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Why do Thai farmers feed chickens with hemp?

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A farm in northern Thailand reported better meat, fewer diseases, and more weather-resistant chickens after using hemp in their food.


Can hemp make chickens faster, better, and stronger? A farm in Thailand is studying the potential health benefits of managing the plant.

It was Thailand first Asian A state to legalize medical marijuana in 2018 and still in The cutting edge of stigma removal and social change. They continue to be a wet breaker, this time making headlines using cannabis in chicken feed.

Leftover papers inspire innovation in Lampang

A farmer in the northern district of Lampang, who is licensed to grow medicinal cannabis, was curious about what to do with all the extra biomass after he harvested his cannabis. Ong-ard Panyachatiraksa, with the support of Chiang Mai University of Thailand, decided to try using cannabis leaves for a group of chickens that had not responded to antibiotics for bronchitis in birds.

according to WatchmanSince January, academics at the university have been studying 1,000 chickens on the farm to see how the animals responded when hemp was mixed with their feed or water. They used the leftovers of the leaves, crushed them into fodder or boiled for “marijuana water”.

Stoned for science? Not right. The chickens were not given amounts that would (probably) cause psychoactive effects such as their height.

While the completed research has yet to be published, Chompunut Lumsangkul, assistant professor in Chiang Mai University’s Department of Animal and Aquatic Sciences, says chickens given hemp had higher quality meat and eggs, and needed fewer antibiotics (or none at all!) More resistant to inclement weather.

In addition to the perceived health benefits, the coveted grass chicken also fetches a higher price tag at local farmers markets. According to Panyachatiraksa, chickens generally sell for 60 baht (US$1.70) per kilogram, but their chickens sell for twice as much.

Medicinal cannabis is part of the holistic Thai tradition

“It is local wisdom for Thai people to use cannabis [leaves] As a food additive – Mix it as an ingredient to make chicken noodles. Lumsangkul, who wants to understand the science behind this practice, says Lumsangkul, “People put it in soups to make it taste better.

Panyachatiraksa points out that the price of hemp in Thailand is still too high for farmers to easily incorporate it into chicken feed, but recent legal reforms may change that. “As time goes on and we can grow more, things will get better,” he said.

The study comes at an important time, as Thailand’s National Farmers’ Council warns that antibiotics in chicken and eggs can harm consumers’ health, possibly causing allergies and lowered immunity. Cannabis, unlike antibiotics, does not appear to leave residues in the food that people consume. At least in these doses.

Can cannabis help reduce dependence on antibiotics?

More research is needed to better understand this association. Lumsangkul, who led the first study, notes that there isn’t enough data yet to know if cannabis can replace antibiotics in raising chickens.

Lumsangkul plans to conduct a second study in which it will investigate highly potent cannabis extracts to test their effect on disease and mortality rates in chickens.

For Lumsangkul, if the results are confirmed, cannabis could become an important tool for transforming the poultry industry both in Thailand, as well as internationally. Antibiotics in meat have long been a topic of debate, as more research shows potential health concerns.

Ashley Keenan

Ashley Keenan is the Canadian editor at Leafly, as well as a freelance journalist, consultant, and patient advocate in the cannabis industry.

View Ashley Keenan’s articles

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