We weed smoking humans have lots in common with the rest of our mammal family. Two eyes, two ears, a nose, reproductive organs and a penchant for getting high among other things. We tend to think that humans are different than the rest of the animal kingdom in that we are seemingly alone in our desire to partake in activities that don’t directly relate to fitness and survival. For humans, sacred intoxication of marijuana and other plants seems as important to our existence as sex and food. Careful observation of a small number of animals shows that sometimes, they like to party too.
Why do humans like to get high? Use of cannabis, opium, mushrooms, peyote and so many more psychotropic plants and fungi have been documented historically and anthropologically in the most ancient cultures. It appears that when humans use mind altering substances, the goal is usually directly related to the experience of mind expansion. Are cannabinoid munching pigs also looking to get high, or do these psychotropic plants provide some sort of survivalist edge?
Jaguars and DMT
Native tribes in the Amazon engage in the ritualistic use of the ayahuasca vine as a sacred rite. Jaguars have been known to ingest this vine with relative frequency. When ingested in large amounts, ayahuasca may induce vomiting. It is likely that when jaguars binge on the Amazonian plant, it is for the purpose of inducing vomiting and purging themselves of parasites or other poisons. However, it has been documented that jaguars also ingest the DMT containing plant and then roll around on the ground in ecstasy for the duration of their psychedelic experience. It has also been theorized that in certain doses ayahuasca enhances the jaguars ability to hunt due to heightened sensory perception.
Pigs and Cannabinoids
Cannabis contains many molecules that effect our bodies, the most famous of which is THC. THC is the part of marijuana that gets you high. Humans endogenously produce a molecule known as anandamide which is structurally related to THC and therefore has a nearly identical effect on the brain. Anandamides, and other cannabinoids, are found throughout the natural world. Lucky for pigs, one of those places is their favorite nosh, Tuber melanosporum. Also known as black truffles, these cannabinoid containing fungi live underground and are much sought after delicacy for swine and humans alike. An article in the science journal Phytochemistry recently pondered our split hoofed friends interest the mushroom. Their conclusion is that it is indeed very likely that pigs are interested in getting high.
The list of ecstasy seeking animals goes on and on, from opium popping wallabies to Amanita muscaria munching reindeer. This information can reframe the way we view our own relationship to cannabis. We can extrapolate from the context of the living world, that expanding our minds and feeling high may very well be an intrinsic part of nature. Potheads are not the exception, we are merely tuned into our natural instincts, embodying the very acting of being a living creature. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.