They say elephants never forget, and that’s especially apt truism right now as officials at the Warsaw zoo are conducting a memorable experiment in using CBD oil to treat emotionally distressed pachyderms.
Fredzia, a young female African elephant at the zoo, became stressed when herd-mate Erna died.
Dr Agnieszka Czujkowska, head of the zoo’s Animal Rehabilitation Department, told the BBC that Fredzia reacted strangely when she saw Erna’s body. (Erna was the herd’s eldest female and largest animal.)
“You could see that she was also grieving actually, she was also depressed.”
Zoo officials brought a new female in the herd, an elephant named Buba.
“Elephants might have behavioural problems when the structure of a group changes,” Czujkowska said, adding that a death in the herd and the addition of a new animal are “game changers” for elephants.
While Fredzia appears to be the most stressed over the herd’s changes, officials plan to treat all of their animals with CBD oil.
Step one was to collect fecal, saliva and blood samples from the herd to measure individual cortisol levels. (Cortisol is a hormone produced when a human or an animal is under stress.)
Step two will be to give the animals CBD directly and in their food and re-measure their cortisol levels.
Although CBD is a cannabis derivative, it does not cause intoxication because it does not contain THC.
“It’s not very potent,” she told the BBC. “The only side effect will be some behavioural changes. “We will have to manage these to achieve the results we want.”
According to medium.com, CBD is considered safe for animal treatment, and is used to treat a variety of conditions, including situational, behavioural and separation anxiety, to name a few.