- A Thai farm has begun feeding its chickens cannabis instead of antibiotics.
- Researchers at Chiang Mai University say the experiment is showing positive signs.
- Chickens get twice the usual price of consumers looking for organic poultry.
A farm that grows medicinal marijuana in northern Thailand has been feeding its free-range chickens cannabis instead of
and the researchers said the experiment has yielded promising results.
Researchers from the Department of Animal and Aquatic Sciences at Chiang Mai University said less than 10% of the 1,000 chickens on Lampang Farm have died since they introduced the pot to the chicken diet in January 2021.
Although the study’s findings are still under review and only cover one year of research, Chompunut Lumsangkul, an assistant professor who led the study, told Insider that cannabis feed seems to work. The mortality rate for chickens on the farm has been the same as in regular seasons when there is no serious outbreak of any disease that kills birds, he said.
The birds ’special food is produced by adding crushed cannabis to their feed and water, Lumsangkul said. Chickens are not fed or used medications or antibiotics during this time.
In addition to healthy chickens, the experiment has also allowed the farm to sell its birds at higher prices to consumers looking for organic poultry.
The birds are getting twice the normal price, about $ 1.50 per pound, mostly because buyers want organic chickens that have not been given antibiotics, Lumsangkul said. He also stated that the meat of chickens, which they call “GanjaChicken”, is more tender and tastes better than normal chickens.
“Consumers in Thailand have been paying attention to this because the demand for chickens is increasing and many farmers have 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 gave chickens enhanced levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the marijuana substance that gives users a high level, which exceeded legal limits for to humans in Thailand.
Earlier this month, the Thai government legalized the sale of cannabis products, but limited the amount of THC in items that can be consumed to 0.2%. In comparison, farm hens sometimes reached 0.4%, Chompunut said.
“I can’t say cannabis doesn’t let chickens be loved, but they behave normally,” he said.
Lumsangkul noted that it is not immediately clear what the full benefits of feeding hens cannabis are, nor is it known why cannabis keeps birds healthy in the first place. However, he said marijuana is likely to contain bioactive compounds or substances that promote metabolic activity and better health, which are boosting the birds’ immune systems.
The study has only been a “screening test” so far and researchers have yet to test whether cannabis feed works to protect chickens from bird flu or other serious illnesses, Lumsangkul said.
As for whether people can get drugged by eating cannabis-fed chickens, Lumsangkul said “there is no way” for this to happen. THC is completely metabolized in the chicken’s body before slaughter, so its shape changes completely when it reaches the table, he said.