News | 07.12.2022

Chickens That Are Fed Cannabis Leaves Show Higher Protein Contents And Fewer Diseases

A study from Thailand notes how cannabis leaves may reduce the need for antibiotics in chicken farming.

Thailand was the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medicinal cannabis back in 2018.

More recently, it was also the first Southeast Asian country to decriminalize the possession and cultivation of cannabis.

Thailand’s government even handed out one million cannabis plants to promote it as a household crop for medicinal use. With so much marijuana going around, farmers are left wondering what to do with the excess plant matter like cannabis fan leaves.

One medical marijuana farm owner in northern Thailand wondered if his chicken coop might benefit from the leaves. Ong-ard Panyachatiraksa allowed researchers from Chiang Mai University to study the chickens on his organic farm.

He mixed cannabis fan leaves into the chicken‘s water and food. The study’s lead, Chompunut Lumsangkul, said the findings were promising enough to further investigate replacing antibiotics with cannabis fan leaves.

The chickens were either given water that was boiled with fan leaves or ate food with crushed leaves. The team examined the chicken‘s behavior but didn’t find anything abnormal or bizarre. This is probably due to the slight THC and CBD content in these leaves, which is roughly 0.2-0.4%.

Chompunut and the researchers later examined the following areas;

  • If cannabis positively affects growth
  • If it reduces the risk of diseases
  • The quality of meat or eggs
  • If chicken meat or eggs contained cannabinoids

In terms of diseases, the study notes that chickens fed cannabis leaves were less likely to develop avian bronchitis. It’s worth noting that the findings have not been published, but per The Guardian, Chompunut’s observations are headed in a positive direction.

They also found that meat and eggs were far better in quality, tenderness, and taste. Furthermore, the protein, fat, and moisture contents were also higher in the chickens who ate fan leaves. There were also no traces of cannabinoids in meat and eggs.

Chompunut explained that cannabis might have a positive impact on chickens because of its bioactive compounds that may promote immunity and gut health. She did clarify that more research on the subject is needed.

Chompunut hopes to conduct a future study using cannabis extracts with higher THC and CBD content to examine its benefits on diseases in chickens.

Until then, we can only hope that findings like these will help farmers steer away from antibiotics and onto cleaner, less harmful alternatives.

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