It’s common knowledge that animals of all kinds are owed a lot of credit for their contribution to science. This includes spiders, who have been used in intoxicant related studies as far back as 1948. Here German zoologists and pharmacologists collaborated to understand the web-building ability of arachnids. So what happens to spiders when you give them cannabis?
NASA then followed suit a few years later in 1995. Here they recreated some of the studies with common household spiders by supplying them with cannabis, amphetamines, cannabis and a sedative called chloral hydrate. As you can probably imagine, each substance had a different effect on the spiders and their ability to weave webs. The researchers found that “The more toxic the chemical, the more deformed a web looks in comparison with a normal web.”
To Summarise the Findings:
- Cannabis – Spiders given cannabis became easily distracted while building webs, often leaving them unfishished, according to NASA.
- Benzedrine – Spiders worked on their webs with increased energy but lacked attention to detail. Webs were poorly planned with large uneven gaps in webs.
- LSD – Here webs were found to be woven in a geometric manner, with regular sizes and gaps. They were built with more intention and order than sober spiders.
- Chloral hydrate – Spiders given this sedative commonly gave up on building webs entirely. This also happened at a faster rate than the spiders given cannabis.
- Caffeine – Spiders built their webs with excitement but at random. They also appeared to grow impatient quickly and the central ‘hub’ of the spiderweb was often ignored.
The initial studies in 1948 noted that “When a spider’s central nervous system is drugged, the insect faltered as a man intoxicated by alcohol weaves an erratic course down the street”. As observed, many spiders failed to successfully build a web while under the influence, with LSD being the exception.
These studies have proved the spiders susceptibility to chemicals with obvious and observable effects. This makes them a potential replacement for other animals used for the testing of chemical toxicity.
These findings don’t seem to appear to have any immediate positive outcome on humans. However, this does prove that certain substances alter dexterity, patience and planning whether you’re human or an animal. At least now you know what happens to spiders when you give them cannabis and a few other substances.