Bear Cub Eats Hallucinogenic ‘Mad Honey,’ Proceeds to (Apparently) Trip Its Face Off

A new viral video shows a bear cub (apparently) tripping its face off after eating so-called “mad honey,” which causes hallucinations, amongst other problems. (The bear is said to be OK now.)

Although the idea of a bear eating honey may generally seem adorable, sometimes real life gives us a more PG-13 version of a Winnie the Pooh adventure than expected. In a new video out of Turkey, for example, we glimpse a bear cub that ate too much “mad honey” and subsequently went on what looks like one heck of a psychedelic trip. And while it’s hard to say exactly what the bear was feeling, word has it the cub is now vehemently anti-war and thinks Joe Rogan makes some really good points.

The South China Morning Post uploaded the above video of the tripping bear cub in Turkey, which, as of this writing, has about 400,000 views. As the South China Post reports, the bear was rescued by a national parks team in northwestern Turkey on August 11. In the video, we see the bear in what appears to be the back of a national parks truck—exhibiting labored breathing, a dissociative state (staring off at nothing, focused on nothing), and some body paralysis.

The national parks team suspects the bear ate fresh honey containing rhododendron pollen or rhododendron nectar. And while Rhododendrons (or Rhododendron) are ubiquitous shrubs found in many gardens and parks, their flowers, leaves, and fruits can sometimes contain—as Plantura Magazine points out—toxic diterpenes (or chemicals that form biologically important compounds such as retinolretinal, and phytol.) Plantura notes that “Even eating one leaf or flower” can cause: nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, sickness, hypersensitivity of mucous membranes and extremities, and increased salivation.

An azalea, which is a flowering shrub in the genus Rhododendron. Image: Ray in Manila

Plantura further notes that some Rhododendrons contain specific diterpenes called grayanotoxins (which are a type of neurotoxin that affect the brain). The honey from these Rhododendrons, which are located along the coast of the Turkish Black Sea coast, amongst other regions, can cause the other listed symptoms, but also hallucinations. (Incidentally, notes that “In the 1700s, the Black Sea region traded [Rhododendron honey containing grayanotoxins] with Europe, where [it] was infused with drinks to give boozers a greater high than alcohol could deliver.”)

As for the bear cub’s unique reaction? She does appear to be hallucinating along with experiencing her other listed (evident) symptoms. Although it’s obviously impossible to say for sure. Especially because people who’ve eaten too much “mad honey” also report experiencing non-hallucinogenic symptoms such as vertigo, which could account for the cub’s behavior.

Image: The South China Morning Post

Regardless of the cub’s state of mind during its “trip,” the important thing is that she has, reportedly, pulled through just fine. Word has it, however, that the bear is now thinking about joining the Peace Corps and selling all of her possessions in order to buy a Volkswagen bus.

Feature image: The South China Morning Post

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