Hemp for Horses: What You Need to Know

CBD offers a variety of benefits, but buyer beware

Humans have been using cannabis for various reasons for more than 2 millennia, yet because of its mind-altering effects, all forms were illegal in the United States until recently. The result is a burgeoning industry that caters to a multitude of conditions in both the human and animal kingdoms, some of which can be beneficial — and damaging — in farriery.

There are multiple species of cannabis and several different strains within those species. Hemp is the term for varieties of cannabis cultivated for fiber, seeds and their oils. The varieties called marijuana have been used for medicinal purposes in humans and as a recreational drug.

Cannabis plants have more than 100 chemicals called phytocannabinoids (the prefix “phyto” means plant). The two that generate the most interest are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp contains minimal levels of THC, the psychotropic constituent. Genetic composition of hemp and marijuana creates vastly different amounts of THC. Marijuana’s THC content is usually 10% or more, but hemp must have a THC content of 0.3% or less, according to federal and state laws. At this low level, it has no intoxicating effect on people or animals.

Among the benefits of cannabis are improved sleep,1 reduced anxiety and depression,2 improved digestive health,3,4 pain reduction,5 treatment of autoimmune disorders6 and other ailments. With the Farm Act of 2018 being passed into law, industrial hemp (classified as THC content of 0.3% or less) is no longer considered a controlled substance…

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Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas is a freelance writer based in Salmon, Idaho. She has been writing books and articles for nearly 50 years.

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