by Gigi McWhirter
Life may be like a box of chocolates, but chocolate mixed with marijuana can be a toxic combination for your pet.
Animal poison control centers have reported an increase of toxic reactions since marijuana has become legalized in more and more states. Whether pot is being used for medicinal or recreational purposes, it is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that gets humans high. Because house pets are (usually) smaller than their humans, it can take less THC for them to have a bad reaction. The more THC ingested by an animal, the higher the risk for a dangerous effect. In some cases, it may even result in death. Ingestion can come in several forms, including consuming goodies baked with pot, second-hand smoke, eating your secret stash, chewy hooch-infused candies and chocolates and marijuana based butters or oils.
Besides the missing brownies or the chewed up ganja bag, signs that the cat, dog or other pet is having a bad reaction to marijuana can include:
- Abnormal heart rate
- Staggering or loss of balance
- Low blood pressure
- Death – if large amounts
have been consumed
If you notice any of the above symptoms, or if you suspect your animal is having a negative reaction, please contact a veterinarian or poison control immediately. Do not be afraid to advise the vet’s office that your pet has come into contact with marijuana or a marijuana-based product! It is essential for your pet’s care that you tell the doctor and the veterinary staff about your concerns. If possible, bring what you think your pet has gotten into with you – especially anything purchased from a legal source and those containing labels noting the ingredients and THC levels.
Before giving pot in any form to any animal, talk to a veterinarian, even if you think your pet could benefit from cannabis for medicinal purposes. According to Dr. Douglas Kramer, in an article for the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), “We need to investigate marijuana further to determine whether the case reports I’m hearing are true or whether there’s a placebo effect at work.”
Remember, unless prescribed by a licensed veterinarian, and not Dr. Google or the person at the dispensary counter, it is important that you keep the hooch from the pooch – and all the other animals, too!
Happy tails to you!