Can CBD Oil For Horses Help?

Before administering cannabidiol (CBD) oil to your horse, it’s important to first understand its benefits, as well as the safety factors that come with it. Additionally, it’s also of equal importance to look into the possible side effects of using CBD oil.

The American Horse Publications state that CBD oil has a promising effect on disorders, such as anxiety, pain and inflammation, skin diseases, and the like. The popularity of CBD in terms of pharmaceuticals and the healthcare industry has led to a decrease in the stigma associated with the negative effects of CBD products.

This post will help you understand how CBD oil works in healing, the benefits of using it, and the possible disadvantages it may have for your horse. 

What Is CBD Oil For Horses?

CBD oil is a tincture extracted from cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, which is present in cannabis, is the active compound that has a lot of healing effects on humans and animals.

Pure CBD oil contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes, and other cannabinoids. Together, they contribute to the healing properties of CBD. Unlike CBD, THC has a psychoactive effect that makes an animal agitated. That’s the reason why THC in CBD products is limited to a maximum of 0.30%. 

Choose the best product in the market and read product descriptions to prevent unexpected outcomes.

How Does CBD Oil Work? 

All mammals contain an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates vital functions like pain, sleep, tension, and the immune system. Further, ECS is a neurotransmitter that communicates signal receptors to the central nervous system.

In 2018, a study from Cornell University on the clinical efficacy of cannabidiol on the treatment of osteoarthritic dogs reveals a decrease in chronic pain. CBD oil reduces inflammation by regulating pain receptors with the neurotransmitters associated with pain sensors.

Benefits Of CBD Oil

An article from the American Horse Publications states that CBD may improve the conditions of horses, such as laminitis, inflammation, stress during traveling, anxiety from stall confinement, and poor appetite. Moreover, CBD has antioxidant and analgesic properties. 

That said, here are other conditions in horses that CBD oil could help with:

  • Horses Suffering From Inflammation: Swollen muscles and bone injuries among horses are caused by extreme outdoor activities. Unfortunately, constant stress experienced by horses can result in undesirable behavior. 

To save your horses from pain, CBD oil can be topically applied to affected areas. This treatment controls the swelling and helps ease the pain. 

  • Horses With Anxiety Or Aggressive Behavior: Transporting horses through a plane can cause them psychological stress, which can be due to close confinement or unstable room condition at high altitudes. 

Take note that CBD oil regulates the extreme and undesirable behavior of horses when in tense or stressful conditions. Thus, to keep them calm all throughout the day, some horse owners give them CBD oil before flying.

  • Horses With Spasms And Seizures: A study by GW Pharmaceuticals Great Britain revealed that THC contains anti-spasmodic properties. Further, CBD oil has the potential to control epileptic manifestations and convulsive actions due to its vital role in the nervous system.

To ease severe muscle contractions, some vets introduce CBD oil to horses that have muscle spasms and seizures. 

  • Horses With Appetite And Digestive Issues: Gastrointestinal issues among horses is common due to their grain-only diet. So, horses experience internal problems, such as indigestion, bloating, and poor appetite due to their diet and the demanding nature of activities. Some common horse feeding mistakes also contribute to health problems. 

CBD oil can help this type of condition in horses because it contains anti-inflammatory properties and neutralizes the irritation caused by a grain-only diet. 

If your horse is doing fine, you can still use CBD oil to prevent and manage their condition.

  • Horses With Chronic Pain And Arthritis: It’s common for horses to develop chronic pain issues due to their quality of life. Their huge body size is prone to arthritis, which can result in lameness, specifically among competitive horses that are into sports. 

Usually, painkillers for arthritis have negative side effects, like being sedated and sluggish. However, with CBD oil, the horse’s condition can be treated without them having to experience sedation as an after effect. 

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD also alleviate the swelling of the animal’s joints by relieving pressure. Again, this is possible because of the active role of CBD in pain receptors via the nervous system.

  • Horses With Skin Issues: CBD oil is known as a treatment for acne treatment in humans since it controls the excess production of sebum and oil glands, and reduces the swelling of blemishes. So, some horse owners opt to apply CBD oil when commercial ointments don’t work. 
  • General Health And Homeostasis In Horses: Homeostasis is the tendency of the body’s system to maintain internal stability, which is also regulated by the endocannabinoid system. 

When CBD oil is applied for a specific condition, horses usually experience an improvement in their overall well-being.

Actual Stories Of Horse Owners Using CBD Oil

When nothing seems to work, CBD oil may help the condition of your horse, especially painful chronic conditions. Most of the owners resort to CBD and they have discovered the following results:

  • Tori With Melanoma: Tori was 16 years old then, a breed of Paso Fino. The horse had an extreme condition of melanoma and is scheduled for euthanasia. The owner was devastated, so he opted for cannabis as the last option.

Over the years, the owner maintained the dosage of CBD oil as he noticed improvements in Tori’s condition.

Tori’s case is one piece of evidence supporting the benefits of CBD. However, a vet doesn’t usually recommend the use of CBD products without prior diagnosis. In Tori’s case, the vet emphasizes the responsible use of drugs.

  • Horse With Post-Colic Surgery: Another equine owner chose to give his horse CBD pellets after a colic surgery. The pellets were given twice a day but the results didn’t improve. The owner decided to increase the dosage and noticed positive results. 
  • Horse With A Skin Condition: This is another case for a Quarter Horse suffering from sensitivity to touch for more than a month. The owner used traditional medication and noticed that the horse did not experience any relief from its condition. When the owner started using CBD, there was an improvement after just two days. 

These are just a few of the actual medicinal cases of CBD oil used for sick horses. Trial and error medication by horse owners is a risky thing, thus it’s important to consult a vet about the recommended proper diagnosis of the horse’s condition before using CBD products to prevent negative side effects.

Possible Side Effects Of CBD Oil 

Side effects are a part of taking medicine. Anecdotal records reveal the side effects of CBD oil on horses, which may include dizziness, fatigue, decreased blood pressure, and diarrhea. Vets suggest stopping the medication as soon as undesirable effects occur.

Also, horses that are pregnant or are nursing aren’t allowed to take CBD products due to possible damage it might cause.

Severe side effects can be avoided when a veterinarian is consulted before medication. To prevent negative results, the proper intake of CBD medicines is also recommended.

Dosing Guidelines For Horses

Most horse owners initialize with a baseline of 40 mg and subsequently increase it until the desired result is achieved. Here’s the recommended dosage for horses:

  • Horses weighing 400-660 lbs: 25-50 mg
  • Horses weighing 660-1110 lbs: 75-170 mg
  • Horses weighing 1110-1800: 120-200 mg

CBD Oil Restriction On Horses

The use of CBD oil has limitations, too. The FEI and US Equestrian Federation (USEF) checks horses before a competition, and a violation is incurred when horses are found positive for cannabis. The presence of THC in CBD oil isn’t allowed since this makes the horses “high.” Thus, some horse owners stop the CBD medication two weeks before the event.

When your horse is in pain and the competition is near, you may try to discontinue the medication of  CBD oil or stop your horse from joining the race. Choose the most important thing for you without compromising the other.

More Research Needed

While some do, other veterinarians don’t entirely approve of the use of CBD oil. This is because analytical studies aren’t developed yet to a wider extent, particularly for horses. As it is often emphasized, CBD oil isn’t a cure-all. 

However, many veterinarians are amenable to some of the health benefits CBD oil has for humans. Unlike for horses, the studies involving CBD oil for humans are more analyzed and concrete. 

The essence of CBD oil is seen as a positive result of medication, and can even be regarded as miracles for horse owners who have witnessed its efficacy.

However, it’s not unusual for first-time users of CBD oil to feel worried and uneasy when administering the initial dose on their horse. You should consult your vet beforehand and choose the best CBD oil in the market to keep you from worrying.


Some studies on the health benefits of CBD oil reveal positive results. However, some experts won’t verify its effectiveness because research hasn’t been fully developed yet. 

CBD oil will be helpful if and only if a veterinarian was consulted before medication, as well as if the proper dosage is given and the best quality CBD products are purchased.

Last Updated on June 10, 2020

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