Is Cannabis Toxic for Cats?

Marijuana plant

Cats should not ingest marijuana in any way—not by consuming edibles, breathing secondhand smoke, nibbling on dried bits, or chewing on the plant's leaves. While some cat owners might compare marijuana to catnip, they are very different substances. Residents of homes with marijuana usage should be made aware of the risks to cats' health that marijuana poses.

Catnip and Marijuana

Plants from the mint family include catnip. The perennial herb's downy leaves, white blossoms with purple spots, and strong aroma drive cats mad when they smell them and put them to sleep when they eat them. Cannabis sativa is the name of the plant from which marijuana is derived. THC, also known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance in cannabis that causes the altered states of consciousness that some find enjoyable.

When chemotherapy causes pain and nausea in cancer patients, marijuana may be given for treatment. It may also be administered for specific problems in AIDS patients. Whether the plant has any advantages for our feline pals is still up for debate. In fact, it is strongly advised that cats stay away from any smoke, including that from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes as well as smoke from marijuana usage.

How Cats Are Exposed to Marijuana

Inhaling smoke or consuming dry marijuana are the two most typical ways that cats get introduced to marijuana. Although those who have tried smoking catnip report feeling content and at ease, cats shouldn't be made to "smoke" anything.

It is not suggested to smoke marijuana anywhere near a cat, particularly one that has or other respiratory conditions, due to the cumulative consequences of breathing any form of smoke. This is to be kept in mind since, unlike cats, people can make informed choices about issues like these.

Cats may chew on the buds or leaves of a marijuana plant in growth. Additionally, people can give their cats marijuana-infused cookies or brownies. The cat suffers double harm since the brownies, cookies, or both may include chocolate, which is poisonous to cats on its own.


Your cat may exhibit severe drowsiness or excitement, hypersalivation, dilated pupils, or low blood pressure, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Low body temperatures and even mortality (although it's unusual) might potentially occur. The other symptoms that are most frequently seen are:

  • Uncoordination, falling over
  • Depression, sometimes alternating with agitation or anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • Seizures, sometimes coma

If your cat demonstrates any of the symptoms above, you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.


  • If you have reason to believe your cat was exposed to marijuana smoke or has ingested marijuana in any form, it's important to mention this to the vet. Quick treatment may ameliorate the most severe symptoms, and even save your cat's life.

Medical Marijuana for Painful Conditions

Numerous publications on marijuana therapies and animal drug monitoring systems are published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). At the Veterinary Information Forum in 2017, members of the AVMA House of Delegates requested the Association to create guidelines and policy regarding marijuana therapies. The rise in poisoning incidents was one of the subjects covered in the discussion. Delegates like Dr. Dick Sullivan urged the national group to petition the FDA and conduct additional study in order to address marijuana-related concerns with customers.

One story from June 2013 focused on canine medical marijuana and pet owners who wanted to legalize marijuana to treat their animals' excruciating disease-related pains. An owner of a 12-year-old labrador retriever dog with a splenic tumor that had spread to his liver and lungs was mentioned in the article. Unfortunately, the dog only had two months to live, and the tramadol prescribed to treat the discomfort was ineffective. Obviously in anguish, the poor creature was utterly still.

The dog's owner was allowed to purchase a marijuana glycerin tincture that is marketed as a pet treatment in authorized medical marijuana clinics located all across Los Angeles since California legalized marijuana for people. The dog's owner suggested the medication to other dog owners as a result of the canine's increased activity and decreased suffering.


In the same way, it seems sense that many cat owners wouldn't think twice about giving their own pets medicinal marijuana if it were legal in their state. More research is thus required, as well as the availability of medications for cats who are in discomfort.

Veterinarians won't have the ability to prescribe cannabis to animals until it is lawful for them to do so. Cats that consume too much THC run the danger of developing major health problems. Cannabidiol (CBD)-rich medicines made from hemp, however, can be beneficial. With additional study, it's feasible to find a dosage that can benefit cats that suffer from diseases including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatitis, arthritis, and asthma.

For your cat, several vitamins and oils can serve as a prescription or dietary supplement. There are also integrative and holistic vets that may assist you in selecting the best item for your cat. A veterinarian should be consulted before using any of these products.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


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