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The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the entire-mountain-covered-in-snow dept.

Science 250

Phoghat writes "Research scientists have used many animal species in investigating mind-altering drugs, but it may come as a surprise to learn that animals in the wild — from starlings to reindeer — also make use of psychoactive substances of their own accord. It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness, and man may well have found his way to some of his favourite recreational drugs by observing the behaviour of animals."

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250 comments

Tell that to to judge ;-) (4, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668954)

I remember watching a show on TV where a judge was telling a teenager that he was more stupid than an animal. The judge added: "Even animals aren't stupid enough to do drugs".

I can only imagine the teenager replying to the judge: "But your honor here a picture of a Reindeer seeking the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom".

It gave me an idea and I am now looking for investors to do a remake of that TV show with twists like this one added. Kind of "judge Judy is always wrong". It should be a great success and make a lot of money. ;-)

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (3, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669016)

I was just imagining some puritanical speech about rejecting your animal nature and elevating people above base instinct

funny how that never works out, how hiding our human nature to enjoy intoxicants, sex, and all the other naughty things that people are prone to do just results in layers of lies and social artifice

the remedies that the puritans insist on are are inconvenient at best, in the case of blue laws, and deadly at at worse in the case of stonings

how long is it going to take the us to get over trying to enforce puritanical beliefs about intoxicants and find a better way to work with basic human/animal nature

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669452)

How long is it going to take YOU to use capital letters?

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (0, Troll)

kainosnous (1753770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669718)

It wasn't that somebody just decided "You know, we should just not have fun!", but there are reasons why these things are considered bad. The first hint is your conscience, but the reason behind it is that they are simply, as the Bible explains, inconvenient.

Sex, for instance, is perfectly fine within the lifelong bond of marriage. However, when we use it as a source of pleasure, we find ourselves in all sorts of painful and distracting situations. As for intoxication, there are several problems. Other than the fact that you are out of control (depending on the intoxicant), you also have the tendency to get wrapped up in it and become less productive.

One may argue that there are drugs that are not adictive and cause no lasting damage. That may be the case, so they may not be so bad. The real problem is trying to define your life by pleasure, which is fleeting. It is one of the things, such as money, fame, etc. that people set their sites on that have no lasting benefit. In that sense, it is inconvenient at best.

Sadly, I have known many people who have had their life ruined by drug addiction. It is their experience that has told me the harm that those things can cause. Am I therefore advocating laws against drugs? Not necessarily. I'm just saying that they are a potential snare, and I thank God that He loves and forgives even the worst and will remove them from the things they can't leave on their own.

Article Has It Wrong. (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669826)

"man may well have found is way to recreational drugs by observing the behavior of other animals".

No, man found his way to recreational drugs by behaving just like other animals.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (2)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669056)

Well, in their defence, those reindeer's are somewhat busy around these times... I can only imagine they want to relax after working hours. I mean, Santa ain't getting any skinnier.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669534)

In defense of reindeer - this time of year they are Christmas lunch (I'm looking at you Linus). So you can hardly blame them for wanting to escape reality for a little while.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669068)

I remember watching a show on TV where a judge

That makes you stupider than a person stupider than an animal.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669100)

Nah, I am an Asgard. Even if I was the most stupid of the Asgards, I would still be smarter than you are.

The truth is that, while in school, we have to watch human TV shows to learn about that aspect of human beings.

Thankfully, this and other studies on mankind have allowed me to spot that you have made a mistake in your post and, given my infinite desire to help, I will tell you what it is: "stupider" isn't a word.

Now, I wander what this makes you but you are already forgiven due to our infinite comprehensiveness.

 

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669116)

Thankfully, this and other studies on mankind have allowed me to spot that you have made a mistake in your post and, given my infinite desire to help, I will tell you what it is: "stupider" isn't a word.

BZZT. Nothing stupider than a prescriptivist has ever been found, despite ongoing studies in rock slime.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (0)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669190)

Those types of reactions have always puzzled us and it is still one of the great mysteries amongst us; We just can't understand people who refuse help, it is contrary to our customs and traditions.

Would you please be willing to help us in solving this great mystery ?

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669548)

BZZT. Nothing stupider than a prescriptivist has ever been found, despite ongoing studies in rock slime.

That's only because we're actively avoiding you - not because we're looking, and can't

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669360)

Oh, for fuck sake, even watching a single episode of that show with Asgard in it, it's painfully clear that Asgard are supposed to have no understanding of human culture. Not that anything about them makes any sense in the first place, as the only purpose they have is a metaphor for "ivory tower intellectuals", yet another anti-intellectualist nonsense in American culture.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669512)

"ivory tower intellectuals", yet another anti-intellectualist nonsense in American culture.

If I had a nickel for every time I got well-intentioned but utterly unworkable advice from someone with an ivory tower wedged well up their arse, I'd have a shitload of nickels. Ivory tower intellectuals are real. Most of them live in this category. Most of the people with the luxury to cat about the university for their entire life have never known real adversity. There are notable examples; they are irrelevant to the existence of the ivory tower intellectual.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669814)

"ivory tower intellectuals", yet another anti-intellectualist nonsense in American culture.

If I had a nickel for every time I got well-intentioned but utterly unworkable advice from someone with an ivory tower wedged well up their arse, I'd have a shitload of nickels. Ivory tower intellectuals are real. Most of them live in this category. Most of the people with the luxury to cat about the university for their entire life have never known real adversity. There are notable examples; they are irrelevant to the existence of the ivory tower intellectual.

Their are two type of "intellectuals" - those that think, and those that "believe" they think. The latter are the ivory-tower type - can't change a tire, socialize, aren't toilet trained (piss in public), and have all the mental flexibility of brick. Having devoted all their waking hours to memorizing the output of authorities (of their youth) they so fervently wish to be - they become "authoritarian". They have a little trouble getting along with the anyone who does more in less time. They also try and limit their exposure to anything that challenges their extremely narrow capabilities - their narrow minds and shallow intellects ensure their limited experience of the real world. As a group they do not use recreational drugs (self-insight is an anathema to them) - though they do suffer greatly from imaginary ailments, and often feel they are discriminated against (especially by women) "due to their threatening intellect". (sigh). Bitterness and hatred are there most common sentiments - at best they are barely-functioning-sociopaths.

Just sayin'...

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669412)

Did you mean "wonder"? Confirm Yes/No?

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (5, Informative)

tirefire (724526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669072)

(emphasis mine)

I can only imagine the teenager replying to the judge: "But your honor here a picture of a Reindeer seeking the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom".

Funny you should choose the fly agaric mushroom for your example. Fly agaric is only a controlled substance (illegal to possess) in one U.S. state: Louisiana (source [erowid.org] ). Elsewhere, you can munch on them as much as you want (note: most people find the effects very unpleasant).

It is perhaps worth noting that although possessing/eating fly agarics is not illegal, it is a violation of FDA regulations to sell them for food or drug purposes.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669576)

Note: the unpleasantness comes from doing it wrong. See the references to reindeer urine in TFA, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria [wikipedia.org]

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (4, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669616)

Note that things can have different effects on animals. For example, try feeding heavily spiced meat to a dog (well, rather don't). Perfectly fine for a human, but something between a heavily messed up flat and death for the canine friend.

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669242)

So when are we going to start war on drugs on Animals?

Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669440)

So... "reindeer takes drugs, see Santa Claus?!"

Catnip (4, Interesting)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668958)

Just give a cat catnip it is like watching a junkie just getting their fix. My friend's cat just discovered where it was hidden and was opening the cabinet and closing it to get his fix.

Origin stories (2)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669140)

And now we know the origin of the blasted lolcats and why they prefer can haz cheezburgers to your friend's catnip-laced stash.
The bastard!

Hypothetical Article (1, Informative)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668970)

This article is Hypothetical and wouldnt be published in anything worth a damn because the scientific leg work has not been done.
I also note the publisher of this non-assuming website "pjonline.com"...Pharmaceutical Press 2010.

article is total crap and isnt worth being posted on slashdot.

Re:Hypothetical Article (3, Informative)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668996)

I quickly checked on that, in the legal section, it says:

"PJ Publications is part of Pharmaceutical Press, the publishing division of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain."

It seems credible. At first glance anyways... ;-)

Re:Hypothetical Article (-1, Redundant)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669088)

It is sad to see it posted. I see nothing but hear-say and conjecture.
Nothing in it is actual scientific evidence of these happenings except vague references.
I question what this articles intention is except to perhaps attempt to make a case for drugs, which almost seems like a drug addicts logical reasoning after being blitzed on weed and watching a "National Geographic" documentary on something.

Re:Hypothetical Article (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669582)

Note the sidebar to the article - it shows the reindeer photo as the magazine cover. The article is being published to boost seasonal sales.

Re:Hypothetical Article (3, Insightful)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669612)

It is sad to see it posted. I see nothing but hear-say and conjecture.

Accompanied by the smell of shit? Hint: it's because you've got your head up your arse.

Nothing in it is actual scientific evidence of these happenings except vague references. I question what this articles intention is except to perhaps attempt to make a case for drugs, which almost seems like a drug addicts logical reasoning after being blitzed on weed and watching a "National Geographic" documentary on something.

What is truly sad is a/clowns like yourself - who abuse the ability to read by not researching, and disregard anything that stands in the way of their deep emotional investment in stupid beliefs

Kind of like those that persist with the belief that nature is pure and humans are sinners - we are all animals, just some more "civilized" than others. Next week - perverts insist not all animals are monogamous and heterosexual, and murderers claim animals sometimes kill more than they eat.

Of course (recreational) drugs are just a crutch for those that can't cope with reality... and spouting patently, and demonstrably, bullshit opinions like yours isn't avoiding reality?

Or is this a "god" thing - the same one that made the drugs and the capacity to be affected by them?

Re:Hypothetical Article (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669318)

Anyone who has at least a few months of hallucinogenic experiences, would instantly know that its not at all impossible for animals to want to experiment with psychoactives.

It may not be a proven scientific fact, but it does become common sense, as your eyes are opened to the world in ways you never thought existed, like the relationship between your brain and the chemicals that affects your perception of reality and time.

I guess it is harder to imagine the want of such unique perspectives, without having such an experience yourself.

Re:Hypothetical Article (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669590)

It's actually a very old truth. Try a little research - not just reindeer either.

Note: there are many plants (and fungi) containing drugs - and a few cultures that credit animals with discovering drugs (coffee, cocaine, mushrooms) - but just because animals/birds get high on them doesn't mean it's a good idea for humans. Fly agaric is about as fun a recreational drug as Datura. As a general rule - if the side effects are comparatively minimal - the drug is popular, and illegal. Psilocibin bearing mushrooms for example are illegal in place where Fly Agaric is not.

Starlings? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668982)

Yeah, they're pretty trippy [youtube.com]

Voice of Title (2, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668984)

As a website that revolves around science, I find the headline offensive. The labeling of a person, or animal as a "junkie" is both unprofessional and crude. "Addictive tendencies found in non-human animals" would have been more appropriate. I'll note this incident in my journal and hope for an improvement in the near future. Good bidding and happy festivities this holiday season.

Re:Voice of Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669000)

As a website that revolves around science, I find the headline offensive. The labeling of a person, or animal as a "junkie" is both unprofessional and crude. "Addictive tendencies found in non-human animals" would have been more appropriate. I'll note this incident in my journal and hope for an improvement in the near future.

Good bidding and happy festivities this holiday season.

Well really the term 'junkie' is given to opiate (usually heroin) addicts, not people who try psychadelic drugs (most of which are not "addictive" in the traditional sense that they cause physical dependence).

If these animals were obsessively eating poppy plants, then perhaps it would be more appropriate to use the term "junkie" (although I agree, no less offensive. There's nothing funny or amusing about it).

Re:Voice of Title (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669516)

If these animals were obsessively eating poppy plants, then perhaps it would be more appropriate to use the term "junkie" (although I agree, no less offensive. There's nothing funny or amusing about it).

A FoaF broke into a woodrat's den and found poppy seeds and psilocybin mushrooms... stored away for the winter. Apparently they want their head trips in all seasons.

Re:Voice of Title (3, Insightful)

Trinn (523103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669694)

I am hoping the headline was a joke, done to suggest thoughts of *intentional* drug users rather than the mythological addict, essentially hyperbolic negation of the intended result. Of course I could be wrong, we do live in a world where people presume that just because someone else likes to do something they don't quite understand it must be evil wrong immoral deadly and antisocial.

Tone of Headline (-1, Redundant)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668990)

As a website that revolves around science, I find the headline offensive. The labeling of a person, or animal as a "junkie" is both unprofessional and crude. "Addictive tendencies found in non-human animals" would have been more appropriate. I'll note this incident in my journal and hope for an improvement in the near future. Good bidding and happy festivities this holiday season.

Raised question (4, Funny)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669004)

So do skunks call unpungent marijuana "human"?

Re:Raised question (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669520)

I'd assume they'd be like anyone else and call it Oregano.

Terence McKenna spoke a lot about this (3, Informative)

frank_carmody (1551463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669008)

Have a listen to his 'Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge' (tape 4 from memory) for a very nice exposition of the Santa Claus/psychedelic reindeer juxtaposition (e.g. red & white Amanita mushrooms that live under Xmas trees, toy-making elves, Lappland, flying reindeer).

Well known that animals use them (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669014)

Here's a video of all kinds of animals under the influence of a psychoactive drug!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohgqRRLjBsg [youtube.com]

I'll leave whether it was voluntary as an exercise to the viewer.

Re:Well known that animals use them (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669096)

You realize that is a comical rendition of something with a storyline to show those videos of animals...

Hey, man... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669018)

Wanna do some reindeer piss, man?

Howdy Doody got wooden balls, man?

Humans don't need substances to alter their state (4, Informative)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669022)

... While the substances are an easy way to experience something a little different, it's also possible to achieve "altered states of consciousness" entirely without the chemicals.

I don't have a copy of Stoned Free [google.com] , but I like the premise:

Now you can just say "No!" to drugs... and get high anyway! This book enumerates many drugless consciousness altering techniques, both timeless and recent in origin, that anyone can make use of. Meditation, breathing techniques, high-tech highs, sleep and dream manipulation, and numerous other methods are examined in detail. Avoid incarceration, save money, and skip the wear and tear on your body, while getting higher than a kite.

I had to figure out how to relax my body (it was dysfunctional following a head injury), but even so I've had some neat experiences along the way: hypnagogic imagery, 360-degree vision, etc. If you've previously used substances (marijuana, LSD, etc) one can re-vivify those experiences with self-suggestion (self-hypnosis), or use descriptions of others to design your own trip.

Tripping without substances generally begins with relaxing the physical body, relaxing the mind, then making suggestions to yourself.

Binaural beats can help - Gnaural [sourceforge.net] is the open source tone generator. I had to do some other things to fully recover from said concussion, and I'm finally dreaming up a storm. :)

Re:Humans don't need substances to alter their sta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669230)

Or you can just grow some San Pedro and brew it in to mescaline tea... Saves time, money and has a 100% success rate.

Re:Humans don't need substances to alter their sta (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669526)

I bought my lady one of those LED flashy things you wear like glasses and she really likes it. I've tried it a few times and it does make interesting patterns. No idea if the lights are forcing me to relax or if I'm just relaxing because I'm watching patterns but I think it's nifty as well. It's on my list of things to do with an Arduino because I want one that's PC-connected and that seems the easiest way to achieve that.

Re:Humans don't need substances to alter their sta (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669710)

I bought my lady one of those LED flashy things you wear like glasses and she really likes it. I've tried it a few times and it does make interesting patterns. No idea if the lights are forcing me to relax or if I'm just relaxing because I'm watching patterns but I think it's nifty as well.

I bought one of those, but Wesley Crusher programmed Data to break it.

Suprising? (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669026)

This isn't surprising fido's always loved beer.

junkie monkeys? water buffalo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669028)

scuuuse me??

Coffee Found This Way (4, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669036)

Many traditional stories about the discovery of coffee recount shepherds discovering its unusual properties after observing that their goats were unusually perky after munching a certain red berry, which turned out to contain coffee beans (which are technically seeds).

I certainly think this and other stories of discovering analgesics, psychoactives, etc. by observing animals are quite plausible.

O RLY? (1, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669122)

It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness

States of WHAT? Animals have consciousness now?

Re:O RLY? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669224)

You really need to be told this? If so, you've obviously never had pets. But yes, this does seem to provide hard evidence for it.

Re:O RLY? (2)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669262)

It never ceases to amaze me how humans arrogantly believe that only they themselves are conscious, capable of experiencing joy and pain, etc.

It's not just humans vs. animals (as if humans weren't animals, and as if all non-human animals were the same), but also humans vs. other humans (it's ok to be cruel to $allegedly_inferior_group, or even "It's ok for me to trample everyone, but don't anyone dare to slight me!").

Without getting into what exactly the definition of consciousness is, I think it is irrational to simply assume that your own group has it, and no other group does.

Re:O RLY? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669304)

Instincts and emotions are not consciousness, consciousness is by definition a kind of mental activity specific to humans.

Re:O RLY? (3, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669442)

Care to provide a source for that claim, other than your ass? Consciousness, as I suspect you mean it, is roughly synonymous with self-awareness, although I don't think it's quite that simple. In any case, that has been observed in a number of animals besides homo sapiens, such as certain apes and bottlenose dolphins. Of course due to the nature of the whole concept, it's pretty much impossible to conclusively prove any entity is in possession of consciousness, so cling to that if you wish.

Re:O RLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669488)

Instincts and emotions are not consciousness

But the prejudice of calling others grossly inferior is a rather primitive instinctive action. The feeling that our family, group, or whatever, is better than the others sits deep in our mind, weakening our reasoning.

consciousness is by definition a kind of mental activity specific to humans.

As far as I am informed, there is not yet a single and accepted definition of consciousness. "Consciousness" is a rather abstract concept, I believe mainly invented to make a stark distinction between humans and animals.

That said, what is generally accepted as being some form of consciousness has also been observed in various animals at varying degrees. So, while we humans are (of course!) vastly superior in some aspects of the brain functions, your original question "animals have consciousness now?" just shows how you are dominated by instincts. (Disclaimer: I don't restrict this to your person--we all are dominated by instincts. I just wanted to say that your initial rant is just one example of this arrogance by instinct.)

Re:O RLY? (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669490)

Consciousness is specific to me. I am the center of the universe, for it is infinit on all sides around me.

Try prove me wrong by demonstrating your own consciousness?

Consciousness is by-product of cellular organization, chatter between cells, and that any multicellular organism has some level of consciousness. But since we can only experience ourself, it can never be proved. And until you can prove our own, you cannot disprove their. Stop downplaying non-humans creatures.

Re:O RLY? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669522)

Consciousness is by-product of cellular organization, chatter between cells, and that any multicellular organism has some level of consciousness.

At very least it requires brain, and sufficiently sophisticated brain ti perform abstract thought.

But since we can only experience ourself, it can never be proved.

There is nothing really to prove -- animals do not perform anything that requires abstract thought. All this stupid stuff about "self" is utterly irrelevant -- an object in any object-oriented language is more "self-aware" than any human can hope to be (as it knows absolutely everything about itself), and yet is not in any way "conscious".

And until you can prove our own, you cannot disprove their. Stop downplaying non-humans creatures.

Only when they will come to argue about that by themselves. Until then, into the soup they go. Mmmm, beef!

Re:O RLY? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669634)

Cetacean intelligence [wikipedia.org]

Read that article, then come back here with your findings. Feel free to correct yourself if you were wrong.

-ss

Re:O RLY? (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669842)

Only when they will come to argue about that by themselves. Until then, into the soup they go. Mmmm, beef!

I do not need to fool myself into thinking cows are not conscious in order to enjoy eating them. Enjoy your lies.

Re:O RLY? (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669666)

Ever seen a house-trained dog that wants "out" for the toilet and doesn't get it? I missed the signs a couple of times - my dog pissed on the back door mat - and then comes and gives me the "ashamed" look (that's the look she gives me when she misses a rabbit), followed by the low whine and the tugging on the fingers with her teeth to make me follow her and see what the problem is. She's never been punished, even verbally - so I doubt it's a fear of punishment. Sure it's my interpretation.

I think, therefore I am - I cannot, though, rule out the possibility that my dog is not self-conscious, though probably not in the same way as I

She gets outside when (on rare occasions) cannabis is being smoked, one because she doesn't put in, two because she doesn't have a choice about inhaling, and three because she acts like a stoned human - gets up, pauses, looks back, looks forward, looks sheepish and then wanders back to her basket (what was I doing?) - and becoming very vocal (not barking, vocalizing). The vocalizing is something she does whenever she is in company with conversation - and acts just like a child who feels excluded. Close enough to a form of consciousness for me

Whether you are right or wrong about the meaning of the word - many animals exhibit a form of self-awareness (and a knowledge of time). Even human consciousness is just a theory with no more "provable" substance than a drug experience

I'm not sure all "humans" have the same degree of consciousness either - so maybe it's not as clear cut as conscious, or, not conscious.

And horses (farmers call it "laugh chaff") and cannabis plants don't go together - the horses will eat your plants, and just like possums, wallabies, kangaroos, cattle, sheep, chooks, cockatoos, and rabbits - once they've had a nibble fences won't stop them.

Catnip is interesting - some cats love it, but not all. The weird thing is it seems to make cats forget where they found it - I used to grow some in a garden of a house I shared with a cat lover. Everytime I went into the garden they'd follow through the gate and hunt for the catnip. They'd look everywhere until they found it - which was a little weird given it only grew in one pot, and that pot was never moved. Even I could use my nose to find it - but they had to investigate every carrot, lettuce, and tomato plant to work out which was the catnip. They didn't always take the same route whilst looking for it either. Strange - maybe that's part of the effect of catnip.

The real question in my mind, is not whether animals take drugs (they do), or why humans take them, but how plants (and fungi) determined that producing drugs would get the drug users to pay attention to them.

Re:O RLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669372)

I think (hope) that he is confusing "consciousness" with "conscientiousness"

That's a much lower amount of ignorance than someone who actually assumes animals aren't conscious.

Re:O RLY? (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669672)

I think (hope) that he is confusing "consciousness" with "conscientiousness"

That's a much lower amount of ignorance than someone who actually assumes animals aren't conscious.

I think he ate his dogs stash - the dictionary he's currently using is just a hallucination.

Re:O RLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669236)

Yes, they have. As a veterinarian I think so, in particular primates and some mammals have consciousness, in a different degree that we have, but they have.

People love to feel superior to other creatures just because they have an evolved language.

Re:O RLY? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669312)

Humans ARE mentally superior to all other animals. Even those humans who deny it, as the gap is pretty freaking wide.

Re:O RLY? (2)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669680)

Humans ARE mentally superior to all other animals. Even those humans who deny it, as the gap is pretty freaking wide.

Some, maybe, to really dumb animals. Maybe. I'm especially doubtful when measuring the output of those (humans) that like to associate themselves with the word "superior"

Oh, not that one again... (5, Insightful)

Balinares (316703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669394)

> States of WHAT? Animals have consciousness now?

No, it popped up MAGICALLY in us apes at some point; someone throw on a switch and BAM, consciousness overnight. MAGIC, I tell you.

Or, you know, maybe consciousness is not a binary variable, but, like most everything about the real world, a continuum, and like most things about the real world, various species have achieved various levels of it? You know? Just sayin'.

Re:Oh, not that one again... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669538)

No, it popped up MAGICALLY in us apes at some point; someone throw on a switch and BAM, consciousness overnight. MAGIC, I tell you.

There is freaking huge gap between human mind and anything modern apes have. Sure, there was a long process between those levels, but all intermediate steps are long extinct, and have no chance to show up to make question about their level of consciousness relevant.

Re:Oh, not that one again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669720)

There is freaking huge gap between human mind and anything modern apes have. Sure, there was a long process between those levels, but all intermediate steps are long extinct, and have no chance to show up to make question about their level of consciousness relevant.

Given that apes can be taught to understand primitive writing in a way and teh behaviour of certain humans I would say that you are wrong until you provide a source.

Re:O RLY? (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669480)

Oh dear. You do realise that you're an animal, right? And your signature suggests that you don't believe in God. I'm trying to reconcile these two beliefs that you hold, and yet can't.

this is no news ... (2)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669130)

there are countless instances of monkeys trying to get to alcohol.
(and don't tell me alcohol is no drug : it's one of the worst)

Re:this is no news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669300)

In fact alcohol is one of the rare bad drugs.

Re:this is no news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669326)

it's not all that bad, how do you think you came about.... oh wait...nm

Re:this is no news ... (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669690)

In fact alcohol is one of the rare bad drugs.

In fact alcohol is not a drug.

Re:this is no news ... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669854)

alcohol is not a drug.

WRONG.
it's just legal, that's the only difference from cocaine, crack, heroine ...
http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/2010/11/29/alcohol-is-the-most-damaging-drug/ [beckleyfoundation.org]
It also came fourth in terms of damage to users
behind only heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth.

Re:this is no news ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669504)

Alcohol is a strong solvent. Getting drunk is like getting high sniffing glue. It a real wonder that alcohol is legal while safe psychotropes are not.

Re:this is no news ... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669726)

...funny, because glue is legal too...

It would be really hilarious if bottles of whisky were labeled, "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION."

Re:this is no news ... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669532)

What's interesting about drunk monkeys is that it has been shown that monkeys are about as boozy as we are. That is, if you provide them access to alcohol (as in numerous tourist locations where they haven't been exterminated) about the same percentage of them will be teetotalers and the same percentage drunks as humans.

Drugs and their first use. (5, Interesting)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669148)

I remember a shaman from one of those South American cultures say something like: "We have been using tobacco for hundreds of years, and look at what it did to you when you discovered it. We have been using coca for generations, and look at what you did when you found it. I fear the worst for you once you find the rest of our plants."
I guess the point is of the article is that the use of "drugs" is something part of nature, it's just how we do it that matters.

Re:Drugs and their first use. (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669632)

Yes, hemlock is all natural, nightshade is all natural, petroleum is all natural, tobacco is all natural, nuclear fusion is all natural. How some thing or some process is used is what matters.

Re:Drugs and their first use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669850)

Trot your horse up next to the Empire state building, jump down to the roof, and take the elevator down to street level. Human use of petroleum is not all natural, it is heavily processed, unless you can tell me where to pump 87 octane gasoline with the various additives straight out of the ground. Tobacco is heavily processed, by adding numerous extracts and chemical to the final product, and while you could say on a universal scale,(Like in the universe,) that nuclear fusion is all natural, it doesn't all naturally occur on earth.

As far as your comment about hemlock and nightshade, they are all natural, but you would be a fool to ingest them, much like it would be to ingest the meat of an animal you might find that has been dead for several days without artificial refrigeration in a climate that averages 70 degrees or so. There are, however, naturally occuring things that exist that can be ingested and some of them have side effects that some may enjoy while being nondetrimental.

And if you are going to say something, just say it. Don't hint around about it. Let me translate your post:"Drugs...drugs are bad. Umkay?"

Sounds about right. (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669240)

I've read that every human culture with the exception of one has it's own intoxicants. All but the Inuit (what are you gonna do, ferment whale blubber?) have found some form of mind alternation. Extending this to the rest of the animal kingdom, it's not surprising to me that other species are just as keen to how much fun booze or drugs can be.

Re:Sounds about right. (3, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669560)

I've read that every human culture with the exception of one has it's own intoxicants. All but the Inuit (what are you gonna do, ferment whale blubber?) have found some form of mind alternation. Extending this to the rest of the animal kingdom, it's not surprising to me that other species are just as keen to how much fun booze or drugs can be.

You're not going to believe this, but... fermented walrus meat. I'm not kidding.

I lived on Baffin Island for three years, and during that time, I was regaled at length on a number of occasions with first-hand accounts of how the Inuit would cache stores of walrus meat under stones in October (to keep the ravens from getting it) for about six weeks. Once it had a pretty solid veneer of mold, they would take it out, scrape it off and ingest it with gusto.

According to those who tried it, it induced a mild, contented buzz.

No, I did not try it. I didn't even want to see it.

Re:Sounds about right. (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669698)

I've read that every human culture with the exception of one has it's own intoxicants. All but the Inuit (what are you gonna do, ferment whale blubber?) have found some form of mind alternation. Extending this to the rest of the animal kingdom, it's not surprising to me that other species are just as keen to how much fun booze or drugs can be.

Wonder if the Inuit just made themselves dizzy like kids do to alter their consciousness. I do note that a type of Icelandic moss contains a cannabinoid precursor (olivitol?) - don't know if it has any effects though.

Re:Sounds about right. (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669706)

On further thought - an absence of plants wouldn't mean the Inuit had no access to drugs. Adrenal glands?

Entheogens are our birthright... (2)

Terminus32 (968892) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669276)

This man said it how it is: http://deoxy.org/mckenna.htm [deoxy.org]

Re:Entheogens are our birthright... (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669470)

I'm missing the 'like' button from facebook all of a sudden ;) Totally agree ...

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34669460)

In other news, non-human animals also like food and sex. Stay tuned!

Psychoactive users are not junkies (5, Insightful)

vandan (151516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669464)

It's a common perception ... and totally wrong ... that psychoactive users are junkies. Far from it. I have participated in multiple voluntary studies with the Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, where they study recreational drugs ( E, LSD, etc ) ... and have asked them each time what they thought of my habits, and that of my peers. Each time they said the same thing ... that it was a pleasure to work with people who actually had their life together ... that the real 'junkies' use heroin, alcohol, cocain, etc ... and the recreational drug users, in contrast, are well in control of their activities, and leading productive lives. In fact I would go a step further and say that psychoactive drug users have their life together far more than the average person.

Re:Psychoactive users are not junkies (0)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669636)

Either that, or regular psychoactive drug users are just so zonked out that they think they are well-adjusted whether they are or not.

Re:Psychoactive users are not junkies (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669708)

In fact, an enormous number of working adults (perhaps even the majority) are psychoactive drug users, and they seem to be OK...

Re:Psychoactive users are not junkies (2)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669656)

In fact there was a clinical study in the 1960s that showed that hallucinogenic drugs could be used to cure junkies of their addictions, especially alcohol.

Re:Psychoactive users are not junkies (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669732)

In fact there was a clinical study in the 1960s that showed that hallucinogenic drugs could be used to cure junkies of their addictions, especially alcohol.

Try searching for Timothy Leary, d-lyseric acid diethylamide, prisoner, beginning/forerunner of AA (you are correct that it was trialled, don't know if it actually worked)

I have "heard" that LSD-25, surprisingly, (in minute doses) is an extremely effective treatment for chronic pain that doesn't respond to traditional pain killers....

Well derr! (3, Informative)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669496)

Drugs work because of, um, receptors. Given that most animals (not insects) have endocannabinoid receptors next we'll be surprised that animals like pot.

Slow news week - and, where's the usual filler about how Santa visits all the chimneys?

Not a major surprise, really. (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669558)

Probably twenty or thirty years ago I saw a documentary about all kinds of animals who came to eat the half-fermented fruit lying under some kind of tree, and consequently getting very much drunk off their collective arses.

Nothing funnier than a drunk rhino falling over, I can tell you. If anyone knows what documentary that was - I was just a geekling at the time - I'd love to find it again.

Re:Not a major surprise, really. (1)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669740)

Probably twenty or thirty years ago I saw a documentary about all kinds of animals who came to eat the half-fermented fruit lying under some kind of tree, and consequently getting very much drunk off their collective arses.

Nothing funnier than a drunk rhino falling over, I can tell you. If anyone knows what documentary that was - I was just a geekling at the time - I'd love to find it again.

The fruit is durian. Don't remember the name of the doco. It's also the reason you don't (ever) allow elephants access to large amounts of fruit or sugar cane - it ferments in their warm, slow digestive system. Having seen it first hand I wouldn't call it funny.

Re:Not a major surprise, really. (1)

butterbrot (1803944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669748)

Perhaps Animals Are Beautiful People [wikipedia.org] by Jamie Uys (who also made "The Gods Must Be Crazy")? At least that's the one I remember. I don't specifically recall any drunk rhinos, but there were plenty other species getting intoxicated by eating fermented fruit of the Marula tree.

Cats do it, too (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669644)

When I had a cat, it used to get high from smelling T-shirt underarms. Really hilarious to watch.

Headline is wrong (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34669650)

The headline should read new study show reindeer take hallucinogens. It is not news that animals take drugs, the has been known for a long time. Many herbivorous mammals will overindulge in rotten fruit on the ground getting drunk off the alcohol fermenting in them. Studies on monkey alcoholism have been done that show that their behaviour is almost identical to ours except that their alcoholics remain respected members of the social group rather than outcasts (the monkeys in the study were stealng alcohol from tourist resorts). Panthers in south america take Ayahuasca [wikipedia.org] , cats take catnip, lemurs use poisonous millipedes to kill pests on their skin, and also trip the hell out from the chemicals. The list goes on. Everybody likes drugs, drugs are good, hmmmkaaay?

Animal drug habits documentary [onlinedocumentaries.com] .
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