The Equine Endocannabinoid System: How Cannabis May Help Your Horse

Two brown racehorses - How CBD oil can 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 (known as wagon trains) that moved caravans of people from coast to coast and populated the American West.

For centuries, horses were an important part of life in Europe as well. What was a knight without a horse? It’s been said that the relationship between a knight and his horse was the dearest relationship to the knight, even above his relationship with his wife. The horse would save his life in battle and see that he got home.

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 Cannabis?

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.

If only horses had an ECS … but wait … they do! 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 end 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 hemp pellets 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.

Taking all this into account, it’s apparent that cannabis for horses is a growing segment of the cannabis industry that deserves our close attention.

Arthritis and Laminitis

Horses live relatively long lives, especially in comparison to other domesticated animals. The bigger an animal is, the harder aging tends to be on their body, though.

As they age, horses often begin to suffer from arthritis in their legs and backs. Swayback often occurs in older horses, sometimes rendering them unable to be saddled again. In some cases, the only thing you can do is turn them out to pasture and try to keep their condition(s) from progressively getting worse.

Laminitis is another condition occurring in the legs that horses may suffer from. This involves an inflammation that occurs in the coffin bone capsule of the hoof. Treatment is difficult at best, and in the worst cases, laminitis can lead to the coffin bone perforating through the bottom of the hoof. This may eventually result in euthanasia if the animal can no longer walk.

The reduction of this inflammation is imperative to the survival of the horse. Watching what the horse consumes is also a key component of treating the condition—too much sugary grass or feed may actually cause it to occur! Always remember that sugar feeds infection and inflammation, and this holds true for every creature, including humans.

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 Cannabis

Bottles of cannabis oil for humans - How CBD oil can help your horse

Some human athletes have learned that using cannabis 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 cannabis 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. Cannabis 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 actually 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 cannabis.

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 cannabis that’s made for their species, such as hemp pellets for horses or tinctures and liniments that are made especially for a horse’s use.

Cannabis 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 cannabis is housed in, it’s probable that side effects won’t ever be an issue for you.

 

[su_panel background=”#f2f2f2″ color=”#000000″ border=”0px none #ffffff” shadow=”0px 0px 0px #ffffff”]For more valuable information on horses and horse health, check out the following three articles:

Medical disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Please refer to the full text of our medical disclaimer.


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