In 1962 a dose of 297 milligrams of LSD
was administered to an elephant in an experiment
. The usual dose for a human is only about 0.1 milligram.
This experiment took place in a zoo, at Oklahoma City. Two men from the University of Oklahoma, Chester M Pierce and Louis J West wanted to investigate the effects of LSD on a male elepant. This was because male elephants suffer from a condition known as musth when ready to mate. In this condition they appear mad, and rush around wildly attacking everything in their path. The academics thought that by administering LSD to a male elephant they might be able to provoke a similar state.
The elephant which they procured to test out their theory was Tusko, a 14 year old weighing over 3 tons. They figured out a dose of 297 milligrams would be appropriate, by taking into account both the mass of the elephant, and the reduced sensitivity to LSD that animals with less brain power than man appeared to have. A dart containing the LSD was fired early on an August morning.
Nothing happened suddenly, but Tusko became distressed, and
another elephant appeared to try and help him. Only five minutes later Tusko collapsed while trumpeting madly. He lost all bowel control and appeared to have a seizure, similar to an epileptic fit. After another hour and a half Tusko was declared dead.
The conclusions drawn by this scientific folly were as follows:
It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD - a finding that may prove to be valuable in elephant-control work in Africa.
The Guardian: August 8, 2002