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Hemp-Fed Cows Get Buzzed, Study Finds, but Will Humans Who Drink Their Milk?


Perhaps more vital, at the least for humans, the THC made its way into their milk, sometimes at levels that exceeded consumption limits set by food safety regulators in Europe. (The USA has no comparable standard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does advise latest moms to avoid marijuana and CBD products while breastfeeding, saying the research on the consequences of passing even trace amounts to an infant stays unclear.)

That said, THC became undetectable soon after the hemp was faraway from the cows’ weight-reduction plan. Apparent signs of intoxication, including red-rimmed eyes, runny noses and what the study authors described as an “unsteady gait” and “abnormal posture” faded inside two days after the cows went cold turkey.

Dr. Robert Pieper, a lead creator of the study, said it was unclear whether the slump in milk output was attributable to THC or perhaps by a number of of the handfuls of other cannabinoids or chemicals present in hemp plants.

More research was needed, he said.

“Hemp is a really versatile and helpful crop, but we’ve to watch out when considering whether to feed it to food-producing animals,” said Dr. Pieper, who heads the food chain safety division on the German Federal Institute.

The findings are largely in sync with other recent studies conducted in the USA that involved hemp and livestock. Researchers at Oregon State University who fed hemp to sheep found small amounts of THC within the animal’s muscle and fat, however the chemical vanished several weeks after the hemp was faraway from their weight-reduction plan. Serkan Ates, an associate professor at Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, said the studies he and his colleagues had done with sheep and dairy cows had convinced him that there are few downsides to introducing hemp into the diets of livestock, especially given the soaring cost of conventional feed. “The dietary value of hemp is absolutely high but most of it’s ending up in landfill or being composted,” he said.

In studies done at Kansas State University, THC showed up within the plasma of hemp-fed cattle, but researchers there also discovered something unexpected: The animals were notably more relaxed, in response to biomarkers that indicate stress levels. As within the German study, which recorded lower heart and respiratory rates in cows that consumed high levels of THC, the animals also spent more time lying down alongside their barn mates.

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