A grieving elephant at Warsaw zoo is set to test cannabis-extract oil – also called CBD oil – to manage stress after one of her companion jumbos passed away.
Fredzia, the female elephant from Warsaw zoo has been grieving since a year after her companion Erna – also the zoo heard’s biggest female – passed out suddenly, the BCC reported.
Elephants are highly emotional and intelligent animals, and separating them from their loved ones have shown to have a profound effect on their wellbeing and mental health.
Fredzia, consequently, started to show signs of distress, zoo workers noted, as she struggles to live life without her dear friend.
Dr. Agnieszka Czujkowska, head of the zoo’s Animal Rehabilitation Department, told the BBC that: “Fredzia reacted strangely when she saw Erna’s body. She was really excited.”
“But you could see that she was also grieving actually, she was also depressed.”
The doctor noted, passing away from a group member can leave elephants grieving for years and they struggle to cope with the loss and make sense of life without the significant other.
Now, seeing the distress of Fredzia, a team of doctors led by Czujkowska will test dozing Fredzia with cannabis-extract oil – also popularly known as CBD to see if the oil’s stress-relieving prowess has any effect on zoo elephant to combat depression.
Cannabis-extract oil -derived from the cannabis plant compound is thought to stimulate the production of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine, both of which are responsible to help reduce depression.
Cannabis-extract oil is also significant because it does not cause intoxication, thanks to the absence of the psychoactive component of cannabis called THC.
The BBC noted, zoo elephants will become the first animals to be given the compound, as they are more prone to stress and anxiety.
The first part of the trial involved a complicated procedure to test the saliva and fecal matters of the elephant to test the traces of cortisol -a hormone which is found in the excretion of stressed animals.
The researchers plant to check the same hormones again after giving the elephant CBD oil. “We are planning to give them the CBD and measure the cortisol again. This is the experiment. Then we know for sure [the oil] is working or not,” Dr. Czujkowska told the BBC.
The elephants will be given the oil directly via mouth or by mixing with their food, and their health will be checked regularly though blood test.
CBD has been around the corner for years now, often used to treat diseases like insomnia, manage stress and anxiety. While proponents say the oil is safe for use, some experts raise concern over potential side effects including drowsiness, dry mouth, and other symptoms.