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  • Ashley Slimak

What To Do If Your Pet Consumes Cannabis

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

As pet owners, you know there’s a long list of things that, although perfectly healthy for humans, can be devastating for your cat or dog, like chocolate and grapes. But, as medical marijuana users, it’s important to know the effects that cannabis can have on your furry friend if ingested.

First, know that the THC found in cannabis can indeed be harmful to your pets, although there can be some confusion out there. Many pet owners use CBD infused treats and oils for different reasons with early studies showing that small amounts of CBD are not harmful to pets. THC, however, is a different story.

Learn why THC is harmful, what to look out for if you think your pet consumed cannabis and steps you can take to keep your him or her safe.

The science

Just like humans, animals have an endocannabinoid system. They have two receptors in their bodies, CB1 and CB2. CB1 is the receptor responsible for the effects experienced in the central nervous system and the CB2 receptor is responsible for the peripheral tissue affects.

In dogs, CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain, but also appear in the salivary glands and hair follicles. CB2 receptors are in the dog’s skin, immune system, peripheral nervous system and some organs, such as the liver and kidneys.

While humans can safely consume large quantities of THC, pets cannot. If ingested, pets experience uncomfortable side effects and in severe cases, death. Pets can be intoxicated by cannabis in various ways, from inhaling second-hand some to eating edibles.

What factors influence the intoxication levels?

The effects of THC in pets varies based on how much they consume, the level of concentration in the product, etc. Below are a few points to consider. If your pet consumes cannabis, try and answer the below questions to give your vet as many details as possible.

  • What product was consumed?

  • How much was consumed?

  • How much time has passed since your pet consumed the product?

  • How old is your pet?

  • How big is your pet?

  • Does your pet have any other health issues the vet should be aware of?

Warning signs of cannabis ingestion in pets

What are the signs of marijuana ingestion? Early signs include:

  • Poor balance/uncoordinated

  • Lethargy

  • Excessive drooling

  • Vomiting

  • Sensitivity to movement and sound

  • Unusual or increased vocalization

  • Disorientation

Severe signs include:

  • Changes in breathing

  • Muscle tremors

  • Urinary leakage

  • Seizures

  • Coma

What to do if your pet consumes cannabis

The most important thing to do if your pet consumes cannabis is to act fast. Don’t wait around to see if it progresses. Seek professional help and call your vet or a pet poison hotline. The professional may recommend you induce vomiting, especially if you caught it within 15 minutes. If you have a pet who is susceptible to getting into things, it would probably be smart to keep some items on hand to help induce vomiting, like hydrogen peroxide. If too much time has passed, the vet or professional may suggest bringing the animal in for IV fluids or multiple doses of activated charcoal. Let the vet determine the best plan of action.

Most importantly, take the right steps to ensure that it won’t happen again. Be mindful of where you store and keep your products, keeping it very far out of reach from your furry friends. Taking preventive measures is the only way to ensure that future accidents will not occur.

Missouri Marijuana Doctors

If you are a Missourian suffering from a qualifying condition, you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.

Click here to learn more about what Missouri Marijuana Card's certified medical marijuana physicians can do for you, or give us a call at 877-303-3117 and our friendly patient support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment through telemedicine.

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