Cannabis or Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Cannabis or Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

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Poisoning by hashish or marijuana in dogs is not always lethal, but the effects of ingesting this plant or its derivatives can cause serious side effects. Side effects that endanger the health of the dog.

In this AnimalWised article we will talk about hashish or marijuana intoxication in dogs as well as their symptoms and treatment. So, you can perform first aid action in the case of overdose. Remember that prolonged exposure to marijuana smoke can damage dogs - we explain everything below.

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Marijuana and its effects

Marijuana (cannabis) and its derivatives, such as hashish and oils, are potent psychoactive substances obtained from hemp. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is converted into THC after the drying process, a psychotropic compound that acts directly on the central nervous system and the brain.

It usually causes euphoria, relaxation or appetite, however, this plant also causes side effects such as anxiety, dry mouth, reduced motor capacity and weakness.

There are also other effects of marijuana in dogs:

  • Exposure by chronic inhalation of marijuana may induce bronchiolitis (respiratory infection) and pulmonary emphysema.1
  • Moderately decreases the frequency of the dog's pulse.
  • A too high oral dose could lead to the death of the dog due to intestinal bleeding and at the same time, an excessive intravenous dose could lead to death from pulmonary edema.3
Cannabis or Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs - Marijuana and its effects

Symptoms of hashish or marijuana intoxication in dogs

Marijuana usually acts 30 minutes after being ingested, but in some cases it can take up to an hour and a half later and last for more than a day. The effects it causes on the dog's body can become serious and although marijuana itself does not cause death, the symptoms it causes do.

Symptoms that we can observe in case of intoxication:

  • Tremors
  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal dilation of the eyes
  • Glassy eyes
  • Difficulty coordinating movement
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Hypothermia

The heart rate during marijuana intoxication may become slower, so it is important to remember that heart rate is above 80 and 120 beats per minute. Small breeds must have a higher rate and larger breeds lower.

In addition, they may show signs of depression, or heightened excitement.

How to treat poisoning

Here's a step-by-step first aid that can be used to treat hash poisoning in your dog:

  1. Call your veterinarian, explain your situation and follow their advice.
  2. Make your dog vomit if not more than 1 or 2 hours have passed since the consumption of hashish.
  3. Try to relax your dog and observe all symptoms present during this process.
  4. Check your dog's mucous membranes, take their temperature and make sure they are breathing properly and have a normal heart rate.
  5. Ask a family member to go to the pharmacy to buy activated charcoal, an absorbent and porous product that prevents the absorption of the toxic substance in the stomach.2
  6. Go to the vet.

If from the beginning you notice that your dog drastically lowers their temperature or that the effects cause them excessive discomfort, go to the veterinarian immediately. Perhaps they will need a gastric lavage and even hospitalization to keep your vital signs.

Cannabis or Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs - How to treat poisoning


  1. Roy P., Magnan-Lapointe F., Huy ND., Boutet M. Chronic inhalation of marijuana and tobacco in dogs: pulmonary pathology Research Communications in Chemical Pathology and Pharmacology Jun 1976
  2. Loewe S. Studies on the pharmacology and acute toxicity of compunds with Marihuana activity Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Oct 1946
  3. Thompson G., Rosenkrantz H., Schaeppi U., Braude M., Comparison of acute oral toxicity of cannabinoids in rats, dogs and monkeys Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology Volume 25 Issue 3 Jul 1973

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Cannabis or Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs, we recommend you visit our First aid category.

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