Dogs Getting High: Colorado Vets See Spike Since Marijuana Legalization

Places like Colorado, where medical marijuana has been legalized, have seen a spike in the number if pooches getting high.

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REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A worker tends to cannabis plants at a plantation near the northern Israeli city of Safed June 11, 2012.

File under the strangest of unintended consequences. As states throughout the U.S. have slowly moved toward relaxing their marijuana laws, there has been a disturbing surge in the number of incidents involving pets ingesting marijuana, either accidentally or after it’s fed to them by their owners. (There’s even a surprising number of YouTube video results for the search term “dogs getting high.”) Now several veterinarians have come out to warn against the dangers of dogs ingesting cannabis after seeing a spike in sick animals in Colorado.

(MORE: Why Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Traffic Deaths)

Speaking with CBS 4 in Denver, veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt said that she has seen “huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion [among pets] in places where it’s become legal.” Seventeen states across the U.S. have approved the regulated use of medical marijuana, although few states have embraced the trend as much Colorado; by one count Denver has more marijuana dispensaries than it does Starbucks.

In many instances the dogs appear to have eaten their owner’s stash. The affects are far from pleasant for the animals, who start to stagger and vomit and can even lapse into a coma.  According to Dr. Pelt: “They basically [lose] a lot of their fine motor control, they have a wide-based stance and they are not sure on their feet.”

(MORE: A New Marijuana Plant Without the High? It Could Be Good Medicine)

While in most cases the effects are short-lived, vets have reported some fatalities as a result of ingesting marijuana. Dr. Stacy Meola, a vet at Colorado’s Wheat Ridge Clinic, told Denver’s CBS 4 that she saw two dogs die after ingesting baked goods containing medical marijuana.

Meola has organized a five-year study looking at the number of dogs that fall ill as a result of the drug. She found that the number of cases of dogs getting high had quadrupled since Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000.

MORE: Dog Travels 11 Miles Wedged in Car Grille

91 comments
misard
misard

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Ben Miller
Ben Miller

I can tell you from stories I've heard recounted to me by both owners and vets how these things happen...

The dog appears to be sick, throwing up and rocking back and forth as if it can't quite balance itself out.  The owner doesn't know what's wrong, and they take it into the vet.  The vet x-rays the stomach and sees plant material, hash, or baked goods (or, more likely, if the dog didn't eat it just recently, just the plastic bag such things were contained in).  The nice, smart vet tells you not to worry, because the dog will be fine after it naps it off and will probably enjoy it if you don't make the dog worry (high dogs are usually blissfully happy, despite the vomiting, until their owners start freaking out), unless the baked goods contained chocolate, in which case, they'll ask you about the nature of the chocolate (high amounts of cocao, like those in baking chocolate are bad, but low amounts, like in, say chocolate ice cream, usually just give even small dogs a tummy ache).

However, if you're vet is an asshole, they might look at the owner and think, "haha, gullible pothead!  I'm gonna milk this for all it's worth," at which point, they begin claiming that somehow the dog's life is threatened.  They start doing all kinds of further treatment, in the hopes that they can get you with a fat vet bill, because they're greedy, evil people.  Thanks, Stacy Meola (I don't call people Dr. unless they show that they are at least somewhat intelligent), for showing us what kind of vet you are.

Dondi Cook
Dondi Cook

For those poor misinformed individuals who say you can't get high off of eating Raw Cannabis, try saying that after eating some fresh WATER leaves just off the plant in a salad with Italian dressing... wait ten min... unless the plant itself is of very poor quality your face will go numb from your upper lip to your (SORRY LADIES) Gonads... As for cannines, it is more potent due to body mass, and when death occures the culprit is Chocolatte. Before it's prohibition it was widly used as animal feed on our nations farms with no history of advers reaction in animals or humans. although it may possibly be problematic for older high strung breeds... the excitement might make them pass out after overeating as the result of the munchies... and I personally know someone who gives fresh buds to thier Chihuahua on a very regular basis and the little guy at five years old, is the picture of health and his VET here in ALASKA has givin Him a clean bill of health after numerous regular visits!!!

Steve Rufershafer
Steve Rufershafer

Hey dumbasses, you CANNOT  get high from pot unless it has been heated or cooked. this article was obviously written with the intent of demonizing pot. just leave it to the corporate owned media propaganda  to make you believe what they want you to.

ampsanne
ampsanne

I worked for a vet and a lady brought a German Shepherd in that just kept walking around in circles.  The vet I worked for had been in business 50 yrs. so he had seen it all. After she left with the dog, he said I can tell you right now why the dog was walking around in circles that someone had  fed it drugs.  She did take the dog to another vet, but returned and had us euthanize the dog. The drugs had affected the dog's central nervous system.  It was probably her son who had did this to the dog, as he was arrested for drug possession.  As far as people saying it could be chocolate that killed the dog, according to the vet I worked for he said yes it could die from chocolate but you would have to feed it a steady diet of chocolate every day.   So if a dog has chocolate once or twice it certainly isn't going to kill it. 

David
David

Thats why you just blow some smoke in their faces :-)

Josh Davis
Josh Davis

I would like to know if these fatalities are a result of Marijuana or Chocolate? 

"While in most cases the effects are short-lived, vets have reported some fatalities as a result of ingesting marijuana. Dr. Stacy Meola, a vet at Colorado’s Wheat Ridge Clinic, told Denver’s CBS 4 that she saw two dogs die after ingesting baked goods containing medical marijuana"

That first sentence is misleading. You are assuming it was the marijuana that killed the dogs. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't - did they do an autopsy to determine what killed the dogs?

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Jonathan Slater
Jonathan Slater

Dogs ingesting or being near marijuana wont kill them. Eating chocolate that has marijuana would kill a dog since they can't handle chocolate. Use common sense people. 

Meldoshki Sevingkov
Meldoshki Sevingkov

For whatever reason, there is a tendency among media sources and others to completely miss the big picture where Cannabis is concerned. Consider this:

Dog gets sick from eating stash; Dog's owner, fearing Dog might die, rushes Dog to Vet. IF Owner's possession of Marijuana constitutes a crime under state law, Owner is unlikely to tell Vet what made Dog sick.

Conclusion: When Owners are able to use cannabis legally, Vets see an increase in REPORTED cases of Dogs ingesting stash.

vizslalvr
vizslalvr

Weird that there has been marijuana in my home on a daily basis since my dog was born and though he has ingested socks and underwear and other things that have caused some vet trips, he's never eaten weed.  Because it's in a closed container, and doesn't as easily slip out of a laundry basket.  If people are irresponsible pet owners, I bet it has very little to do with the legalization alone.  Legalization may contribute to reporting and thus vet visits, but I don't think the anecdotal evidence of a vet or two is enough to show that legalization of weed leads to pet deaths or other nonsense like that.

Alastes
Alastes

Sorry...these dogs aren't getting high. You can't get high from just eating pot by itself. Yes, it can make you sick as I am sure it did the dogs but not high. You have to either smoke pot or cook it in some kind of oil or butter to release the cannabanoids.  The baked goods would certainly get the dogs very high though it surprises me that it could kill them. 

us_1776
us_1776

File under This Article Has An Agenda About Marijuana.

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Scott
Scott

So THAT'S what happened to it!

BONNIE!!!!!

Aton Rekoobecaf
Aton Rekoobecaf

My cousin made my hamster stoned and it died.  I had no choice in said "fun".

us_1776
us_1776

And no dog or human ever dies from marijuana.

It is a well known and studied fact that it takes more than 40,000 times as much marijuana to kill someone as it does to get high.

You would need to ingest a dump truck load of marijuana for it to kill you from its active ingredient.

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us_1776
us_1776

This is a learning experience.

For all of humankinds existence marijuana has been a part of our life up until 1934 when the anti-marijuana bill was passed RIGHT AFTER alcohol prohibition ended.

They needed something for all the revenue agents to do.   So let's make something else illegal.

Anyway, this resulted in the removal of the common marijuana plant from our daily existence and as a result, pets and other animals have no learned experience about this plant now.

Once marijuana is legal again and back in its normal environment among us then these animals will know how to deal with it once they become exposed to it again.

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Kevin Balasac
Kevin Balasac

"She saw two dogs die after eating baked goods that contained marijuana". This has nothing to do with marijuana. The baked goods were probably brownies or cookies that contained chocolate, which can be fatal to dogs. To imply that it had anything to do with marijuana is preposterous.

MoMoK11
MoMoK11

I had a greyhound who was a total wine freak...very much a wine snob.  He enjoyed chardonnay and cabernet, but pinot grigio and pinot noir weren't to his liking.  He was also very fond of brandy.  We definitley had to keep an eye on him when drings were within his reach so he woudn't imbibe too much!

ThornR
ThornR

As if convincing people Pot smoking should be legalized isn't hard enough, we have people doing stupid crap like this. As an avid pot smoker for 30 years, those of you that like to feed your dogs pot, please do us other pot smokers a favour and quit already..You are not helping our cause.

BD70
BD70

Sounds like what happens to me if I smoke or am  in a room with people smoking that stuff. That and itching...itching...the itching is incredible. Why I don't smoke it. 

Top Scientist
Top Scientist

 “They basically [lose] a lot of their fine motor control, they have a wide-based stance and they are not sure on their feet.”Wow, now we know what Larry Craig was on in that bathroom stall.

TaniaNelson
TaniaNelson

If they were baked goods, they were probably brownies.  Chocolate is bad for dogs. How much of the issue was the chocolate, not the marijuana? How big were the dogs? If they were small and ate the whole pan of brownies, then yeah I'd say the chocolate itself had a lot to do with it.

TaniaNelson
TaniaNelson

If they were baked goods, they were probably brownies.  Chocolate is bad for dogs. How much of the issue was the chocolate, not the marijuana? How big were the dogs. If they were small and ate the whole pan of brownies, then yeah I'd say the chocolate itself had a lot to do with it.

argonaccu
argonaccu

all I got from that was "People now more open about marijuana and health following decrease in police brutality and frivolous penalties"

Doodle Bug
Doodle Bug

And your assumption is that the baked goods involved had choclate in them. I'm pretty these vets would kinda know to look for choclate and not be irresponsible enough to compromise their credibility by - you know... not checking.

Tim Edwards
Tim Edwards

This is not true. If you eat it raw, you will get high. Those dogs were blitzed out of their minds, I know SWIM was. You don't need a solvent to free THC. Even if that were the case, bile would do that for you.

uckermanf
uckermanf

You guys just don't want to accept this, do you?

You clamor for marijuana to be legalized, and you get what you want. Then when it starts to become apparent that there is a problem, you guys insist that there is some kind of conspiracy. I mean, WHO KNEW that potheads might be somewhat irrepsonsible, and not only possibly leave marijuana products our where their pets might get into them, but also VIDEOTAPE the effects of such, post it to YouTube, and laugh about it? Now way to see that one coming, right?

Bunch of d*mn fools.

JamesBaxter
JamesBaxter

@Kevin Balasac 
If they had chcolate, wouldn't that be the FIRST thing they assumed killed them?

Marijuana reacts differently to dogs, cats, horses, and birds than it does to humans. That's not some new discovery, it's been a known fact for a long time now.

Ben Miller
Ben Miller

Here's where the assumption is coming from:

Marijuana isn't toxic, so how did it kill the dogs?

Clearly, something else did it.

manicmoose
manicmoose

And I'm pretty certain that a dog eating a small amount of marijuana won't die. It was almost certainly chocolate, anyone who believes otherwise is fooling themselves or just ignorant of reality.

carrotcakeman
carrotcakeman

 Just what do you think is in ALL brownies, Bug?  CHOCOLATE.

Dondi Cook
Dondi Cook

"You don't need a solvent to free THC"

Er, Yes You do, and bile IS a solvent. Those of us that went to highscool where I did learned that in Science class in the seventies... and to used example: after breaking down of starches(SUGAR) from saliva and stomach acid it creates a chemical burn. that is what converts the THCA into TCH and produces cbdc cbc's and other beneficial medicinal quality chemicals. it also happens to be the most healthful of ways to INGEST it.Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/...

RobertSF
RobertSF

Alcohol will kill a dog too, so what's your point?

BigAustin
BigAustin

Talk about a fool, chocolate kills dogs, not pot. Common sense and some research skills go a long way.

Stephen Bauer
Stephen Bauer

 The fact is that THCA does not bind to cannabinoid receptors.  It must be heated where the heat energy breaks THCA down into THC.  This is why eating cannabis will not give you any mental effects, but heating cannabis creates THC and thus gives mental effects when smoked or cooked. 

eagspoo
eagspoo

You must also be in favor of banning alcohol and guns.  Right?

The guy happens to be right BTW.

You know I don't smoke pot and don't give a shit if I have access to it but it really makes a lot of sense to (a) get the government out of my recreational activities (like booze), (b) regulate the sale of mj like alcohol so that the multibillion dollar industry can be taxed and the drug cartels of mexico will implode (like booze gangs during our prohibition did at the end of prohibition).

See nothing about wanting to get high, just common sense without a haze of blinding, irrational fear and pointless anger.

Alastes
Alastes

Uh....yeah. I was just stating facts about how marijuana works. I actually did not say anything about what you just said. I'm not sure what triggered your outburst but... you should really smoke a joint and calm down.

JamesBaxter
JamesBaxter

@Ben Miller 
Marijuana isn't toxic to human, but it IS toxic to dogs, cats, horses, and birds. This is a pretty well established fact by now, it's not just anti-pot propaganda, as much as you'd like to believe that.
Don't believe me? Feed your dog some marijuana, then. Get back to me about how that goes.

JamesBaxter
JamesBaxter

@carrotcakeman 
The amount of theobromine in brownies isn't enough to harm a dog. My dog ate half a tray of them and I was terrified. Rushed her to a vet, the vet assured me that brownies are for the most part not a threat, but they'd keep an eye on her. She came out of it totally fine, didn't have to do anything.

JamesBaxter
JamesBaxter

@RobertSF 
And people usually don't give their dog alcohol, but people will give their dog pot because they think it's harmless for the dog just because it's harmless to them

uckermanf
uckermanf

 Turdbrain, read the article again and concentrate this time. Are the veterinarians indicating that there is a problem with dogs ingesting alcohol?

Where do you nimrods come from?

uckermanf
uckermanf

No, actually, YOU are the fool here. Veterinarians are saying that the marijuana is what is affecting the goddamn dogs. They are not saying chocolate. You are an idiot because trained medical professionals are TELLING YOU what the problems is, and you have decided that you are going to just ignore what they are saying. You wouldn't know common sense if it bit your d*ck off. Read the story again and pay careful attention to the parts where vets TELL YOU what the problems is, you jerkoff!

Ben Miller
Ben Miller

It's funny how much more rational and intelligent "stoners" can be, when compared with the ignorant, emotional populace in general.

Steven Lillie
Steven Lillie

 Doodle  Bug, Cannabis is not a narcotic. Its an herb. Narcotics are synthesized.

Doodle Bug
Doodle Bug

You are aware there are better ways of calming down that do not include the use of narcotics?

Boater39
Boater39

You know how it works on HUMANS.....  Not dogs...  Humans enjoy chocolate.  To a dog, it's a death sentence if they eat too much.