As November draws closer, Proposition 64 – the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative – is still being hotly debated. A recent story from CBS News has brought a possible unintended consequence to light if it passes; the possibility of more cases of dogs digesting cannabis products.
According to the report, ‘The Pet Poison Helpline found that in the past five years, there has been an alarming jump in the number of dogs accidentally poisoned or intoxicated by marijuana – a 330% increase in cases across the nation.’
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the number one source in dog intoxications are edibles intended for human consumption that are rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.
One potent source of THC used in making baked goods for marijuana edibles is cannabutter… At least two dogs in the U.S. have died in the past year after eating cannabutter, according to the helpline.
It should also be noted that some THC-rich cannabis edibles also include chocolate, raisins or xylitol; all ingredients that compound the toxicity in dogs.
And, if a pet owner decides to grow a plant for their own use, they need to be aware that the cannabis grown today is engineered to contain as much THC as possible, up to 20%.
“Dogs can die from this. It is uncommon but it’s possible,” said Dr. Karl Jandrey, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgical & Radiological Sciences at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “We probably see one a week but some of my colleagues in private practice in the Bay Area may see more like one or two a day.”
Julianna Carella, founder of Auntie Dolores, which is a San Francisco-based maker of medical marijuana products, has this advice for pet owners, “Just keep it away from pets like you would keep it away from children.” She further points out that her firm puts warning labels on all the THC-rich edible products. “We took the ‘keep out of reach of children’ and added ‘keep out of reach of children and pets’ on our packaging,” she said.
The takeaway from these warnings for pet owners is that they should look closely at anything their pet finds and begins to eat.