Many cannabis users think second-hand smoke isn’t a big deal, but weed smoke can irritate non-smokers. There’s also a big debate around whether or not non-smokers can get high off of second-hand smoke. In fact, research studies have found non-smokers who are exposed to weed smoke can get buzzed. However, this tends to happen in non-ventilated rooms where a lot of cannabis is being smoked.
Many pet owners want to know if their cat will experience any issues when inhaling second-hand pot smoke, eating marijuana brownies, or chewing on the leaves of the plant. While several cat owners out there think marijuana is just another form of catnip, it’s true that there is a drastic difference.
Cats love cannabis! And although felines could reap some benefits from the plant – that doesn’t mean our favorite furry friends should get high, too. As cannabis intoxication can have serious consequences for your four-legged pal. This is what you need to know about cats and cannabis.
Cannabis in Pets
Like us humans, cats are equipped with an endocannabinoid-system (ECS). A huge network of receptors throughout the body, that help regulate all sorts of bodily functions and hormones. Through the ECS, cannabinoids like THC and CBD help us and our pets balance out necessary processes in our body. Helping us fight pain, sleeping or eating disorders and mental distress for example.
Thanks to this endocannabinoid-system, our cats – but also dogs and other mammals like horses – are therefore all able to process cannabis in the same way we do. Though that doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy the psychoactive effects of the most common cannabinoid, THC, too.
Can Cats Get High?
Yes; however, the changes dogs and cats experience while under marijuana’s influence may not be pleasant or comfortable for them. When dogs and cats are exposed to marijuana (e.g. inhaling smoke, eating the dried plant, drinking oil/liquid form, eating food/edibles that contain THC), they can experience symptoms of marijuana toxicity. Disorientation, incoordination or trouble walking, memory trouble, and increased sleepiness are common. Exposure to high amounts can lead to abnormal heart rate, uncontrolled urination, trouble keeping a normal body temperature, throwing up, drooling, increased barking or making noise, and increased light, sound, and touch sensitivity. These symptoms can be severe enough to require veterinary care, including hospitalization, treatment to decrease marijuana absorption, and medications to control the symptoms.
CBD for Cats
This doesn’t mean cats can never have cannabis, though; nor that all components from weed plants are bad for them. As the beneficial effects of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD on the human body and mind, also applies to our fur pals. Again, all thanks to the endocannabinoid-system (ECS). Helping cats battle pain, inflammation or behavioral disorders. One thing to keep in mind is that your cat obviously doesn’t require the same dosage as you, to reach the desired effect.
On the internet, you’ll find different recommendations in terms of the right way to dose CBD in pets. For cats and other small pets, we advise to use our CBD Oil. As this is easier to dose than the 10% CBD Oil we offer on our website. For adult cats, we advise a maximum dosage of 1-2 drops, 2-3 times a day. Kittens obviously don’t need that much and therefore have a maximum of 1-2 drops total a day.
The easiest way to administer CBD to your cat, is by mixing it through their regular food. And considering not all cats need the maximum dosage right away, start with one drop and see where it takes you. You can always give an extra drop, but can never take it back…
Is Weed Bad for Cats?
Experiencing psychoactive symptoms as a pet is scary, no matter how mild or severe. It happens without their consent or understanding. The consequences of marijuana can also occasionally be very serious. Although rare, some pets have died from exposure to either very large amounts of THC or the products (i.e. foods, chemicals, or oils) mixed in with it. For example, the amount of THC a pet absorbs from eating some of the dried plant may be much lower than if they were to eat edibles or drink concentrated marijuana liquid meant for an e-cigarette (i.e. vaping). Regardless, all marijuana products should be kept away from pets in order to prevent them from getting sick.
How Cats Are Exposed to Marijuana
The most common ways cats are exposed to marijuana is by inhaling smoke or ingesting dried marijuana.1 Although people who have experimented with smoking catnip become happy and relaxed, cats should not be forced to “smoke” any substance.
Because of the cumulative effects of inhaling any kind of smoke, it is inadvisable to smoke marijuana anywhere near a cat, particularly one with asthma or other lung diseases. It’s important to be mindful of this, as humans are able to make educated decisions around topics like these, while cats are not.
In some cases, cats may nibble on the leaves and/or buds of the growing marijuana plant. Humans may also feed their cats cookies or brownies made with marijuana. This is a double whammy of injury to the cat, as the brownies and/or cookies may also contain chocolate, which is toxic to cats on its own.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), your cat may experience extreme sleepiness or excitation, hypersalivation, dilated pupils, or low blood pressure. There may also be instances of low body temperature or even death (although it’s rare). Additional symptoms most commonly observed include:
- Uncoordination, falling over
- Depression, sometimes alternating with agitation or anxiety
- Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
- Seizures, sometimes coma
If your cat demonstrates any of the symptoms above, you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Weed = No Catnip
Cats love nibbling away on plants. As most cat-owners may know, some plants even give their furry pals similar effects to those we experience after consuming cannabis. When smelled, a pinch of catnip can dilate your fur ball’s pupils and have it act in all sorts of crazy ways – much like the effects of a sativa cannabis strain. After ingesting some of this weed-resembling herb, cats can even feel sedated and fall asleep. As if they’d smoked a fat indica joint, for example. Though simply replacing catnip for ‘humannip’, cannabis, will not work the same way for your cat.
Moreover, it could even induce toxic effects in your beloved pet pal. Of course, a bite or two from a fresh and living cannabis plant won’t affect your cat too much. As the cannabinoids in fresh plants are not yet decarboxylated at this point. Meaning that THC is still in its acidic form (THCa), and therefore not psychoactive. But believe us when we say that you don’t want to see your cat high after ingesting hash, edibles or concentrates. As it will:
- Dilate their pupils
- Induce dizzyness
- Lower blood pressure & heart rate
- Induce deep sleep
So make sure your stash is safely stocked out of reach for your cat. It could easily save you from a trip to the veterinarian. Something we absolutely advise when you know your cat ingested cannabis in any form.