What is CBD oil and how safe is it for horses?
What is CBD oil for horses? CBD oil for horses is a natural product derived from the hemp plant. It is made by extracting the cannabidiol (CBD) and diluting it with a carrier oil such as hemp oil or coconut oil. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with numerous health benefits. CBD oil for horses is safe and guarantees that your horse will not get 'high' - it does not contain the psychoactive substance THC. CBD oil for horses is used as a dietary supplement to improve health and well-being. There are many different types of CBD oil for horses, depending on the manufacturer and extraction method.
Areas of application of CBD oil for horses
High-quality CBD oil has the potential to counteract various ailments and not only has a positive effect on the nervous system. Even vets now recommend administering this oil. CBD oil can help your horse with the following complaints:
Cannabidiol is known for its calming, relaxing and often even sleep-inducing effect. Many horses react nervously, anxiously or panic, especially in stressful situations such as during transport in a horse trailer, when visiting the vet, when changing stables or during general changes in their routine. CBD can have a supportive effect in such moments by promoting balance and well-being, especially in unfamiliar situations.
However, it is important to note that the causes of nervousness in horses are often deep-rooted and complex. Horse owners are aware of the persistence of such behaviours, which are often considered 'incurable' and therefore not necessarily treatable with CBD.
It is not only older horses that struggle with physical stress or restricted movement. Similar to humans, horses can also suffer accidents or injuries in the course of their lives that affect their physical well-being. In such situations, CBD has proven to be an effective means of improving the quality of life of our faithful companions and is increasingly being used by veterinarians.
CBD can also significantly support the body's recovery after surgery. However, discuss the administration of CBD with your vet beforehand to rule out possible interactions with medication.
Further areas of application of CBD in horses
- Nervousness and anxiety: can have a relaxing and calming effect
- Gastrointestinal complaints: can alleviate pain, stimulate appetite and promote general well-being
- Coat and skin problems (e.g. moult or eczema): can have a calming effect
- Laminitis: has an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect
- Colic: helps to relax & can have an anti-inflammatory effect
- Arthritis/arthritis: helps to relieve pain & thus promotes mobility
- Cushing's syndrome
- Loss of appetite
- Head shaking
- Epilepsy in horses
If you are unsure, it is advisable to speak to your vet to decide together whether administering CBD oil is appropriate for your horse. It is important to emphasise that the oil does not cure any diseases, but can have a supportive effect on the ailments mentioned above.
Side effects of CBD oil in horses
No side effects are known from previous studies. When purchasing CBD oil, it is important to ensure that the THC content is below 0.2% in order to rule out a psychoactive effect. However, an overdose can lead to increased tiredness. There is also the possibility that the horse cannot metabolise the terpenes it contains, which can lead to digestive problems.
CALMA's products have a THC content of 0.0%, so that an overdose is virtually impossible.
When administering CBD oil, the dosage should be taken carefully. Start with a small number of drops and slowly increase the dose if no noticeable changes occur. In this way, you can find out together what amount is best for the horse's well-being.
If the horse is taking medication, the vet should always be consulted before administering CBD oil. Interactions cannot be ruled out in this case and the judgement of a specialist is crucial.
Is CBD safe for horses?
There are several aspects that should be considered when buying CBD oil for horses:
Quality: Make sure that the CBD oil comes from a trustworthy manufacturer and does not contain any contaminants or harmful substances.
Hemp source: Make sure the CBD oil comes from organically grown hemp that is free from pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals
Concentration: Check the CBD concentration of the oil to ensure it is sufficiently potent. The concentration is expressed in milligrams (mg) per millilitre (ml).
THC content: Make sure the CBD oil has a THC content of less than 0.2%. A higher THC content can cause an intoxicating effect in your horse.
Carrier oil: The chosen carrier oil has a major influence on the flavour. Hemp oil is popular, but coconut oil or olive oil can also be used.
Additives: Avoid CBD oils with unnecessary additives such as artificial flavourings or preservatives in order to obtain the purest possible oil.
Our products at CLAMA have been specially developed for horses. We take great care to ensure that they are made from 100% natural ingredients, contain 0.0% THC and are well tolerated by your horse.
CBD oil or hemp oil horse: the differences
Both CBD oil and hemp oil are obtained from the hemp plant, but from different parts.
CBD is obtained from the flowers and leaves, which still contain the cannabinoids, and is an extract that is mixed with a carrier oil. It is used to alleviate various symptoms of illness.
Hemp oil, on the other hand, is obtained from the seeds of the plant and contains only small traces of cannabinoids. Hemp oil is mainly used in cooking as it contains many essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6. Hemp oil is also frequently used in cosmetics due to its high vitamin E content.
Incidentally, hemp oil for horses is not the same as CBD oil. There are significant differences between these two products.
Hemp oil for horses:
Hemp oil for horses does not contain cannabidiol (CBD) and is mainly used as an edible oil with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is often added to concentrated feed to provide valuable ingredients. Hemp oil is used in particular for skin and coat problems, as the gamma-linolenic acid it contains can counteract these. Hemp oil can also have a positive effect on the horse's immune system and cell renewal.
CBD oil for horses:
CBD oil for horses, on the other hand, contains the active ingredient cannabidiol. This ingredient can bind to receptors in the nervous system and exert its effect there. CBD oil is obtained by extraction from the flowers of the female cannabis plant, while hemp oil is obtained by cold pressing from the seeds of the male plant.
Hemp oil can be administered in larger quantities, whereas CBD oil should only be administered drop by drop. One of the reasons for this is that CBD oil, unlike hemp oil, is also used medicinally. The two oils also differ in colour: CBD oil has a golden hue, while hemp oil is more of a green-brown.
Research into the use of CBD oil in horses
Did you know that the ancient Greeks used cannabis to treat colic in their horses thousands of years ago? The first study on the use of CBD in pets was published in the British Medical Journal back in 1899. A study of 41 horses that were given CBD orally every day for a fortnight showed that CBD products had a positive effect on the emotional and physical well-being of equines. Further studies with humans and other animals could confirm these effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD), an ingredient of the cannabis plant, has been investigated in studies to understand the possible effects of this hemp extract in the horse's body. Like humans, horses have an endocannabinoid system that can be considered part of the nervous system. In this system, endogenous endocannabinoids act to maintain homeostasis throughout the organism. The ECS can be seen as a subsystem of the nervous system that is responsible for the maintenance of the organism. However, various influences can cause this system to become unbalanced, which can have different consequences. CBD acts as an external cannabinoid from the outside and gently helps to restore balance and quality of life.
Since cannabinoid receptors are located in different parts of the body, e.g. in the gastrointestinal tract, in the bones or in the brain, CBD can potentially have different effects, as the following studies show.
Study 1: CBD helps hypersensitive mare
A study by Colorado State University (Ellis & Contino, 2019) examined a four-year-old Quarter Horse mare that was hypersensitive to touch in the withers and shoulder area for five weeks. Despite various therapeutic approaches and medication, there was no improvement. Only after administration of pure crystalline cannabidiol (250 mg orally twice daily) did the clinical symptoms disappear within two days.
Study 2: CBD appears to inhibit inflammation in horses
Veterinarians at the University of California conducted a study to describe the pharmacokinetics of orally administered CBD in trained thoroughbred horses and to investigate its anti-inflammatory effects (Ryan et al., 2021). The study showed that CBD oil was well tolerated by the horses and no significant behavioural, gastrointestinal or cardiac abnormalities occurred. CBD drops were well absorbed and were detectable in the blood. The half-life of CBD was between 9.88 and 10.7 hours, depending on the dose. The study suggests that CBD influences certain enzymes that play a role in inflammatory reactions. Simply put, the study shows that CBD may affect the way the body responds to inflammation.
Testimonials from horse owners
Unfortunately, there are few direct studies on CBD in relation to horses. Most recommendations are mainly based on studies on humans and other animals. Therefore, testimonials from horse owners are of particular importance.
Owners report that the use of CBD drops generally makes their horses
- more lively
- more resilient
- less sensitive to weather conditions.
It is interesting to note that despite their high body weight, horses only need very small amounts of the drops. Many horse owners report that one drop of an oil with a content of 20-24% is often sufficient. These intelligent and highly sensitive equines respond surprisingly well to small amounts of CBD. It is important to emphasise that these are subjective impressions and horse owners are encouraged to gather their own experiences.
How quickly CBD works in horses and dosage
Dosage recommendations for the use of CBD oil in horses:
Use low dosages:
- Start with a low number of drops per administration.
Stability of dosage:
- Keep the dosage constant for 2-3 days before making changes.
Observation of reactions:
- Pay close attention to your horse's reactions to the administered dose.
- Keep daily notes of your horse's condition and the number of drops administered.
Slowly approach the optimum dosage:
- Slowly and patiently feel your way towards the optimum dosage by observing the horse's reactions and condition.
Duration of effect:
- The CBD oil unfolds its effect after approx. 10-20 minutes
Example of a dosage table:
Condition of the horse
How is CBD oil used in horses?
CBD oil with CBD can simply be added to pellets or oats. You can easily control the CBD dosage for your horse by counting out the drops. You can also drip our CALMA CBD oil for horses into a treat that your horse particularly likes.
CBD oil can be used safely and effectively in the daily care of your horse.
It is important to emphasise that the recommended dosage and frequency can be adjusted to your horse's individual needs and reactions. Start with a low dosage and gradually increase it while closely monitoring your horse's reactions. If in doubt, consult a vet to ensure optimal use for your horse's specific needs.
Note: CBD oil is not a medicine, we do not give health advice and CBD is not a substitute for a veterinary examination for pain or other ailments of the horse.
CBD oil in competitive sport
Although CBD has no intoxicating effect, it is categorised by the federations as a doping agent. The reason for this is that cannabinoids, including CBD, are on the list of banned substances for competition horses.
The problem is that CBD preparations are extracted from hemp plants containing THC. They are therefore not completely free of residues of this intoxicating substance. Products with an increased THC content are even listed on relevant websites as an insider tip for stoners. Among the top 10 are preparations with a THC content of up to 0.9 per cent. However, the law in the EU stipulates that hemp products may not contain more than 0.2 per cent THC. Common CBD preparations for animals also contain less than 0.2 per cent THC.
Despite the lack of psychoactive effects, CBD is categorised as questionable in doping lists. The World Equestrian Federation (FEI) has banned all cannabinoids, including supplements containing CBD. However, this was not due to the proven content of intoxicating substances. Although the exact effect of CBD on the horse's body has not yet been researched, experts fear that cannabidiol could give horses a competitive advantage.
The National Equestrian Federation in the USA also banned CBD and all related cannabinoids from 1 September 2019. The reason given for this is that the manufacturers of the products advertise that CBD improves performance - and this is considered doping by definition.
We recommend a waiting period of several days before the competition.
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