Mice Who Allegedly Ate Half-Ton of Weed Would Have Reaped a Lot of Benefits

We actually know a lot about what happens when mice meet marijuana.

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Stoner stereotypes suggest they frequently make up, uh, creative excuses for their dealings with marijuana, and a team of police officers in Argentina didn’t help dispel the cliché when they were asked to explain how half a ton of weed recently disappeared from a warehouse. Under duress, they claimed: The mice ate it! This explanation spelled bad news for them but, if true, would have been great in many ways for the mice.

As the Guardian reported on Wednesday, only 5,460 of the 6,000 kilograms of cannabis that had been sitting in the warehouse for over two years were found. Former police commissioner Javier Specia and his three subordinates, the main suspects, all told Judge Adrián González Charvay that the missing drugs had been “eaten by mice.” Wild mice don’t usually go out of their way to eat weed, but the indiscriminate eaters have been known to wreck crops and grow setups. That said, there are a lot of mice these days with a steady source of THC and other cannabinoids. The majority of them live in science laboratories where researchers are studying the health effects of marijuana.

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Mice are one of the primary model organisms used for studying marijuana.

Mice and rats are often used in medical research because they have similar enough genetics, biology, and behavior to humans. That’s why, in 2014, scientists publishing in Nature Neuroscience got mice high to study why we get the munchies; the researchers behind a 2016 study likewise used stoned mice to figure out why we get lazy when we’re high. Lab mice, however, don’t usually eat weed or smoke it; in most studies, they take pure THC straight to the vein.

In recent years, studies testing the effects of marijuana on mice have pointed to a number of positive health outcomes that may apply to humans. In 2017, for example, a Nature study showed that low doses of THC preserved the memory and learning ability of mice as they age. Before that, in 2014, a study on cannabidiol — a cannabinoid in marijuana that’s not psychoactive, like THC — showed it protected cognitive function in mice with tau buildup, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and brain trauma. If the Argentinian mice did consume all that weed, they might be all the better for it.

The effects of marijuana have a lot to do with how you consume it. Eating it directly isn’t usually very potent since so many of its active compounds must be dissolved in fats; unless Specia and pals were cooking up weed butter, it’s not likely the mice would have felt the potential wallop that the half-ton of marijuana actually packed.

That said, pets still get really stoned when they eat weed, and mice are pretty tiny. If we’ve learned anything about mice on weed, it’s that they’re just like humans — so if they got their paws on that half-ton, wouldn’t they most likely be in the warehouse, stoned, lazy, and with an intense case of the munchies?