Icelandic Horses Are Getting Sick From Eating Too Much Wild Cannabis
Veterinarians suspected these horses had a rare disease, but they actually just made the rookie mistake of eating more weed than they could handle.
Published on July 23, 2019

After years of outside consultations, an Icelandic veterinarian has finally solved the mystery surrounding a group of horses that experienced a sudden and perplexing change in behavior. Experts were convinced that these animals were suffering from a rare nerve condition, but it turns out that they had simply gotten too high from eating cannabis plants they found growing outdoors.

The mystery began in South Iceland in 2011, when a group of horses began exhibiting a number of strange symptoms, including shaking and poor coordination, along with a huge increase in appetite. Several veterinarians examined the horses, but were unable to conclusively identify what illness these animals might be suffering from.

Eventually the case was referred to Icelandic vet Mia Hellsten, who believed that these horses were suffering from a new nervous condition. To confirm her hypothesis, Hellsten recorded videos of the horses' behavior and sent it to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), an organization of horse owners and caregivers.

A number of AAEP experts responded to Hellsten after watching the videos, offering up a wide number of possible diseases and illnesses that could possibly explain these unusual symptoms. One thing that kept puzzling the veterinarians is that the horses' appetite was much higher than normal, which is unusual for an animal suffering from a serious illness.

“Those who examined this case did find it very strange,” Hellsten said, according to the Reykjavik Grapevine. “They had these symptoms, yet also had very healthy appetites.”

The unique combination of neurological impairments and the munchies finally rang a bell for one expert, who realized that they had seen these symptoms before. “In the end, one person said the symptoms resembled that of a dog which has eaten someone’s cannabis cakes,” Hellsten said. “When the horses were tested, the results came back positive for cannabis use.”

Hellsten now suspects that the horses must have discovered pot plants growing in the wild and eaten enough of them to get extremely stoned. It is currently unknown exactly who was growing these plants, or what they did when they discovered their plants had been eaten, but no further investigation is being conducted into the matter.

The horses did not suffer any lasting damage from their weed incident, and have made a full recovery. Hopefully, they also learned that it's a good idea to wait and let the edibles kick in before you start eating more weed.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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