Living in a state where cannabis is legal both medically and recreationally is pretty damn cool, right? (The answer is yes.)

But as with any medicine, the increased availability of cannabis brings with it some caveats. Obviously, consumers with children need to be much more aware of where they’re keeping their ‘stash’ so those gummies don’t end up in the hands of a curious four-year-old.

What some folks haven’t considered is how the plant affects Doug the dog, Callie the cat, or Igor the, let’s say, iguana. It all begs the question, is cannabis toxic for pets?

The Effects of Cannabis on Pets

You probably already know that cannabis affects different people in different ways. At the biological level though, THC interacts with and alters the brain’s chemical messengers. These include serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine. This part is the same for everyone.

And that includes your pets.

Once THC enters the body, it’s stored in the fatty tissues of the brain, liver, and kidneys before exiting the body through excrement. The vast majority of the time, the drug is metabolized in the liver before finally bidding adieu on its journey to the toilet bowl. In some incidences though, it’s eliminated through the kidneys.

Whatever the case, in order for the effects to wear off, the drug has to leave the body. And again, this is true of your pets.

So Is Cannabis Toxic for Pets?

If it has THC in it, yes. It can even be fatal.

Dogs and cats have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans. This means that cannabis tends to pack a more powerful punch to our pets. And there’s no level of exposure that’s considered safe for a pet. Especially because the intoxication depends on the age, health, and body size of each individual pet. (And the kind of pet, as well.)

Thus, the rule of thumb is, stick with hemp-derived CBD for your pet. And ensure that he or she stays clear of THC. Because yes, it can be toxic. Even fatal. And while the minimum lethal oral dose is relatively high, the development of medical-grade cannabis has spawned more pet fatalities as it is much stronger than the average stuff.

Play It Safe

Unfortunately, there will always be that schmo who thinks it’s hilarious to blow marijuana smoke into an animal’s face. If you know one of those, you should consider getting some new friends.

What veterinarians are encountering most is accidental intoxication of pets though. In the case of dogs, it’s most commonly from eating edibles – being the shameless food hounds that dogs are. Meanwhile, cats will often find the flower appealing given that it resembles the cat nip they normally use to get high. (It’s an easy mistake. Especially when stoned.)

Knowing the means by which a pet became intoxicated is crucial. If a dog ate chocolate with THC, she’s going to need treatment for both the cannabis and the chocolate toxicity. Meanwhile, if your cat was unknowingly hiding behind the couch during a particularly productive smoking session with a dozen friends, he may need treatment for respiratory irritation along with the cannabis toxicity.

How to Tell If Your Pet Is Intoxicated

Most of the visible signs that your pet is under the influence of THC are neurological. Her eyes may be heavily dilated and she may begin vomiting or drooling excessively. Or perhaps he’s wobbling around and having trouble with coordination. In severe cases, you may witness tremors or seizures.

If you suspect your pet has ingested or inhaled THC, he or she will present with a slow or fast heart rate, altered blood pressure, and slower breathing. Although these notable side effects are usually short-lived, they can still be dangerous. So do not hesitate to get your pet to an emergency vet.

Cannabis for Pets Is No Joke

Now that you know what makes cannabis toxic or pets, we hope you’re taking extra precautions when lighting up around your four-legged pal(s). You don’t want to end up in the veterinary ER later. Take about a buzz kill.

Another thing that’s a buzz kill is not getting the absolutely best cannabis marketing strategies.

If you’re a cannabis business owner, it’s time you put your best food forward and show the industry what you’re all about. Contact us today to see how we use our many years of expertise to help you do just that.