Beauty + WellnessHealth

Hemp-Fed Cows Make Better Milk

You are what you eat! 

While not a literal observation, the centuries-old saying holds some truth. Just ask the Italian researchers who said feeding hemp seeds to lactating animals appears to result in healthier milk. 

The University of Padova researchers reviewed multiple studies that looked at hemp seed and its derivatives (hemp cake, meal and oil) as a feed supplement for cows, sheep, goats and buffalo. Published in the Animals journal, their findings said adding hemp seeds to the feed improves the content of protein, amino acids and essential fatty acids like omega-3, and these healthy bioactive substances carry over into the production of human food like milk and cheese. In some cases, the inclusion of hemp seeds also corresponded with greater milk yield. 

In highlighting the other benefits of adding hemp to animal feeds, the study said urbanization, higher incomes and population increases have led to accelerated consumption rates for animal products like meat, milk and eggs. This in turn has an “undesirable impact on the environment” that hemp helps offset with “its positive impact on the environment” as a more ecological crop. This means hemp seeds are good for animals, humans and the planet itself, or what test makers call an “above of the above” answer.  

Summarizing their findings, the researchers wrote, “Hemp supplementation could be a good feeding strategy to improve the bioactive compounds in milk and derivatives: the content of n-3 fatty acids and isomers of conjugated linoleic acid, substances beneficial to human health, increased in milk and cheese obtained with hemp addition.” 

The review also covered some seemingly irrelevant and totally bonkers research that’s too good to ignore. Apparently some very happy buffalo in northern Pakistan graze and eat in fields of wild cannabis, which, unlike hemp, contains psychoactive levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Farmers milked these buffalo, kids drank the milk, and the kids tested positive for THC. 

This situation begs all kinds of questions — from who drinks buffalo milk to duplicating this with cows — but it certainly answers who invented the most amazing excuse ever for a failed drug test!

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