Although the legislation on medicinal and recreational use of weed is becoming more relaxed, it is important to remember that it can be dangerous if your pet gets ahold of it. Animals, due to their smaller size and different metabolism, may be more sensitive to the psychoactive compounds in weed than humans, potentially leading to serious health issues. Cats should not interact with weed or weed containing products in any way. If you have been prescribed medical marijuana or use it recreationally, it is essential to keep it away from your pets. 

The Potential Risks of Weed for Cats 

The main active compounds in marijuana are THC and CBD. While THC is more toxic than CBD, which is derived from hemp to avoid larger amounts of THC, both can act as stimulants or depressants depending on the strain or concentration. CBD is being used as a newer method to help cats with certain disorders such as anxiety or to treat pain such as arthritis, however it is important to always consult a veterinarian before administering any product or medication to your cat. If your cat has eaten weed, the effects will be more severe than for humans. Cats can be poisoned by marijuana through smoke exposure, eating a marijuana plant or edibles, or ingesting highly concentrated oil products. Even small amounts of THC can be very dangerous for cats, and some common signs of poisoning include a dazed expression, dribbling urine, vomiting, and changes in heart rate. 

Clinical Signs of Weed Toxicity in Cats 

Cats exposed to marijuana may experience a range of symptoms from mild to severe, depending on the amount ingested. These signs may appear within 30-60 minutes and can last between 6 to 12 hours. In severe cases signs may persist for up to 96 hours. Possible symptoms include:  

  • Dazed expression  
  • Glassy eyes  
  • Incoordination  
  • Slow response times  
  • Dribbling urine  
  • Vomiting  
  • Drooling  
  • Changes in heart rate  
  • Hyperactivity  
  • Vocalization  
  • Coma  

Treatment for Weed Poisoning  

There is no antidote for THC poisoning, so you and your veterinarian must wait for the symptoms to pass. If you seek treatment quickly, your vet may induce vomiting to remove any undigested THC. They may also give your cat activated charcoal to stop further absorption. Your cat will require supportive care for at least a day or two until the symptoms are gone. If your cat has ingested marijuana or its derivatives, contact your veterinarian and call Pet Poison Helpline®’s 24/7 emergency helpline at (855) 764-7661.