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Marijuana Toxicity


Marjuana Dangers for your pets 
 
By: Irene S. Choi, DVM
 
There has been a lot of talk about Marijuana recently with the passage of new laws allowing recreational marijuana use.   Unfortunately, there hasn’t been as much discussion about the dangers of pets ingesting marijuana. 

 
 
With the recent increase in dogs hospitalized for marijuana toxicity and the introduction of marijuana laced crackers, candy, gummy bears, baked goods, lotions and resins; I feel it is imperative that all pet owners out there be aware of the risk that Marijuana may pose to your beloved pet.  Baked goods, such as brownies; are especially difficult to address due to the additional toxic risks of chocolate. You should never share your marijuana laced foods with your pets. 
 
Marijuana contains a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which can cause hypothermia, increased heart rates or decreased heart rates, depression to the point of coma, respiratory depression, tremors, vomiting.  It can also cause wobbliness, in coordination, sleepiness, and uncontrolled urination.  Rarely some patients may have excitability to noise or light, and become more vocal.  These symptoms can occur from 5 minutes to 12 hours after exposure to marijuana or products laced with THC and could last up to 3 days.
 
We encourage you to smoke away from your pets as second hand marijuana smoke is still dangerous.  Keep all drug related paraphernalia away from your pets.  
If your pet does accidentally get into any products laced with THC, we recommend you seek emergency veterinary care immediately. 
Be honest with your veterinarian, our only interest is treating your pets appropriately. Most dogs exposed to THC can be successfully treated with activated charcoal, supportive care, and intravenous fluids.  
 
References
Gfeller, Roger W & Shawn P. Messonnier. 2004.   Handbook of Small Animal Toxicology and Poisonings. St. Louise, MO. Mosby
 

Osweiler, Gary D. 2011. Blackwell’s Five-minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion Small Animal Toxicology. (Lynn R. Hovda, Ahna G Brutlag, and Justine A. Lee Eds). Ames, IA. Willey-Blackwell. 

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