Scientists consider the lobster when it's high on cannabis

Originally published at: Scientists consider the lobster when it's high on cannabis | Boing Boing

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I thought lobsters did benzos?


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THC exposure for 60 minutes had only marginal effect on nociception under the conditions assessed.

Sounds like they didn’t back up her conclusions at all.



The research paper goes on to say:

Conclusions Vapor exposure of lobsters, using an e-cigarette based model, produces dose-dependent THC levels in all tissues and reduces locomotor activity. Hot water nociception is temperature dependent in the lobster, but no clear effects of THC inhalation were confirmed.

That’s no clear effects.

Besides, it doesn’t seem on an intuitive level that the lobster would benefit by being high at the time of its execution. I can imagine myself saying “Let’s get high and go to the park”, or “Let’s get high and listen to some music”, but “Let’s get high and be tortured to death” does not have the same appeal.

And anecdotally, my personal experience tells me that the one kind of pain that cannabis exacerbates rather than eases is, you got it, the pain of a burn.


the last time i had lobster was out in PEI - lobster roll in butter chicken sauce - and i was very “sedated”, thank you very much - don’t know how the lobster felt about it all but it was delicious


I seem to have seen that good Chefs “anesthetize” them quickly and relatively painlessly by jamming a knife through their brains (yes, before cooking).

But that does not make nice marketing of course, which is all this is. Perhaps the owner of the restaurant would like to go to a dentist who lets you smoke a joint before a root canal ?

I’ll take the injection with Lidocaine, please.


Or, and hear me out on this; don’t eat animals.


I remember, probably more than a decade ago at this point, watching Emeril Lagasse on whatever his Food Network show was making a lobster dish. In front of the live audience he nonchalantly picks up a large chef’s knife and drives it into the lobsters skull and splits it almost in half. The audience gasped, at which point he looked up. He then basically told everyone “You like lobster, you want to eat lobster? Yeah, get over it. This is how it’s done.”

While I’ve never personally killed my own dinner, I’m not removed from the reality of where my meat comes from. My parents were raised on farms. My dad has plenty of stories of how the farmers would slaughter pigs and cows in the winter and the blood streaked snow it left behind.


Beat me to it. This demonstrates it does pretty much nothing to help the lobster.


Despite the manuscript claiming “novel evidence of thermal nociception for this species”, no one has documented any pain response to heat in crustaceans*. So the manuscript not finding a reduction in that pain response after hotboxing the lobsters is hardly a surprise.

Giving THC to the lobsters is used purely to reduce the anxiety of people in the restaurant, which is to say they would be better off just giving it to the customers

eta: *of course they can detect water temperature and respond to it, that is a basic sensory requirement of life in water. Showing that they behave differently in 48°C water and 25°C water is not the same as showing the heat was painful


Yes. Perhaps the recommended course of action should not be to merely consider the lobster, but rather to save it.


The conclusions aren’t being reported properly:

“Vapor exposure of lobsters, using an e-cigarette based model, produces dose-dependent THC levels in all tissues and reduces locomotor activity. Hot water nociception is temperature dependent in the lobster, but no clear effects of THC inhalation were confirmed.”

I read through the material at the publication portal as well and it doesn’t look like they set out their study particularly well.

They tested the lobsters in fridge and freezer cold water, which would tend to make the lobsters sluggish to out right dormant.

They purchased lobster from fish markets. Which aren’t necessarily gonna be the liveliest animals to begin with (especially in California). There’s no mention of how many they tested. And they hand dipped different portions of the lobster in warm water to test how they’d react to being dropped into a pot.

Lobsters will react to being held, and orientation.

Their control for surface contamination was rinsing the lobsters after hot boxing them. But lobsters gills are pretty much open to the air when out of water, that’s inside the shell. And if I remember correctly they can and do suck air into their gut.

They “euthanized” the lobsters for testing by splitting the head with a knife.

So even their THC finding could just be contamination from interior parts of the shell. I doubt they could have determined if the lobster is taking in and metabolizing THC this way.

It’s a pre-print portal.

It doesn’t look like the paper has been peer reviewed or published anywhere.

Any posting of David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster also demands He of Many Names’ response.

If lobsters feel pain (cause we dunno for sure) that’s probably not all that painless.

Lobsters ain’t got brains. They have a distributed nervous system based on multiple ganglia and nerve clusters.

Two of the main ones are in the cephalo-throax, but the lobster is still “alive” in most senses after you do that. Just unable to coordinate itself and bleeding out. Which is part of why this is a thing. It makes the lobster easier to handle, but since it’s not totally dead the digestive tract won’t start spoiling the meat before you cook it.

That’s apparently not something we know.

Lobsters activity levels change with ambient temp primarily because they’re cold blooded. It’s metabolic.

They have been observed moving through water in the wild according to temp, but they appear to be following light and other factors rather than the temp. Their sense of touch is almost entirely based on water pressure and may not function all that well out of the water.


If you have a species with a soft enough skull for it, it’s the best way to dispatch a fish as well. It feels wrong, though. Like you’re murdering someone in the park. Letting a fish suffocate (most common way in the US) is easier on humans, but less so the fish.

Dispatching an animal for food is usually a grim task, done right.


But lobsters are bugs, so… shrug emoji?

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Another version of the story THC: The High Crustaceans - Cannabitch

With all the puns:
Lobster Pre-Roll
Tails of the Baked Lobster
Claws and Cannabis
Crustaceans and Cannabis
Rad Lobster
Lobster Baked
Half Baked
Rocked Lobster

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This is what happens when you have all that marijuana for scientific research lying around and you can’t use it for human testing.


I have had rock lobster sashimi in Japan. It is as cruel as it looks. The body is still moving on the plate.

(Stock photo)

It was delicious and I am so going to Hell.

The best part was the next day when the resort used the shells for miso soup stock. Something you can do without being cruel to the lobster and a great way to make use of a largely inedible thorax.


That was my first thought as well. IMO getting high first would be worse, not better.