Cannabis vs Marijuana vs CBD
The terminology surrounding cannabis, marijuana, and CBD can get confusing, so it’s important to have a good understanding of each term. Cannabis is a plant that comes in several species, including Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The hemp and marijuana plants are two types of the cannabis plant.
The cannabis plant contains compounds called cannabinoids, the most widely known being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gets you high. The marijuana plant, which has many nicknames (e.g., marijuana, weed, pot, reefer, ganja, and Mary Jane), has very high levels of THC and low levels of CBD.
CBD is extracted from hemp or marijuana plants. However, the hemp plant has extremely low amounts of THC (< 0.3%) and high amounts of CBD. CBD is not psychoactive, so it doesn’t produce the same side effects as THC. You may have heard about the increasing use of CBD oils and treats as an all-natural remedy for dogs’ certain ailments.
Could an edible kill my dog?
Medicated edibles that are high in THC concentrations are the most dangerous to your dog, especially with chocolate or raisin cookies. (If that’s the case be sure to call poison control or an emergency animal clinic).
It is important to note that humans and animals do not react the same way to Marijuana!
So, can marijuana intake kill your dog? Technically, yes it can. But not from marijuana, from falling into a coma and choking on their vomit. Also, keep in mind that the effects of marijuana will likely be more intense and last much longer for dogs; they have a lot more cannabinoid receptors in their brain than humans.
In some cases, it may take a day or two for the symptoms to completely wear off. Realistically, however, it’s not very likely. If your dog ingests more than the recommended doses, the chance of full recovery is highly in your favor, with proper care.
What do you do if your dog has ingested a THC infused edible?
If you know for a fact that your pup has consumed marijuana, there are a few options to reduce the effects on your dog. Your vet can induce vomiting, pump a dog’s stomach, or give the dog activated charcoal, which will help remove cannabis from their system.
Your vet may end up not taking any of the actions mentioned above. They might end up releasing your dog before the effects of the THC have completely worn off. This primarily means it’s in your hands to keep your pal calm and ensure that they feel safe while sobering up.
How much will the vet visit cost?
The truth is, you left your stash out; a trip to the vet or emergency animal clinic shouldn’t be a question of whether you should or should not go.
When it comes to our personal stash, it’s best to keep them out of sight out of mind. This goes for any items that our pets have no business getting into. Try storing it in a hard-to-access spot next time. Also, make sure to puppy (or cat) proof your house before becoming impaired. Or, if your dog already tends to misbehave in general, consider keeping them crated when you’re not at home.
How Does Marijuana Affect Dogs?
What happens if a dog eats weed or inhales secondhand smoke? Here are some of the signs you should look out for if your dog’s exposed to weed, even in small doses.
- Dilated pupils or glassed over eyes
- Loss of balance
- Breathing problems
- Whining or crying
- Excessive drooling
- Blood pressure changes (increase or decrease)
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Urinary incontinence
- Body temperature is too high or low
Signs of potential toxicity can be seen anywhere from 5 minutes to 12 hours after your dog is exposed to marijuana. Symptoms can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several days, depending on how much they ingest or inhale.
Does My Dog’s Size Make A Difference?
Size plays a significant role in how weed affects dogs. If two dogs—one 75 pounds and the other 3 pounds—get into the same size stash, the smaller dog will have a worse reaction than the larger dog. Their bodies metabolize it differently.
Some dogs also become more “paranoid” after getting high; this is often shown by them panting and pacing. It’s a challenge because you can’t determine which dogs will have this reaction until they’re high.
How Do Vets Treat Marijuana Intoxication?
If you take your pup to your vet’s office immediately after your dog eats weed or edibles, they may induce vomiting or pump your dog’s stomach to prevent further absorption. However, in many toxicity cases, this may not prove helpful because too much time has elapsed, and much of the toxin has already been absorbed by your dog’s body.
In many cases, veterinarians may give pets activated charcoal (a liquid that your pet drinks) every six to eight hours to help neutralize the toxin in the stomach and intestines and prevent further absorption. Some vets may also use an enema to get your dog to poop, thus reducing toxin absorption in the GI tract.
Supportive care is also important to help your pup while he’s experiencing symptoms. Your vet will administer medications to bring your dog’s temperature and heart rate back to normal. If your dog has been vomiting, they may also administer anti-vomiting medications.
Intravenous fluids may be given to help keep your dog hydrated, get their blood pressure back to normal, and ensure that their organs are functioning properly. Your vet will closely monitor your dog to make sure that he is stable. They can also help keep your dog safe if he’s having mobility issues.
Is Marijuana Safe For Dogs? (Research Studies)
Is marijuana safe for dogs, even in small amounts? In general, the consensus among the veterinary community is no. Research into marijuana and dogs has clearly shown that it is toxic to dogs.
Also, reports show that dogs have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared with humans, and it’s been suggested that dogs may be more susceptible to the toxic effects of THC than humans.
Research On CBD For Dogs
Although research studies on marijuana and dogs haven’t reported benefits, this is not the case with CBD oil research and dogs. While there have only been a handful published to date, results are promising.
Since 2016, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist and assistant professor at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has conducted two clinical studies on CBD in dogs. In one of the studies, she found that CBD markedly reduced the seizure frequency in dogs with epilepsy, but this reduction was also observed in the study’s dogs that received the placebo (no CBD).
In 2018, researchers at Cornell University investigated the pharmacokinetics (how drugs are distributed, absorbed, metabolized, and eliminated in the body), safety, and efficacy of CBD in arthritic dogs. They found no observable negative side effects and a significant decrease in pain and increase in mobility.
A more recent study, published in the AVMA Journal, also focused on pain relief for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. A separate group of researchers from Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in collaboration with the CBD brand HempMy Pet, found that 30 of the 32 dogs in the study demonstrated benefits from CBD oil, including decreased pain and increased mobility and quality of life.
Results from another recent study of 20 large-sized arthritic dogs also suggest that CBD can effectively relieve arthritic pain. In this month-long study, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine, in collaboration with the CBD brand Medterra, found that the dogs who took larger doses of CBD oil experienced significant improvement in their mobility and quality of life.
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This is mostly a risk with small dogs, and it’s not guaranteed – in my experience, most dogs recover just fine and some even develop a taste for it, the little druggies – but this can definitely happen, especially when they’ve stolen something like brownies and therefore also got exposed to chocolate.
There are marijuana products made and dosed specifically for dogs, using CBD. Those are safe. If your dog is big, it’s less of a risk. The closer to human weight the dog is, the more it would take for the dog to suffer a dangerous overdose. But it’s still better not to let your dog have weed unless it’s been carefully made and dosed with a dog the size of yours in mind. Dogs with cancer and other health problems can benefit from it, but again, it needs to be dosed correctly or it can be dangerous, just like many human medicines.