Like humans, dogs and cats also have an endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is constantly functioning in our bodies to help regulate sleep cycles, mood, stress levels, and appetite, amongst other things. In this system, there are receptors called CB1 and CB2 whose functions are either inhibited or enhanced by cannabinoids like THC or CBD.
Due to something called the entourage effect, it’s know that the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis are more effective in combination than isolation. However, it’s important to recognize that although humans and our fuzzy companions both have endocannabinoid systems, they don’t all work in the same way. While a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio may feel amazing for a human, your pet who has a much higher sensitivity to THC will not feel the same way. While small amounts of THC in combination with CBD aren’t going to harm your pet, if you suspect they’ve eaten your stash of weed-infused candies, you should be concerned. Here are the steps we’d recommend taking.
Call the 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (855)-764-7661, or go directly to your vet. Every strain and every pet is different, so if you know your pet has ingested cannabis, then there may be no uniform reactions. If you take your pet into the vet soon enough, it’s just a quick injection to make them throw up and you’re good to go. It’s always better to err on the side of caution if your pet has ingested anything.
How do you know if your pet has consumed weed?
Other than the obvious signs (weed crumbs, open edible packages, etc) your pet may be showing symptoms that come with cannabis consumption such as but are not limited to, lethargy, dilated pupils, involuntary urination, dribbling urine, shaking, trembling, difficulty walking, vomiting, and irregular temperature. Your pet may also have an elevated heart rate, agitation, and according to the Poison Control Center, potential coma.
How dangerous is weed to my pet?
Cannabis consumption is easy to treat once it’s diagnosed, but it can be very serious, especially for smaller dogs and cats. Usually it’s the symptoms that pose the biggest danger. Pets can become drastically dehydrated, hurt themselves stumbling around, experience Tachycardia (an increased heart rate), and develop hypo or hyperthermia. One of the other core threats is other toxins that may accompany cannabis. Chocolate is dangerous to dogs and even peanut butter or other highly fatty ingredients can cause things like pancreatitis, which can also be life threatening if not treated.
According to this article and VCA , cannabis consumption in pets can be fatal, but in most cases it isn’t. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors, so essentially they over process it and their system becomes overwhelmed. They don’t process it the same as humans so it’s always best to call or bring your pet to the vet for evaluation and treatment.
Be honest with your veterinarian.
It’s best to be honest about what you know. This will help your pet and your wallet. It’s much cheaper to treat cannabis toxicity than most other toxicities or other conditions. There’s an array of conditions that present similarly to cannabis toxicity. Tobacco toxicity for example, is potentially fatal, so it is treated more aggressively. Vestibular disease is an inner ear infection and is quite serious. This too has similar presentations. You may feel reluctant to tell your vet that your pet got into your stash. Maybe you’re embarrassed or living in an area where cannabis isn’t legal, but being honest with your vet is much better than risking the life of your best bud.
So, next time you’re enjoying the effects of cannabis, be sure to stow your stash in a safe, pet proof place and out of reach of your furry friends!