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Can airport dogs detect edibles?
Aside from you, it’ll amaze you how many people think about this every day. This is essentially because Marijuana has become legal in several states in the U.S.
With this legality, marijuana use and transportation have skyrocketed over the years. And the form gaining traction is edibles.
So what are edibles? Can dogs detect edibles?
To answer the big question, let’s go from known to unknown. Therefore we’ll talk a bit about edibles and how it differs from the flower.
What Are Edibles?
Edibles are just food substances that have been infused with marijuana. They can come in different forms which can be solid, liquid, and even sprays.
Edibles came into existence because people were looking for more ways to enjoy marijuana other than smoking. Additionally, the effects of edible last longer because of the gradual breakdown by the body.
This also means that a lot of people would want to take their edibles wherever they go, even through the airport. This brings us back to the question, can airport dogs detect edibles?
How Powerful Is A Dog’s Nose?
Dogs have powerful noses. Compared to humans, their sniffers are 100,000 times stronger. Yeah, you read right.
Let me give a scenario so that you’ll understand better. If a pot of chili is brought before you, you’ll probably only smell the chili. But a dog can go beyond that.
A dog can sniff out if there’s meat, onions, or beans in the chili. It can even sniff out your secret ingredient. That’s how mighty and powerful the nose of a dog is.
This smelling prowess of dogs is because of the 300 million olfactory receptors they have in their nose. That’s a crazy amount compared to about 6 million in the nose of humans.
Additionally, dogs have a sensory organ called the Jacobson organ or vomeronasal gland. This organ further refines the smelling ability of dogs and is more specific for chemical stimuli.
This abundant center for smell is the reason why dogs are inquisitive and motivated by new and exciting scents. Their sense of smell allows them to paint a picture of their surrounding.
It is really no surprise that the government is taking advantage of dogs’ unique sense of smell. They can easily sniff out illegal substances if trained to do so.
Marijuana has become legal in some states in America, but still illegal in others. Therefore, you might still find dogs in airport smelling bags and luggage looking for marijuana.
Therefore carrying marijuana in plant form is definitely going to get the attention of airport dogs. This is one of the reasons why people are leaning toward edibles.
Edibles have a different smell from plant marijuana. During processing, the chemical composition and concentration have been altered. However, can an airport dog still detect edibles on you?
Can Airport Dogs Detect Edibles?
It’s not an impossible task for a trained airport dog. However, it isn’t the norm. Dogs are usually trained to sniff plant marijuana and not edibles.
According to most dog training experts, it isn’t impossible to train a dog to sniff out edibles. Dogs can be trained to pick up the scent of marijuana mixed with other ingredients like flour.
So to answer the question, yes airport dogs can detect edibles bit only if they’re trained to do so. Dogs are even able to sniff out SIM cards in prison, so edibles would be a walk in the park.
Basically, if airport dogs are trained to detect edibles in any form, then they’ll do just that. The nose of a dog is powerful enough to handle that.
The bluntness did an interview with Glenn Hayter, Director of training and operations with Global Training Academy Inc. He said that it’s possible to train a dog to sniff out edibles.
He went ahead to say that there are a lot of variables that come into play when we talk about the accuracy of detection. Factors such as environment, packaging, weather, location, etc.
However, he acknowledges the capability of a dog’s nose. He trains dogs to detect anything from drugs to bombs.
While it’s not been done yet, many dog training experts say a dog’s sniffer is powerful enough to detect edibles if trained. An airport dog would require extra training to be able to detect marijuana-infused foods because they have a different and unique smell.
How Are Airport Dogs Trained?
Airport or sniffer dogs start their training very young. They are a group of handpicked dogs that have been evaluated and shown to be equal to the task.
When it comes to sniffing and detection of illicit substances, some dog breeds are generally favored over others. This is because their sense of smell is top tier even among dogs.
I’m sure when asked which breeds are used as sniffers, airport, or police dogs, you have certain breeds in mind. Such breeds include German shepherds, bloodhounds, and beagles.
The duration of training is usually long and can take many months. It is thorough for both the dog and trainer because accuracy is very important.
Most people think dogs are trained to detect drugs from the get-go. Yeah, they do that but by association. They are trained to detect their favorite toys.
Over time, these dogs come to relate these toys to the smell of drugs. An example is using a towel as a toy for the dog you’re training. You can easily hide drugs in them just to get the dog familiar with the scent.
Once the dog being trained has gotten familiar with the smell, the towel is hidden in various places for the dog to find. Early in the training, dogs are rewarded whenever they find the location of the toy.
However, after some time, the dog can only be rewarded when it carries out the command of the instructor. Such as bark, sit, or down.
Detection isn’t the only training the dog will undergo. He’ll also be taught how to alert his owner when it finds whatever he’s trained to look for.
Depending on the profession, sniffer dogs can be taught two ways of alerting their handler. The aggressive alert or passive alert.
The aggressive alert is what many dogs primarily do when they find an interesting scent. Sniffer dogs are trained to paw or dig the area where the smell was detected. This will alert the handler to the presence of whatever they’re looking for.
The second technique is the passive alert and this is the one airport dogs are trained to do. It is usually taught to dogs in dangerous professions such as bomb detection. Airport dogs are trained to passively alert their handlers so that they won’t destroy passengers’ bags.
In this case, the dog will alert the handler to the presence of possible illicit or dangerous substances by just sitting down at the source of the smell. This way, everybody is safe.
Airport Dogs Detecting Edibles – Are They Trained For That?
When it comes to dogs detecting edibles, we’re still working with possibilities. It’s still a topic for debate, even by dog handlers.
Many of the accounts of dogs being able to detect edibles are from online forums. And as we know, online forums are not the most reliable source of information. Therefore it is to be taken with a grain of salt.
There is much evidence on the contrary. Many have reported that they were able to get past airport dogs while carrying edibles. This is largely because the scent of marijuana in these edibles changes during cooking.
Edibles as we know come in several forms. People can infuse marijuana into literally anything whether solid or liquid food, even sprays. Therefore an airport dog will require rigorous training to be able to accurately detect them.
Homemade edibles tend to differ from the ones bought online. This is because of the difference in marijuana content and concentration. Therefore the risk of being detected while carrying homemade edibles is higher.
It’s also worthy to note that most edibles contain only THC. And this component of marijuana is claimed to be odorless.
It’s of the general notion that dogs can be able to detect edibles of trained to do so. However, law enforcement currently does not see it as a priority and would rather go for the bigger guys. Airport dogs are trained to detect bigger drugs like cocaine, heroin, MDMA, meth, etc.
Can airport dogs reliably detect edibles? That’s still up for debate. However, we must note that the strength of a dog’s snout is no joke. They can detect drugs at a ratio of five parts by billions. That’s like a drop of water in 10 swimming pools. Crazy, right?
Why Edibles Are Becoming More Appealing To Consumers
The sale of marijuana has skyrocketed and along with it are edibles. This is largely due to its legality in some states in the US. Based on current events, sales of edibles will continue to increase.
So why are people getting more interested in edibles? Most people would rather take marijuana as edibles instead of smoking it. Let’s go through a few reasons why that is.
1.Convenience –Edibles come in different forms, and you can easily take them wherever you’re going once it’s legal in the state. Imagine having an edible spray, so convenient.
2. Discrete –You wanna take cannabis without people around you noticing? Then edibles are the way to go. As a parent, you probably do want to smoke a joint around your kids because the smoke can affect them and they can easily pick up the habit too at that young age.
3. The High Is Calm, Relaxing, And Longer – Unlike smoking, edibles are metabolized in the body by the liver. Therefore it has to pass through the liver before entering the bloodstream and getting you high. This gradual breakdown of edibles makes its high calmer and longer-lasting than smoke.
4. Smoke Allergy – While smoking a joint looks like a big boy venture, not everybody can comfortably inhale smoke. Asthmatic people for instance can’t handle smoke. A better option for them would be to go for edibles.
5. Avoid Problems Of Smoking –Smoking can irreversibly damage your lungs. It has been known to be a major risk factor for a lot of health conditions including cancers. Many people aim to bypass this toxicity by taking cannabis as edible rather than smoking. That makes sense!
As you can see, the continuous surge in demand for edibles is driven by several reasons. And this demand will continue to go up from the look of things. The legality of marijuana in some states has further boosted the demand for marijuana.
However, in those states where it is still illegal, having edibles in your possession is an offense. Going through the airport in a state where it is illegal is also an offense. While you might be able to fool the cops, can you fool the airport dogs?
Conclusion – Can Airport Dogs Detect Edibles?
From what you’ve read so far, you’ll know that the answer to this question isn’t a hard yes or no. However, given the prowess of a dog’s nose, they can surely be trained to accurately detect edibles.
This is not being done because edibles are not top of the list of law enforcement agencies. They’re going after bigger fishes like heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, etc.
This just means that if edibles become a problem, trainers can be asked to train dogs that can detect edibles. With the uniqueness of a dog’s nose, that feat will be achieved in no time.
Do not underestimate the nose of a sniffer dog. They’ve been trained to detect bombs and even SIM cards, therefore edibles won’t be any different. It’s just time.
Therefore it is safe to assume that airport dogs can accurately detect edibles if they’re trained to do so. However, it’s not done because edibles take the backseat when it comes to drugs.
Dogs indeed have powerful noses, some breeds even have better. They can easily sniff out things we can’t fathom.
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