Marijuana test for stressed-out Warsaw Zoo elephants
WARSAW, Aug 26, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – The Warsaw zoo said Wednesday it
will start giving its elephants medical marijuana as part of a
ground-breaking pilot project to test how it reduces their stress
Medical cannabis has been used worldwide to treat dogs and horses
but “this is probably the first initiative of its kind for elephants,”
Agnieszka Czujkowska, the veterinarian in charge of the project, told
The zoo’s three African elephants will be given liquid doses of a
high concentration of the relaxing cannabinoid CBD through their
The veterinarian said the CBD neither causes euphoria nor harmful
side effects on the liver and kidneys.
“It’s an attempt to find a new natural alternative to the existing
methods of combating stress, especially pharmaceutical drugs,”
Czujkowska told AFP.
The project, she said, comes at an opportune time as the zoo’s herd
has recently had to cope with the death of its alpha female.
The zoo monitors the elephants’ stress by checking their hormone
levels and through behavioural observation.
Czujkowska said it will take around two years before her team has
any conclusive results.
If successful, the initiative could then be tried with other
animals living in captivity.
“Contrary to what some would imagine, the elephants won’t be using
cannabis pipes nor will they be getting huge barrels of it” to match
their size, Czujkowska said with a laugh.
The initial doses will be comparable to those given to horses: a
vial’s worth of a dozen drops of CBD oil, two or three times a day.
“The female Fryderyka has already had a chance to try it and she
didn’t say no,” Czujkowska said.
Poaching has decimated the world elephant population, which slumped
in Africa from several million at the turn of the 19th century to
around 400,000 today.