A Depressed Elephant Will Receive Cannabis To Improve Mental Health

For years, cannabis advocates have maintained that cannabis provides relief for anxiety and depression. Many people of all ages use cannabis for that very reason. Now, an elephant will give it a try.

Fredzia is an African elephant currently living at the Warsaw Zoo in the Polish capital. When the leader of the herd, an elephant named Erna, died in March, it shocked Fredzia. She began to exhibit signs of depression and stress.

“When Erna passed away, everything changed. I don’t think Fredzia was ready for such a big change,” Dr. Agnieszka Czujkowska, head of the zoo’s Animal Rehabilitation Department, told the BBC.

However, her distress gave the zoo a chance to launch an experiment to test how CBD will impact Fredzia and other members of the herd. Because elephants are relatively easy to monitor, zoo officials felt they made the perfect subjects for the experiment.

For Elephants, the Proof Will Be In The Poop

So, how does a team of researchers go about checking on the mental health of elephants? It involves collecting elephant feces, saliva and blood. Zoo officials then test all three for the level of cortisol, which animals and humans produce when they are in stressful situations.

The researchers will then give the elephants CBD and test the cortisol level again to see if CBD has a calming effect. CBD, while derived from the cannabis plant, does not have a psychoactive impact.

They will give the elephants CBD oil directly into their mouths or mix it in with their food. Czujkowska said he does not expect elephants to experience serious side effects.

CBD To Treat Depression Anxiety

Many people advocate the use of CBD as a treatment for depression and anxiety. CBD oil is thought to stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals in the brain that can help combat depression.

Studies have shown that people experience an emotional lift when using CBD, even though there is no psychoactive impact. Many also use CBD for pain management and migraines as well as to get better sleep at night.

In Poland, the researchers believe the elephants will provide solid evidence if CBD can help elevate mood. Zoo officials saw Fredzia immediately begin to go into a grieving process after Erna’s death, and she has struggled to establish a relationship with her new companion, Buba.

Much like humans, elephants often take many months to restore harmony to the herd after the loss of an elder.

It’s worth noting that the experiment could not take place in the United States, where the federal government has not yet issued final rules on whether CBD can be used in animal feed.

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