CBD for Horses?

CBD is not only a human treatment option. Equestrians have seen a marked improvement in their animals suffering from arthritis, ulcerations, anxiety, metabolic conditions, and more. It’s an exciting prospect and a big part of why we at Red Brick Wellness first delved into the world of CBD. With an active horse ranch and regular sorting competitions, we are well aware of the wear and tear our animals’ bodies suffer from athletic pursuits along with daily play. While there are many paths to wellness and we aren’t opposed to allopathic options, CBD has become a viable and regularly sought treatment option for our animals at Red Brick Ranch.

How CBD for Horses Works

There are very few (if any) research studies of the effects of CBD directly on horses at this point, but we’re hoping to cite some soon as the popularity of CBD use continues to rise. While we wait, we defer to testimonials and anecdotal evidence which are promising.CBD seems to work on a horse’s endocannabinoid system in the same way that it works on a human’s. Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) works as a system of equilibrium, sensing internal instability and working toward keeping things at homeostatic levels. CBD directly affects this system and in a positive way when properly applied. Here are a variety of ways CBD might alleviate specific health concerns based on studies on humans and lab animals:

  • Pain [1] from arthritis [2] or laminitis
  • Anxiety during stall confinement [3]
  • Stress during traveling and shows [4]
  • Ulcers and leaky gut [5]
  • Healing from surgery or injury [6]
  • Immune system depression from oxidative stress [7] experienced with Cushing’s disease
  • Appetite regulation [8]
  • Obesity [9]
  • Inflammation, with the potential to reduce leptin levels [10]

CBD for Horses in Competition

Current regulations are strict for THC use in equestrian competitions, so it’s best to discontinue use 7-10 days before an event. Because hemp-derived CBD contains such minute amounts of THC it’s highly unlikely to show up in a blood or urine test, but as of September 1, 2019, the United State Equestrian Federation (USEF) does not allow cannabinoid use for competitions. [11]

Here’s another excellent resource if you’d like to dive deeper into how CBD can benefit the life of your horse.


[1] Cannabidiol: A new option for patients in pain? DVM360, September 2017, p 32-33.

[2] Malaita, A.M., Gallily, R., Sumariwalla, P.F., et al., 2000. The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA.

[3] Maroon, J., and Bost, J., 2018. Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical Neurology International, volume 9.

[4] Campos, A.C., Moreira, F.A., Gomes, F.V., et al., 2012. Multiple mechanisms involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London Series B Biological Science, volume 367, number 1607, pages 3364-3378.

[5] Couch, D.G., Cook, H., Ortori, C, et.al., 2019. Palmitoylethanolamide and cannabidiol prevent inflammation-induced hyperpermeability of the human gut in vitro and in vivo – A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind controlled trial. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Vol 25, Number 6.

[6] Styrczewska, M., Kostyn, A, Kulma, A., et al., 2015. Flax fiber hydrophobic extract inhibits human skin cells inflammation and causes remodeling of extracellular matrix and wound closure activation. Biomedical Research International.

[7] Booz, G.W., 2012., Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, volume 5, number 5.

[8] Garamond, J.A., Whalley, B.J., and Williams, C.M., 2012. Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology, volume 223, number 1, 117-129.

[9] Ignatowska-Jankowska, B., Jankowski, M.M., and Swiergiel, A.H., 2011. Cannabidiol decreases body weight gain in rats: Involvement of CB2 receptors. Neuroscience Letters, 490, 82-84.

[10] Tarragon, E., and Moreno, J.J., 2019. Cannabinoids, chemical senses, and regulation of feeding behavior. Chemical Senses, Vol 44, pages 73-89.

[11] https://www.usef.org/media/press-releases/usef-announces-positive-tests-of-cannabinoids


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