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.”
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.”
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.