Bearded Dragons and cannabis

So while looking through the forums I came across a couple of threads on the subject of bearded dragons eating parts of the cannabis plant. Both the threads I came across became hilariously heated debates that were not productive what so ever and therefore ended up being locked.
The point of the threads was to discuss weather or not it was healthy or safe for bearded dragons to eat cannabis plant matter. These threads were from 2019 and ALOT has changed since then so I think the topic is worth reopening and I'd like to throw my opinion into the mix. I am prepared for the text assault that may follow. Lol
First of all I want to make a couple things very clear.
-I HAVE NEVER FEED MY REPTILES ANY PART OF THE CANNABIS PLANT AND AT THIS TIME I DO NOT INTEND TO AT ANY POINT IN THE FUTURE (if legitimate scientific research was to be published stating that it had benefits that may change)
-THE SMOKE FROM THE BURNING OF CANNABIS IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THING AND IS OBVIOUSLY NOT HEALTHY FOR PETS.
- I DONT THINK THE BUDS (FLOWERS) SHOULD BE FEED TO ANIMALS. SO LETS JUST TALK ABOUT THE LEAF.

So some facts about cannabis. There are 3 different kinds of cannabis plant. Cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. The first 2 are what most people think of when they hear the words pot, weed, marijuana, etc and are the kind that produce psychoactive effects when consumed. Ruderalis is what people are referring to when the talk about hemp or industrial hemp and is used in the production of goods. For this discussion we are not talking about Ruderalis as I doubt anyone is grows it at home anyhow.
There are male and female cannabis plants. Male plants produce sacs of pollen. The female plants are what produce the buds that are harvested, dried and cured to be smoked or they are used to make edibles or concentrates. The typical home grower does not want male plants. Unless they are trying to breed their cannabis plants male plants are typically discarded as soon as they show signs of being males. This happens when the plants begin to flower which is the second main stage of growth of which there are 2. These 2 phases are the vegetative phase and the flowering phase. Simply put in the first stage the plant grows in size and produces leaves. In the second stage, while it will initial increase in size, this is the phase where the plant will develop either pollen sacs or buds. The female plants before being harvested have 2 different kinds of leaves, fan leaves which are the large leaves with typically 7 fingers (sometimes more or less) and also sugar leaves which are small and are in or around the actual bud and become covered in the compounds that are psychoactive. I'm not gonna get into what those compounds are but it's the stuff that gets you high.
But this is all about the leaf so for the purpose of this discussion plant sex is irrelevant because I'm referring to the fan leaf. Not sugar leaf.

All that being said and hopefully laying the ground work to understand what part of the plant I'm talking about, is it safe, healthy or beneficial for bearded dragons (or any reptile) to eat the fan leafs of the cannabis plant?
The fan leaf contains significantly less psychoactive compounds then the buds. The average leaf contains about %.03-%.07 THCa. That's not very much. THCa has to be converted to THC in order to produce the psychoactive effects this is done by heat either through smoking it or cooking it. When making edibles from leaf or buds for example the psychoactive compounds are first activated through a process called decarboxylation. This is essentially heating the plant material to a certain temperature to activate the stuff that gets you high.
Leaves are often used to make tea or are juiced and consumed in a smoothie (Sounds really gross but to each their own). This is because they have high nutritional value to humans. Without first converting THCa to THC it will not get anyone high when consumed. So if there is nutritional value and no intoxicating effect of cannabis leaves when consumed by humans then whos to say it's not a healthy option for our omnivorous reptiles?

Again I am not feeding my dragon any part of the cannabis plants. I am simply asking the question and opening the discussion of weather or not it's safe or beneficial to do so based on recent science. Because in my opinion if science says it's good for us isn't it worth looking into weather or not it's a safe option for our pets? I think it's worth consideration.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hi there,

I appreciate you taking the time to do some research and share that with us here. I don't know much about the plant, so I did learn a few things from what you wrote.

That being said, my thoughts on it come down to this:

Does the plant provide anything positive/healthy/beneficial that other other food items are not able to provide? If the answer is no, it should not be used IMO as it is an unknown risk at this point still.

SavageSiren11":8oe9gdyh said:
in my opinion if science says it's good for us isn't it worth looking into weather or not it's a safe option for our pets? I think it's worth consideration.

IMO for there to be any push for research or testing on this subject we need the answer to this question: What benefit does the cannabis leaf provide that other known-safe food items can't provide? If it provides nothing of benefit that cant be achieved through other means that we know are safe, I don't see it getting much traction.

So I see it as an unnecessary risk for little/no benefit. I'm sure there are micronutrients in the leaves themselves that are beneficial, but those same nutrients can be achieved through other means that we know are safe. So, for over-simplification purposes, why get your vitamins from the potentially rabid bear when you can get it from the soft cuddly bear? (lol.. hope that example makes sense in what I'm trying to portray..)

One day we might know more and have more information on the plant and how it effects reptiles, but we aren't there yet. The risk to reward ratio isn't there for me, and I wouldn't recommend it personally based off of that alone.

-Brandon
 

latinkaone

New member
I always thought bearded dragons were into the smell of cannabis.
I always thought bearded dragons were into the smell of cannabis. My close friend grew his cannabis to make oil in a comfortable and spacious grow tent that he placed in his living room. He grows not only cannabis but also peppermint, basil, and some flowers that bearded dragons also like. I'd never have guessed to let my lizard try eating cannabis leaves, mint, or flowers. I'm not as resourceful as my botanist friend. But I've already tried so many with the plants he brought that my bearded dragons have become finicky, spoiled. Such behavior creates some difficulties with his upbringing and upkeep. How can I wean it from its bad habits?
 
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