CBD has become increasingly more popular among Americans consumers since domestic hemp production was made legal in late 2018. Producers are manufacturing tons of CBD products annually, leaving them with a lot of biomass for which they have no use. It turns out they can turn that biomass into cattle feed without any safety concerns.
Data from a recently released USDA study demonstrates that cattle do retain THC and CBD in their systems after consuming feed cakes made from hemp biomass. But the concentrations are very low. They don’t pose any danger to the animals or, in the case of beef cattle, consumers who eat the meat.
The research was conducted as a joint effort between the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and North Dakota State University (NDSU). It took a serious look at how animal tissues stored cannabinoids fed to cattle as part of the regular diets. Researchers were careful to study concentrations at different levels of metabolism.
Safe for Consumers
An analysis of the subject animals revealed cannabinoid concentrations far below globally recognized standards of safety. In other words, though both THC and CBD were present in the studied meat, concentrations were far too low to pose any danger to human health. This means that meat from hemp-fed cattle is safe for consumers.
The data represents a breakthrough in the search for new sources of cattle feed. Growers produce unimaginable amounts of industrial hemp just to have access to CBD oil. But rather than letting all the spent biomass go to waste, it could be combined with other grains or packaged as cattle feed all by itself. In either case, cattle ranchers would have access to yet another feed option.
As an added bonus, study data suggests that hemp biomass offers cattle good nutritional value. If it is as good as, or better than, more traditional cattle feeds, a whole new market for industrial hemp could be on the horizon. That would be good news to hemp farmers who have seen wholesale prices plummet in recent years due to an overabundance of supply.
Different from Marijuana
Industrial hemp cultivated for the purpose of providing CBD oil is a very distinct plant. Though it is a cannabis plant, it isn’t marijuana. The differences between hemp and marijuana might be important to consumers who would otherwise be wary of beef or other meat products they believe contain THC.
The folks at Utah cannabis pharmacy Beehive Farmacy explain it this way: both industrial hemp and marijuana are types of cannabis. The major difference between them is THC concentration. Cannabis plants with 0.3% or less THC by volume are classified as hemp. Plants with more than 0.3% THC are classified as marijuana.
The USDA study focused on feeding beef cattle cakes made from hemp biomass. There were no marijuana plants involved. However, would it be possible to use marijuana biomass to safely produce cattle feed? It is a question deserving of an answer.
Yet Another Benefit of Hemp
While researchers further investigate the possibility of turning unused hemp biomass into cattle feed, the hemp industry is thrilled to know that yet another of hemp’s previously unknown benefits has been discovered. With every scientific look into the plant come even more possibilities. That is good for hemp growers, processors, and retailers – and consumers, too!
Lawmakers did a good thing when they legalized industrial hemp more than four years ago. As a result, cattle farmers may soon have access to another type of feed that is both nutritious for the animals and safe for humans.