Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Maine is experimenting with using medical cannabis on lobsters before they’re dropped into the steamer or broiler. / Courtesy Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound

Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound might soon usher customers’ lobsters into its steamers and broilers using what owner Charlotte Gill says is a more-humane method. “If we are going to take a life, we believe we have the obligation to do so as compassionately as possible,” she says in a website post.

The restaurant, in Southwest Harbor, Maine, has been “treating” crustaceans to a dose of medical cannabis before they’re cooked, to relax them. But those lobsters are not being served to patrons — not yet anyway — despite media reports to the contrary.


Gill explains, “We are not currently selling this meat (nor have we). The lobster that we have prepared thus far was purely for our own testing and study … The reports saturating the media, that our ‘high-end’ lobster was or has ever been available by customer request, are incorrect.”

She expects the “medicated” lobsters should be available by mid- to late October. Medical-cannabis smoke is pumped into some of the enclosures housing the lobsters.

Because lobsters have cannabinoid receptors, according to the restaurant’s website, consuming the cannabis relaxes them before they’re super-heated. “This world has enough pain and suffering and it’s time to make it a better place. We are going to do our part, by starting here, with this ONE thing,” Gill writes.

Scientific evidence is provided

In case you’re skeptical, the website refers to two scientific studies to bolster its case. One is “Cannabinoid receptors in invertebrates” by McPartland et al.

The other study, “Pharmacological effects of cannabinoids on learning and memory in Lymnaea,” is at http://jeb.biologists.org/content/220/17/3026. According to charlotteslegendarylobsters.com, this study indicates “that some invertebrates such as snails (and possibly also crustaceans such as lobsters, the invertebrate distant cousins of the snail) show signs of relief from trauma caused by physical pain when cannabis is administered to them.”

A possible consumer benefit

Once Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound starts serving its so-called “high-end” critters to the general public, their price will not rise, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. In fact, their cost might even drop:

“We are not charging for this process, and our lobster prices will stay the same as they have always been, or perhaps even go down if enough volume is generated, as ultimately, we are doing this out of compassion for the lobsters and THEIR well-being, not our own.

“We believe that our idea has a legitimate scientific basis. We’re grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the discussion of finding more humane ways of preparing our foods.”

The website posting reads, in its concluding paragraph, that Charlotte Gill and her staff are “only a little group of hardworking Mainers trying to make the world a kinder place.”

Cannabis preparation will be optional

Once Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound begins using this method, patrons will have a choice between “medicated” and “unmedicated” Northern clawed lobsters.

And if customers order a so-called “high” specimen, they need not expect that any effects of the medication will transfer to them. That’s because medical cannabis does not contain enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to provide the euphoria — the high — that non-medical cannabis imparts.

As you might imagine, Gill’s efforts don’t please everyone. State health inspectors are investigating.