Thai chicken researchers replace antibiotics with cannabis

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Researchers from Chiang Mai University The Department of Animal and Aquatic Sciences in northern Thailand has introduced marijuana as an alternative to antibiotics in the diet of free-range chickens.

I’ve covered a lot of potential antibiotic replacements during my time at WATTPoultry, but I’ll admit this is the most unusual alternative I’ve seen.

The use of antibiotics in poultry and other farm animals is coming under scrutiny due to growing antibiotic resistance and consumer concerns. Resistance, when bacteria develop the ability to overcome drugs designed to kill them, can devastate poultry flocks and affect farmers’ livelihoods.

Additionally, a growing number of poultry producers are committing to raising antibiotic-free or antibiotic-free birds in response to these concerns and the industry as a whole is looking for drug-free alternatives that improve bird health. .

Developing GanjaChicken

The experiment, although still in its early stages, is showing promising results, said Chompunut Lumsangkul, assistant professor leading the study. Business Insider.

Less than 10% of the 1,000 chickens in the experiment have died since the research began in January 2021. This mortality rate is about the same as before the experiment. Additionally, chickens supplemented with cannabis experienced fewer cases of avian bronchitis, at least anecdotally.

The birds were given ground cannabis in their food or water – sometimes at double the legal THC level for humans. THC is the substance in cannabis that can cause a high.

Although Lumsangkul admits she doesn’t know if the birds got high from the special feed, she noted that the chickens exhibited natural behaviors at all times.

According to Lumsangkul, Thai consumers are willing to pay more for the latest antibiotic-free organic chicken product – dubbed “GanjaChicken”.

“Thai consumers have paid 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,” she said.

Can cannabis replace antibiotics?

Why the experimental flock of cannabis-fed chickens remains healthy remains a mystery, and the compound has still not been tested against birds with bird flu or other illnesses, Lumsangkul admits.

However, bioactive compounds in marijuana known as cannabinoids may play a role, promoting metabolic activity and boosting the bird’s immune system.

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