Safety and behavioural effects of cannabidiol applied as an oral administration in horses

  Safety and behavioural effects of cannabidiol applied as an oral administration in horses

A CANNAHORSE study presented at the Equine Science Symposium

Cannabidiol (CBD) is already being used in horses, despite the absence of scientific data demonstrating efficacy and safety. The objectives of this study include the investigation of behavioral effects of CBD after a single oral administration of CBD at a dose 250 mg per adult horse and investigating if there are any observed adverse events. A total of 8 clinically healthy Czech Warmblood horses were included in this non-blinded study, including both sexes, ages 2–18 and weights 600–800kg.

The test sample (CBD) used was an emulsified solution with specific formulations to enhance bioavailability, increase stability, and give precise dosing. Dose was determined by a multiplier conversion of the low average human dose for anxiety to an appropriate amount for a horse weighing between 1000 and 1250lbs to achieve 100mg of bioaccessible CBD. A detailed physical examination was performed on horses on D-7 and D-1.

Clinical observations (general condition, behavior, appetite, color of urine, color/consistency of feces, salivation, skin lesions, mucosae color, signs of dehydration, and food consumption) were performed on D-7 until D+10. Blood samples were taken on D0 at time 0, 2min, 10min, 20min, 30 min, 1h, 2h, 4h, 6h, 8h, 12h, 24h, 36h, and 48h after administration. Blood plasma samples were drawn and analyzed by Colorado State University using CBD assay. Behavior was measured twice before D0, at 2h, 4h, 6h, 8h, 12h, 23h, 47h, 71h, and 95h after treatment.

Heart rate variability was used as a measure of stress with a heart rate monitor. Behavioural scores range from 1 (low degree of activity/high degree of relaxation) to 5 (high degree of activity/restless). Observed adverse effects include changes in skin, hair, eyes, mucous membranes, nervous signs, and behavioral patterns.

Administration of the test sample was performed with ease and all horses maintained a good appetite, a heart rate within normal range, normal blood pressure, and body weight. No adverse effects were detected including changes in behavior. The average peak concentration of cannabidiol in blood plasma was 2.47 ng/mL. The average concentration at 0min was 0.315 ng/mL and at 48h the average was 0.567ng/mL.

This research preliminarily illustrated the safety of CBD administration in equines. The 250 mg CBD dosage showed minimal effects on the horse including behavior and did not result in any observed adverse effects, preliminarily suggesting safety.

The future of this research is leading to trials to further investigate safety, specifically for anxiety, gut health, and joint pain which aim to enlighten the benefits of CBD and specifically how it can be used for horses.

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