the advice of a veterinarian.
Is CBD Safe For Horses? The Ultimate Guide to Equine CBD
If you’re considering giving your horse CBD, there are a few important things you should know. Find out how to use CBD with your horse safely & effectively.
You care more about your horse than anyone else. So, when she started turning down food due to pain — you decided to try something different and have been looking into using CBD with your horse.
The truth is, you’re not alone.
More and more equestrians give their horses CBD these days for chronic pain, inflammation, and a host of other symptoms.
Recent evidence shows that CBD is safe, non-toxic, and non-addictive, and safe for animals — including horses.
If you’ve been thinking about giving your horse CBD, keep reading for tips on calculating an effective dose. We’ll also cover how to stay safe when giving CBD supplements to horses and discuss the different ways of administering CBD to your trusty steed.
Table of Contents
Best CBD Oils for Horses
First and foremost, what are the best CBD oils to use for horses?
The truth is that you don’t actually need a specific oil for horses. All CBD oil will work for horses just as they do for humans, and spending extra money on horse-specific products will only serve to markup the price.
The main factor to consider is the size of the animal. Horses are huge animals and may require relatively high doses of CBD. For this reason, we recommend going for some of the higher potency options when it comes to dosing your horse.
Here’s a collection of the best high-potency CBD oils on the market that are safe to use with horses:
(Best Overall) (USA)
Why Are People Using CBD With Horses?
Horse-owners use CBD to support the horse’s well-being. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects may help horses manage symptoms of common ailments, including:
That said, CBD is not used to “cure” common conditions in horses but to improve the animal’s quality of life. CBD in horses is also used to aid natural metabolic processes and speed recovery after a big day of exercise.
CBD may support horses in the following areas of health:
Some companies make specific CBD pet oils for arthritis or other chronic health conditions. These products are formulated with various other ingredients to help with a specific symptom or condition. You can find CBD pet oils for cancer, epilepsy, anxiety, and more.
Most of these formulas are marketed for dogs because there are many more dog owners than horse owners — but these oils are perfectly safe for both animals. Just be aware that the dose for a horse will be a lot higher than a dose for a dog.
Is CBD Safe For Horses?
Horses, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) — which functions as a regulatory system in the body to maintain homeostasis (balance) of many different areas.
Some basic functions of the ECS include regulating digestion, sleep, appetite, inflammation, mood, immune function, temperature, memory, and more.
Although there are no horse-specific studies involving CBD — most of the research performed on both humans and animals shows that CBD is non-toxic and non-addictive .
In fact, even when administered in higher doses, CBD is well-tolerated by both humans and animals.
Some common side effects of CBD in animals include diarrhea, drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth — all of which are mild in nature and tend to only result from using very high doses.
CBD May Help Your Horse When Nothing Else is Working
Many times, both hemp CBD and marijuana are used as a last resort for horses with painful chronic conditions.
One example of marijuana use in horses is Tori, a 16-year-old Paso Fino with equine melanoma. When Tori’s owner got the news of the horse’s probable euthanasia, she decided to turn to cannabis as the last option.
So, over the course of a few years, Tori’s owner used cannabis oil (a mix of 6% THC and 11.7% CBD) to keep her alive. Luckily, cannabis had a great long-term effect on Tori.
“Update from 2020: Tori’s tumors continue to look good, and she continues passing full rectums of manure nearing 3 years after it was first proposed to euthanize her for bowel blockage.”
Now, we wouldn’t recommend you give your horse marijuana without consulting a vet, but Tori’s story’s message is that cannabis won’t hurt your horse if used responsibly.
In fact, one veterinarian is making a case for the responsible use of THC in animals by comparing it to common pain medications. The logic behind that is that if you give your animal the minimum lethal dose of THC (3000 mg/kg for dogs), the animal will experience the same intoxication as if it accidentally ate an entire bottle of pain meds.
Now, back to hemp CBD.
Another horse owner decided to give hemp CBD pellets to his horse post-colic surgery. When the owner noticed that one scoop of CBD pellets twice a day didn’t show any results, he increased the dosage to two scoops twice a day and noticed a “huge difference.”
“His lingering edema almost completely went away within a few weeks, and he’s been moving so much more forward and pain-free. People are amazed at how quickly he’s bouncing back in under saddle work now.”
Furthermore, one case report found that 250 mg of pure crystalline cannabidiol administered by mouth twice daily helped a 4-year-old Quarter Horse with a 5-week history of “marked sensitivity to touch” — when traditional meds showed no improvement in clinical signs. When the animal started taking CBD, the clinical signs resolved after two just days .
Dosing Guidelines: How Much CBD Should I Give My Horse?
Now, the most important part is, “How much CBD should I give my horse?”
Animals are more sensitive to CBD — horses in particular. According to Dr. Luedke, a veterinarian and leading expert on CBD for horses, Horses require lower and less frequent doses of CBD than other animals.
Dr. Leudke stated that horses need longer dosing intervals than other species and seem to be more sensitive on the “per kilogram” dosing model.
For example, if a CBD dose of 1-2 milligrams per kilogram works well for dogs, horses need a lower dose — ranging from 0.25-1 milligrams per kilogram.
Horses’ sensitivity to CBD may or may not be attributed to how they digest food. As hindgut (large intestine) fermenters, horses get most of their energy through fermentation, not digestion like other animals do.
According to Kentucky Equine Research, simple things such as “feeding too much grain, improper ratios of forage and grain, or moldy forage or grain” can wreak havoc on the equine digestive system. This sensitivity may make horses more susceptible to CBD.
So, when you start giving your horse CBD, make sure you start low and increase the dose gradually. Starting with low CBD doses allows you to track your horse’s progress and adjust the dose when you start to see benefits.
Many people will start with the baseline dose of 40 mg and increase it until they reach the desired results. According to Dr. Juliet M. Getty, the best dosage for horses are as follows:
- Minis (400-660 lbs) — 25 to 50 mg
- Full-sized (660-1110 lbs) — 75 to 170 mg
- Large breeds (1100-1800) — 120 to 200 mg
1. Calculating CBD Oil Dosage For Horses
If you’re using CBD oils, first look at the size of the bottle and the amount of CBD inside. Then, you divide the amount of CBD by the size of the bottle. This will give you the oil potency in milligrams of CBD per milliliter of oil (mg/mL).
So, if your bottle is 30 mL and contains 3000 mg of CBD, you get 100 mg of CBD in 1 mL (a full dropper) — 3000mg/30mL = 100 mg/mL.
Once you know the potency, you can use simple math to find the right dose. If you have an oil with 100 mg/mL CBD, and you want a dose of 40 mg — all you have to do is give 0.4 mL (40% full dropper).
Our product reviews include the potency of each oil in case you’re not math-savvy.