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An American lobster restaurant owner claimed that giving lobsters cannabis before being boiled would help decrease pain, suffering, and anxiety, so biologists quickly ran a few trials.
No, the lobsters didn’t roll a joint in their claws; instead, a team of researchers from four US universities crafted a sealed cage that pumped THC into the enclosed space. The researchers left the lobsters inside the vapor-filled cage for 30-60 minutes to give the lobster time to absorb the THC.
The scientists concluded that although cannabis made the lobsters move much slower, it had no pain-reducing effects when placed into boiling pots of water. They discovered this through signs of “unwanted stimulus,” which the lobsters displayed through flicking their tails, antennas, and claws when lowered into the 118.4 Fahrenheit water.
The researchers wrote that tail immersion resulted in these flicking responses, a primal escape instinct when lobsters feel in danger or threatened. They found that when the claws and antenna were immersed, they saw “a distinct movement to remove the appendage from the water.”
The recent findings do not align with the viral claim that Charlotte Gill made. Gill owns Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Maine, and she was a firm believer that cannabis would ease a lobster’s pain and anxiety moments before being boiled.
That said, the findings noted above only prove that pain reduction wasn’t present, but they lacked to discover the effects of cannabis within a lobster’s anxiety before being boiled. Interestingly, this is also the first study to examine if lobsters can absorb THC, which was never proven before.
The team of researchers then conducted another study with wild Maine lobsters brought from the supermarket. They placed the lobsters in the same THC vapor-filled sealed cage for ten seconds, every five minutes. Following this, the team took tissue samples from the lobsters’ gills, claws, hearts, brains, and livers to examine if the lobsters could absorb THC.
The researchers wrote that the lobsters were “obtained, dosed, and euthanized for tissue collection within 4-6 hours.” They explained that the lobsters were exposed to THC for 30-60 minutes, then taken out of the cage and rinsed with tap water. Their conclusion and only noticeable effect was a dramatic decrease in movement and speed.
What’s known as “hypolocomotion” is often seen in rats and mice exposed to THC at high doses, which confirmed that cannabis has a similar effect between vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. Although the findings are rather interesting, the researchers concluded that more tests are needed to analyze the behavioral effects of cannabis in lobsters.
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