Here’s Everything You Wanted to Know About Dogs Getting High On Cannabis

From stoned spiders to epileptic dogs, cannabis has a wide variety of effects on the animal kingdom. While it is never recommended to share your stash with your pet, some creatures go to some surprising lengths to get lifted. In case you were wondering about how cannabis and other intoxicants affect your furry (and sometimes scaley) friends, you’ve stumbled on the right page. Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about animals getting high on weed.

Can Dogs Get High?

Yes! Dogs can get high on cannabis, but the plant does not affect a dog in the same way that it does a human. Humans enjoy the euphoric and intoxicating properties of cannabis. As humans, we have developed a unique part of your brain that enables conscious thought. This part of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex. Unique to the human species, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for rational thinking. So, if you’ve taken a big bong rip, it’s the prefrontal cortex that allows you to recognize what you’ve done and use rational logic to help yourself stay calm and understand your experience.

Dogs don’t have a prefrontal cortex. They’re all emotion and primal drive. If you give your dog psychoactive cannabis, your dog is not going to be able to rationally understand what is happening. So, if your dog has a bad experience or becomes anxious or has trouble walking because of cannabis, the dog will not be able to understand what is happening to its body. Similar to putting a dog on anesthesia for a veterinary procedure, the dog may initially act goofy or seem to be enjoying themselves. Like anesthesia, however, cannabis is more of a medicine for dogs than it is a recreational activity.

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Just like people, when marijuana is ingested, the THC metabolizes in the liver. It is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC which results in a more intense high than smoking. The size of the dog and their weight will alter the high depending on how much they eat. Dogs can also get high off of marijuana by second-hand-smoke. Again, the dog’s size determines how high it will get, as well as the concentration of smoke and how long it is exposed to the smoke.

Is Getting Dogs Stoned Safe?

Heres Everything You Wanted to Know About Animals Getting High On Weed 1 Heres Everything You Wanted to Know About Animals Getting High On Weed
Photography by Kaya Blaze for Herb

Many consumers try to get their dogs high by blowing into their pet’s nose or ears. This smoke, however, may cause harm your pets, even if it doesn’t seem like any harm is being done. There is evidence that second-hand cannabis smoke is harmful to animals. For example, a study published early in 2018 found that it took up to 90 minutes for rodents to fully recover to healthy levels of blood flow throughout the body after exposure to cannabis smoke. By comparison, it only took 30 minutes for blood flow to recover after exposure to tobacco smoke.

That being said, the lethal dose of THC in dogs is quite high. A review published in Topics of Companion Animal Medicine sites that it takes a minimum of three grams of THC per kilogram of body weight for a dog to fatally overdose. The review also states, however, that some deaths have been seen in dogs who got into their owner’s concentrate collection or helped themselves to their owner’s stash of THC-infused edibles. While often nonlethal, these high doses of THC can cause problems in dogs. Some research suggests that as little as 66 milligrams of THC may cause convulsions in dogs.

Effects of Marijuana on Dogs

Many consumers find it humorous to share their stash with their dog. While there is emerging evidence that some types of medical cannabis may be beneficial to dogs, the plant can also cause some severe and life-threatening reactions if the dog has eaten too much THC. A dog that has accidentally eaten an edible or gotten stoned in some other fashion can experience some concerning symptoms, including:

  • Tremor, shaking;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Drooling;
  • Clumsy gate, tripping, or dragging feet;
  • Lethargy,
  • Excessively low heart rate;
  • Lowered body temperature;
  • Lowered blood pressure;
  • Seizure.

So, it is true that dogs can get high. Most of the time, if they ingest a small amount, the side effects are short-lived. But, should you feed your dog a tray of weed brownies, or blow smoke in their face? No. And no, we do not recommend that healthy dogs get high. But, if your dog or other pet is suffering from a chronic condition, it may be worth talking to your vet about the option of medical marijuana or CBD hemp supplements.

Medical Marijuana for Dogs

As more and more humans use marijuana to aid chronic illness, pet owners are turning to medical marijuana for dogs. Unfortunately, the science on the topic is a little behind the times. Emerging research, however, is promising. A 2018 study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that treating dogs with two milligram s of CBD per kilogram of body weight successfully eased pain and appeared to improve the quality of life for dogs with osteoarthritis.

Epilepsy is another area of interest in veterinary medicine. Back in 2017, the American Kennel Club announced that it will be funding a large-scale clinical trial on CBD treatment for canine epilepsy conducted by researchers at Colorado State University. While the trial is still underway, the research team announced promising preliminary data in the summer of 2018. Amazingly, 89 percent of the dogs receiving CBD treatment experienced a reduction in seizure frequency, Colorado State University reports.

In humans, CBD supplementation is used as a way to calm anxiety, fight stress, and ease pain. Medicines that contain CBD are also already available to human patients with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. While data on medical cannabis for pets is sorely lacking, many companies are already inventing products that meet consumer demand for pet-friendly CBD. San Francisco Bay’s Auntie Dolores, for example, launched a pet line called Treatibles. Treatibles uses CBD oil and other non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids in their dog treats. Green Roads World and Charlotte’s Web Hemp also offer pet-specific products, making it easy to order CBD-infused treats and supplements online.

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