How would you like to give your horse a super food that can ease joint pain and inflammation, support cardiovascular health, improve the condition of his skin, coat, hooves, and tail, and act as a digestive aid? You don’t have to look any further than hemp.
Until recent years, the idea of feeding hemp to horses was unknown. Thanks to movies such as Up in Smoke, featuring Cheech and Chong, “Hemp is Hip” had a completely different meaning than it does today. But you might be surprised to learn that before it became an outlaw in 1938, this plant was cultivated for fiber and food, and had a varied cultural history.
In 1606, French botanist Louis Hebert planted the very first hemp crop in North America. It was cultivated for its fiber well into the 20th century, and many immigrants from Eastern Europe brought the seeds to their new homes, planting them for their oil and using them in a variety of baked dishes.
Botanically, hemp is classified as Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae). Cannabis is a diverse plant species, with over 500 different varieties, of which marijuana is a distant cousin. Regulations dictate that hemp be defined as having less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This very low level makes it unsuitable for drug and therapeutic purposes. In any case, THC is actually produced by the plant’s epidermal glands, not in the hemp seed.
Despite this, it was 1994 before Health Canada began issuing hemp research licenses again. In March 1998, it began to allow the production of hemp under a special licensing system. Finally, in 2004, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration determined that hemp seeds could be “used” as a healthy food alternative, but the seeds themselves had to be imported from Canada’s prairie provinces.
What’s so good about it
So, what’s all the hype about feeding hemp to horses? Well, how would you like to give your horse a super food that can ease joint pain and inflammation, support cardiovascular health, improve the condition of his skin, coat, hooves, and tail, and act as a digestive aid? You don’t have to look any further than hemp.
Hemp oil is a very rich source of essential fatty acids and is recognized as the most balanced vegetable oil in the marketplace today. Both Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Udo Erasmus are fans of the oil from this superplant.
Hemp contains Omega-3 in the form of alpha linolenic acid, Omega-6 in the form of linolenic acid and gamma linoleic acid, and Omega-9 in the form of oleic acid. Its fatty acid profile is closer to fish oil than any other vegetable oil; in fact, it provides a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to fish oil. It is also a valuable source of gluten-free protein, is high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and chlorophyll, and has an excellent amino acid profile. Unlike soy and other legumes, it does not contain trypsin inhibitors and oligosaccharides, the gas-producing substances found in many legumes. It is never genetically modified.
Try incorporating hemp oil, seeds or flour into your animals’ daily nutrition program. It’ll improve their health, and they’ll love the taste!