Veterinary Research Demonstrates Benefits of Feeding Cattle Industrial Hemp
A recent research study has found that industrial hemp delivers benefits when fed to cattle. The study was conducted at the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine. The results of the project were published in Scientific Reports. The research project lead, Dr. Michael Kleinhenz, is pursuing the study of industrial hemp as cattle feed to determine if the benefits conveyed could simplify cattle production methods for cattle ranchers.
Industrial hemp is the source of CBD (cannabidiol) and other cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes. It is a government-regulated crop that is specially developed and grown to contain less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive component found in higher amounts in marijuana plants.
Half of the cattle in the study were fed industrial hemp for two weeks while the other half consumed regular feed as the control group. During the two weeks, the research team tracked the movements of the cattle and also did blood work. The blood testing checked the level of the biomarkers prostaglandins and cortisol in the two cattle groups.
Comparing the control group to the hemp-eating group, the researchers discovered that cattle eating hemp had lower levels of hormones. The cattle feeding on hemp also laid down more. In addition, the research team tested the cattle for hemp absorption and found the hemp did not accumulate in their systems. Dr. Michael Kleinhenz said,
“Our new research helps us better understand how cannabinoids present in industrial hemp interact with bovine physiology and pharmacology. For instance, we now know that repeated daily doses of CBDA via feeding hemp does not result in accumulation of cannabinoids in the blood. Additionally, it solidified previous research and shows that each cannabinoid has its own absorption and elimination profile.”
The results of the research study indicate industrial hemp could be useful for keeping cattle calm during transport and while being weaned and for reducing conditions like respiratory infections. Also, lying down more helps cattle produce saliva and ruminate (chew cud).
Additional research is needed to better understand the potential effects of repeated consumption of industrial hemp cannabinoids. However, the initial research results suggest that cannabinoids may benefit cattle which leads to the question of whether there are other animals that could also benefit.