Some might say the days when marijuana use is frowned upon are long gone. The increasing amount of research and latest information has made many states across the United States change their legislative stance on it. With marijuana now legal for medicinal use across 38 US states and recreational use in 19 states and the District of Columbia, marijuana has become a mainstay of many households for several reasons. 

Hence, it is of little surprise that the number of marijuana poisoning cases reported to the Pet Poison Helpline® has risen over the last few years. If your dog got into any marijuana products such as an edible, here’s what you need to know: 

Is Marijuana Bad for Pets? 

Though they are over 80 different cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, the two main active compounds in cannabis are: THC, which is responsible for the immediate psychotropic effects experience when using the drug; and CBD, which is non-psychotropic, calming, and more subtle. 

Pets can be poisoned by marijuana in several ways. They can ingest edibles such as brownies, gummies, or pot butter; this is by far the most common means of poisoning. They can also get poisoned by marijuana from inhaling secondhand smoke or ingesting cannabis in formulations such as tinctures or cannabis oils. 

THC is the active compound most toxic to pets and CBD is toxic to a degree if consumed in large doses. For instance, if your cat or dog ate an edible containing marijuana high in THC, you can notice symptoms of marijuana poisoning within 30 minutes to an hour. On the other hand, consuming a marijuana strain with little THC but high CBD content may take longer for signs to develop. 

Symptoms Of Marijuana Poisoning 

Depending on the dose and strain of marijuana ingested, your pet may experience symptoms for as long as 24 hours. The signs are very distinctive, and you will likely notice some of the following: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Lethargy 
  • Sedation 
  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Irregular body temperature 
  • Dribbling urine 
  • Difficulty walking 
  • Agitation 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures 
  • Unusual vocalization, such as whining or crying 
  • Increased sensitivity to stimuli, such as light and sound 

What Should You Do If Your Pet Consumed Marijuana? 

Although no true antidote for cannabis exists, animals poisoned by marijuana usually do well with supportive care. Your veterinarian can help by: 

  • Monitoring your pet’s body temperature and heart rate to keep it stable. 
  • Giving IV fluids to help maintain hydration. 
  • Prescribing anti-emetic drugs to stop vomiting and fluid loss. 
  • Administering activated charcoal to bind marijuana in the stomach and prevent further absorption. 
  • Keep your pet confined to protect them from hurting themselves in their dazed and confused state. 

If your pet has consumed marijuana by any measure, the best course of action would be to contact a veterinarian immediately or call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for medical assistance.