By Joyce Harman, DVM
Cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp can be fed in several different formats to get the amazing benefits of CBD for horses or dogs. Pure hemp powder added to the feed is the easiest and least expensive way. This contains only the hemp plant with the CBD extracted. It’s easily available and also an economical way to feed CBD to large dogs. One drawback is that some horses and many dogs do not like the “herby” flavor of the leaves.
Cannabinoids are oil soluble compounds inside the plant. The acronym CBD is commonly used for medicinal preparations but there are over 100 different cannabinoids in a hemp plant.
They are taken from the buds and leaves using either carbon dioxide (Doc’s Hemp uses this method) or ethanol extraction methods to concentrate the desired compounds. The extracted CBD is then mixed with oil such as hemp seed oil or coconut derived liquid oil known as MCT. This approach makes it easier to measure exactly how much to feed in each serving.
Oil-based CBD does not absorb as well as some of the highly processed water-based products that are on the market, but once in the body the oil lasts longer. This provides more benefits to horses and dogs throughout the day. Water-based products go through many complex chemical steps and do not last as long. Therefore, more frequent servings are necessary throughout the day to have the same effects as oil-based CBD.
Benefits of CBD for Horses
Feeding CBD to your horse can help support many systems in the body. CBD helps support the endocannabinoid system, which is an internal biochemical system occurring throughout the body. Muscles, bones, the brain, the gut, the liver and other organs all contain receptors that benefit from CBD. Older horses experiencing stiffness, horses with low grade digestive issues, horses that are nervous or anxious and horses exposed to trauma can benefit from CBD.
CBD Oil Versus Powder for Horses
What are the benefits of CBD oil versus powder for horse or large dogs? That depends on the animal and the situation. If the horse or dog does not like the taste of the powder, the oil is a great choice. It can be added to the food or placed directly in the mouth. Many horses and dogs dislike having anything put directly in their mouth and will not hold the oil under the tongue for 30 seconds (often the recommended time for humans). It may be easier to use the powder form in feed for horses in a boarding barn, while the oil may take a bit more extra effort.
The oil will work fine if added to the food. It is even better absorbed if there are some fats already in the food. These can be omega-3 fatty acid supplements (e.g., flax, hemp or chia seeds, or fish oil for dogs), or just food with fat calories added.
The main difference between the powder and oil form of CBD for horses and dogs is what the animal prefers to eat and the convenience factor for the horse’s or dog’s owner.