Cbd oil for colic

CBD Oil: 9 Science-Backed Benefits

Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an integrative medicine physician with expertise in functional and holistic medicine based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. When applied topically or consumed through smoke inhalation or edible consumption, CBD interacts with neuroreceptors in your endocannabinoid system, which sends signals between your cells to help regulate your movement, mood, homeostasis and immune system.

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CBD is often extracted from the cannabis sativa plant in oil form and mixed with an inert carrier oil like hemp seed oil for consumption. In fact, of the 60% of U.S. adults who report having used CBD before, 55% of them use CBD oils and tinctures specifically, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll.

CBD research is growing, too. Here are nine ways studies suggest CBD oil could benefit your health.

1. Offset Anxiety and Depression

CBD’s ability to calm is perhaps its most popular effect and the reason its use is so widespread. A 2017 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry tested the anxiety levels of 57 men in a simulated public speaking test. Some received a placebo while others received either 150 milligrams, 300 milligrams or 600 milligrams of CBD before their speeches. Those who received 300 milligrams of CBD experienced significantly reduced anxiety during the test compared to those who received the placebo. Interestingly, participants who received either 150 or 600 milligrams of CBD experienced more anxiety during the test than the 300 milligrams group.

Meanwhile, at least one study in mice revealed CBD had effects similar to the antidepressant imipramine. Human trials are needed, though, to confirm whether CBD can induce this same antidepressant reaction in our bodies.

2. Treat Select Epilepsy Syndromes

In some instances, CBD can be used to treat epileptic seizures.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of CBD under the brand name Epidiolex to treat seizures resulting from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome—two rare forms of epilepsy—in patients at least 2 years old.

Three well-vetted studies provide the basis of support for the FDA’s decision. In these trials, 516 patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome received either Epidiolex or a placebo. Epidiolex, when taken along with other prescribed medications, decreased the frequency of participants’ seizures compared to the placebo.

3. Reduce PTSD Symptoms

In a small 2018 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11 people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) received CBD along with routine psychiatric care for eight weeks in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Ten of the 11 experienced a decrease in their PTSD symptoms. CBD was generally well tolerated, the researchers write.

Margaret Rajnic, a doctor of nursing practice experienced in medical cannabis and CBD, emphasizes the importance of using therapy in tandem with any type of cannabis or CBD for PTSD. “There is an amount of therapy that is needed for PTSD,” she says. “But CBD will give you that little bit of decreased anxiety.”

Four other human trials from 2012 to 2016 suggest CBD reduces PTSD symptoms, although some include THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main mind-altering element in cannabis. When THC and CBD work together, they create what’s called an “entourage effect,” complementing each other’s benefits and potency. For example, taking the same dose of THC and CBD together tempers the “high” from THC, while just a little THC paired with more CBD enhances the effects of the CBD.

4. Treat Opioid Addiction

Some studies—both preclinical animal and human clinical trials—suggest CBD could be used to help treat people who are dependent on opioids.

In one such study, researchers administered CBD to people with heroin use disorder. Over the course of a week, CBD significantly reduced heroin users’ cue-induced cravings, withdrawal anxiety, resting heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. No serious adverse effects were found.

Other studies find CBD helpful in reducing various psychiatric and medical symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and pain in patients with substance use disorders, indicating that CBD may be an effective treatment for opioid addiction. However, further studies are necessary.

5. Alleviate ALS Symptoms

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to deteriorate, resulting in loss of muscle control that worsens over time. It’s not yet understood exactly why ALS occurs, although it can be hereditary in some cases. There’s no known cure, and there are only two FDA-approved medications to help treat ALS symptoms.

Research suggests people with ALS can benefit from the entourage effect created by the combination of THC and CBD, similar to people with PTSD. In a 2019 study, patients received a combination of THC and CBD in varying doses depending on their needs and preferences. Those with mild, moderate or severe spasticity (muscle tightness and stiffness) due to ALS reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment, and those with moderate to severe spasticity reported higher satisfaction rates than those with mild spasticity.

6. Relieve Unmanageable Pain

In 2005, Canada approved the use of Sativex, an oromucosal (absorbed in the lining of the mouth) spray with equal proportions of THC and CBD, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis-related central neuropathic pain. In 2007, Canada approved the medicine’s use again for cancer pain that proved unresponsive to other medications.

Meanwhile, continued studies in the U.S. indicate CBD is effective in treating chronic, non-cancer pain. In one 2020 study, researchers administered CBD topically to a group of patients with symptomatic peripheral neuropathy (a result of brain nerve and spinal cord nerve damage) while another group with the same condition received a placebo. Results showed a significant reduction in intense, sharp pains and cold, itchy sensations in those who used the topical CBD compared to those who used the placebo. No participants reported adverse side effects.

When introduced topically, CBD oil doesn’t affect the systemic issue as it might if it were introduced directly into the bloodstream. Instead, topical CBD is more localized and treats pain in a certain area. Since it’s more direct, it may have a more pronounced effect.

7. Ease Diabetic Complications

For starters, tests on human cells found that CBD helps reduce the effects of high glucose levels on other cells in the body, which typically precedes the development of diabetes and various complications. Researchers concluded that with further studies, CBD could have significant benefits when used in patients with diabetes, diabetic complications and plaque buildup in artery walls.

In another small study, 13 patients with type 2 diabetes who weren’t on insulin treatment were given both CBD and a placebo (in lieu of insulin). Researchers found CBD decreased their levels of resistin (which causes resistance to insulin, the protein that regulates sugar levels) and increased their levels of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (a hormone that ensures a sufficient release of insulin from digested food) compared to their baselines before they started the test. These results suggest CBD could be a natural treatment for diabetes by helping the body regulate insulin-related hormone levels.

8. Protect Against Neurological Disease

Preclinical and clinical studies show that CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers deduce these characteristics can provide significant neuroprotection, or protection against numerous pathological disorders.

Several preclinical studies suggest CBD can produce beneficial effects against Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Huntington’s disease and cerebral ischemia were also tested, although significant positive results were not recorded. Further clinical studies are needed to confirm CBD’s benefits when used as a treatment for these disorders.

9. Inhibit Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis involves the deterioration of the tissues in and around your joints. There are several types of arthritis, and symptoms include pain, stiffness and loss of motion. Arthritis treatment usually targets pain relief and improved joint function.

A 2006 study found that Sativex—a CBD-based botanical drug approved in the United Kingdom in 2010—promoted statistically significant improvements in quality of sleep, pain during movement and pain at rest in patients with rheumatoid arthritis when compared to a placebo. It was the first controlled trial of Sativex as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, involving 58 patients. CBD was found to have a pain-relieving effect, as well as an ability to suppress disease activity.

In 2018, in a study of more localized treatment, researchers administered a synthetic CBD gel in either 250-milligram or 500-milligram doses daily or a placebo to patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Patients also stopped taking any other anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers, with the exception of acetaminophen, before and during the study period.

The results were interesting, although not entirely conclusive. On one hand, those treated with CBD did not experience much change in pain when compared with placebo patients. On the other hand, there were statistically significant differences between the group receiving the 250-milligram dose and the placebo group when measuring the average weekly improvement of their worst pain levels and their WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index) physical function rating. Additionally, men seemed to benefit from CBD more significantly than women in this test.

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Cbd oil for colic

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As such beautiful, majestic creatures, it’s easy to forget that our horses also suffer from medical issues. Whether your horse is preparing for a show, or just trying to retire into the good life, unwanted illness creates problems. Of course, you all want the best for our pets. So how can we assure they live long, happy lives?

One of those ways is through CBD. As a new, holistic form of therapy, CBD oils treat all kinds of conditions in humans. But did you know your pets can take CBD too? As research continues to grow on all of its benefits, more and more vets are starting to recommend CBD as therapy.

In this article, we’re going to talk using CBD as an anecdote against colic. If your horse has recently been diagnosed, or you’re wondering if something’s wrong, this article is for you. We’ll go over the ins-and-outs of colic in horses, what to look out for, and how to use CBD as a part of treatment.

What is colic?

In humans, colic affects newborn babies, causing them to cry incessantly in response to an unknown pain. Like babies, can’t communicate their pain in words either. Therefore, it’s up to us to pick up on signs and symptoms of equine colic before it’s too late.

How does colic affect horses?

Equine colic is a disorder causing severe abdominal pain and discomfort. Related to digestive issues, various types of colic exist. The term can be used to describe an acute, negative reaction to something in the stomach, but it’s more commonly used in chronic cases. Dehydration, parasites, digestive stones, and benign tumors present as colic in most cases. If you’ve noticed your horse pawing, rolling on the ground, or having trouble defecating, get in touch with your veterinarian right away. They’ll run a series of tests to diagnose the problem and suggest treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms to look out for?

As colic covers such a wide variety of causes, multiple symptoms can arise. A horse suffering from colic might display:

  • Mood issues, such as depression or anxiety
  • Rolling on the ground
  • Constant desire to lie down
  • Pawing at the ground
  • Lack of thirst or appetite
  • Trouble defecating
  • Frequent urination (or attempted urination)
  • Rapid pulse
  • Strange gut sounds
  • Excessive sweating
  • A drop in body temperature as the disease worsens

The severity of colic ranges from mild to fatal, so don’t take any chances. If your horse starts showing signs of the above symptoms, call your veterinarian.

Can CBD Oil help my horse with colic?

CBD may be an effective treatment to both prevent colic and treat some of the associated issues. Read on to learn all about CBD for horses, and how it can help digestive issues and pain.

What Is CBD?

First of all, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound naturally found in cannabis. Although it comes from a plant with the same name as marijuana, CBD for horses won’t get them high. CBD oils are pulled from hemp, a form of the Cannabis sativa plant grown to have less than 0.3% THC. In addition to the CBD, the terpenes, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants found in hemp oils benefit an equine diet.

As a phytocannabinoid, CBD chemically similar to molecules found in the mammalian body, making up the endocannabinoid system. These compounds, anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol, are critical to maintaining homeostasis. Research recently discovered the endocannabinoid system sends and receives all kinds of signals across a horse’s body. Giving your horse CBD, therefore, adds extra compounds for optimal function. It’s similar to taking a multivitamin, but specifically targeting certain receptors in the brain.

How Does CBD Interact With The Endocannabinoid System Of Horses?

When CB1 and CB2 receptors receive endocannabinoids, it starts a domino effect of downstream signaling. CBD’s chemical structure gives it the same shape, allowing it to bind on these receptors as well. Therefore, it acts much like any other hormone, regulating mood, pain, sleep, digestion, and overall health. Since colic equine is a disorder of the digestive system, taking CBD can both prevent it and treat symptoms.

Benefits of CBD for a horse with colic

Both directly and indirectly, CBD targets the underlying issues behind colic by:

  • Helping digestive health
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Fighting pain

CBD and the digestive system

As we touched on previously, the endocannabinoid system controls biological pathways inside a healthy horse. Specifically, CB1 receptors in the brain regulate smooth digestion. According to a study out of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, CBD “produces relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, inhibition of gastric motility and acid secretion, as well as intestinal motility and secretion”.

Certain types of colic stem from excessive, trapped gas or stones. Since giving your horse CBD keeps things moving, it’s possible they can find relief from symptoms.

CBD can reduce inflammation

CBD oils themselves contain a strong omega-3 fatty acid profile. These healthy fats are known to combat inflammation in horses, and they can play a role in long-term health. On top of that, cannabidiol itself fights both inflammatory and neuropathic pain, especially in the intestines.

Research shows that cannabidiol mediates the pathways responsible for intestinal nerves. By activating CB receptors, CBD reduced intestinal damage in both mice and humans. These results show a positive, promising new treatment for inflammatory bowel issues.

CBD can treat the terrible pain caused by colic

Once your horse comes down with colic, it’s horrible to watch them suffer. CBD can treat acute inflammatory symptoms by limiting pain. Studies show that CBD targets a specific vanilloid receptor responsible for signaling pain. By interrupting these signals, CBD slows the experience of agony before, during, and after your vet provides care. If invasive procedures are a part of treatment, CBD can help your horse relax throughout their recovery.

Finally, when colic occurs once, it’s more likely to happen again. Regular CBD administration reduces the chances of recurrence by supporting a healthy endocannabinoid system.

Has there been much research carried out on the topic?

Plenty of studies confirm that CBD regulates homeostasis, reduces pain, and combats enteric inflammation, but most are done on rats or sick humans. You see, the endocannabinoid system was only discovered a few decades ago, so research is fairly new. Add in the taboo of cannabis, and you start to understand why so few studies are done on horses. However, recent research is promising in mammals, and plenty of vets recommend CBD products as a natural, holistic form of therapy. Due to its lack of toxicity, CBD is generally considered safe for use in horses, but always follow-up with a vet before starting any treatment for colic.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Currently, CBD-administration causes little to no side effects. Adverse effects include lethargy, appetite reduction, and dry mouth in humans, but no serious issues have been reported in horses. As with any new treatment, however, monitor your horse’s health carefully, and follow the appropriate dosing guidelines.

What CBD Oils Do We Recommend For Horses With Colic?

If you’ve decided to go the natural route to treat symptoms of colic, we’ve got the CBD for you. Green Flower Botanicals makes an equine-specific line of CBD oils to add to your horse’s diet.

About Green Flower Botanicals CBD for Horses

Green Flower Botanicals pulls their CBD from hemp with the purest method known to man – CO2 extraction. After obtaining this high-quality ingredient, they mix it into MCT oil for maximum absorption. Depending on the size of your horse and the severity of the condition, choose from 1800mg, 3600mg, or 7200mg doses of CBD oil. Green Flower Botanicals uses full-spectrum CBD oils for their equine products, meaning your horse gets the benefits of terpenes and additional cannabinoids to boot. Finally, it’s virtually tasteless, with a slight, floral, natural hemp touch. If you’re not satisfied, Green Flower Botanicals offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you might as well give it a shot.


CBD oils come with a lot of benefits for horses. From fighting inflammation to reducing pain-related stress, CBD can improve overall quality of life, making both you and your horse happy. While research is still new on its use to treat colic, the lack of serious side effects makes it promising. No one wants to watch their horses suffer. Get ahead of any potential issues by taking care of their health before a problem arises. If you want to learn more about giving CBD to your horse, check out this YouTube video, or consult with a veterinary professional.