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What is Marijuana Poisoning?

Cannabis sativa, or the marijuana plant, is a centuries - old plant which has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. This plant contains more than 400 chemicals, one of them being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol , commonly known as THC. 

THC is what brings about many of marijuana’s psychological side-effects and is similar to the chemicals that are made within our human bodies called cannabinoid chemicals. Receptors of cannabinoid are located within specific areas of the brain that are associated with our memory, pleasure, thinking, coordination, and sensory functions. Many people use marijuana recreationally for pleasure, although it is illegal in many states. Marijuana is also used for medicinal purposes in some states.

This plant is toxic to dogs, especially if a great amount is consumed. Marijuana is toxic to dogs and the animals usually come into contact with the plant by ingesting the supply of the drug that belongs to the owners. If dogs ingest at least 3 g / kg, toxicity can occur. Symptoms usually begin within one hour and may vary depending on the amount eaten.

Marijuana poisoning in dogs is a result of dogs ingesting the marijuana plant. Marijuana contains a chemical which produces various harmful side effects and cause poisoning in dogs.

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Marijuana Poisoning Average Cost

From 189 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has eaten marijuana, the severity of the symptoms is relative to the amount he consumed. Symptoms of Cannabis sativa poisoning include:

  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Hypermetria
  • Incontinence
  • Vomiting
  • Mydriasis
  • Body tremors
  • Bradycardia
  • Hypothermia
  • Agitation
  • Ataxia
  • Tachycardia
  • Tachypnea
  • Nystagmus
  • Excitability
  • Seizures

Types

Dogs can become poisoned by marijuana in various forms. Different ways of marijuana ingestion that can greatly affect dogs include:

  • Inhalation of smoke
  • Ingesting pills or tinctures
  • Eating edible items that contain the plant, such as brownies, candies, cakes, breads, and other baked goods
  • Drinking liquids that contain marijuana oils, known as “shatter”, BHO, or “dabs”
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Causes of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

Causes of marijuana poisoning in dogs are the ingestion of the plant parts. The following may take place within one to three hours after consuming marijuana. Specific causes of poisoning are due to the following:

  • Central nervous system activity
  • The release of neurotransmitters in specific areas of the brain (frontal cortex and cerebellum)
  • Cannabinoids produce neuropharmacologic mechanisms 
  • THC is lipid soluble and easily distributed into organs and fat
  • THC affects the tissues of the liver, brain, and kidneys
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Diagnosis of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has eaten marijuana, it is important to take him into the veterinarian even if he consumed a small amount. Although marijuana is an illegal drug in many states, it is still important to be truthful with your veterinarian in terms of your dog’s ingestion of this drug. The veterinarian will perform a physical examination, including blood work, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile. The urine will be tested for cannabinoids, and the veterinarian may also perform a gas chromatography test and a chemical ion test, called a mass spectrometry. Although it may take a few days for the results to come back, the veterinarian will still be able to come up with a diagnosis of marijuana toxicity by looking at the urine in the dog’s symptoms.

During the diagnosis, if your dog is agitated due to the chemicals of the drug, the veterinarian may need to sedate him. Benzodiazepines may be used to help calm the dog in order for the veterinarian to continue with his diagnostic techniques and to begin treatment.

Differential diagnoses do exist with marijuana toxicity, and these are prescription drug overdose, such as antidepressants, drugs that stimulate the central nervous system, xylitol, hallucinogenic drugs, and other similar human medications.

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Treatment of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

Marijuana poisoning can be serious if your dog consumed a large quantity of the plant. Due to the varying toxicities that dogs have, treatment methods will vary. Techniques the veterinarian will use to treat your dog may consist of the following:

IV Fluids

IV fluids may be necessary if your dog has been vomiting in order to prevent dehydration. Antiemetics may also be administered through the IV; maropitant and ondansetron are typically the medications of choice. Sedation may be given if your dog is overly excited. Diazepam and chlorpromazine may be given to assist in any negative central nervous system effects.

Medications

Your dog may be given a medication to prevent him from vomiting. Due to the toxic properties of marijuana and the sedative effects your dog may be having, any vomiting your dog does must be controlled and monitored. Repeated vomiting also can cause dehydration. Your veterinarian may decide to induce vomiting if your dog has a high level of toxicity and will follow this up with activated charcoal. 

Monitoring

Your dog’s oxygen levels and blood pressure will need to be monitored the whole time he is with the veterinarian and being treated. In severe cases of marijuana poisoning, many dogs are put on a ventilator or respirator. Thermoregulation is also conducted in severe cases.

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Recovery of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

Marijuana toxicity can be very serious if treatment is not administered as soon as possible. Once your dog recovers, your veterinarian will discharge him. When home, you will need to closely monitor his recovery and follow any instructions your veterinarian has given you. 

Your veterinarian will give you detailed directions on how to care for your dog and will tell you what you need to watch for in terms of any new symptoms. Depending on your dog, if his gastrointestinal tract was severely irritated from vomiting or diarrhea, your veterinarian may suggest a special bland diet while he is recovering.

It is important to keep any follow-up appointments with your medical professional so you can be assured your dog is becoming well once again. To prevent marijuana toxicity, it is important to keep all marijuana and all types of substances that contain marijuana out of the reach of your loved one.

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Marijuana Poisoning Average Cost

From 189 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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Marijuana Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Norwegian Elkhound

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Six Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Wobbly

My dog has consumed 100mg of weed gummies. I am checking up on him every 15 mins to make sure he responds to his name. And I am listening to his heart rate every 15 mins as well. Is there anything else I can/ should do?

Oct. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

With any toxin ingestion like this, the best thing to do is to have him seen by a vet ASAP. They can safely make him vomit and monitor things like his blood pressure and oxygen saturation (which can not be done at home). They may also need to administer medicine such as IV fluids and anti nausea medicine. Dogs are more sensitive to the effects of weed than humans so would react negatively to lower doses.

Oct. 27, 2020

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mini golden doodle

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One Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy And Wobbling

Broke into a drawer and broke apart a small disposal vaporizer of liquid (concentrate) marijuana —most still left in the broken vape - but he’s wobbly and lethargic, head shaking just a little - otherwise eating treats and appears ok.. other than the lack of energy and wobbling

Oct. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

Hello, this is Dr Linda. I'm sorry to hear this has happened. As there was known exposure to an uncertain amount of this drug, it is safest to have your dog examined by the vet. He may need some medicine such as an anti nausea injection. The vet will.monitor him (especially his heart rate and temperature) to ensure he is coping okay. If the ingestion was relatively recent, they may also induce vomiting. Going forward, make sure to keep all items like this well out of reach!

Oct. 24, 2020

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Chihuahua/pug mix

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking

My puppy inhaled marijuana smoke from a neighbor and has been shaking ......more like trembling, very slow responding, not energetic as usual and has threw up once (straight dog food nothing unusual in color or substance )?

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Your dog might be feeling the effects of the marijuana smoke, and if that was the case, I would expect it to be fairly short-lived. If your dog is returning to normal within an hour or two, then you may be fine to continue to Monitor and your dog may be fine. If the signs that you're describing continued for more than a couple of hours, I think it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him or her and make sure that things are okay. I hope that all goes well.

Sept. 29, 2020

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Lab mix most likely pointer

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8 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, Sleepy, Incontinece

My husband took our normally active pup to outdoor lodge to run around. She was outside in the woods running around, then payed down on her side. Got back up. My husband thought she was tired so brought her inside. She fell asleep on couch. He brought her home and her eyes looked dilated, she was dragging and was dripping pee . She must have gotten into some thing but we do t know what. Some of these guys in the club do weed so I wonder if she found a bud or and end of a joint or something. She’s always digging in the couches and garden and dirt for things. Vet is closed. She’s snoring now

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this venue is not set up to handle urgent emails. Those are fairly typical signs of marijuana ingestion. I hope that she is okay - if she is still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 14, 2020

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White Shepherd

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomit And Not Eating

My dog has eaten Marijuana tree, what I should I do for it to be ok

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 25, 2020

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Alaska

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Mutt

dog-age-icon

14 Weeks

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Abnormal Pupils
Lethargy
Incontinence
Twitching
Sleepy
Wobbly
Whining
Confusion
Low Temperatur

My 18lbs 14 week old puppy had gotten into our neighbours garbage (who are know marijuana users). She started acting strangely and whining. Her head was rolling around and couldn’t walk without falling over, and kept dribbling (urine). It only got worse as we drove her to the vet, her pupils were dilated and her eyes were rolling back, she was limp, temp was dropping and very obviously high. The vet induced vomiting and activates charcoal, put in an iv for fluids. It was an expensive vet trip (greater than $1200) but well worth it.

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Bella

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Rottweiler, mastiff

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7 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Confused

Ate a small amount of peanut butter edible from the counter about hour later got unusually hyper then soon falling asleep to wake in a panic confused look in her eyes, very jumpy having trouble standing and drooling

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Shadow

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Black Lab Mix

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Lethargy,
Lethargy, Sleepy
Lethargy, Sleepy, D

My 12 year old 45lb Black Lab mix got into my boyfriend weed brownies in the middle of the night. We took her to the pet ER this morning and they wanted to keep overnight for observation but they wanted a $600 deposit and a grand total of $1000 for the treatment we had to take her home because we didnt have the money. Someone at the vet went through a similar situation and suggested getting a disposable syringe and giving her baby pedialyte every hour, and water as well. We have been administering water and pedialyte through a syringe and feeding her w a spoon. She is Very lethargic, extremely tired and has been sleeping for hours. She attempts to get up out of her dog bed but has extreme difficulty walking—and is very wobbly and stumbling. We are taking her temperature regularly and it appears to be normal 101 degrees. It has been roughly 19 hours since she ingested the THC and she is still passed out—breathing regularly. No puking, or diarrhea just peeing herself. Hoping she recovers soon because we cannot afford the vet.

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Kalani

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Shih tzu Yorkie mix

dog-age-icon

13 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic

My 13 week 5lb shorkie ate marijuana that fell off my headboard into our bed in the middle of the night she was wobbly lethargic and just acting weird we took her to the emergency vet and it cost us about $200 they gave us 3 doses of activated charcoal to take home and administer to her every 8 hours it’s been about 2 since her first dose and she has basically been sleeping since we got back from the vet, I hope she is ok the vet didn’t seem to think she needed any more treatments especially if she’s doing better after about 12 hours but I’m very impatient and wondering when this charcoal is going to start working, will update for others who have had this issue just to let everyone know our particular outcome with this

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Rex

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Airedale Terrier

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7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

My dog found some canna-butter and got into it. I don’t know how much he ate. He is a big dog. He vomited once and was very wobbly on his feet. He is sleeping now and extremely lethargic. We can’t take him to the vet until morning. He is very still and has been sleeping for hours which scares me. I’m constantly checking on him to make sure he’s breathing and I wake him up every couple hours because I’m scared he’ll fall into a coma or something. I can only get him to sit up by ringing the doorbell and getting the other dogs barking. I’m so scared my baby might be permanently hurt from this, or could die. I’ve tried feeding him but he shows no interest in eating or drinking. I’m just wondering if he’s going to be okay and if I should just let him sleep this off or keep him stimulated?

Marijuana Poisoning Average Cost

From 189 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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