Do CBD Products Change Horses’ Startle Response? One Study Suggests They May

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) have become increasingly popular, touting their ability to do everything from alleviate chronic pain to reduce anxiety. While some products are FDA-approved, many are not and published research on their efficacy in horses is slim, reports The Horse.

A group of students from Murray State University in Kentucky wanted to assess one product’s effects on equine movement and reactivity. Led by Anna Draeger, the team used a novel object test to gauge horses’ startle response with and without CBD treatment. CBD acts on the parts of the brain that control response to environmental stimuli, social behavior, cognition, learning, voluntary movement and emotion.

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The study team used 17 Quarter Horse geldings that were part of the university’s herd; eight were controls and nine received 100-milligram oral doses of CBD pellets for six weeks. The horses were evaluated for reactivity and movement right before the study began and six weeks after treatment.

The study horses were exposed to an umbrella opening while wearing a heart rate monitor to determine their startle response; evaluators also scored the horse’s reaction. The horses were also led through a series of cones at the walk and trot. The team studied their stride length, and duration of swing and stance phase using a motion analysis system.

The team was able to verify a relationship between CBD treatment and reactivity: all treatment horses had a consistently lower reactivity level than the control group when exposed to the opening umbrella. Results from the portion of the study that tracked movement were less clear. The team concludes that CBD products may be useful when treating horses for competition or transport stress or stall rest, reducing anxiety without significant side effects.

Read more at The Horse.

The post Do CBD Products Change Horses’ Startle Response? One Study Suggests They May appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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