Wild animals that enjoy a good buzz

Published Sep 14, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / zemkooo

Cannabis is a drug of choice for many people today, but do animals like to get stoned? Animals seem to enjoy natural medicines also. For some of us who belong to the human species, we enjoy getting stoned after a hard day at the office, and it seems that some wild animals have the same idea. Here are some animals that will be glad to join you on the couch.


Horses that wander the open plains often enjoy a type of legume known as spotted locoweed. Horses love this locoweed and discover how quickly they can become addicted to its mind-altering effects. Winter months are favourable for this weed, and at this time of year, locoweed is typically the only green plant in the pasture. The plant's nutritious value is the primary reason the wild horses seek out the plant, but they soon realize the psychoactive effects and keep coming back to that patch of green for more.

It sounds similar to the human species, but unfortunately, horses have been noted to exhibit signs of depression, weight loss, and behavioural instability issues after they’ve used it. These signs are pointed out when the horses are long-term users of the locoweed. This weed is dangerous to the herds, and many ranchers are on the lookout for it always. The plant grows everywhere, similar to cannabis, making them virtually impossible to eradicate completely.


The reindeer’s drug of choice is the Amanita muscaria mushrooms. Native shamans noticed the reindeer seeking out poisonous mushrooms, and they saw how the deer behaved after consuming these poisonous shrooms. One notable fact is that the body does not metabolize psychedelic mushrooms, and this causes most psychoactive compounds to be washed out in the urine. If you were to collect this urine and god forbid drink it, you would have almost the same experience as if you had eaten the shrooms yourself, because the powerful element is not absorbed.

Many tribes in Alaska use the pee method to stretch out their supply of shrooms over the year. The priests are the ones to eat the mushrooms, and the followers generally drink the urine. Relating all of this to the reindeer getting stoned is the robust system that they have, which allows them to eat fungi without getting sick. The shrooms, which can be toxic for humans, do not cause a toxic reaction in deer. The natural drugs found in the pasture are perfect for a reindeer that wants to get stoned.



Jaguars enjoy being stoned on a root found in the jungles of South America. The Banisteriopsis roots provide a high for these beautiful cats, and they will seek it out to get stoned. It appears that the jaguar cat likes to hallucinate. The root contains powerful chemicals like one would find in antidepressants, and these compounds heighten the cat's senses. An interesting perspective from scientists is the possibility that humans observing the cat digging up the root and getting stoned from it was how humans came to know about the root and its abilities.


Capuchin Monkeys love to get stoned on hallucinogenic millipedes. Both Madagascar lemurs and the capuchin monkeys in South America enjoy love to get high from these insects with many legs. It happens when the millipede squirts out a poisonous compound, and then the monkeys cover themselves with it to rid themselves of parasitic insects while also getting stoned.

Final thoughts

So do wild animals like to get stoned? Apparently, yes, they do, just like us, humans. Cannabis may be the drug of choice for humans, but creatures like the Jaguar enjoy a Banisteriopsis root at the end of a long day at the office instead.

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