If you use marijuana as medication or for recreation, have you ever wondered how your cat responds to it? If you smoke or vape weed and have your cat around, do you have an idea of how the smoke affects your pet kitty?
As cat owners, it is our responsibility to make our cat’s health and safety a top priority. There haven’t really been a lot of studies on the effects of weed on cats so whether or not it’s good or bad for furry felines is still unclear.
Whether you are smoking or vaping marijuana in the presence of your cat, or it’s simply sitting around the house, you have to be mindful because any ingestion, marijuana or not, can potentially cause unpleasant effects on your pet.
To understand how weed affects cats, let’s dig deeper into the topic.
How Cats Might Be Exposed to Marijuana
Cats are exposed to marijuana through the ingestion of dried leaves lying around the house, smelling marijuana smoke, or in some cases, smoke or vapor can stick to their fur, and your cat accidentally licks the area.
However way your cat has been exposed to marijuana, it can be difficult for you and a vet to determine whether or not they have.
There is currently no diagnostic test specific for cats when it comes to detecting marijuana in their system, so you and your vet will have to base the diagnosis on symptoms, and if you are missing some of your stashes at home. Or worse, if your marijuana-tinged brownies are missing.
By the way, cookies and brownies made with marijuana are a double whammy, since chocolate is toxic to cats. So you’d really have to be extra careful when you have marijuana edibles at home.
The Effects of Weed on Cats
When humans smoke or ingest weed, the THC (tetrahydrochloride) and CBD (cannabidiol) compound found in marijuana interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body.
This system is responsible for a number of bodily functions and hormones, such as sleep, appetite, and stress levels.
And humans are not the only ones who have this system. Surprisingly, cats have an endocannabinoid system, too. This means that when cats ingest or inhale marijuana, they also process THC and CBD in the same way humans do.
The effects of weed on cats can also bring about:
- sleepiness or hyperactivity (depending on the strain),
- dilated pupils,
- low heart rate, and
- low blood pressure.
While the effects of weed can be short-lived, the long-term cumulative exposure to marijuana ingestion and inhalation can have unpleasant side effects.
Symptoms of Marijuana Intoxication
While cats do have endocannabinoid systems, the real effects on their bodies have not been thoroughly studied, and thus, cat parents should be wary of marijuana intoxication, which can happen in your feline friends.
As mentioned, there is no diagnostic test to properly determine if your cat has indeed ingested weed. The best thing for you and your vet to do is watch out for symptoms.
According to the ASPCA, or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, your cat may experience the following symptoms:
- Extreme Sleepiness or Excitation
- Dilated Pupils
- Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
- Uncoordination or Frequent Falling Over
- Agitation and Anxiety
If you smoke weed in the presence of your cats and dogs, have marijuana edibles at home, or you have weed stashed away, and your cat suddenly shows some or all of these symptoms, then you’d need to bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Quick treatment is key to relieve the symptoms, and could even save your cat’s life.
Related: Other toxic foods for cats.
Can I Give My Cat My Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana for humans is not recommended to be used on cats, especially ones with more than 0.5% THC.
As mentioned beforehand, marijuana intoxication can happen with your furry friend and it is always a must that you choose to put your cat’s health and safety first above anything else.
Giving your cat any form of medication without the recommendation of a vet can have negative effects.
If you must choose to medicate your cat with marijuana, it’s best that you ask your cat’s vet before doing it. Know that you’re taking a risk and any unpleasant side effects can occur.
Though your vet will most likely not recommend giving your cat medical marijuana, he or she may provide you with information on the interaction of marijuana on any medication your cat is currently taking.
CBD For Cats
CBD is short for Cannabidiol. CBD is a compound present in the cannabis plant, but does not contain THC, or has less than 0.5% THC. THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Without THC, CBD products are mostly used for their medicinal and health benefits.
CBD oil, when used through a diffuser or vape device, has been known to provide a wide range of health benefits on humans. Among these benefits include relief from pain, inflammation, epilepsy, stress, as well as provides relief from certain symptoms of chronic diseases.
In terms of cat studies on CBD effects, there have been reports that the use of CBD on cats have shown significant success in treating irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, seizures, asthma, and provide pain relief.
Related: Try CBD oil for cats.
The pain relief aspect of CBD could be a breakthrough in feline health care due to the fact that cats do not tolerate most pain medications. In fact, it is known that pain relievers can kill your cat.
Keeping Your Cat Safe from Weed
Prevention is always better than cure and thus, as responsible pet owners, it is your responsibility to keep your cat safe from the possibility of weed inhalation and/or ingestion.
If you must smoke weed at home, prevent your cat from getting high by smoking in areas where your cat doesn’t have the possibility of smelling or inhaling the smoke or vapor.
If you have edibles like cookies, brownies, candies, and other marijuana-tinged food items, make sure you store them in an area where your cat can’t get to them.
And if you have medical-grade marijuana, make sure you don’t have it sitting around the house. Keep it in a safe storage area where your cat won’t be able to access it.
Because there aren’t a lot of information on the effects of weed on cats, the best thing to do is to make sure they don’t get their hands on it as much as possible.
If your cat is suffering from some form of pain or if you want to provide them some relief from their current medical condition with the use of marijuana, it’s best that you talk to your cat’s vet about it first.
Thought studies have been promising, in terms of marijuana and health benefits on cats, the possibility of marijuana intoxication is too much to take the risk.
Related: Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats?