Marijuana Toxicity in Cats
Many pet owners want to know if their cat will experience any issues when inhaling second-hand pot smoke, eating marijuana brownies, or chewing on the leaves of the plant. While several cat owners out there think marijuana is just another form of catnip, it’s true that there is a drastic difference.
Catnip and Marijuana
Catnip is a plant that comes from the mint family. The perennial herb has downy leaves, purple-spotted white flowers, and a pungent smell that makes cats go crazy when smelled and sleepy when eaten. Marijuana, on the other hand, comes from a plant called Cannabis sativa. The chemical in Cannabis that produces the altered states of consciousness humans enjoy is called Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
Marijuana is sometimes prescribed for relief from pain and nausea due to chemotherapy in cancer patients, and for certain conditions in AIDS patients. However, it’s still questionable whether there is anything beneficial in the plant for feline friends. In fact, it is strongly suggested that cats do not come close to any smoke from marijuana use, or any other smoke from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
How Cats Are Exposed to Marijuana
The most common ways cats are exposed to marijuana is by inhaling smoke or ingesting dried marijuana. Although people who have experimented with smoking catnip become happy and relaxed, cats should not be forced to “smoke” any substance.
Because of the cumulative effects of inhaling any kind of smoke, it is inadvisable to smoke marijuana anywhere near a cat, particularly one with asthma or other lung diseases. It’s important to be mindful of this, as humans are able to make educated decisions around topics like these, while cats are not.
In some cases, cats may nibble on the leaves and/or buds of the growing marijuana plant. Humans may also feed their cats cookies or brownies made with marijuana. This is a double whammy of injury to the cat, as the brownies and/or cookies may also contain chocolate, which is toxic to cats on its own.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), your cat may experience extreme sleepiness or excitation, hypersalivation, dilated pupils, or low blood pressure. There may also be instances of low body temperature or even death (although it’s rare). Additional symptoms most commonly observed include:
- Uncoordination, falling over
- Depression, sometimes alternating with agitation or anxiety
- Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
- Seizures, sometimes coma
If your cat demonstrates any of the symptoms above, you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
- If you have reason to believe your cat was exposed to marijuana smoke or has ingested marijuana in any form, it’s important to mention this to the vet. Quick treatment may ameliorate the most severe symptoms, and even save your cat’s life.
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Illustration: The Spruce / Hilary Allison
Medical Marijuana for Painful Conditions
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) publishes several articles about marijuana treatments and drug monitoring programs for animals. In 2017, AVMA House of Delegates members urged the Association to develop policies and guidance around marijuana treatments at the Veterinary Information Forum. One of the topics discussed included the increase of toxicity cases. Delegates like Dr. Dick Sullivan encouraged more research to be performed and for the national association to write to or petition the FDA in order to address marijuana issues to clients.
One article published in June 2013 tackled veterinary marijuana and pet owners who are looking to legalize marijuana for painful symptoms of the disease. The article quoted a woman who owned a 12-year-old labrador-retriever type of dog which had a tumor of the spleen metastasized to his liver and lungs. Unfortunately, the dog had been given two months to live, and the tramadol given for the pain was not doing the job. Of course, the poor dog was obviously in pain and completely inactive.
Because California legalized marijuana for humans, the dog’s owner was able to buy a glycerin tincture of marijuana that’s sold as a pet medicine in licensed medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Los Angeles. The dog’s improvement in activity and the easing of pain was such that the pet owner recommended the drug to other dog owners.
Under the same circumstances, it’s understandable that many pet owners wouldn’t hesitate to give medical marijuana to their own cats if it were available in their state. Thus, there needs to be more research and medicines available for cats experiencing pain.
Until it’s legal for vets to prescribe Cannabis to pets, they won’t have the authority to prescribe the drug. Overconsumption of THC may also create serious health risks in cats. However, hemp-based treatments high in Cannabidiol (CBD) can help. With more research, it’s possible that there is a dosage that can help cats with conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), pancreatitis, arthritis, asthma, and cancer.
There are HempRx vitamins and oils that can act as a medication or supplement for your cat. Additionally, there are holistic and integrative veterinarians who can work with you to find the right product for your cat.Pet owners want to know if marijuana is toxic to cats. See whether eating the leaves of the plant or inhaling second-hand smoke makes a difference.
Can you get a cat high?
Cats are usually more bitches when it comes to smoke, unless you start em out young. Blowing smoke in their face won’t accomplish much, there is THC in your exhaled smoke, but its not that much and it getting second-handed without a funnel will just be to much lost. I long given up getting my cat high, it runs.
But my friend’s cat seems to show up when we are all smoking pot like some sort of mooch
Well, some people say it does, some don’t. I believe that you would have to continually blow it in their face. Cats have shallow breaths so the smoke won’t stay long in their lungs, thus the THC will not have long to absorb into the blood stream.
Here are the factors-
-Exhaled smoke contains far less THC
-Blowing it openly in their face will result in alot of unused second hand smoke
-The shallow breathing will not allow alot of THC to be absorbed.
You would have to either continually blow it in their face over a long period of time -or- get a funnel or like a cutout mcdonald’s cup (kitty cup) to make sure there is no unused second hand smoke. If the cat hates it, they probably won’t be down with you pinning them and mounting a cup in their face and blow smoke into it, but you never know.
Pinning the little guy down and breathing into its face probably isn’t good idea. Cats tend to harbor grudges for that sort of thing.
But it was neat to see my buddy’s cat follow the joint in the circle so it could get some smoke, coolest cat.sup guys…. just wondering if i could get my fat ass siamese cat high??? ]]>