Study Tests Hemp Byproducts as Alternative Livestock Feed

An Oregon State University study found that spent hemp biomass—the main byproduct of the cannabinoid (CBD) extraction process of hemp —can be included in lamb diets without any major detrimental effects to the health of the animals or their meat quality. The findings are significant because the hemp byproducts, known as spent hemp biomass, currently have little to no economic value for the hemp industry, the researchers said. Spent hemp biomass also has not been legalized as feed for livestock by the Food and Drug Administration due to the potential presence of THC and its potential impacts on animal health, so this finding is one step forward to getting that approval. For the study, the Oregon State researchers fed male lambs two different amounts of spent hemp biomass (10% and 20% of total feed) and then withheld the hemp biomass for four weeks, a so-called withdrawal period. They then assessed weight gain, carcass characteristics, meat quality, and health parameters of the lambs.