STUDY: Feeding Cows Hemp Relaxes Them in Stressful Conditions

The study is the first step toward FDA approval of hemp as a livestock feed

Researchers at Kansas State University wondered whether cannabis could help calm down crowded, stressed out feed-lot cows… So they tested it out and found out, of course, it does.

While this may seem obvious to the rest of us, the federally-funded study will help make the case for FDA-approval of hemp as a livestock feed.

The researchers fed 8 cows a conventional diet of grains (likely corn and soy) for more than two weeks, while another group of 8 cows received the same ration, except 1/8th of it was replaced with hemp.

The hemp contained various cannabinoids including CBD — widely prescribed for anxiety and pain — and legal amounts of Delta-9 THC.

They measured the the cows’ cortisol and prostaglandins, both biomarkers for stress, and found those with hemp in their ration had significantly reduced levels of both. They also measured their movement and found that the hemp-fed cows were able to spend more time lying down and relaxing.

In short, the hemp-fed cows were better able to cope with the stresses commonly associated with existence in a crowded feedlot. The researchers also speculated hemp would help with stressful situations like weaning and transporting cows to feedlots, which can lead to respiratory-infections and other ailments.

The results could prove beneficial to ranchers because relaxed steers tend to be healthier, the Marijuana Moment notes.

“Currently, growers dealing in the CBD oil market hire processors to extract the oil from hemp seeds or flowers. The process leaves behind large amounts of plant material with little value,” the magazine adds.

“If those byproducts, which contain trace amounts of CBD or THC, could be used to feed livestock, it would benefit cattle ranchers and keep waste out of landfills.”