If you’ve ever watched an episode of Scooby Doo, you’ve probably wondered whether or not dogs can actually get the same sort of effect that humans get from smoking cannabis. The answer is a resounding yes, as there have been many cases in more recent days of dogs getting into cannabis edibles and getting so stoned they can’t do anything except lay around and drool. Cannabis has a very similar effect on dogs as it does on people, and this can be good and bad depending on the circumstances.
Dogs can, in fact, get high, but please read on before smoking up with your dog.
Dogs and Marijuana
My husky is a dope fiend. She absolutely loves marijuana. She likes secondhand smoke, but especially dabs, and she gets very excited when people are about to smoke. She starts sniffing around, drooling, whining and wagging her tail, completely content and happy. We never exhale directly into her face, but she will always walk into the smoke cloud and sit with her mouth open and a big smile on her face. Some dogs like weed, no matter how high they get, they’re content, and happy. On the other hand though, much like people, there are dogs that just don’t like the way marijuana makes them feel and will actively avoid marijuana whenever they can. Some dogs are too small to enjoy cannabis, and others are nervous and just plain don’t like it. I’ve even heard horror stories of chihuahuas eating entire pot brownies and getting so faded they can’t even move, which can psychologically damage the dog.
Effects of Cannabis on Dogs
Dogs can feel the cerebral effect that we enjoy so much. They can get high just like people, but the effects are a little bit different, because their bodies run a little differently than ours. Depending on how much weed the dog inhales or ingests, the dog may feel good or bad. On one hand, there’s a medical side to cannabis for dogs. It gives older and sick dogs in pain some relief as well as an improved appetite, much in the same way that it works for people. Dog owners that give their dogs cannabis claim that their old sick dogs become playful and puppy-like after eating a little bit of an edible or breathing in some second-hand smoke.
On the other hand, though, some dogs can’t handle it. Nervous dogs will likely pace and pant, lick their lips, and try to find a comfortable place to lie down. The signs of anxious behavior after smoking weed is apparent a few minutes after inhaling secondhand smoke, or about an hour after eating an edible. In extreme cases of anxiety and nervousness, the dog may experience excessive shaking, vomiting, and in rare cases, seizures.
Other side effects include lethargy and laziness, a drastically lowered blood pressure, breathing issues, irregular heartbeat, and lowered motor skills, including the inability to walk very far.
Dogs can also get marijuana poisoning on cannabis if you’ve given them too much. A recent study found that the minimum dose that a dog can start showing marijuana poisoning signs is at around 84.7 mg/kg. This means that a medium-sized dog such as a labrador or golden retriever weighing 60 pounds (or 30 kg) would begin showing signs of marijuana poisoning after ingesting 2.5 grams of marijuana.
How Can Dogs Get High?
Dogs can get high the same way people do, either through inhalation or through ingestion. Just like people, when a dog eats cannabis, the THC metabolizes in the liver and transforms into 11 hydroxy-THC, which is why edible highs are so intense. This cannabinoid is responsible for intense highs and that body buzz you experience from edibles. Dogs experience this intense high as well, which is why small dogs can’t eat as much as large dogs.
Dogs can also get high through second-hand smoke inhalation since ya know, dogs can’t really rip their own bongs or anything. Never blow smoke directly into your dog’s face, mouth, or nose. You don’t know whether or not your dog wants to get high, so never force it on him or her. The size of the dog, as well as the amount of smoke and potency, will affect the amount of smoke needed to actually get the dog high.
Medical Cannabis for Dogs
People use medical weed all the time for a huge variety of things. Depression, PTSD, Arthritis, Epilepsy, and more. Everything from mental health, to pain relief, and back. A lot of dog owners are turning to medical cannabis for their furry friends since cannabis has a very similar effect on dogs as it does for us. Cannabis infused doggy treats are tried and true for pain relief in older and sick dogs. These treats are used to treat arthritis, cancer, and other severe illnesses. Most pet owners make their own, but if you live in San Francisco, an edible company by the name of Auntie Dolores launched a line of edibles for dogs, rich in CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, called Treatibles.
Since medical marijuana is a relatively new thing in the legal world, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), hasn’t taken a stance on whether or not cannabis is actually good for dogs. Some veterinarians want to prescribe cannabis to sick dogs but are currently unable to.
One veterinarian put his career on the line in order to rally for medical cannabis for dogs. Dr. Doug Kramer who passed early in life at 36, had the goal to improve pets quality of life by finding safe dosing requirements for medical cannabis for pets. He said in an interview that his goal was “to provide palliative care and prevent accidental overdoses resulting from owners’ well-meaning attempts to relieve their pets’ pain and suffering.” Kramer first started advocating for medical marijuana for pets when he started watching his husky, Nikita, begin to die. He developed a homemade tincture and used it to ease her pain for a smoother transition and a better quality of life. He made her last few months much more comfortable. After Nikita passed, he opened Enlightened Veterinary Therapeutics, which is the first veterinary clinic of it’s kind, prescribing medical cannabis for elderly and chronically ill pets.
The Bottom Line?
Yes, dogs can get high, but that doesn’t always mean that they should. Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should, like most things in life. I could drink an entire 6 pack by myself, but that doesn’t mean I should. Keep in mind that your dog can’t talk to you, so never try to force your lifestyle onto your dog. If your dog takes an interest in your weed, don’t ever directly exhale your smoke into their muzzle. Dogs have a sensitive respiratory system, so always let the dog choose, and exhale away from him. Always keep in mind how much weed a dog can handle relative to his weight. With small amounts of cannabis, most of the time, the side effects are relatively mild, but we don’t recommend that healthy dogs get high. If your dog is suffering, CBD is usually a better route than others.