Can Snakes Get High? Separating Fact from Fiction

Greetings, herpetology enthusiasts and snake parents!  Today, we’re exploring the curious question that has slithered its way into our curiosity: Can snakes get high?  While this might sound like a whimsical thought experiment, it’s a serious matter with potential implications for your slithering friends’ well-being.  As a herpetologist with a penchant for quirky questions, I’m…

Can Snakes Get High? Separating Fact from Fiction

Understanding the Snake’s Endocannabinoid System

Understanding the Snakes Endocannabinoid System

All creatures, from the tiniest insects to the largest mammals and even our slithering friends, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS)

This biological system is involved in regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes. 

Yes, you read that right! 

Even snakes possess an ECS, complete with cannabinoid receptors, making them capable of responding to certain substances found in cannabis, such as THC.

Absorption and Effects of THC on Snakes

Absorption and Effects of THC on Snakes

Snakes can absorb cannabinoids, including THC, through their skin. 

Fascinating, isn’t it? 

They possess cannabinoid receptors, making them more susceptible to THC than humans. 

When exposed to cannabis, snakes can become hyperalert or lethargic, depending on the dose. 

This behavioral shift indicates that our slithering pals are experiencing the effects of the substance.

THC and Snake Health

While it’s intriguing to consider that snakes might experience a ‘high,’ it’s crucial to remember that cannabis consumption can lead to health issues for these reptiles. 

Exposure to THC can result in digestive problems, breathing difficulties, and a suppressed immune system, potentially leaving them more susceptible to bacterial infections. 

So, while you might be tempted to share your Friday night relaxation routine with your scaly friend, it’s best to stick to solo sessions.

Misconceptions and Risks

Snakes and Alcohol

You might have heard the rumors:

  • “Snakes can get drunk.”
  • “Reptiles can handle a bit of smoke.”
  • “Cannabis makes iguanas chill out.” 

But as an expert in the field, I’m here to debunk these misconceptions. 

Let’s slither past the hearsay and shed light on the potential risks of cannabis or alcohol exposure.

Secondhand Smoke and Snakes

Secondhand smoke is no joke, especially for our cold-blooded comrades. 

Smoke, whether from that Marlboro or Mary Jane, can cause respiratory problems in snakes. 

These creatures, including ball pythons, have been found to react similarly to direct smoke inhalation and secondhand smoke exposure. 

To ensure your pet snake’s longevity, keeping them away from such harmful environments is vital.

Snake Lungs and Respiratory Sensitivity

Snake Lungs and Respiratory Sensitivity

The anatomy of snake lungs differs significantly from ours. 

For instance, the ball python has two lungs, one more developed than other snake species. 

Snakes have sensitive lungs and can experience breathing difficulties when exposed to smoke or other chemical substances. 

That is why even a tiny droplet of water can cause respiratory problems for a ball python. 

Smoking or vaping near your reptile friends could potentially put them at risk.

Snakes and Alcohol

Snakes, like most animals, have a completely different physiology than humans. 

Despite what some tall tales might suggest, snakes cannot get drunk when exposed to alcoholic beverages

Instead, they can suffer from serious health complications. 

In this case, keeping the spirits high means keeping the spirits (and other intoxicants) away from our serpentine friends.

Responsible Snake Ownership

Responsible Snake Ownership

Keeping a snake as a pet comes with a set of responsibilities. 

Above all, ensuring their environment is safe and comfortable is crucial.

Protecting Snakes from Smoke

Here are a few ways to protect your snake from harmful smoke exposure:

  • Smoke outside, away from your snake’s enclosure.
  • Use an air purifier to maintain a smoke-free environment.
  • Always wash your hands before handling your snake, especially after smoking or vaping.

Creating a Snake-Friendly Habitat

A snake-friendly habitat goes beyond having the proper temperature or a cozy hideout. 

It means ensuring that the environment is free from potentially harmful substances. 

Smoking or vaping near your snake or any pet can put them at risk.


The curious case of the high snake might have tickled your interest, but responsible snake ownership means creating a safe and healthy environment for our serpentine companions. 

Despite the presence of an endocannabinoid system, snakes should never be exposed to THC, smoke, or alcohol due to potential health risks.

Remember, whether it’s marijuana smoke, the nicotine from cigarettes, or the wafting scent of your favorite vape juice, these substances belong far away from your slithering sidekick. 

After all, we want our serpentine friends to live long, healthy lives – and that’s no smoke and mirrors!


Can you get a snake high?

Snakes can react to THC, but exposure can cause serious health issues. Don’t try to get a snake high.

Is it safe to smoke around a snake?

Smoking around snakes is unsafe, leading to respiratory problems. Maintain a smoke-free environment.

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