Moo. re info needed about whether hemp-eating cows can transfer cannabinoids like THC to milk
Can a cow that eats hemp produce milk that can get consumers high?
Share this Story: Moo. re info needed about whether hemp-eating cows can transfer cannabinoids like THC to milk
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is hoping researchers at Kansas State University can get the answer to an interesting question: Would a cow that eats hemp produce milk that can get consumers high?
Indeed, exploring the potential impact of hemp byproducts on cows was pressing enough that the USDA recently provided US$200,000 to the university “to establish concentrations of cannabinoids in livestock after exposure to industrial hemp.”
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Researchers are conducting studies they hope will offer insight to farmers who are considering incorporating hemp in cattle feed. Two studies have been published to date, one in Applied Animal Science and the other in Scientific Reports.
“We don’t believe that the degree of absorption is sufficient for us to be concerned about potential intoxication following the consumption of meat and milk,” Hans Coetzee, head of Kansas State University’s anatomy and physiology department, has reportedly said, according to Marijuana Moment. “If we can prove that that is of no concern of consequence to the consumer, we feel that that would remove one of the major impediments to the widespread production of hemp worldwide.”
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Since the passage of the so-called Farm Bill almost two years ago, hemp — defined as containing less than 0.3 per cent THC — became legal to grow, transport and sell in the U.S.
Although hemp can be legally cultivated in Kansas, “feeding hemp products to livestock remains prohibited because the potential for cannabinoid drug residues to accumulate in meat and milk has not been studied,” Coetzee explains in a university statement.
Industrial hemp used to produce oil, seed, fibre and medicines leaves byproducts such as leaves, fodder and residual plant fibres after harvest that “could serve as potential feedstuffs for animals,” notes Michael Kleinhenz, assistant professor of beef production medicine at the university.
Photo credit: Kansas State University veterinary researchers Hans Coetzee, left, and Michael Kleinhenz, right, are studying the safety of using industrial hemp in feed for cattle. / Photo: Kansas State University Photo by / Kansas State University
In studies done to date, the research team has determined some cannabinoids, particularly acidic cannabinoids such as CBDA and THCA, are more readily absorbed from the rumen, Kleinhenz reports. This could mean the compounds could be available for distribution throughout the body.
Acidic cannabinoids are more easily absorbed than non-acid forms, including CBD and CBG.
“The next steps are to study the tissue and milk residue depletion profiles of these compounds after animal feeding experiments. The effects of cannabinoids on cattle are also unknown,” Kleinhenz says.
As it stands, questions remain “about whether the feed can be used safely because of concerns about THC intoxication and the presence of other bioactive cannabinoids,” the university reports. Follow-up experiments will include pilot studies to examine the effect of feeding hemp on animal behaviour and immune function.Can a cow that eats hemp produce milk that can get consumers high? ]]>