Cannabis, in its full form (contains cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)), can be dangerous to your pets, if not administered properly. Fatalities are seldom fatal but may occur with a high dosage of THC. Regulated Pet CBD products (even those with THC) can safely be given to your pets to provide health and wellness.
How can my pet become intoxicated by cannabis?
Marijuana is a term used to describe the dried parts of the Cannabis plant. Cannabis has been used as herbal medicine and for products such as rope, textiles, and paper since 500 BC. Cannabis is now mostly used for medical or recreational purposes. It can be smoked like a cigarette, vaporized, or ingested through food and drink. Cats and dogs can become intoxicated by cannabis in a variety of ways, including inhaling second-hand smoke, hemp products/hemp oil, eating edibles (cannabis-containing baked goods, candies, chocolate bars, and chips), or directly ingesting marijuana in any form. The majority of exposures are unintentional, occurring when curious pets accidentally access the drug or when they are in the same room as someone smoking cannabis.
What are the symptoms of marijuana toxicity?
Cannabis’ effects, like those of most drugs, are based on chemistry. The drug enters the body through inhalation or ingestion and binds to specific neuroreceptors in the brain, causing normal neurotransmitter function to be altered. The CB1 type affects the central nervous system, while the CB2 type affects the peripheral tissues. Although not all of the pharmacologic mechanisms triggered by cannabinoids have been identified, it is believed that CB1 is responsible for the majority of cannabis’s effects. Ultimately, cannabis can lead to an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, volatile body temperature, and compromised organ function – all of which will require a visit to a veterinary hospital.
Why is marijuana toxicity overtaking other harmful substances like chocolate?
As more pet owners become aware of the effects of chocolate on their pets, chocolate toxicity cases have slowly been decreasing. On the other hand, marijuana poisoning in pets is becoming more and more common due to the decriminalization and legal action of medical marijuana in many states. The change in medical marijuana laws caused more THC-containing products to be accessible in households with pets, leading to a large increase in marijuana cases. Marijuana intoxication cases are now the second leading cause of animal toxicity, and BluePearl predicts that it will soon surpass chocolate by the end of 2022.
Read our Valentine’s day blog to learn more about chocolate toxicity:
Are there ways to treat cannabis intoxication?
If you see your pet experiencing any symptoms of cannabis intoxication, it is recommended to contact animal poison control hotlines such as the Animal Poison Control Center or the pet poison hotline for guidance. Your veterinarian may urge your pet to vomit in order to get the toxic substance out of their system. Sometimes, it may be too late where the cannabis has already been absorbed into the system and additional treatment options such as gastric lavage may be assessed, and activated charcoal may also be used every 6-8 hours to neutralize the toxin. The next line of defense for marijuana intoxication involves prescription medications and supportive care until the toxicity wears off. Anti-anxiety medications can minimize agitation and IV fluids will help maintain organ function. It is also important to keep your pet in a comfortable, quiet place to prevent further trauma.