Cannabis, cattle and humans


According to a part of the scientific community, the use of hemp-based feed for cattle and sheep is a good practice. Several studies, conducted in the United States, demonstrate how these decrease stress in animals and expiratory tract infections. In these studies, the hemp biomass used to extract CBD was used as a substitute for alfalfa or as a portion (approximately 15%) of the daily ration.


At some point, however, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment intervened. To better understand and study the effects of CBD on cattle but, above all, what effects this diet could have on humans, the researchers administered cultures containing different concentrations of CBD to 10 lactating Holstein Friesian cows. The feed was fed for several weeks, during which milk and stool samples were collected.

It is known that it is the dose that makes the poison: in fact, it seems that, at different concentrations, the results obtained have been very different. Cattle fed high levels of CBD and THC reacted quite similarly to humans under the influence of cannabis . The cows had red eyes, unsteady gait, yawned more often, started moving their tongue everywhere. The behavior of the cows normalized after discontinuation on the hemp-based feed.

Nice milk

The lasting effect of a diet rich in CBD and THC also has implications for humans who consume dairy products . As for the real possibility that the milk resulting from this diet could affect humans, the researchers say it is possible but not certain. One certain fact is that the analyzes of the milk samples indicate that the levels of THC present exceed the acute reference dose for humans and this tells us that both compounds remain in the milk for weeks, even after the suspension of feeding at hemp base in cattle.


Regardless of these considerations, hemp has many advantages in terms of cost and nutrition and the negative aspects are such only when it comes to the subject in animals intended for food production and with feed combinations with more or less high concentrations of cannabinoids. However, even if the effect of these foods directly on humans has not yet been studied, the study by the German Institute provides some certainty on the ability of the hemp-based diet to reach the dairy chain.


Surely further studies will be conducted to investigate and be able to draw definitive conclusions on the concentrations of CBD to be administered to animals.


  • Transfer of cannabinoids into the milk of dairy cows fed with industrial hemp could lead to Δ9-THC exposure that exceeds acute reference dose. (


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