The Equine Endocannabinoid System: How CBD May Help Your Horse
In the world of domesticated animals, there’s no doubt that one of our strongest relationships, aside from that with dogs, has been with horses. In the past, horses helped humankind plow fields and plant crops, and they pulled the wagons that moved caravans of people from coast to coast and populated the American West.
Today, we don’t use horses as the work tools they once were. Horses are primarily used for ranch, racing and rodeo work, or they’re kept as pets. They’re amazing creatures, able to reach speeds as fast as 12 to 15 mph and stop nearly on a dime!
Horses still hold great value for us, and with their incredible athletic ability, they are—like any world-class athlete—prone to injury. Aches and pains are as much a part of their world as they are the human world.
Can Horses Benefit From CBD?
CBD has worked for humans, thanks to our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that readily uses cannabinoids as they’re introduced within our bodies. From cannabinoids, we can get pain relief, an increased level of focus, and assistance with our chronic conditions, among many other potential health benefits.
The question is, do horses have an ECS? The answer is yes! Horses have an EES
—an Equine Endocannabinoid System—that does the same things for them that our ECS does for us.
Both the ECS and EES work to create homeostasis, which is a state of balance and harmony, in the body. When all cells are healthy and functioning properly, the systems in the body work as they’re supposed to, and better health is the result.
There are now CBD-centered options for relieving the sore muscles of your aching horse who has run conditioning laps for race preparation. Similarly, your barrel-racing mustang who took a hard spill can have CBD liniment applied to their legs and muscles, with the aim of quicker recovery and immediate comfort in mind.
The racehorse that’s overly excitable and hard to get in the gate, or the horse that doesn’t trailer well, can now have some CBD for horses prior to travelling or racing. This may lead them to be far calmer than ever before. The racehorse may gain an enhanced ability to focus on their race, rather than the fanfare surrounding the track, too.
But What Can Cannabis Do?
Feeding horses hemp pellets as a regular part of their diet is a fantastic way to help ensure that inflammation never gets a start. If a horse has ever shown any sign of problems with their legs, tendons or hooves, getting them on a diet that includes cannabis for horses could be a great idea. You can even use CBD sprays and oils that have been designed to be used during rub-downs.
Athletes and CBD
Some human athletes have learned that using CBD can help with:
- Muscle recovery
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Improving your focus
- Easing muscle aches from difficult training routines
- Speeding up the healing process for injuries gleaned from training and competing.
Horses can likely benefit from CBD use in the same ways. Being some of the biggest athletes of the animal world, horses are prone to muscle tears, as well as cramps if they aren’t cooled down properly, gastrointestinal upset if their feed is changed abruptly, and more. CBD may be able to help with all these issues, and it’s unlikely that there’ll be any negative side effects.
Athletes—regardless of whether they’re humans or horses—don’t want or need to have their ability to focus impaired in any way, and cannabis can often improve focus, so providing cannabis to horses may improve their ability to ignore distractions and focus on the task at hand.
Furthermore, horses are also incredibly intelligent animals and don’t do well when their eyesight or their ability to think is impaired. Medications can have an adverse impact on their ability to move, work or compete, but you probably won’t have this same issues with CBD.
Keep Your Horse Healthy and Comfortable
Horses are a big investment. They’re expensive to breed, raise, keep, vet and train. You have insurance for your car, but when something happens to your horse, you may not be able to get them fixed as easily as you would your vehicle.
Therefore, keeping them healthy and comfortable from the start is your best course of action. There’s likely no danger in giving your horse CBD that’s made for their species, such as tinctures, hemp pellets and liniments that are made especially for a horse’s use.
CBD is known for having only extremely rare side effects, and these are generally things that disappear in a day or two, such as diarrhea if too much is given or consumed. If you follow the directions on the packaging your CBD is housed in, it’s probable that side effects won’t ever be an issue for you.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.