Researchers investigate benefits of CBD oil for equine anxiety

Can CBD reduce stress and help manage obsessive compulsive behaviors in horses? Researchers at Tarleton State University are seeking an answer to this frequently-asked question.

CBD has been a hot topic in the animal industry for a couple of years now, but it’s certainly not “old” news. Animal parents and equine caretakers around the world are asking questions about what products to buy, how cannabidiol works and, perhaps most commonly, what it can help with. When it comes to horses, these questions are currently much more difficult to answer, but research is underway.

Among those investigating CBD oil for large animals is a team at Tarleton State University’s Equine Center. Their unique study is working to determine how CBD affects stress and anxiety in horses. “I have just been overwhelmed by the level of interest in this study,” says Dr. Kimberly Guay, who is overseeing the research. “By now, horse owners have all heard the hype about the potential benefits of CBD oil. Here at Tarleton, we are working to give them the reliable data that’s just not there yet.”

Dr. Guay’s study seeks to quantify how CBD affects inflammation, stress and stereotypical negative behaviors in horses. She and her team – student researchers from Tarleton’s equine science classes – are administering different kinds of CBD, such as oil or pellets, to horses participating in the trial. They then measure the physiological effects of the non-psychoactive substance on the horses’ heartrates and cortisol levels. They also observe the horses after dosing them with CBD to note its effect on any common obsessive compulsive behaviors common to horses that spend time in a stall or trailer, such as cribbing.

“We are also tracking how long CBD stays in the horse’s system,” says Dr. Guay. “Many people who compete with their horses are interested in using CBD products to reduce stress and inflammation, but many event organizers are still working through their CBD restrictions for horses in competition.”

Dr. Guay expects to publish the results of the study sometime in 2021.


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