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Are Pets Really Being Harmed by Accidentally Ingesting Cannabis?


As we are finally experiencing the death throes of cannabis prohibition, those with anti-weed mindsets are holding onto anything they can to maintain the notion that cannabis legalization is harmful. Because the “think of the children and families” scare tactic isn’t working much on people anymore, a new way to demonize the plant medicine must be invented; “think of the pets” is the latest in prohibitionist rhetoric.

A recent news story from The Denver Post reported a 330 percent increase in calls to the Pet Poison Helpline, regarding pets ingesting various cannabis products over the past five years. The article says that two-thirds of the calls are about edibles, and nearly all of the calls involve dogs. Veterinarians also say that other pets — such as cats, rabbits, ferrets and birds — are accidentally getting stoned.

At least the author of the article has the intellectual honesty to admit that pets can “sleep off a marijuana high in many cases and is rarely fatal.” Most dogs will be wobbly and incontinent, while ingestion could lead to vomiting, racing or slowed heart rates, tremors or even seizures, the article says. Giving the dogs charcoal to absorb the cannabis usually treats these symptoms.

The article goes on to say that stoned pets look a lot like stoned people: glassy-eyed and lethargic. However, the article consistently refers to cannabis as a toxin, which is inaccurate and even refers to being stoned as “pretty pathetic”. Also, I was unable to find one single case of pets dying from ingesting cannabis alone. Veterinarians admit that pesticides and caffeine are much more harmful to pets. One solid point that article does make is that many edibles contain chocolate, which can be fatal to dogs.

As with many articles and news stories based on prohibitionist thinking, a look at the comment section provides hope that people know the reality of the situation. Many commenters thought that vets are giving these pets unnecessary treatment to the tune of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. Just as it has been said when children get ahold of their parent’s cannabis, be smart about where you leave your weed. It’s really that simple. Stupid mistakes only lead to more of these types of sensationalized, fear-based articles being published.

What do you think? Is treatment for stoned dogs warranted, or are some vets cashing in on unfounded fears of pet owners? Has your pet ingested cannabis? What was the outcome? Let us know in the comment section.