By now you should have heard all the clamour about the therapeutic qualities of CBD, helping people suffering from a range of illnesses and ailments - but we’re not the only ones who can benefit. CBD is now being used on our furry friends as well - from livestock and working animals to pets — because what seems to be working for us, seems to work on our animal counterparts too.
There are a number of reasons why you may want to begin providing hemp feed or high quality cannabis plant extracts to your animals or livestock, but one reason that trumps all others is that it helps boost performance as well as health and wellbeing in your furry friend. And when your animals are feeling at their peak, it should then follow that they would perform at their peak as well. So how do CBD and horse health go together?
Hemp Diets for Horses
Horses are especially prone to health issues; whether they are working or competitive animals, they seem to suffer greatly from a wider range of health issues than many other domesticated animals. Horses especially can benefit from integrating cannabis into their diets — and an industry dedicated to doing this is just making its way into the mainstream — with a great range of cannabis products, from edibles to ointments, all made with equine health in mind.
Horse nutrition is just as complex as human nutrition when it comes to performing at your best. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the UK have great information regarding equine health and advise that at the very least, horses must graze and forage as often as possible and must maintain a varied and nutritional diet that includes fresh, good quality, mold- and dust-free nourishment. The health implications of not adhering to these simple standards are massive and could mean the difference between your horse living a long and healthy life to living a difficult, pain-filled and stunted existence.
One way to maintain your horse’s health is to ensure that they eat a varied diet, which doesn’t rely solely on horse feed or fresh grasses. By integrating hemp into your horses diet can help maintain your horses health. In Europe, hemp feed for animals has been used for decades and slowly the U.S is catching up; with research undertaken in 2017 leading toward a (hopefully positive) final recommendation - that we should be getting any day now.
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So What Nutrients in Cannabis do Horses Benefit From?
Just like their human counterparts, horses need a vast range of different nutrients and minerals to sustain a healthy constitution. Europe is leading the way with hemp animal feed, understanding that the plant, which is easily and economically cultivated, provides a simple solution for proper animal nourishment.
Just some of the integral components of hemp for animal feed — which is made mostly from hemp seeds — are Omega Fatty Acids and proteins. Hemp seeds are super high in Omega-3, -6 and -9, as well as Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which cannot be made by the body and so must be consumed as part of a balanced diet. They are integral to cell growth and are essential for healthy hair and skin, as well as maintaining brain function and memory. Hemp seeds also contain all nine amino acids, which are essential to a multitude of physiological functions and help achieve homeostasis within the body. Introducing hemp into your horse’s diet means it will be getting vital nutrients as well as a great amount of fibre that will help it maintain high performance standards; regardless of whether they are competitive, working or domestic animals.
CBD Oil for Horses
CBD is a compound that has been found to influence the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), one of the most important physiological systems in the body, made up of endocannabinoids and their receptors. The ECS regulates everything from pain, mood, appetite, and even reproductive health and when there is an imbalance in the body, it works to maintain homeostasis. But every now and then if the body is experiencing trauma, illness or disease, it may need a little helping hand. CBD, a phytocannabinoid, has been found to influence the ECS to use more of its own endocannabinoids and rebalance any imbalances there may be.
This somewhat misunderstood compound has shown some incredible promise in a whole lot of different ailments and illnesses in both humans and animals. Most notably, it has been used to treat severe forms of epilepsy, where little-to-no relief has been found before.
But how can CBD for horses help your animal perform at their best? Well, not only does CBD have efficacious antispasmodic effects, but many studies attest to CBD’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits as well. These qualities are probably what make hemp products and CBD so crucial for horse rearers, since one of the most common causes for lameness in horses is joint disease. This unfortunate health issue is one of the most debilitating and degradational health issues affecting horse health and longevity, and has a massive impact on performance ability.
One particular study, published by the University of Kentucky focusing on arthritis in mice, reported that the use of CBD significantly reduced joint swelling, which can alleviate the associated pain. The study went on to conclude that CBD oil for horses has “therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without side effects”; promising news for humans and animals alike. CBD for horses can be administered easily, with the inclusion of hemp seeds in horse feed, as well as through using CBD rich hemp oil, CBD pastes and topical ointments or creams.
So far, a range of studies have been undertaken on the therapeutic effects of CBD, but what is immediately clear is the effects of CBD on inflammation and pain management. So far, a majority of studies focusing on CBD use for inflammation and pain management, especially in joints, have promising finds. CBD can be administered orally and has also shown to be effective through topical treatment. It’s as easy as massaging CBD hemp oil, paste or cream into the affected area and letting it do its work.
But Can Cannabis Make my Horse High?
If you’re worried about whether hemp or even CBD for horses can give a high, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Industrially grown hemp is specifically cultivated for its low THC content — which is the compound with psychoactive qualities — and so can’t produce the high associated with the cannabis plant. And not only this, those who believe you can get high off eating the raw cannabis plant are sorely mistaken. Cannabis must be heated to a temperature above 220 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 20-35 minutes through a process called decarboxylation in order to get the psychoactive effects it’s so well known for — so there is absolutely no plausible way of getting your horse high with approved hemp feed for animals.
We always advise that you contact your veterinarian first, as starting your horse on any new diet or treatments could have detrimental effects on their health. If you’ve had any experiences with using hemp feed or CBD for horses, we’d love to hear how your horse has benefited from the inclusion of CBD or hemp feed in their regime. Feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org