The Story about an Elephant’s Dose of CBD
I’m not a big fan of zoos in general, however – due to the relentless need to satiate the hyper-productivity required to sustain our extreme consumerism – some animals simply can’t compete. There are millions of animals in captivity and depending on how you look at it – it’s either a good thing or a bad thing.
I personally am not in favor of “for profit” zoos, that require people to come to ensure that it is running properly. I would much rather see those “tax dollars” that gets spent on war go – directly from the companies making the biggest impact – to conservation efforts.
There’s a difference between a Zoo and a refuge. But let’s not dive into politics. Not all zoos are evil either – some do operate for purely altruistic reasons.
This is not the point of this story.
Today we’re talking about a handful of elephants kept in captivity in a zoo in Warsaw Poland. These elephants are some of the first in the world that will be given CBD to help manage their anxiety and stress levels.
What this could mean for other animals kept in captivity is very good – and I’ll explain why.
Why CBD for zoos is great news!
The common approach for animals that are stressing out in captivity is to drug them. This could include anything from Benzodiazepam, haloperidol, Prozac to harder stuff like carfentanil, which is a strong opioid 100x stronger than Fentanyl used for animals like Elephants.
For people raising an eyebrow to the idea of giving animals CBD instead of these drugs obviously do not understand the risk factors in the pharmaceutical approach. Do you know how many gorillas are hooked on prescription drugs?
CBD does not have the same physiobiological costs as these pharmaceuticals and could potentially provide enough relief to be medically valid.
"It's an attempt to find a new natural alternative to the existing methods of combating stress, especially pharmaceutical drugs," said Agnieszka Czujkowska, the veterinarian in charge of the project.
How to dose an elephant?
Czujkowska and her team will be playing it safe and will be administering to the elephants similar doses to that which horses receive. It’s roughly a vile containing 12 drops of the oil, two or three times a day.
The elephants hormone levels will be monitored to see whether they are releasing stress hormones or whether there is a visible reduction.
Czujkowska and her team speculate that it will take roughly two years for them to finalize all their research, but that if this does provide beneficial results – it could reduce the harm we’re doing to the animals kept in captivity.
Elephants dealing with loss
Elephants are unique creatures. They are very family oriented. This particular herd recently lost their alpha female – yes elephants live in a matriarchal society – and Czujkowska believes that this may help them deal with the loss.
One of the females already had a chance to try some of the CBD medication and did not decline in taking some. With currently 400,000 elephants alive in the world today, hopefully, this method of stress management could prove to assist in keeping them safe while in our care.
Can CBD work on elephants?
If wouldn’t surprise me that it does help – after all, elephants also have endocannabinoid systems. However – this study will be the first conclusive attempt to see how effective this type of treatment may be. Are elephant endocannabinoid systems different than our own? Perhaps the next two years will provide us with more perspective.
Nonetheless – I think that creating an alternative for treatment within the zoo protocols – is a good thing. And this was one of the reasons I decided to write this – to shed some more light on the issue of how zoos have been drugging animals in their care for a long time.
Are Zoos even necessary?
There’s a fine line to walk when you’re focusing on conservation efforts or whether you’re looking at making money. Unfortunately – most zoos are really not up to “standard” if you get what I mean.
But this doesn’t mean that we don’t need to have an active program to preserve our global wildlife. Our hyper consumerism has strained the environment for a long time and as a result we are depleting some of our natural resources and gifts from this earth.
We definitely need to ramp up our conservation efforts but that is not enough. Unless we can ease on the throttle of progress just slightly – I’m afraid that this world could burn out before we ever find what we’re looking for…whatever that may be.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself – where are we going with all this progress? We’re obviously marching somewhere – judging by the effects of the pace – I’m not certain it’s the place everyone’s imagining.
Nonetheless – zoos may not be as necessary as refuges but there is no reason why the two can be one in the same.