After Thailand legalized marijuana, a farming community in Lampang, northern Thailand, has started treating its chickens with cannabis instead of antibiotics and selling cannabis-fed chicken meat and eggs.
Now, researchers from Chiang Mai University's Department of Animal and Aquatic Sciences said that the experiment shows positive signs. They said fewer than 10% of the 1,000 chickens have died since Lampang's Farm introduced cannabis to the chickens' diet in January 2021.
“The cannabis feed appears to be working,” said Chompunut Lumsangkul, an assistant professor who conducted the study. "The mortality rate for the chickens at the farm has been the same as in regular seasons when there isn't a severe outbreak of any bird-killing disease."
In addition, the cannabis experiment on chickens has allowed the farm to sell its birds for higher prices to consumers seeking to incorporate healthy and organic foods into their diets.
"The birds are fetching double the regular price, at about $1.50 per pound, mostly because buyers want organic chickens that haven't been administered antibiotics," Lumsangkul added. "Consumers in Thailand have been paying attention to this because demand is increasing for chickens and many farmers have to use antibiotics. So some customers want to find a safer product."
As part of the experiment, the researchers' team gave the chickens bolstered levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — 0.4% instead of 0.2% which is the limited amount of THC that the Thailand government allowed after legalizing the sale of cannabis products early in June.
"I can't say the cannabis doesn't let the chickens get high, but they exhibit normal behavior," Lumsangkul said. However, the THC is fully metabolized in the chicken's body before slaughter, so Lumsangkul said there's "no way" that people can get high from eating cannabis-fed chickens.
Moreover, researchers said that marijuana has bioactive compounds that promote metabolic activity and better health conditions, helping improve the birds' immune systems.
However, the study explains that it is not completely clear why cannabis is keeping the birds healthy or the exact benefits of feeding cannabis to chickens. "The study has been a "screening test" so far, and now we have to test if the cannabis feed helps to protect the chickens against bird flu or other severe diseases," concluded Lumsangkul.
Photo By Esteban Lopez On Unsplash
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