Pet Poison Helpline (PPH) has seen a 330% increase in the number of accidental marijuana ingestions in pets over the past five years which means that, undoubtedly, veterinary professionals will be seeing more marijuana ingestions too. Due to increased availability for both medical and recreational marijuana, as well as the novel forms such as foods, pills, oils, and tinctures, marijuana is more accessible now than ever. It’s also stronger; new hybrids and cultivation techniques have resulted in plants with significantly more THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound), as compared to those in decades past. However, it’s not just plants that pets are getting into. At PPH, most cases involve pets ingesting “medibles.”
These are homemade or commercial marijuana-infused foods or drinks, like brownies, cookies, gummy candy, soda, pizza, ice cream, caramel corn, chocolates, bread, snack mixes, and much more. Other novel sources of THC include highly concentrated oil products, like butane hash oil (BHO or “dabs”), filtered and purified oil (“shatter”), or wax made from whipped oil. These products are meant to be smoked via a bong (water pipe), or “vaped” like e-cigarettes in order to give users an instantaneous, powerful high. All of them contain 60-90% THC, and small ingestions pose great risk for pets.
Medical Marijuana (AKA Medical Cannabis)
Twenty-three states and Washington DC have now passed laws allowing medical marijuana use, and twenty states have passed some form of decriminalization. In spite of this, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug and possession/use remains a criminal offense under federal law.
Medical cannabis contains a variety of components and extracts used to treat qualifying medical conditions which vary from state to state. In Minnesota for example, indications for the use of medical cannabis include HIV/AIDS, Tourette’s Syndrome, seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cachexia, pain and nausea associated with cancer, and more. Some forms of medical cannabis contain THC and have psychoactive properties, while others (e.g., cannabidiol or CBD) have no psychoactive effects.
Medical cannabis can come in many forms as specified by state law. In some states, patients will have full access to a suite of products from dried plants to infused foods. Other states only allow capsules, tinctures, or oils for vaporization.
Read more about Marijuana Pet Poisoning at http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com