CBD Oil and horses! Here’s what you need to know.
- First – Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, won’t make your horse high.
- Second, don’t believe what you read. There are TONS of BS and unproven claims about CBD oil.
- Third, there is NO REGULATION of CBD oil. You might be buying some actual legit CDB, you might be buying water or fancy marketing and pretty labels.
- But is there such a thing as the best CBD oil for horses? Not sure yet – there’s a ton more research to do.
Let’s start with the big picture. Hemp and marijuana are both plants in the Cannabis family.
- Hemp and marijuana are grown differently, have different uses, and very different levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the psychoactive part of marijuana, and this is what gets you high. Hemp does have THC, but not that much. Marijuana, or pot, ganja, reefer, weed, mary jane, have higher levels of THC and can get you totally stoned.
- CBD is extracted from both hemp and marijuana. There’s not much regulation as to the quality of the oil, and some states will regulate the CBD oils from both hemp and marijuana plants. This may make buying CBD online tricky. There is also zero regulation by any regulatory agency, and there are zero third-party quality control agencies providing regulation, research, and industry standards.
- If you find the CBD derived from hemp, it can be high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which we know benefit horses. Other products derived from hemp, like t-shirts and rope and paper, and even horse bedding, can be found.
Why would you use CBD oil for horses?
- There is so little known about CBD in humans, much less is known about CBD use for horses. There’s a chance that the CBD you buy is made from industrial hemp, which may or may not contain a bunch of other gross things that shouldn’t anywhere near you or your horse. There’s also the totally compelling fact that NO ONE KNOWS THE DOSAGE of CBD oil to give a horse.
- Be careful when you read about different brands of the best CBD oils for horses and for humans. There’s a lot of super fantastic marketing and snake oil and almost ZERO science to back it up, especially in the horse world. In fact, the vast majority of articles about CBD oil use for horses are written by CDB manufacturers. #suspicious
Is there any research about CBD oil?
- Why yes, there’s a little bit. As outlined here, CBD oil is linked to liver disease.
- This study looked at a specific brand of CBD oil that is approved by the FDA for childhood epilepsy. But the study used mice, not children. Which is probably for the best, and most drug research starts with animals.
- HOWEVER – it’s impossible to guess how this would play out in a horse. The mice in the study had liver damage, and many died. Would a high dose of this brand do the same in a horse?
- And what about other brands? Are they more concentrated, or full of snake oil, or fake, and how would they affect the mice? Without regulation and quality control, there’s no way to know.
- There’s also the plain and simple fact that creatures metabolize compounds differently. Chocolate is delicious to humans, and can kill a dog. DEET is used for human bug control, but can kill a cat. Same with aspirin. There is no research on how CBD works on horses.
What about CBD for show horses?
- And incidentally, the FEI has natural Cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabimimetics as BANNED. The complete list can be found here in the FEI’s clean sport database.
- The use of CBD oil for horses and similar compounds is also forbidden by USEF. It’s also classified as a Class B drug by some racing commissions. I was unable to find any information about AQHA’s regulations about CDB oils.
I always suggest that you loop your vet into anything that you are thinking about for your horse, this is no exception.