J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2021 Aug 26. doi: 10.1111/jpn.13557. Online ahead of print.
Cannabis sativa L. is an annual herbaceous plant. It was used for centuries to obtain different products. In the last century, hemp cultivation was forbidden due to the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA). In the last years, new strains, characterized by high cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and low THCA level, were developed renewing the interest in hemp cultivation to obtain food or to extract essential oils from flowers. All these processes produce many residues with different chemical-physical characteristics. In order to evaluate their potential use also in animal nutrition, some hemp co-products were evaluated. Two different co-products of seed processes (flour and oil) and two co-products obtained trimming the flowers, differing in granulometry were used. The samples were analysed for chemical composition and evaluated in vitro using the gas production technique with buffaloes’ ruminal inoculum. All hemp co-products showed interesting nutritional characteristics, such as crude protein content always higher than 20% on a dry matter basis, and high neutral detergent fibre concentration partially lignified. The in vitro gas production parameters at 120 h of incubation showed quite low fermentability testified by the low organic matter degradability and cumulative gas volume (OMD from 28.09 to 45.64% and OMCV from 110 to 164 ml/g, respectively). Also, the methane produced after 24 h of incubation was particularly low (from 1.78 to 11.73 ml/g dOM). These results could be due to the high lipid and ash amounts or to the CBDA content that probably affected the CH4 formation processes. According to preliminary results obtained by this study, it is possible to hypothesize that these co-products could be useful to mitigate the methane production into the rumen. Further studies are necessary in order to evaluate the correct inclusion into the diet for ruminants.