A few years ago, Legendary Lobster Pound owner Charlotte Gill made the news by revealing that she got lobsters high before tossing them into boiling water, an activity conducted in hopes of offering the sea creatures a more humane death. The method involved blowing marijuana smoke into an enclosure with a lobster until it was “sedated,” then cooking it.
Though lobsters are a culinary favorite, many people are against the potentially inhumane method of boiling them alive. Using weed smoke as a way to sedate the creatures is an interesting idea, but one that raised questions over whether it actually works. Here to test the idea are researchers with the University of California – San Diego, where they had lobsters vape weed — sort of.
The lobsters were purchased alive from a grocery store and then exposed to vaporized THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, for one hour. Following this, the researchers took samples of the lobsters’ tissues, including from their tasty parts, the heart, brain, and gills.
Though the results are described as “mixed,” the researchers did find that THC was absorbed into the lobsters’ bodies from breathing and that their behaviors changed toward being less active. The study likewise involved putting lobsters’ claws in water ranging from 105F to 118F for up to 15 seconds to see how they’d react.
The vaporized THC didn’t have much of an effect on whether the lobsters could detect the water’s heat; the researchers noted that the hotter the water, the more rapidly the lobsters moved away from it. Whether that means they can feel pain, however, remains a mystery. Ultimately, the study concluded that THC exposure did change the lobsters’ behavior, but had little effect on how they responded to hot water.