By-product of hemp oil safe and nutritious substance in animal feed

by Team Inc.

fodder hemp seed

Scientists from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and North Dakota State University (NDSU) recently found that when cattle were fed the industrial hemp by-product, hemp seed cake, very low levels of cannabis chemicals (cannabinoids) were retained in muscles, liver, kidneys and adipose tissue.

Currently, hemp seed cake cannot be legally used in animal feed because the amount of cannabinoid (Cannabidiol [CBD] and Tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]) residues remaining in edible animal tissues has not been characterized.

Hemp in animal feed

To determine whether hemp seed can be safely used as a source of protein and fiber in livestock feed, a team of USDA-ARS and NDSU researchers, led by research physiologist David J. Smith, evaluated cannabinoid residues (CBD, THC) from cattle fed hemp seed cake. got. Scientists found that the concentrations of these chemical compounds in meat products were only a small fraction of the total amount that global regulatory organizations consider safe for consumers.

Products from cannabis plants have been used for fibre, food (seeds and oil) and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Although the plant contains over 80 naturally occurring compounds called cannabinoids, the best known cannabinoids are CBD and THC. In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress authorized the legal production of industrial hemp in the United States (US), with the condition that industrial hemp contain less than 0,3% THC on a dry matter basis. The low percentage of THC distinguishes hemp products from marijuana or medicinal cannabis varieties, which can contain more than 5% THC.

As industrial hemp develops as an agricultural commodity in the US, companies are now producing hemp seed oil with a very low THC content (< 0,01%). However, producers of this oil are struggling to find a market for hemp seed cake, an important by-product of oil extraction from seed.

Highly nutritious, safe food source

Hemp seed cake is very nutritious. One study even shows it is a viable alternative feed source for livestock. In the study recently published in Food Additives & Contaminants led by Smith, groups of heifers were fed either a control diet or a 111% hemp seed cake diet for 20 days. At the end of the feeding period, cannabinoid residues in the liver, kidneys, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue were measured in animals 0, 1, 4 and 8 days after the hemp seed cake was removed from the diet.

The hemp seed cake that is in it research was used contained an average concentration of 1,3 ± 0,8 mg/kg CBD and THC combined, which is 1/3000 of the legal threshold of 0,3% (3000 mg/kg) THC. Cannabinoid residues were sporadically detected in urine and plasma of cattle during the feeding period, and low levels (approximately 10 parts per billion) of CBD and THC combined were measured in adipose tissue (fat) of cattle tested after consumption of this hemp product.

“In our assessment, it would be very difficult for a human to consume so much fat from livestock fed hemp seed cake to exceed regulatory guidelines for dietary THC exposure,” said David Smith of the Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research Unit in Fargo. , North Dakota. “From a food safety standpoint, low cannabinoid hemp seed cake may be a suitable source of crude protein and fiber in animal feed, while offering industrial hemp producers a potential market for this by-product of hemp seed oil extraction,” added Smith.

Source: phys.org (EN)

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