Do Not Share Edibles With Your Pets

Photo by Matthew Henry

By Alexandria Austin

With the legal use of marijuana well under way in Arizona, there is a real concern with who you share your goodies with. With that said, please do not take the advice of the pizza delivery guy on what is safe for your pet!

This incident actually happened in California, where one can have their edibles and herb selection delivered right to your door. A young pizza delivery guy had a separate collection specifically for pets. 

When you visit the dispensary, there may be an array of pet friendly treats to share with your furry friend as well. The question is, who decided these were safe?

Some questions may come up in your enjoyment of newly legalized cannabis. What do I do if my dog ate my joint? Or gummy edible? Or cannabis cookies? What if my dog has glaucoma? Can I give him some of my stash?

The fact is that there is no regulation or studies done to warrant the safety of cannabis in pets. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “cannabis-derived products that have been suggested as therapeutic agents for use in animals to-date have not followed the traditional path to FDA approval. Relatedly, although cannabinoids such as CBD appear to hold therapeutic promise in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.” 

Edibles are reportedly the most common cause of cannabis toxicity and may also contain other ingredients that are toxic to pets such as xylitol, chocolate and raisins. 

Another consideration when pondering the benefits of sharing cannabis with your pets is the accuracy of the item. Studies, such as the one by EVIO labs in Fort Lauderdale, show that the amount labeled in the product is routinely inaccurate.

Toxicity symptoms are neurological. This means pets may become uncoordinated, hyperactive, disoriented, and very vocal. Their pupils may dilate, and they may drool excessively or vomit. They may also develop urinary incontinence. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, and coma can result.

According to an article for VCA Animal Hospital by Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM and Lynn Buzhardt, DVM, physical signs of toxicity include low or elevated heart rate and blood pressure and slowed respiration rate (breathing rate). Lethargy, and increases or decreases in body temperature may also be observed. Fortunately, these side effects are usually short-lived, but they can still be dangerous and make the pet quite miserable.

Before cannabis became legal, it was difficult to categorize toxicity presentation as cannabis exposure. At least now, we can hope owners will be more forthcoming with ingestion. This will assist with more accurate and timely treatment.

According to Dr. Sara Erlichman, a 3rd year veterinary ophthalmology resident, there are no accurate studies to support the use of marijuana for treatment of glaucoma. This is based on articles from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

It is important to remember that animals process, metabolize and eliminate medications as well as food differently than humans and even between species.

There are holistic veterinary hospitals that do prescribe CBD products designed for animals. These are primarily used for analgesia (pain management) and seizures.

Studies are still in the early stages, so it is strongly advised to consult a veterinarian if you are considering the use of CBD in your pet.

Be safe, enjoy responsibly, and please consult a veterinarian if you feel your pet might benefit from cannabis or CBD.