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More Pets Are Overdosing on Cannabis Edibles, Researchers Say

Dogs are most commonly affected.




A new study highlights the risks of cannabis poisoning for pets as the substance becomes legal in more areas.

It’s a problem that has mainly grown in dogs. It “appears to have increased following legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes in Canada in October 2018,” the researchers wrote.

Edibles were most commonly suspected to be the cause.

Other pets that have been affected by cannabis poisoning include cats, ferrets, iguanas, horses and cockatoos, Science Daily noted in a report on the study. Symptoms “included urinary incontinence, disorientation, and abnormally slow heart rate,” according to the report.

The researchers conducted an online survey of 251 U.S.- and Canada-based veterinarians to evaluate “the frequency, diagnostic criteria, clinical signs, and prognoses of cannabis toxicoses in pets in North America.” The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE on April 20, comes from Richard Quansah Amissah of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

“The legalization of cannabis use in Canada and the US is likely an important factor associated with the increased cannabis toxicosis cases in pets; however, the legal status may also increase reporting,” the researchers wrote. “The medicinal use of cannabis by pet-owners for pets may also contribute to a portion of the reported toxicoses.”


Most pets that experienced cannabis toxicosis recovered completely.

Some pets have died due to cannabis poisoning, but the researchers noted that “the presence of confounders such as toxins, and underlying conditions cannot be ruled out.”



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