New study to prove the effectiveness of CBD for horses

Published Mar 1, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
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The cannabis industry is booming, and with it, hemp is quickly gaining in popularity. Though the two plants are significantly different, the rise of CBD use didn’t happen until legalization cleared the path for the production of hemp. Hemp products are hot items for people of all ages and backgrounds, but you might be surprised to learn about how many people are using CBD for pets.

As our furry friends grow with us, we do our best to provide all of the love and care that they could ever need, but there are some things that we need that are outside our area of expertise. Now, most of us would head to the nearest vet clinic if our dog started showing worrying symptoms, but now the number of people who are turning to CBD for pain and anxiety, instead, is growing.

CBD for pets

The CBD industry has long dappled in pet products, offering up doggie biscuits, food options, and supplements that can be easily administered for a broad range of benefits, but there are few manufactured options out there for owners of larger animals like horses. Despite that, horse farmers have been utilizing CBD for years, particularly those who must perform for events or shows like races.

Horses seem like massive hardy animals that could probably stand up to just about anything, but a horse that is ready and waiting to hear the shot that marks go in front of hundreds of watching fans is going to feel at least some anxiety. After all of the hard work is over, it’s time for the horses to go home and recuperate, as the aches and pains from the day's activities set in.

Some horse owners are looking for options to treat these uncomfortable symptoms that can pop up just about anywhere along their journey to success. After so many pet parents having luck with smaller animals like dogs and cats, it only makes sense that it’s becoming a widely accepted practice to treat horses using CBD for anxiety and pain, but there is very little evidence to back up these claims.

The research

Some regions have banned the use of CBD products in horse feed and supplements because there is still very little for information on precisely how this cannabinoid works, how effective it might be, and what potential risks might go along with it. However, not everyone is worried about the rise in products that include CBD for pets, and one researcher has chosen to investigate this sensitive issue.


Kimberly Guay who is a professor in Stephenville at Tarleton State University and also happens to be a horse owner is looking into the effectiveness of CBD for pain and CBD for anxiety in horses. Guay says that she has no personal investment in the outcome of the study which makes her the perfect candidate for the job, but that she's seen plenty enough anecdotal evidence to dedicate time to this important research.

Kimberley’s area of expertise focuses on animals who are stressed out, and her team is looking for answers by experimenting on horses with various doses of CBD and then tracking essential information such as heart rate, anxiety, stiffness, inflammation, cortisol levels, and pain. The CBD is administered using infused pellets, and everyone involved in the project is sounding optimistic about the outcome of this experiment.

The laws

There are thousands of Canadians who are using CBD for pets and included in that group are a lot of horse owners, because the regulating agencies that control shows and racing in this country do not yet include CBD. Unfortunately, many who reside and work in the United States are not so lucky. The US Equestrian Association noted the rise in cannabinoid supplement use within the industry, and in response, has banned CBD entirely.

The most interesting thing about this ban is that the agency themselves recognize the potential benefits of CBD for pets, citing the anxiolytic effects, that are known to reduce anxiety, as a problematic advantage over other competitors. Unfortunately, this has led to very little research in this department until now, which is why so many horse owners are eagerly awaiting the results of this study.

It may not be today or tomorrow, but the future for horses who spend their lives in this line of work might be a little bit brighter, thanks to one amazing person and her team who are dedicated to uncovering the truth. Soon, they just might be less nervous, healing faster, and feeling better, but we will have to wait for the official results to know for certain.

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