Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Synovial Fluid Concentrations of Single- and Multiple-Dose Oral Administration of 1 and 3 mg/kg Cannabidiol in Horses

J Equine Vet Sci. 2022 Jun:113:103933. doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2022.103933. Epub 2022 Mar 18.


Cannabidiol (CBD) products are widely marketed to horse owners, trainers, and veterinarians and are readily available to the consumer despite minimal pharmacokinetic or safety data being available. The objectives of this study were to determine the plasma pharmacokinetics, short-term safety, and synovial fluid levels of CBD following oral administration in horses. A prospective, randomized, controlled study design was used. Twelve horses were administered sunflower lecithin oil-based CBD at either 1 mg/kg (Group 1) or 3 mg/kg (Group 2) for a 24-hour pharmacokinetic study. Horses then received 0.5 mg/kg (Group 1) or 1.5 mg/kg (Group 2) CBD q12 PO for 6 weeks, with steady state and elimination sampling performed up to 96 hours post-final dose. Synovial fluid CBD concentrations were evaluated at 12 and 24 hours, and 5 weeks. Horses were monitored daily and clinicopathologic parameters were evaluated. Mean ± SD Cmax and tmax were 4.3 ± 2.1 ng/ml and 4.1 ± 4.1 hours, and 19.9 ± 15.6 ng/ml and 5.0 ± 3.7 hours for Groups 1 and 2, respectively. CBD was detectable in synovial fluid in 8/12 horses during steady state. Mild hypocalcemia was seen in all horses and elevated liver enzymes were observed in 8/12 horses, but these changes improved or normalized within 10 days after the final CBD dose. CBD had dose-dependent, but variable, oral bioavailability at 1 mg/kg and 3 mg/kg daily dosing and was consistently detectable at steady state in synovial fluid at the higher dose. Further investigation is needed to establish clinically effective doses.

Keywords: CBD; Cannabidiol; Horse; Pharmacokinetics; Safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Cannabidiol* / adverse effects
  • Horses
  • Prospective Studies
  • Synovial Fluid


  • Cannabidiol