The High Life of Snakes: Can They Really Get Intoxicated?

If you love THC, but you also love snakes, you may be at an impasse. You may have already heard that snakes can get high upon inhaling marijuana smoke, but is that actually true, and how can you tell?

Today, we’ll discuss the relationship between snakes and drug and cigarette smoking to see where the truth lies.

Effect of THC on Snakes

JSAP (Journal of Small Animal Practice) has a study on the effects of cannabis on iguanas which can easily be extended to reptiles in general, given that they function based on the same nervous system. The results were anything but pretty. In short, the test iguanas experienced seizures, digestive issues, cardiovascular problems, and other nervous system aberrations.

We already know of the beneficial effects of THC on the human brain in controlled doses, but not all animals function the same. We can’t expand the effects of THC to other vertebrae, because they simply function differently. That being said, snakes, and reptiles, in general, have an endocannabinoid system, so they are capable of getting high.

The effects are never positive, which is why you should minimize your snake pet’s contact with any type of cannabinoid. The most common form of absorption is via inhalation in case there’s cannabis smoke around. But reptiles are so sensitive to these compounds that they can even absorb them through their skin. So, you could be smoking outside or in another room, then transfer the substance onto your pet reptile via touch.

You should always wash your hands with soap immediately after the smoking session and, preferably, use gloves if you’re going to handle your reptile.

Is It Possible for Snakes to Get High?

Yes, it is possible. As we’ve mentioned, snakes possess cannabinoid receptors, so they can easily get high, even easier than humans. That’s because their nervous system is less complex and isn’t designed to accommodate large quantities of THC. Smoking near your snake will subject the reptile to more THC that it can handle, leading to both short-term and long-term problems.

Snakes are also capable of getting drunk and will experience health issues related to cigarette smoke as well. You want to avoid subjecting your snake to such chemicals by practicing your hobbies outside and cleaning and sterilizing yourself before touching the reptile. Secondhand smoke exposure can get deadly for snakes, even in minor instances.

Is Cannabis Bad for Snakes?

Yes, it is. Cannabis makes snakes hyperalert, causing them to enter a state of hyperactivity. Given that snakes are generally slow-moving creatures, this state can wear them out fast. They may also experience digestive problems and breathing difficulties, depending on what the smoke contains and the amount that the snake has been subjected to.

A more comprehensive study has analyzed the effects of THC consumption in animals, including reptiles, and discovered some rather concerning truths. Even in small doses, THC consumption can lead to various physiological effects, including the suppression of antibodies. This leaves the body vulnerable to various diseases and delays or even suppresses the natural physiological response to intrusive pathogens.

Furthermore, THC exposure was shown to suppress the body’s resistance and adaptability to bacterial infections. Animal subjects, like mice, died when contracting mild infections when subjected to THC, compared to those that were THC-free. The latter subjects adapted to the infections and developed immunity to the pathogens.

It’s also clear that cannabis consumption increases the brain’s tolerance to the substance, including in animals. Some withdrawal signs have been observed in mice and other animal test subjects, suggesting the idea that animals can become addicted too.

THC aside, snakes and reptiles are also sensitive to other substances like nicotine. That’s because snakes have very sensitive lungs and can quickly experience respiratory infections.

Protecting Pet Snake from Weed Smoke

If you’re a weed enjoyer, you should limit your snake’s exposure to the substance. The advice remains no matter your pet’s species, given that research has shown that all vertebrates are sensitive to the substance. Always smoke outside or in another area of your home, and avoid contact with your pet until you’re clean and disinfected.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t take too much THC to inflict significant damage on your pet. Even small doses can cause seizures, respiratory issues, and problems with the nervous system. Repeated exposure can actually trigger addictive behavior, in which case your snake will also display signs of withdrawal.


The conclusion is that snakes can get high on THC and other substances, but this is nothing to be thrilled about; on the contrary. Animals aren’t made to process THC or other psychedelic substances, and neither are humans, for that matter. But reptiles are particularly sensitive due to their simpler nervous system and sensitive lungs.

Keep your pet snake safe and prevent exposing them to THC or any other chemical substance like alcohol, nicotine, and the list goes on.

Robert from ReptileJam

Hey, I'm Robert, and I have a true passion for reptiles that began when I was just 10 years old. My parents bought me my first pet snake as a birthday present, which sparked my interest in learning more about them. read more...