Can Dogs Get High? Is Marijuana Bad for Dogs?

Most marijuana consumers, whether medical or recreational, are quite familiar with the “high” sensation that cannabis causes. While it’s very apparent cannabis affects people this way, many users often wonder, “Can dogs get high, and is marijuana bad for dogs?”

These types of questions have become more common with the steady rise of cannabis use, which has exposed more dogs to marijuana than ever before (both intentionally and accidentally). For this reason, it’s important for pet owners to know if marijuana is safe for dogs and what happens if a dog gets high.

What Happens When a Dog Eats Marijuana?

Marijuana works by acting on cannabinoid receptors found throughout the brain and body. These same receptors can be found in most common pets, including dogs. Because of this, dogs can experience all the same effects of marijuana as their human owners, including the psychoactive “high”.
Although the “high” effect is often considered pleasant by people, for dogs, it can often be too intense and lead to side effects very quickly. This is mainly because the dosage of most marijuana products designed for people is far too high for a dog to consume safely. Additionally, dogs actually have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their brain relative to humans, which also helps increase the psychoactive effects.

Much like in humans, marijuana can cause a wide range of effects for dogs which can vary in intensity and severity. Some of the more common effects for dogs include coordination problems, hyperactivity or lethargy, incontinence, and vomiting. Severe side effects may include seizures, respiratory problems, and abnormal heart rate. Luckily, these side effects typically only last about 12-24 hours at most.

Is Weed Toxic to Dogs?

It’s been proven that cannabis affects dogs in the same way that it does people, but can dogs have weed?
The short answer is no. Most types of medical marijuana these days contain far too much THC for a dog to be able to safely consume. Although the margin of safety is relatively high, there have been some cases where dogs and other pets have gone into a coma or died due to ingesting a high dose of marijuana. These cases have become much more common as the potency of cannabis products continue to rise. For this reason, we recommend dogs and pets to avoid THC exposure altogether to be safe.

What Kind of Cannabis Poses the Most Risk for Your Pet?

Currently there is a huge number of different types of cannabis strains and products that vary in potency and effects. The more potent (higher THC) a product is, the riskier it will be for a pet to consume. Medical-grade marijuana strains and products are more potent than ever these days, meaning the amount your pet would need to ingest to experience negative side effects is even less than you may think.

While it’s been proven that dogs can get high from marijuana in multiple ways including second-hand smoke and ingesting it, edibles are typically the riskiest type of marijuana product for a dog to consume. This is because edibles expose dogs to much more THC than secondhand smoke, and they also may contain other ingredients that are toxic for dogs such as chocolate.

Pet Toxicosis and Legalization of Medical Cannabis

Pet toxicosis is simply when a dog or other pet is exposed to a toxin, most commonly by ingesting or inhaling. It’s very clear that with the mass legalization of medical cannabis, pet toxicosis caused by marijuana has been steadily increasing. This is because dogs and pets are exposed to more medical cannabis products than in the past. These products are also more potent than ever, which has dramatically increased the severity of side-effects. In fact, the most severe symptoms of marijuana-induced pet toxicosis, such as coma and death, were relatively unheard of until the rise of high-potency medical marijuana

What CBD Products Are Safe for Dogs?

You’ve probably seen pet-branded CBD products out there, which often raises the question, “Can dogs eat edibles if they only contain CBD and no THC?”

The answer is yes! It comes down to how THC affects dogs. THC activates the CB1 receptor found in the brains of humans and dogs, which causes the strong, psychoactive effect that cannabis is known for. CBD on the other hand only activates the CB2 receptors that are located throughout the body, which does not cause any psychoactive effect whatsoever. For this reason, CBD has been shown to be a safe, effective treatment option for dogs and pets suffering from anxiety, cancer, seizures, and many types of chronic pain including arthritis.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Consumed Cannabis?

To avoid the risk of your dog or pet consuming cannabis, make sure to keep all marijuana products out of reach. This includes raw flower, edibles, concentrates, oils, and even vaporized plant material. We also recommend not to smoke or vaporize cannabis if your pet is close-by, especially if a room is small or not well-ventilated. Even with taking these precautions, if you use cannabis and are a dog or pet-owner, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for any of the early symptoms of cannabis intoxication.

If you suspect that your dog has consumed marijuana, we recommend contacting a veterinarian as soon as possible. Although side effects typically only last 12-24 hours and are rarely fatal, getting your pet immediate medical attention is always the safest option. Keep in mind that a veterinarian will only contact authorities if they have a suspicion that the animal was given cannabis intentionally or was a victim of abuse, so it’s important to be honest with the veterinarian.

Hopefully with this information you can now confidently answer the question, “can dogs have marijuana?” If you’d like to learn more, contact Green Health Docs at 877-242-0362 for all your cannabis questions and needs!