Campus Connection: Students and Recent Grads Address Cannabis Question

Scout Josey, University of Georgia ( University of Georgia )

In our February and March issues, the Farm Journal editorial staff introduces a series on Cannabis and its potential applications across agriculture. The series, across all Farm Journal media platforms, covers hemp production for farmers, possible feed sources for livestock producers and, in Bovine Veterinarian, potential veterinary applications for Cannabis products such as CBD and THC.

So, tying in with that effort, here is the question our panel of veterinary students and recent DVM graduates address this month:

What are your initial thoughts on the potential for using Cannabis products such as CBD or THC for production or therapeutic applications in beef or dairy cattle?

Response from Scout Josey, University of Georgia:

"The unique nature of a food animal veterinarian’s role dictates we practice evidence-based medicine that is both cost effective for the producer and safe for the consumer. Based on limited studies, cannabis products appear to have benefits applicable to bovine medicine including minimizing stress. We know the stress cattle experience with weaning, shipping, handling, and comingling inevitably contributes to immune compromise and disease; therefore, a stress reducing product could be a win for animal health and welfare as well as economically advantageous given the impact of stress related disease like BRD on the beef industry. I do think the idea of utilizing a “naturally” sourced product to increase feed intake and improve reproductive efficiency could have potential appeal to the public and bring about new marketing opportunities. Despite these appeals and potential applications for cannabis-based products, it will take much time and research to prove efficacy and safety which are ultimately required for vets to make data driven recommendations to producers."

Over the next two weeks, we’ll feature each individual response from our panel of veterinary students and recent graduates. Meanwhile, follow our ongoing coverage of Cannabis in U.S. agriculture.