When your “trip” goes south for your pet- Marijuana toxicity in dogs

The use of cannabis and CBD in pets is a hot topic in the veterinary medicine world.  While we have little evidence and research regarding the use and benefits of CBD, we do know about the toxic effects of THC and marijuana ingestion in pets. 

What parts of marijuana affect pets?

Marijuana is classified by the DEA as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance and includes all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa. Cannibanoids are found in the flowering tops, resin, and leaves of the plant which are then produced into: THC (tetrahydrocannabinols), CDB (cannabidiols), and Hemp.

  • THC yields the typical euphoric effects seen in humans including anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and pain relief effects, but is known to be highly toxic to pets.
  • CBD can affect the nervous system but does not produce characteristic euphoric effects.
  • Hemp is made from the stalk and sterilized seeds of the plant Cannabis plant and is not a significant source of THC or CBD. 

How marijuana ingestion can affect your dog?

Dogs can be poisoned by marijuana in various ways. Most commonly, pets will ingest marijuana edibles, eat the marijuana itself, or have exposure via second hand smoke.

The most common signs of marijuana toxicity include weakness, dribbling urine, hyperreactive, dazed expression, trouble walking, and vomiting. Severe toxicity can cause hypothermia, changes in heart rate, and tremors. 

Onset of signs can start as soon as 5 minutes after ingestion and can last days, depending on the amount ingested. Immediate medication attention is recommended to try and induce vomiting to remove the volume of marijuana ingested and provide supportive care measures. 

Prognosis tends to be good for most marijuana toxicity pets with supportive care and signs improve in a few hours to a few days. However, larger volumes of ingestion can be dangerous and deadly.

What about CBD?

Currently, research is being performed on the use of CBD on joint health and arthritis. The difficult part regarding CBD is the varied number of products on the market with wide-ranging formulations, strains, and dosing regimens available. 

If you are interested in alternative treatment options for your pet, please reach out to your veterinarian to ensure that the best care and long-term outcome is provided to your furry companions.

The more ya know!

Dr. Nicky

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