Business & Economy

Cannabis may stop use of antibiotics in chicken, says study

Bangkok, Jun 16 (EFE).- The use of cannabis in chicken feed could become an important step towards reducing the supply of antibiotics in the agro-industry, researchers in Thailand told EFE on Thursday.

Preliminary results of a study conducted by the Department of Animal and Aquatic Sciences of the Faculty of Agriculture of Chiang Mai University in the north showed that chicken fed with marijuana leaves tended to experience fewer cases of disease, which in turn could help reduce farmers’ dependence on antibiotics.

“The chickens that were fed with cannabis as feed additives didn’t grow faster than the controlled ones, but they also weren’t weaker. Their organs were safe,” said Chompunut Lumsangkul, who led the study.

The investigation began last year after the request of the Pethlanna farm, a chicken-producing plant in the town of Lampang, also in the north, where around 1,000 birds were tested.

“We were interested in the effects of marijuana leaves in those chickens, whether they would work as antibiotics, so we talked to the dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and we got this project,” explained Lumsangkul.

For several weeks, the birds received different doses and forms of the marijuana plant, although all at safe levels so that they did not affect their health, the researcher said.

“As we used crushed marijuana and marijuana water, the active ingredients’ intensity isn’t high. We have to see the long-term effects too,” added the researcher.

In addition to increased disease resistance, the preliminary results of the study indicated that the quality of meat from cannabis-fed chickens could also be better than those currently receiving high doses of antibiotics.

In addition, the levels of cannabis used left no trace in poultry meat or eggs and were, for the time being, safe for consumption, as the human body has “metabolizing enzymes” for both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), two of the plant’s active ingredients.

For Lumsangkul, if the results are confirmed, marijuana could become an important tool for transforming the poultry industry, as well as the cultivation of cannabis in Thailand amid a progressive easing of its consumption in the Asian country.

Thailand legalized the medical use of cannabis at the end of 2018 and, since February, relaxed the rules for its cultivation and consumption.

Many sectors in Thailand have entered the cannabis market, which could go up to $661 million dollars by 2024, according to research group Prohibition Partners. EFE


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