Marijuana legislation is becoming more prevalent in the United States. This can increase the chances of your cat encountering both recreational and medicinal marijuana. However, many pet owners are unaware of the potential side effects of marijuana on cats. As a cat owner, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of marijuana toxicity and to seek medical attention immediately if any signs are exhibited. Better yet, cat owners should create environments in which cats cannot interact with recreational or medicinal marijuana. If there is marijuana in the home, it should be securely stored out of the reach of cats, as even small amounts can cause harm. Pet owners can ensure their cats’ safety and well-being by understanding the potential dangers and effects of marijuana.  

Marijuana Toxicity Effects on Cats 

THC and CBD are active compounds in marijuana that can affect its potency. These compounds are naturally psychoactive and can act as stimulants or depressants, depending on the marijuana’s strain or concentration. More states are legalizing CBD based marijuana strains so it’s more likely that your cat could encounter it. Hemp derived CBD is less toxic than THC and is increasingly being used to treat certain behaviors or medical conditions, such as anxiety or arthritis. CBD overdoses can occur if a cat is given too high of a dosage, leading to a buildup in the system. Therefore, it is important to always consult a veterinarian before giving any product or medication to a cat. Cats can be poisoned by marijuana through secondhand smoke exposure, consuming a marijuana plant or edibles, or ingestion of highly concentrated oil products, such as dabs. Even small amounts of these forms of THC can lead to poisoning. 

Symptoms of Marijuana Toxicity in Cats 

Marijuana poisoning in cats can range from mild to severe symptoms, depending on the amount or type ingested. Symptoms may appear within 30-60 minutes after ingestion and can last from 6 to 12 hours. In more severe cases, clinical signs can last up to 96 hours. If any of the signs listed below are observed, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. 

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

Treatment for Marijuana Toxicity in Cats 

Although there is no true antidote for marijuana, veterinarians can provide supportive care to your cat and the observed symptoms. This may include regulating the body temperature, administering fluids to maintain hydration, administering anti-vomiting medication, closely monitoring the heart rate, and keeping them comfortable and confined to prevent injury. In some cases, activated charcoal may be administered in order to bind the toxin in the stomach and prevent further absorption. If your cat has ingested marijuana or its derivatives, it is important to contact your veterinarian and call Pet Poison Helpline®’s 24/7 emergency helpline at (855) 764-7661.