Pets And Marijuana Poisoning
Although in recent years the legalization of marijuana has seen it become much more popular and seen as less dangerous, to your pets marijuana is still a dangerous drug.
Toxicity caused by consumption of native plants is common in dogs, but lately, veterinarians have seen an uptick in toxicity due to the accidental ingestion of marijuana by pets.
Because marijuana edibles are very popular now, it can be easy for your pet to get into your marijuana brownie or other food.
If you do leave these products somewhere that your pet can access, this can lead to ingestion and toxicity.
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What is Marijuana?
More commonly known as marijuana, Cannabis sativa/Cannabis indica are used as a recreational drug, but also for medicinal purposes.
The active ingredients in marijuana, known as cannabinoids, are Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, and cannabidiol, CBD.
There are actually over 80 different cannabinoids in marijuana, but these are the two most commonly recognized, utilized, and studied.
The main difference between THC and CBD is that THC causes psychotropic effects.
CBD on the other hand is non-psychotropic.
This is known to be non-toxic or have limited toxicity.
Each strain of marijuana has a different level of cannabinoids, and each plant does as well.
CBD is known to be anxiolytic, antipsychotic, antiemetic, anti-seizure, and anti-inflammatory.
Although THC is medically used to alleviate muscle spasms, nausea, and weight loss, it can also be used to help those with epilepsy and Crohn’s disease.
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What Does Marijuana Do To Pets?
Animals can be poisoned by marijuana in many different ways, by eating butter made with the drug or eating the herb on its own. Although a pet could show signs of marijuana toxicity after breathing in smoke, it is much more common for this to occur due to eating. The most dangerous form of ingestion of marijuana is through marijuana butter. This butter is often used to bake edibles such as cookies or brownies, and it contains a very high THC content.
Dogs are most often affected by marijuana toxicity, maybe due to them eating everything in sight. In 2002, a study of 250 cases of marijuana exposure showed that dogs are often a cannabis consumption culprit. Despite this, cats also did represent a small portion of these cases, 3 percent.
Symptoms of Marijuana Ingestion in Pets
Often you will notice your pet is lethargic. They might sleep, or respond to visual stimuli. You may also see that their behavior will change including:
- Glassed over eyes
- Dazed expression
- Difficulty walking
In severe cases:
- Your pet may go into hypothermia
- Intense whining or crying
- Have trouble regulating their temperature
- Not wanting to eat
- Urinary incontinence and diarrhea
Coma and death are also possible in extremely severe toxicity cases
These signs can last for hours, or they can last for days. You may even see the signs of toxicity in 5 minutes or up to 12 hours after they are exposed. If your animal is a bit on the heavier side, they may hold on to the feeling for longer due to it being held in the body fat.
What is odd, is that although marijuana is known to have an anti-nausea effect, because marijuana induces a release of “feel-good” hormones like serotonin, it can cause vomiting in pets.
How to Help Your Pet During Ingestion
There is really no cure for marijuana toxicity, but you can bring your pet into a veterinarian’s office if needed. They may be able to regulate the temperature of the animal to ensure they aren’t too hot or cold and give fluids if necessary. Additionally, the clinic staff can help keep the pet comfortable if they are having trouble walking. Activated charcoal may be given to help rid the stomach of toxins, but should never be given by anyone who is not a professional.
Why Are More Pets Becoming Poisoned By Marijuana
Because of the legalization of marijuana in many states, there has been an 800% increase in marijuana pet exposure. This is huge and very sad. If you are someone who uses marijuana and you have pets, you need to make sure that you avoid having your marijuana out and easily available to your pets. If you have children running around you would not leave drugs out, give the same courtesy to your pets.
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Mental illness and Marijuana
Marijuana is very dangerous for your pet, but it can also be dangerous for you. If you have a mental illness then it is important to limit your marijuana use. This is because there has been a link to certain psychiatric disorders and this drug use. Although often the link between psychiatric disorders is due to preexisting genetic conditions, there is still a chance that these disorders can be brought up due to the use of this drug.
These disorders might include:
- Psychosis, such as schizophrenia
- Substance use disorders
Although it is not proven that these conditions are caused by smoking or using this drug, it still has been shown to be possible in research. This research has specifically found that smoking high-potency versions of this drug every day can increase the chances of developing psychosis by five times. This is quite scary.
Increased risks for developing a psychosis disorder include the age at which you first tried the drug, genetic vulnerability and your surroundings.
What Your Pet Ingesting Marijuana Means For You
Often the signs of a pet ingesting marijuana can be a sign of a larger problem for you.
- Are you unable to control your consumption?
- Are you passing out after using?
- Why are you not taking more care to put away your drugs?
It is important to ask yourself these questions, and maybe consider that you have a problem with marijuana that requires drug rehab or addiction treatment.
Also known as pot or weed, this drug can be something that you can get addicted to easily. Although many people do not believe it to be true, weed addiction is a real substance use disorder. Although these use disorders are often associated with habitual dependence rather than physical dependence, withdrawal is still a side effect of stopping its use.
There is the opportunity to go to treatment should you find that your symptoms of a substance use disorder occur. If you experience irritability, mood changes, sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, or physical discomfort after stopping the use of this drug, then you are most likely experiencing dependence. This occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing the production of endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. This should be a sign to seek treatment and get help for your addiction.
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Marijuana Addiction is Real, Get Help If You Need It
Although it might seem odd that leaving out your weed and allowing your dog to eat it is a sign that you need help, it very well could be.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health we can offer you different forms of treatment.
Even if you have a small substance use disorder that led to the toxicity of your animal, we have treatment programs for mild use disorders.
Contact us today to learn about our free insurance verification for treatment, and which would be the best option for you.