The hype around CBD, one of the non-toxic compounds in cannabis, has not spared the animal world. Although animal use is not prohibitive, the rules formally authorizing non-toxic cannabinoids in animal feed are unclear. However, dietary supplements with CBD are already available in pet stores or from veterinarians for use by pet owners seeking to relieve pain, joint inflammation, and anxiety in their animals.

Researchers now want to know if the CBD works on animals. A Texas-based team is now collecting data on how the CBD affects equine physiology. In particular, their new study is examining whether CBD can help reduce stress, inflammation and obsessive-compulsive behavior in horses.

Experience

I had an interest in the emergence of CBD, mainly because we have a lot of horses in our area. Says Kimberly Guay, a professor at Tarleton State University in Stephenville who specializes in how stress affects animals. Many of the horses I knew were already using CBD, illegally you might say because it wasn’t legal in Texas at the time.

Guay’s team is experimenting by giving horses various doses of CBD, usually in the form of edible oils and pellets, and then evaluating their response. Researchers monitor the animals’ heart rate, inflammation, and levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by animals under stress. They are also observing the behavior of horses, looking at how CBD affects behavioral indications of pain, stiffness or anxiety.

Guay herself said she has no vested interest in the results of the study and does not currently give CBD to her horse, but is anxious to see if the data corroborates what she has heard from other owners. The anecdotal evidence is incredibly strong. Guay said in an interview. And if there’s a chance to relieve the stress, then I’m all for it.

The team aims to publish the results of the study next year. But Guay said some initial findings could be available as early as this fall.

I still can’t tell if the CBD is effective in any way, but I know there are no apparent adverse effects. She said, after giving some animals a significant dose.

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