More and more companies are selling CBD for equine consumption. In the meantime, anecdotal responses are highly favorable. From first-hand accounts of horse owners, hemp-derived CBD appears to stimulate the horse’s ECS in the same way it does yours.
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Horse competition rules and testing
The FEI and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) have strict rules regarding medicating horses before events. Since it is THC that is detectable by a blood or urine test, it is highly unlikely for a positive test result to occur since hemp-derived CBD contains only minute amounts of THC. Nonetheless, it is possible, so it is best to discontinue its use 7 to 10 days before an event. Even if you choose a CBD isolate or broad-spectrum product (which does not contain any THC), it is best to err on the side of caution by stopping before an event. The CHRB notification to trainers states how CBD and its metabolites can be detectable for 72-96 hours after ingestion by the horse, though it provides no indication of dose
Do Horses Have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
Yes—in fact, all vertebrates (and even some invertebrates) have them. The ECS is a neuromodulatory system made up of cannabinoid receptors (primarily CB1 and CB2 receptors), endocannabinoids, and the enzymes that synthesize and degrade endocannabinoids. Humans and animals naturally produce endocannabinoids that activate the receptors in the ECS—the same receptors that are stimulated by the endocannabinoids THC and CBD.
How Does Equine Digestion Affect CBD Dosing?
In spite of their large size, horses actually require fewer milligrams of CBD per milligram per body weight compared to other species. According to many Veterinarians’ CBD dosing should be both lower and less frequent in horses than in other animals.
“Start low and Go Slow” when using any oral products, and to see how your horse is doing on CBD. Full-spectrum CBD for horses, should primarily be given under the tongue (or into the gums). Why? Simple, under the tongue (or gums) means the plant medicine goes right into your horse’s blood stream, for immediate relief, but more importantly, if ingested by means of putting it into their feed, (or as a treat) means the CBD has to go through the delicate intestinal tract and pass through the liver, (and with any oral product), CBD is an oily substance that can easily be rubbed into the horses gums. So why tax the horse’s liver or delicate digestive tract if not necessary?
Note that preliminary testing carried out by VetCS has “shown a longer half-life (8.5–9 hours) than what has been reported in dogs and humans.” This indicates the need for longer dosing intervals in horses than in other species.
What Is the CBD Dosage for Horses?
Although, the lack of CBD-related research in the equine field precludes official dosing advice, some product sites suggest dosing 0.55 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Equine veterinarian Dr. Luedke explains that dosing 0.25–1 milligrams per kilogram is generally accepted, but notes that dosing ranges are highly dependent on the condition affecting the horse.” She adds that while horses with anxiety might only require a single 125mg CBD dose (or less) 30–45 minutes prior to a event (e.g. trailering, farrier appointments, etc.), horses experiencing a laminitic episode, might require a daily dose of 500mg CBD. “These dosing ranges further support the need for knowledgeable advice from veterinary professionals,” she stresses.