Pot and pets.

As a Californian, you are likely familiar with marijuana and its medical benefits. It has been legal for medical purposes since 1996 and for recreational use since 2018. With many residents using it, it is only natural for pet owners to wonder if it is safe for their animals. MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital has all the answering to your burning questions about pot and pets. 

All About Marijuana

Cannabis sativa, otherwise known as the marijuana plant, has been utilized as a recreational drug for a long time outside the letter of the law. With its more recent legalization in California, pot is more prevalent than ever before.

Marijuana contains two compounds of interest:

THC—This compound binds in the brain to create a sense of euphoria. It can also help with pain and support appetite. 

CBD—This compound interacts in the body to release neurotransmitters in the brain. It can have anti-anxiety effects and help with pain and inflammation. It is also thought to have anti-seizure benefits.

Pets can be exposed to marijuana through ingestion of edibles, resin, leaves, vape cartridges, or cigarette butts. They can also inhale second-hand smoke. 

Pot and Pets

Marijuana is not without risk to pets, and those who have it in their home should be educated. Marijuana does seem to have a safe dosing range for pets, but when overdosed pot and pets don’t go together. When Fido finds the edibles, he rarely restrains himself.

Symptoms of marijuana toxicity in pets occur within a few hours of exposure and can include:

  • Depression and lethargy
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow respiratory rate
  • Pupil dilation
  • Drooling
  • Urinary dribbling
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Severity of symptoms increases with increasing doses. While marijuana toxicity is generally not fatal, supportive care is often needed. When edibles such as brownies are ingested, things like chocolate toxicity and xylitol toxicity also need to be considered. 

Where Things Stand

While marijuana is legal in California, there is no specific law at present making cannabis in any form legal for pets. This prevents veterinarians in the state from legally recommending or prescribing it. At present, there is also a dearth of research regarding safety and efficacy of marijuana in pets, especially regarding THC.

While there are likely some very good indications for marijuana use in animals, at this stage of the game, we are bound by the law and the limit of research in pets. For now, we will have to wait and see. 

If you have any questions about pot and pets, don’t hesitate to contact us. Whether it be about an accidental exposure or questions about use, we are happy to guide you.