Set the scene: begin of 1995, some researchers of the “US National and Aeronautical and Space Agency” (NASA) decided to put aside for some time Universe’s riddles to focus on spiders and their particular way to make webs.

Indeed, in a work published later in 1995 on the journal “New Scientist”, they demonstrated that spiders weave different webs when pre-treated with certain drugs.

One could say: “OK, that was predictable, so what?”.

Well, researchers showed that spiders who received a marijuana burst were able to weave decent webs; just some concentration problems along the way, but nothing serious. As we can see from the image, the web does not look too bad. On benzedrine, an amphetamine, “the house spider spins its web with great gusto, but apparently without much planning, leaving large holes”.spiderwebs1

But the real surprise happens when you look at the web made on caffeine. It’s clear that spiders are completely incapable of weaving webs. Just a bunch of random threads with huge holes left here and there.

Not surprising that on chloral hydrate, a soporific drug, spiders just go to bed before even starting the job.

Scientists claim that more deformed is the weaved-web more a compound is toxic. In other words they were aiming to find a new way to define toxicity of drugs. It follows that caffeine is more toxic than marijuana and amphetamine!spderwebs2

I can already see the CEO of big coffee multinational corporations frantically picking up their phones trying to stop this huge fuss. Indeed, after the article was published the authors have readily changed their version:

“caffeine comes from the coffee plant as a vegetal venom against insects and arthropods, which are potentially dangerous for the plant”. Hence, caffeine acts disorienting the “aggressor” spiders.

But in the end, what is better caffeine or marijuana? Good question but for sure one is totally legal whereas the other is either illegal or under strict consumption rules. Definitely it is extremely harmful for the spiders whereas for humans, up to now, caffeine is just the perfect drug for students, hard-workers or just… coffee lovers!

It is a matter of fact that without coffee there would be much less graduated people in the world….. or maybe not?!

 Davide Mangani