Marijuana causes poisoning in pets – study results in the US and Canada

In Canada and the United States, more and more pets are being taken to the vet for marijuana overdose. Some of them die. The results of the research on the subject were published last Wednesday in the scientific journal “PLOS One”.

The study was conducted in 2021. It was attended by 200 veterinarians from the US states that have legalized marijuana, as well as from Canada, where it has been legal since 2018. The growing statistics on animal drug poisoning are due to its legalization. And not just because it caused marijuana – often with an increased concentration of cannabinoids or active substances – to appear in more homes. Also because pet owners are more likely to admit what is causing their pet’s ailments. “They may have come up with the same problem in the past, but claim they have no idea what happened,” said study author Jibran Khokhar, an associate professor at Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, Canada.

Dogs, cats, iguanas, parrots and horses

respondents Vets reported a total of 283 cases of marijuana poisoning† Certain most were dogs, but in addition to these 51 cats, two iguanas, two ferrets, a parrot, and a horse were named. The poisoning usually occurred as a result of eating food items containing marijuana, the dried fruit itself, and cigarette butts. Mostly it was accidental, but “deliberate administration, whether for medical or recreational purposes, cannot be ruled out,” Khokhar said, quoted by CNN citing social media posts proving such practices. He also stressed that marijuana is not approved for veterinary use.

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Why marijuana can be dangerous for animals

Dana Varble, director of the Association of North American Veterinarians (not related to the study), pointed out that: pets are smaller than humans and have a different metabolism, so the substances present in marijuana can have a much greater effect on them. Also keep in mind that the pet prefers not to stop at one serving, but eat what it likes and likes. Besides, for a dog or a cat who doesn’t know what is happening to it and why, drunkenness also means confusion, stress and anxiety.

In addition, these foods often contain ingredients that are toxic to animals, such as chocolate, raisins, citrus and sweet xylitol. Poisoning it complicates treatment and increases costs. They may also be responsible for the deaths of 16 dogs in connection with marijuana overdose in the study. However, as Khokhar argues, this cannot be said with certainty.

Symptoms of an overdose

Fortunately, most of the animals he described made a full recovery, sometimes after 24-48 hours of observation in the clinic. The most common symptoms of overdose, mainly seen in dogs, were: – confusion – drowsiness – strange or uncontrolled movements – slow heart rate – urinary incontinence – hypersensitivity to light, sound, touch and other stimuli.

Speaking to CNN, Jibran Khokhar urged pet owners to report to the vet if they notice such symptoms in their pet. Dana Varble, in turn, sensitized that cannabinoid products should be kept out of the reach of animals. They are also medical marijuana containers that may be child safe, but that the dog can chew on if it comes into contact with the contents.

A cure to get high

The main goal of the study is to develop drugs to reverse the effects of marijuana poisoning at home, eliminating the need for expensive monitoring of animals in the clinic. Before this happens, however, scientists want to investigate the effects of overdose on the brains of rats under controlled laboratory conditions.

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Main photo source: Shutterstock

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