Opening the gates to hemp grazed livestock in Australia – phase 2

Western Australian Agriculture Authority, a body corporate established under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007

  • Project code: PRJ-013007

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Sunday, June 6, 2021

  • Project completion date: Friday, November 10, 2023

  • Jounral Articles From Project: Intake, nutrient digestibility, rumen parameters, growth rate, carcase characteristics and cannabinoid residues of sheep fed pelleted rations containing hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) stubble Journal of Animal Science (Issue: 2 on 1/1/2022), Received August 15, 2022 Accepted October 26, 2022. Nutrient digestibility, rumen parameters, and (cannabinoid) residues in sheep fed a pelleted diet containing green hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) biomass Translational Animal Science, (Issue: 6 on 26/10/2022), Effect of exposure and clearance time on cannabinoid residues in sheep fed pelleted rations containing industrial hemp biomass Journal of Animal Science (Issue: X on 30/6/2024), Nutrient digestibility, rumen parameters, and (cannabinoid) residues in sheep fed a pelleted diet containing green hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) biomass Translational Animal Science (Issue: 6 on 26/10/2023), In vitro microbial metabolism of cannabinoids in cattle Translational animal science (Issue: X on 30/6/2024)

  • National Priority: NEI - New and Emerging Industries - M2

Summary

Phase 2 of ‘Opening the gates to hemp grazed livestock in Australia’ will investigate nutritional value and THC pathways of industrial hemp during the vegetative growth stage.
Four experiments will investigate:
1) pharmacokinetics and excretion of cannabinoids in sheep and cattle;
2) nutrient digestibility and rumen parameters in sheep;
3) excretion of cannabinoids by sheep whilst on clean feed; and
4) effect of exposure time on cannabinoid deposition and remobilisation from various tissues in sheep.
 
This world first data will provide valuable insight into the half-life of THC in sheep and cattle and the rate of elimination of THC from various tissues.
The results will contribute towards drafting an Industry Code of Practice for feeding hemp forage to ruminants.
Whilst the long-term objective of this research is to develop an Industry Code of Practice or appropriate regulations for this section of the hemp industry, the objectives of the project itself must focus on what can be achieved within its scope.
This project has been planned around the following objectives:
1. Measure and determine cannabinoid metabolism, storage, and excretion (i.e. pharmacokinetics) in sheep and cattle, and remobilisation in sheep fed a diet containing industrial hemp.
2. Measure and establish the nutritional value of hemp forage or manufactured feed as a potential green feed for ruminants in summer.
3. Measure the effect of exposure time (days) on cannabinoid deposition and remobilisation in liver, kidney fat, muscle and subcutaneous fat in ruminants.

Program

New and Emerging Industries

Research Organisation

Western Australian Agriculture Authority, a body corporate established under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007

Objective Summary

The aim of the project is primarily to understand how tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids are metabolised and stored by ruminants. Sheep have been selected as the model for ruminants at this early research stage as they are cheaper to manage and a higher number of replicates can be used. However, cattle have been incorporated into Experiment 1 as some past studies investigating pharmacokinetics of other drugs demonstrate significant differences between sheep and cattle, due to differences in liver function.