In a new experiment, food chain safety expert Robert Pieper and his colleagues experimented with using hemp as animal feed because of its cheapness and nutritional value. THE Livescience from the study presented by , it was found that cannabinoids can appear in the milk of cows fed with hemp, but it is not yet clear what effect this would have on us, the milk drinkers.
Hemp, precisely because its active compounds can get into milk, is not yet an accepted feed additive. But due to its favorable price, values and the growth of its industry, researchers have been interested in the idea of hemp-based cow feed for some time. However, the behavior of cows fed with hemp does not bode well.
During the experiment, the researchers fed ten cows feed containing different concentrations of hemp, i.e. cannabinoid compounds. Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species – Cannabis sativa – but hemp contains much less THC, the intoxicating compound, than marijuana.
During the first week, part of the cows’ corn-based feed was switched to hemp feed, which contained a low dose of cannabinoids. The cows were then fed a high-cannabinoid diet made from the flowers, leaves and seeds of the plants for six days. And then came the twist:
the animals’ breathing and pulse slowed down, their saliva and noses ran, they yawned, their eyes turned red.
Two days later, their appetite decreased and their milk yield decreased. Hemp flower feed is fattier than whole plant feed, which may be why they lost their appetite, but maybe the cannabinoids made them stop eating.
The changes disappeared after two days, when they returned to their normal diet. The researchers concluded that THC may be responsible for the change in their behavior, but other cannabinoids and chemicals in hemp may also have contributed to the symptoms.
Even on the eighth day after the experiment, THC, CBD and other cannabinoids were still detectable in the cow’s milk. The measured amount can also affect the human body that consumes milk, but researchers do not yet know whether it puts us in a party mood, or whether it can have some other effect on us. In any case, research continues – much to the delight of the cows.
(Cover photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)