Weed is much more widespread and accessible these days, with legislation being more relaxed on its medicinal and recreational use. That said, if you have been prescribed medical marijuana for pain or disease management or enjoy weed recreationally, you should not let it within reach of your pets. Animals are doubly affected by the psychoactive compounds in weed. Their small size and the fact that their metabolism works differently from that of humans means that if your dog or cat ate weed, there might be dangerous health consequences.
Dangers of Weed to Cats
The active compounds in marijuana are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These are naturally psychoactive compounds that can act as stimulants or depressants, depending on the strain or concentration of each compound. CBD is less toxic than THC because it is derived from hemp to avoid larger amounts of THC. CBD is a newer treatment for some cats to help certain behaviors like anxiety or treat pain such as arthritis. A CBD overdose can happen when a cat has been given too much and it has built up in their system. Always consult your veterinarian before administering any product or medication to your cat. If your cat ate weed, the ensuing effects will be more severe than for humans. Cats can be poisoned by marijuana from smoke exposure, eating a marijuana plant or edibles, or ingesting highly concentrated oil products such as dabs. Small ingestions of any of these THC forms can pose a great threat to cats. Some common signs of poisoning include a dazed expression, dribbling urine, vomiting, changes in heart rate and much more.
Symptoms of Weed Toxicity in Cats
The effects of weed poisoning you may notice in your cat can range from mild to severe, depending on dosage. Symptoms can appear within 30-60 minutes and may last between 6 to 12 hours. In severe cases, signs can persist for up to 96 hours. Common symptoms of toxicity include any of the following:
- Dazed expression
- Glassy eyes
- Slow response times
- Dribbling urine
- Changes in heart rate
Treatment of Weed Toxicity in Cat
Unfortunately, THC poisoning has no antidote, so you, your cat, and your vet will have to wait for symptoms to subside. However, if you seek treatment in a timely manner, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to remove undigested THC from the stomach. Your vet may also administer activated charcoal to aid detoxification and stop further THC absorption. Supportive care will last for at least a day or two until the symptoms completely wear off. If your cat has eaten weed or its derivatives, contact your vet and call Pet Poison Helpline®’s 24/7 emergency helpline at (855) 764-7661.