Thailand farms

Cannabis-fed chickens could reduce antibiotic use on Thai farms

The Thai government has just removed cannabis from its list of narcotic substances, which it hopes will benefit the tourism and pharmaceutical industries.

Chickens could end up being the main beneficiary of the relaxation, as scientists in Chiang Mai have started testing to see if cannabis could replace antibiotics in commercial farming.

Their findings, which have yet to be published, are that chickens supplemented with cannabis in an organic chicken farm suffered from fewer cases of avian bronchitis and that meat quality was judged to be superior, based on the profiles of amino acids and lipids, as well as its tenderness, compared to non-supplemented chickens.

It all started when Ong-ard Panyachatiraksa, owner of a farm in the north of the country licensed to grow medical cannabis, was trying to figure out what to do with all the extra leaves from the cannabis plants. He started feeding them to his brood of chickens, then invited some scientists to take a look.

The massive use of antibiotics in commercial chicken production, as well as in hospitals and schools, is leading to an increase in antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Cannabis would offer another avenue of biological support, without contributing to the already endemic problem.

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Scientists at Chiang Mai University have found, after studying 1,000 Ong-ard chickens, that cannabis can help reduce farmers’ reliance on antibiotics, according to lead researcher Chompunut Lumsangkul, an assistant professor at the University Department of Animal and Aquatic Sciences.

Their working hypothesis is that cannabis could improve gut health in chickens. One of the main communicators with the immune system, a healthy and thriving gut microbiota is essential to staying fit for all life forms.

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While that doesn’t necessarily mean gut microbes or cannabinoids kill the bacteria and viruses that cause salmonella or bird flu, a healthier, fitter chicken can better defend against those with its innate immune system. .

CB2 receptors cover many cells in animals. These receive cannabidiol, or CBD, which interacts with the immune system. It has been shown to increase protection against viral infection and replication of COVID-19 better than the vaccine in some cases, as well as effectively reversing the overreaction of the immune system itself which was the primary cause. of death in COVID-19 infections, the so-called “cytokine storm”.

Without any trace of THC or CBD in the chicken meat, chickens that have been fed cannabis will sell for more at the farm restaurant, reports the Guardian. Chicken usually sells for 60 baht ($1.60) a kg, he said, but his would go for double that.

Featured Image: Mattandrubydavis, CC License

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