April 28 2018
First, let's look at
- According to the ASPCA's
animal poison directory, marijuana â€” the Cannabis Sativa L. plant
â€” is toxic to dogs, cats and horses.
- Trupanion, one of the largest
pet insurers, has paid over $78,000 in suspected marijuana claims to date, with
marijuana toxicity being the biggest culprit.
- Trupanion has treated
marijuana ingestion for dogs of all shapes and sizes. The average marijuana
toxicity claim costs about $525 on average to treat.
- Dogs are prone to counter surfing and swiping
items (particularly food) off the counters. Many dogs have developed toxicity
not only from eating the marijuana, but from other ingredients (such as
chocolate) in marijuana laced brownies, gummi bears, etc.
- In certain states, many pet owners are afraid
to tell their veterinarians that their pets have eaten marijuana, so many cases
go untreated or are mis-reported.
- Veterinarians have reported dogs being treated
not only from ingesting marijuana but the second-hand smoke. Symptoms include impaired coordination, excessive urination and even
loss of control of urination (incontinence), drooling, vomiting, lethargy,
depression, dilated pupils, and light and sound sensitivity and in severe
cases, seizures and coma.
- One emergency animal hospital
in Colorado (where recreational marijuana is legal) reports that it treats five
dogs a day for ingestion of marijuana, according to Fox31 in Denver.
There seems to be a consensus that like prescription medications,
marijuana should be kept out of the hands of children and the paws of pets. If
you know that your dog has ingested some marijuana, take him to the vet
immediately for observation to be on the safe side.
Marijuana Help Your Pet?
This is where the facts get murky. Some pet owners and
veterinarians are giving their dogs marijuana to successfully treat illnesses and
symptoms such as cancer, seizures, back pain, nausea, arthritis, and anxiety
with great results.
- The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration has not approved marijuana for any use in animals.
- There is a major
difference between veterinary and human marijuana products, and even a large
difference amongst the various human products. Products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, have a psychoactive
component that creates the 'high' many people talk about. Veterinary products
generally do not contain THC but are compromised of the pain-relieving
substance cannabidiol, or CBD.
- Some pet owners report that
CBD is more effective in reducing pain without the side effects of traditional
pain medications. It has been known to reduce inflammation in dogs who have
stiffness and arthritis.
- Some preliminary studies have
shown that CBD helps to fight cancer.
- CBD has been shown to help
dogs with anxiety. Many dogs are anxious about loud noises, stress, separation
- One of the biggest uses for
CBD is to help reduce and completely stop seizures in
both adults and children that suffer from epilepsy.
It is reported that up to 5% of dogs suffer from epilepsy. Pet owners report
that traditional epilepsy medications can damage a dog's liver and other organs
- If your dog suffers from gastrointestinal
issues, CBD has been known to help with gut motility.
Err on the Side of Caution
The best advice? Talk
to your veterinarian before using any marijuana laced products for your pet. It's
important to choose products derived from hemp and
not cannabis. Keep doing your research as more pet-friendly products and
more research becomes available because no current long-term studies exist.