- A farm in Thailand has begun offering cannabis to its chickens instead of antibiotics.
- Researchers at Chiang Mai University say the trial is showing positive signs.
- Poultry are getting twice the usual rate from consumers for organic poultry.
In northern Thailand, the medical marijuana growing farm is feeding its free-range chicken to marijuana
And the experiment has yielded promising results, the researchers said.
Researchers from the Department of Animal and Aquatic Sciences at Chiang Mai University said less than 10% of the 1,000 poultry on the farm in Lampang have died since the introduction of pot into the diet of poultry in January 2021.
While the study’s findings are still under review and include only a year’s worth of research, Chompunut Lumsangkul, an associate professor who led the study, told Insider that the marijuana feed seems to be working. He said the mortality rate of poultry on the farm was the same during the normal seasons when there were no severe outbreaks of bird-killing disease.
Lumsongkul said the birds’ special diet is produced by adding powdered marijuana to their food and water. No antibiotics and drugs are given or used by the chickens at this time.
In addition to healthy poultry, the experiment has allowed consumers who want organic poultry to sell their birds at higher prices.
Lumsongkul said birds are getting about $ 1.50 per pound, more than double the regular price, and most buyers prefer organic poultry that don’t provide antibiotics. The meat of the chickens is what they call “marijuana” – they are tender and taste better than regular chickens.
Consumers in Thailand have noticed this because demand for poultry is on the rise and many farmers need to use antibiotics. So some customers want to find a safer product, ”said the assistant professor.
As part of the experiment, Lumsangkul said his research team sometimes raises tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels for chickens – a substance in marijuana that delivers more to users – that is beyond the legal limits for humans in Thailand.
Earlier this month, the Thai government legalized the sale of marijuana products but limited the amount of THC to 0.2% of one’s consumption. Chompunut said that on the farm, hens sometimes get up to 0.4%.
“I can’t say that marijuana does not let chickens grow tall, but they do exhibit normal behavior,” he said.
Lumsangkul noted that it is not immediately clear what the full benefits of giving marijuana to chickens are, or why marijuana keeps birds healthy in the first place. However, he said, marijuana is likely to contain biologically active compounds or ingredients that promote metabolic activity and have good health conditions, which boost the bird’s immune system.
The study is the only “screening test” to date, and researchers still need to test whether marijuana feed works to protect chickens from bird flu or other serious diseases, Lumsongkul said.
As to whether people can get the most out of eating marijuana-fed chickens, there is “no way” this could happen, Lumsongkul said. The THC is completely metabolized in the chicken’s body before being slaughtered, so by the time it arrives at the table, its form changes completely, he said.