In Maryland as of July 1, 2023…Marijuana is legal and when that has happened in previous states the increase in marijuana toxicity cases in veterinary medicine also increases. So let’s talk.

For dogs, they are attracted to edibles baked with marijuana, and cats, nibbling on the plants themselves. Dogs are more likely to get toxicity from baked goods from the increased THC concentrates and they are 5 times more sensitive to marijuana than their owners. Dogs and cats have similar symptoms of toxicity…so what are they?

Unlike people, pets don’t get “high” …they get toxicity instead. Their symptoms can vary from lethargy, depression, vomiting, and seizures to more alarming symptoms like decreased body temperature, respiratory depression, or coma. Depending on what edibles are made with, there can be secondary toxicity from chocolate or Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can cause liver failure.

So what should you do if you suspect your pet has gotten into marijuana? First, get your pet to the veterinary office immediately. Second, BE HONEST with the veterinarian because this is the best chance your pet has for a quick recovery and this could also save you money because the veterinarian can get to the root of the problem instead of trying to rule out several other problems that have similar system. Third, if you have time or there is a second person with you, have them call Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435. There may be a fee for this call.

But what about all the CBD treats and oils available for pets…first we recommend calling your veterinarian to ask them about using CBD in your pets and if they agree it is worth a try, then ask them the dosage needed for your pet. Then comes the hard part, finding a quality CBD oil without too much THC (the ingredient in marijuana that causes toxicity). The only way to find this out is to look at the Certificate of Analysis for any product you are interested in trying. This analysis is done by a 3rd party. With that information, you can find out if a product you are looking at will be safe for your pet. If there is not a Certificate of Analysis…do not purchase it. Some general information to consider is that for baked treats the Certificate of Analysis is very important because depending on where in the process they added the CBD +/- THC they make bake out most of the beneficial CBD so that means you would need a whole lot of treats to get the dose needed for relief. It is also not advisable to use these as ordinary treats for your dog and treat them as medication. CBD Oils are better used for animals as you can get more accurate dosing. You can place the oil directly on their tongue, on a treat, or on their food. How it is administered will make a difference in how long it will take for the CBD to take effect.

The bottom line is to speak to your veterinarian if you are interested in using CBD in your pet. Find the right product for your pet. If your pet gets into marijuana, BE HONEST with your veterinarian about the possibility and get your pet treatment right away.