A farmer in Thailand has started feeding cannabis to his chickens, and the results are surprising. What started out as an innocent experiment in reusing plant waste (the farmer also grows cannabis) resulted in healthier, fatter chickens. Researchers at Chiang Mai University, who first saw the project in late 2021, say the results are promising and now want to test the chickens on non-Thai users.
In addition to hormones, farm chickens consume thousands of antibiotics every day to stay healthy. Many of these, curiously, end up being harmful to humans once we eat the chicken in question.
But a Thai farm has come up with a much healthier alternative to farming: giving its chickens cannabis instead of antibiotics. This, of course, is for medicinal purposes only.
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It all Started as an Experiment
The poultry farm that has found this “superfood” is in the north of Thailand, and for several years it has been dedicated to the cultivation of medical cannabis. So we can imagine how they came to add a couple of leaves to the chicken feed.
The businessman and owner of the farm, Ong-ar Panyachatiraksa, wanted to know if he could use his surplus leaves to feed the chickens, so he created a unique preparation with cannabis. He mixed the medicinal plant with food and water boiled with cannabis and then gave both to the flock of more than 1,000 chickens raised on this farm.
In this way, he has managed to sell the animals at a much higher price, around 1.5 dollars per pound (0.45 kilos). This is because they are now organic products, free of antibiotics, hormones, or anabolics.
But Is it Any Good to Give Chickens Cannabis?
Researchers at Chiang Mai University, who first saw the project in late 2021, say the results are promising.
Interestingly, there are no drugged chickens on the farm. They all seem to act, move, and eat normally, so scientists believe that cannabis could reduce the amount of antibiotics used in farming various animals.
However, these results are still under review. So far, only two things have become clear regarding this farm and its peculiar idea of feeding cannabis to chickens.
The first is that cannabis does keep diseases away. For example, only 10% of chickens have died from avian bronchitis since cannabis was introduced to their diet in January 2021. It is not known precisely why, but one possibility is that its bioactive compounds support the intestinal health of the chickens.
And the second is that this plant does not interfere with the development of chickens. On the contrary, cannabis has made these birds fat without needing hormones.
How Safe Is it to Eat Cannabis Chicken?
Between consuming cannabis or antibiotics, many would surely prefer the former, but, luckily, there is no need to choose. No chicken fed with this plant is capable of drugging a human being.
The researchers who analyzed the farm also studied the impact cannabis-infused chickens had on Thai users. But they did not detect any apparent change.
They attribute this to the fact that the levels of cannabis supplied were very low. The intensity of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in cannabis that gets people high, and cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that does not produce euphoria, was between 0.2 and 0.4%. So it shouldn’t have any side effects.
But the team still wants to test these chickens with non-Thai consumers. This is because a lot of cannabis is consumed within the country for therapeutic reasons.
Although, due to the drug restrictions in European countries, it is unlikely that this farm will export chickens with cannabis. If we want to try “a healthier chicken,” we will have to go to Thailand for it.
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First published by TEK Crispy, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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