Holiday Cannabis Cooking Conference

Why your pets may act like they enjoy pot (even though they don't)

Published May 2, 2021 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / smileitsmccheeze

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding cannabis, in particular where its incredible powers end and risks begin and end, especially when it comes to household pets. Just a quick search for “high dog” on the internet turns up hundreds of memes that show pooches of all different shapes and sizes with red eyes and a lazy grin, which might lead you to believe that these pets are enjoying an intense session of relaxation with their owners when the truth is likely much more terrifying.

Can dogs get high?

Dogs, cats, and most other household pets have an endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that are necessary in order for cannabinoids to have an effect, so yes, technically they can get high, but what that means to them is something very different than it does to the average consumer due to the way their bodies process said cannabinoids at a much faster rate. What this means is that a tiny amount of THC could leave them so sedated that they can’t move, while a human might not even feel a thing.

If pets can get stoned, then what’s the problem?

The issue comes from how quickly THC is processed, leading to a much more intense bout of effects than you or I could ever experience, which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem in and of itself, except for the fact that they can absorb enough of the euphoric cannabinoid to reach toxic levels in a very short period of time. We also know very little about what other potential side effects could be caused by exposing animals to cannabis.

Human beings can smoke or vape until they blackout and pass out without worrying about much more than a bad case of cottonmouth when they finally rise from a deep sleep. Though technically, even for humans, there is a certain amount of THC that could potentially be toxic, it is literally physically impossible for us to consume enough to get to that point.

If my pet doesn’t like the buzz, then why do they look so relaxed?

Holiday Cannabis Cooking Conference

People have been toking it up in the same room as their furry friends for years, but we now have a better idea of why they seem to be just as relaxed as we are. Much like any toxic ingredient, too much likely makes them feel dizzy, nauseous, and generally unwell, which could be why they often end up sound asleep in an attempt to get past the effects.

Think of the most intense, overwhelmingly uncomfortable high you’ve ever had, and then magnify it by 10. It’s not a great feeling, and that’s what they’re going through.

What about cannabinoid products for pets?

Now that you know why your dog or cat is acting so strangely after they’ve gotten a little bit too much cannabis in the system, which may call into question the safety of cannabinoid products for pets, but it’s important to note that these products are designed using CBD. Though there is some potential for adverse effects in pets after administering CBD products, they are not toxic to animals because they do not contain a large amount of THC, which is the toxic element in this equation.

Survey reveals 9 out of 10 participants would recommend CBD for pets
Holiday Cannabis Cooking Conference


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