Marijuana Use Is on the Rise ... Among Dogs and Cats

dog pot.jpg
animalcentral.net
Look at his eyes ... he's baked!
Animals are known to consume marijuana. In fact, many have long known that pot producers in the northern counties deer-proof their marijuana plants, else docile does and bucks will chew on the buds and leaves. This author once knew a parrot who liked to consume cured bud, as well as stems and seeds, and would actually seek out these mood-altering treats.

Perhaps all this sounds surprising until you stumble across this fact: There's been an increase in marijuana use among dogs, cats, and other domestic pets, according to a report out of Colorado.

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Colorado, there's been a dramatic "spike" in the number of furry companions being rushed to the vet after mistakenly (or happily?) consuming marijuana, according to a report in the Durango Herald. Vets reported a 30-fold increase in these cases -- and it's not likely to abate, as long as the threat of the semi-legal devil medicine is among us. "Dogs love the stuff," one vet told the newspaper.

Whoa.

The good news is that this is a relatively benign epidemic. According to a study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals's Animal Poison Control Center, only two deaths out of 250 pet pot cases have been reported -- a cat and a horse, both of whom had other outstanding medical issues.

The ASPCA's study is a bit dated, but if we are allowed to extrapolate, dogs are much more likely to go for an owners' stash, be it a plate of cookies or a bag of bud: About 96 percent of cases involve dogs, while cats are busted munching marijuana only 3 percent of the time. All other pets comprised 1 percent of the total number of cases.

Typical signs of marijuana exposure in pets are loss of muscle control, agitation and anxiety, excessive vocalization, dizziness and confusion, extreme lethargy, and reactions to sounds that may resemble seizures -- and in some cases, loss of bladder control. Heh.

In Colorado, most cases stem from a dog chowing down on marijuana-laced food, though the ASCPA did report one case of a Fido eating three grams of raw bud.

Here in San Francisco, there have been reports of "dog owners blowing smoke in their pets' faces," according to Animal Care and Control Director Rebecca Katz. On one recent occasion, Katz said she received a complaint as part of a "domestic dispute." However, Katz says she can't think of a time when the city has intervened and removed a marijuana-using mutt from a household, or levied fines on their laissez-faire humans.

Katz recommended SF Weekly try local vet clinics to see if pet pot use is on the rise here, too. We contacted several local -- and respectable -- veterinary clinics, but they did not immediately respond to requests for comment. However, we did get some answers from S.F. vet Eric Barchas, who has on his website an entire entry dedicated to the subject, "Marijuana Intoxication in Cats and Dogs."

Poisoning or intoxication caused by marijuana resembles poisoning by other substances, Barchas writes; the difference is that marijuana intoxication runs its course in a few hours, and the regimen of treatment is usually nothing more invasive than "nursing the pet and preventing anxiety," Barchas writes.

Pets may become dehydrated if they're too ripped to remember how to drink water, but other than that, "Serious, long-term health consequences and fatality from marijuana intoxication are essentially unheard of," Barchas notes.

However, there is a risk of poisoning from chocolate if the dog's method of medicating was a cocoa-laden brownie, Katz told SF Weekly.

So, should you get your pet stoned? Probably not. But if Spot does snack on your bud at home, just do as any stoned human would: Dim the lights, lower the volume on the stereo, and let your dog chill out.

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50 comments
ebsenjensen
ebsenjensen

raisins, onions, chocolate, are far more dangerous to dog health than eating raw cannabis which is not good for humans, either. There are fine, hair-like structures that are stiff and drag along the throat (or any epithelial layer) during ingestion and then there is inevitable upset in the stomach after consuming raw cannabis. Some botanists note that this (as well as the psychoactive properties) is likely a deterrent to animals wanting to eat the plant, like deer.

 

Almost 96% of cases where pet animals ate "pot," 96% were dog patients. Either dogs like pot or they like what it is cooked into

ebsenjensen
ebsenjensen

http://stash.norml.org/off-the-leash-marijuana-and-dogs

 

There was, indeed, a 2002 peer-reviewed paper entitled “Marijuana exposure in animals” by Caroline W. Donaldson, DVM.  It does confirm that a dog should not eat cannabis:

According to the ASPCA APCC Database, the most common side effects of marijuana toxicosis are depression, ataxia, and bradycardia. Other signs include agitation, vocalization, vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, tachycardia, hypothermia, mydriasis, urinary incontinence, seizures, and coma.

 

But also notes:

An LD50 (the amount for a dose that will kill half of those who take it) has not been established in dogs or cats. Research in dogs and monkeys showed that oral doses of delta 9-THC and delta 8-THC ranging from 3,000 to 9,000 mg/kg were not lethal, and all dogs recovered within 24 hours of ingestion.

 

3-9g/kg means a dog like Roscoe, who weighs 10kg, eating one to three ounces — of oral THC at 100% potency, like Marinol pills, not one to three ounces of new-and-improved 10% THC “super-pot”. 

 

Out of more than 250 cases of accidental marijuana ingestion reported to the ASPCA APCC, two deaths were reported. In one cat, exposure to multiple agents was possible, and the results of a gross necropsy revealed that the animal probably died of complications of cardiomyopathy. The second death reported was a horse with signs attributed to colic, but a gross necropsy was not done. The prognosis is favorable for symptomatic animals with no secondary complications, such as aspiration pneumonia. With supportive care, these animals usually recover within 72 hours.

215elive
215elive

When my dogs eat weed they be all jumping around then go to sleep

Kindnsruls
Kindnsruls

back in the 70's, there was a big bloodhound kinda looking dog we named Arlo, because we didn't know his name. Arlo was hip,because he wore a red bandana around his neck. A few days a week, drawn no doubt by the smells coming from our apt, Arlo would drop by at the patio door,and beg a few buds off us, and then go his way. True Story.

Jon Armeli
Jon Armeli

I feel that the author wears his opinion on his sleeve with comments like; " threat of the semi-legal devil medicine". however, I'd be interested to know a little more detail, such as; is the usage across the board ( so to speak ) or are there other factors suggesting something other than "recreational" usage by the animals who seek out the stuff. ex.instinctual self medicating due to an underlying medical condition, of course there's no telling without the ability to speak the language of each, of course, with out extensive testing. and who is going to spend the money? lol    

bb54
bb54

Obama read this: Cats and dogs of America are fed up with you.Dont go dare raid their dispensaries.They might take a bite out of your sitting do-nothing white house big butt.It would be nice to  actually raise a race of killing pit bulls to welcome your DEA agents when they show up at dispensaries.

Hank Moody
Hank Moody

This nation of Faux "do-gooder's" is more about dirty political money not allowing something OTHER'S of us want to become legal than it EVER has been about the land of the FREE. Cynicism, maybe but is has forced me to rethink my view of "Liberty" here at home.*Define: **Liberty - the freedom for super wealthy politico's to subvert campaign finance laws based upon decision's handed down from our 'Dirty Court,' providing political power broker's unlimited funds for their ongoing subversive activities predicated upon sabotage of the will of the American people.*By the way, I luv the pooch.

Lan
Lan

my friendis a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now she is seeking a good man who can give her real love, so she got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

MaD_MoL
MaD_MoL

"Pets may become dehydrated if they're too ripped to remember how to drink water"    LoL that part was funny

Ramsey Peter
Ramsey Peter

no chocolate for dogs! Keep your stuff away form pets

Ckeran3
Ckeran3

Our Sally has over lived the vets expectance by over a year because we regularly medicate her.  He said, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it.  It's working for her."  Nuff said 

5150
5150

Reading this, makes me wanna watch "Up In Smoke" and hear Chong's line of "...its part Labrador man"

Sebastian Owl
Sebastian Owl like.author.displayName 1 Like

My dog was epileptic, and a couple times a month he would have terrible long lasting seizures. I would blow pot smoke in his mouth and ears to help alievate the seizures. Before giving him the pot his seizures would last upto an hour, with the pot he would get out of the seizure much faster usually in 10-15 min. The vets isn't expect him to live much longer than 7 or 8 but he lived to the ripe old age of 15 years old.

billy
billy

Wooooooow maaaaan!  You did it! You cured Seizures Bro! Gooood Jooooob  Maaaaaan! You should head up to SF General and blow some weed (and vegan burrito breath) in some seizure patients faces to cure them too maaaan.

Michael Novak
Michael Novak like.author.displayName 1 Like

don't all the people that hate pot smokers realize we don't care. every time they put up a comment for us to see, like "FREAKING POTHEADS" they are basically wasting there time however worthless it may be. and every time i see a comment about pot smokers driving which i don't condone (being a pot smoker myself) they always freak out more so than i expect they do over drunk driving. which is way more likely to cause problems or even just happen accident or not. the only people that drive high are the ones that are like i drive better when im high and are probably just as likely to get in an accident sober. alcohol turns even the best person's judgement backwards to where they don't even consider if they are to messed up.

billy
billy

Just chill out Mike, don't let them harsh your buzz bro.  Just take another pull off your bong, man.  Turn on some floyd and turn the lights down a bit,man.  You don't have to go to work or anything so just go ahead and take another toke.  Don't let those bros ruin your mellow, man.

Webgypsy
Webgypsy

I knew a miniature poodle that ran up and put her face in yours if you were about to exhale!

LizY
LizY like.author.displayName 1 Like

Marijuana is not an intoxicant.  Cannabis has nothing toxic to the body (human or otherwise) in it; it actually acts more like a supplement. Read up on anything by Dr. Lester Grinspoon.

If an animal has a bad reaction, it's usually due to dehydration, which tends to happen with marijuana or increase in heart rate, also a common side effect. 

billy
billy

That's right Maaaaaan.  You're body doesn't work right if you don't get enough weed, man.  It's a supplement, man. Like vitamin C and good vibes and stuff.

LizY
LizY like.author.displayName 1 Like

Did you notice how my response was intelligent & respectful, & yours lacked both qualities?

RobertSF
RobertSF

Color me skeptical. I'm sure deers eat marijuana. I've read the plant itself is more nutritious than average for plants. But eat to get high? I don't know about that. Humans have receptors in their brains that specifically link with THC molecules. Have dogs and cats evolved those?

But the biggest reason to be skeptical is that just plain pot doesn't get anyone high. If you just ate a joint instead of smoking it, you'd get sick and you wouldn't get high. You have to put the plant material through a process called decarboxylation, which means to apply enough heat to turn the THC psychoactive. You only need about 200 degrees, so this happens automatically when you smoke it or cook with it. But it doesn't happen often in nature, so I'm skeptical about animals getting stoned by eating plain pot. Sick, maybe; stoned? I don't think so.

Matt Riley
Matt Riley

Yes, all vertebrates have cannabinoid receptors, not just people. No, eating is just as effective as smoking cannabis. It is a slower means of getting the cannabinoids into the bloodstream and has a slightly different feel due to the different rates of cannabinoids reaching the brain but it works just fine. Cats, dogs, deer and any other animal you can think of will get the same effect from consuming cannabis. And just like people, some of them enjoy it because it gives relief from lifes aches and pains.

Bjørn Hjelmerud
Bjørn Hjelmerud

Carboxylation is only needed for amanita mushrooms. Pot will get you high if you eat it,...for hours and hours...:)

James Allison
James Allison

I keep seeing these stories and it's annoying because they all seem to leave out an important fact - marijuana plants are not psychoactive when eaten. Heating through smoke or cooking is necessary to produce the chemical change called decarboxylation, which is necessary to get the high effect. Dehydration at room temp can eventually produce the same chemical changes, at least in theory.

Eating growing plants or normally cured bud is not going to do anything but make your pet puke or have green turds. If your pooch got into your stash and seems to be acting weird, it's probably just because YOU are high.  Hahaha

WeedScientist
WeedScientist

Thanks for adding science and reason.  You are absolutely correct.  dried plant material has little to no psychoactive effect.  These animals MUST have eaten a decarbed edible, unfortunately probably in chocolate.  The temperature needed to start decarboxylating is at least 200, so NO, the higher body temp of the dog or cat is not going to do it. A very light dose of cannabis can be an excellent route to ease your dog through fireworks or other stressful situations. 

lolol00
lolol00

 "I keep seeing these stories and it's annoying because they all seem to leave out an important fact - marijuana plants are not psychoactive when eaten. Heating through smoke or cooking is necessary to produce the chemical change called decarboxylation, which is necessary to get the high effect. Dehydration at room temp can eventually produce the same chemical changes, at least in theory.

Eating growing plants or normally cured bud is not going to do anything but make your pet puke or have green turds. If your pooch got into your stash and seems to be acting weird, it's probably just because YOU are high.  Hahaha"

lol? thats a joke right? you do know that a dogs body tempurature is quite a bit higher than a humans correct? when dogs, or most animals for that matter, ingest bud, their body tempurature is high enough to heat up the thc... l2p

Dmcdknf
Dmcdknf

Are you serious?!  Our 6 month old puppy got into someone's stash at a big picnic on 4th of July and we had to take her to the emergency vet. She was vomiting, trembling, drooling and miserable. We had no idea what was wrong with her and were totally freaked out. When we got to the vet he took one look at her and immediately diagnosed marijuana poisoning. They had to give her charcoal and an IV, and kept her over night. It was scary; I had no idea that dogs could have that kind of reaction. I always assumed that a dog would just get the munchies and sleep, but we have no way of knowing how much she ate.

Charky
Charky

A) It was a puppy; B) it ate someones whole bag while you weren't paying attention(and neither was the owner of said bag, which is astonishing to me!); C) a dog's digestive system works differently than a humans and breaks down oily or fatty foods/substances. and; D) Eating marijuana is the only way any animal, including humans, can OD on pot, and should be done with extreme care. Remember the Deputy who stole weed from the evidence locker at work and called 911 to report he and his wife wear dying, LOL?!?

Bob
Bob

I've seen humans have that same reaction, and it did happen to me in the past, pot is really hard on my stomach, I'd imagine the dose is also a factor here.

Willie Morelli
Willie Morelli

I guess it's because it has a varied effect on the individual dog as it does with people. I can't smoke the stuff and get semi-comatose ripped than the average smoker so it was probably the same for your dog.

Enzy22
Enzy22 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I remember when my dog ate the leaves of marijuana plants in my yard.  For three days afterwards, he rolled on his back and kept saying yaa yaa yaa

bigriggs
bigriggs

I wonder where peta stands on this?

Gorgon
Gorgon

"Thou shalt not blow pot-smoke into the face of my pet"                                                            -William Burroughs

Filbert Desenex
Filbert Desenex

Back in the bad old days, I'd let my budgie clean the seeds out of the mexican brickweed.

Kichwa
Kichwa

so that's where my weed went...

Norman Gooding
Norman Gooding

Now you did it,,now prohibitionists will want to build doggie prisons,,doggie rehab,,and have a doggie drug czar,,oops,,the drug czar already looks like "Droopy".

ChronicCaeCae
ChronicCaeCae

My cat sits on our lap and begs for a hit then walks off happy as can be! Been doing it for months no problem..

Allen Jones
Allen Jones

Don't you people have better things to research, like why congress is so behind in the times?

Vangoes_ear
Vangoes_ear

Don't you have better things to read?

Chris Harmon
Chris Harmon

we give it to our Akita mix- blow it in his face- he is 12 and has arthritis and it seems to help him relax and feel better. And no worries- he goes right over to have a drink!! LMAO

Hank Moody
Hank Moody

I hope he was kidding with that remark about, 'forgetting how to drink water.' Lol! Please!

Bro Montana
Bro Montana

My cat eats cannabutter fairly often. He really loves it!

Schramdub
Schramdub

I have seen high dogs before. They act just as humans do when high on marijuana.. Eat everything in sight... Chill out after its all gone and happy about anything that happens

Rebelalchemist
Rebelalchemist

Your dog.can.barley walk.let alonr.eat anything when.there high, but.once.they.regain control.i..do.say.they have.quite an appetite

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