USDA funds Cannabis Studies on Animals

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Cannabis studies on animals cows meat and milk

Did you know that edibles are considered the most efficient way to medicate? They last longer and are known as no-fuss products, despite potency. But, what if your groceries already came infused? Recently, cannabis studies on animals have the USDA questioning the consumer risk for an economical choice. 

An older study prompted the concern. It investigates if THC can pass to milk and meat after cows were fed hemp-based food. Scientists at Kansas State University conducted the study. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a research grant of $200,000 toward that research. Scientists will investigate “acceptable” concentrations of cannabinoids in livestock after feeding them hemp. 

 Cannabis Studies on Animals

In the past, researchers conducted cannabis studies on humans, mice, and pigs. The similar study on pigs proved inconclusive, however. A cannabis study on cannabinoid metabolism followed the THC injection of seven pigs. Of the seven, THC dissipated the fastest from the liver. The fat tissue preserved concentrates the longest at 24 hours. Despite this, the levels were still fairly low. It still prompted concern in the effects on other animals.

There was 2015 study done on cows with similar concerns. It noted: “… In dairy cows, the limited data indicated that the transfer rate of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol to milk is in the range of 0.10- 0.15% but there were no appropriate studies to show a transfer rate into other animal products.” Due to the limited study, more was needed to draw hard conclusions on the matter. Considering the natural occurrence of cannabinoids in food, this would require more targeted research than they might expect.

Infused Milk & Meat? 

So far, the Kansas State University has conducted two preliminary studies. During this study, cannabinoids were found in both meat and milk. Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), Tetrahyrocannabinolic Acid (THCA-A), Cannabidivarin (CBDVA), Cannabichromenic (CBCA) were present after dosing the subjects. Despite the trace of cannabinoids, scientists claim no concern for consequence for consumers. 

“We don’t believe that the degree of absorption is sufficient for us to be concerned about potential intoxication following the consumption of meat or milk.”

-Kleinhenz, M.D., Magnin, G., Lin, Z. et al. Plasma concentrations of eleven cannabinoids in cattle following oral administration of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa). Sci Rep 10, 12753 (2020)

If farmers were able to use leftover parts of the hemp plant as cattle feed, it would make cultivation of the crop more economical and boost the industry globally. Through these cannabis studies on animals, the risk I mentioned seems worth the economical effort.

Currently, hemp is used to lighten the economic burden in a few industries. It’s more efficient than cotton. It can be grown in diverse locations, and it’s an excellent source of protein at a lower production cost. Feeding animals has come up before, considering how it can change the texture and flavor of meats. Only after extensive research will we find if this is just a efficient choice rather than an improvement on how we produce foods in the world.

Joycelin Arnold

Joycelin Arnold

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