Marijuana and Pets

From the CVMA

Pets and Accidental Ingestion of Marijuana

Since marijuana has become legalized, veterinarians are seeing an increase of animals presenting for accidental ingestion of marijuana. A recent study showed that the incidence of accidental marijuana ingestion has quadrupled since it was legalized.

As marijuana is prepared in more edible forms, dogs are more likely to have exposure to it. Brownies are especially dangerous, as chocolate is also toxic to dogs.

The response to marijuana differs greatly between animals. Some seem mildly off balance while others present in a coma. They are almost always disoriented, unable to walk normally, and they are often vocalizing in a very anxious manner.

There is no antidote to marijuana, so veterinarians provide supportive care (hydration, help maintain body temperature, decrease further absorption of ingested marijuana) until the animal metabolizes the drug.

Veterinarians do not yet have a rapid test to detect marijuana, so if your pet accidentally ingests marijuana, it is imperative that you tell your veterinarian. Animals presenting for marijuana toxicity have similar symptoms to animals with meningitis and brain tumors – you don’t want to put your pet or your pocketbook through a work up for one of these serious conditions if the cause of the problems is known.

Animals do not enjoy being “high” – they don’t understand what they are feeling and they become fearful. Intentionally getting your pet high is considered cruelty to animals, which is illegal. Cruelty to animals can carry a felony charge in Colorado.

Veterinarians cannot prescribe marijuana.

Marijuana-derived Products in Companion Animals

The CVMA Task Force on Pharmaceutical Issues took on the controversial topic of marijuana and marijuana-derived products being used in companion animals. Although not currently considered pharmaceutical agents per se, there is clearly a lot of interest in the role that marijuana and marijuana-derived products may have in veterinary healthcare. At least, there seems to be quite a bit of interest by consumers purchasing and companies selling CBD (hemp-derived products) with numerous health claims. The Task Force took a cautious approach to this issue for several reasons… [read full article]

CVMA Position Statement on Marijuana and Marijuana-derived Products in Companion Animals

The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) recognizes the interest of companion animal owners and veterinarians regarding the potential benefits of marijuana therapies for a variety of animal medical conditions. Similar to human medicine, there is extremely limited data on the medical benefits and side effects of marijuana products in companion animals. There are no FDA-approved uses of marijuana in food-producing animals; this position statement applies only to companion animals. Read the position statement.

From the AVMA

Read more from the AVMA on Marijuana and pets, here.

Read the JAVMA Article, here.


Additional Resources

A Veterinary Guide to Marijuana

Lisa Parshley, DVM, PhD, DACVIM // Donna Mensching, DVM, MS, DABVT, DABT
Reprinted with permission from Washington State Veterinary Medical Association  

Marijuana and Pets poster

Download and print this PDF poster to share in your exam rooms and with clients.
Provided with permission from Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

Talking to Your Clients About Cannabis

Casara Andre, DVM, cVMA | Owner, Cultivate . . . Veterinary Well-being and Veterinary Cannabis Education & Consulting
Article from CVMA Voice Magazine, 2017 Issue #4

Overcoming the Bell‐Shaped Dose‐Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol

Ruth Gallily // Zhannah Yekhtin // Lumír Ondřej Hanuš
Referenced in Dr. Andre’s CVMA Voice Article

A tale of two cannabinoids: The therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol

Ethan Russo // Geoffrey W. Guy
Referenced in Dr. Andre’s CVMA Voice Article


Pets and Marijuana in the News

Medical marijuana for pets — CNBC

Scoring Weed for Rover: Marijuana’s newest business — CNBC

Pot for your pup? Startups cash in on cannabis trend — SFGate 

The marijuana industry’s newest customers are sick and elderly dogs —

Keeping Pets Away from Pot – 9News

Marijuana in Colorado: Should it be used to treat pets? – Examiner

Pot and pets: For them the high is dangerous so stash the stash — Denver Post

Pet Pot: If medical marijuana helps humans, can it help their pets? – Westword

Pot for dogs: Is marijuana safe for your furry pals? – Huffington Post

Medical pot for pets – 9News