How safe is it to get your pet stoned? We talked to experts.

How safe is it to get your pet stoned? We talked to experts.

VicesDecember 09, 2016 By Eleanor Gray

It’s safe.

At least physically. 

A dog or a cat’s physiology is basically the same as a human’s.

“Any vertebrate walking the Earth has an endocannabinoid system,” says Robert Stewart. He’s co-owner of CannaCompanion, a maker of cannabinoid products for dogs, cats and soon, horses. His products have high CBD content and only .023 percent THC, which makes it 1/100th as stony as most mainstream marijuana.

With so many companies now producing cannabis products for pets, we thought it was time to revisit the age old question: Is it safe to get your pets high? Feed them a Cheeba Chew? Blow a little smoke in their face? 

Stewart, like every other responsible and gainfully employed person we've ever talked to, doesn’t condone getting pets stoned on THC. 

But he doesn’t see any reason why getting them stoned would be physically harmful, or dangerous. He told me he has vets on staff who’ve been experimenting with giving cannabinoids to pets and horses for 20 years, to no noticeable ill effects. 

Last year, in fact, Nevada legislator Tick Segerblom introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana for your pets.

“There’s a lot of medical evidence that, particularly the CBD, for arthritis and things like that, it the same effect on animals it has on humans,” Tick explains.

That rationality and compassion didn’t stop Tick from being ridiculed on the O’Reilly Factor, however — America’s premium source for the Rantings of Angry Old Men:

“I immediately became the laughingstock of the country,” Tick told me. “Needless to say, my bill died a quick death.”

Despite what FoxNews might say, the dangers of cannabis in pets is probably overrated. Though the more relevant question seems to be whether or not it's even ethical to get your pets stoned at this point?

Every expert we spoke with says, No. It isn’t ethical. Or nice. 

“The dog doesn't have the ability to say that was too much or too strong,” Joe Hodas, the chief marketing officer for Dixie Brands (which is marketing a new pet CBD lineup called Therabis), told us. “Without understanding the proper dosage, I wouldn't encourage anyone to give (THC) to the dog, because it could make them uncomfortable.” 

If they don't know what's up, dosing them is as uncool as slipping cannabutter in Nana’s Metamucil. 

“If a dog could raise a paw and say, ‘Let’s listen to some Deep Purple,’ that would be a different story,” Stewart adds. “There’s no benefit to a dog getting high. They don’t listen to music better and kibble doesn’t taste better.” 

But ... no one is for sure. Since our pets have the same endocannabinoid system, they could theoretically feel the same stimulation on THC as humans do. They just can't communicate with us whether or not they want it.

Of course, anyone we asked about it openly didn't want to admit to it on record. But a few pet owners we've spoken with claim their pets do, in fact, like to be stoned.

They said their pets run up to them when they’re smoking and stick their face in the second hand smoke. Then they 'get chill as fuck.'

Other pets reportedly run away at the first whiff. 

So, animals clearly have some agency and decision making capacity. They apparently know, just like humans do, whether they like being stoned or not.

“When I'm puffing outside the back of my house sometimes my dog comes over looking for blowbacks, when she gets it she runs over to a patch of sun and lies down,” a user called Honey_B180 claims on Reddit. 

“Don't smoke out pets???” writes FerretHydrocodone on the same thread. “Tell that to my ferrets who instantly run up to me when I start smoking weed of any kind and start licking me once I blow a hit on them.” 

Whether it's ok to blow smoke in a pet's face or not, everyone agrees that edibles are the real danger — overdose deaths in animals, unlike in humans, are a real thing in extreme cases.

It’s simply too easy for dogs to accidentally get into a stash of edibles, eat too much, and become overly uncomfortable, or worse.

Just watch the overdose of this dog. 

Basically, until we have a better understanding of how cannabis affects humans (not to mention pets), lay off the little guy until we know it's safe. There are smart men and women in the industry working hard to figure it all out, even producing THC and CBD products specifically with our best friends in mind.

Reminder: Hot-boxing your girlfriend's cat because you have nothing better to do with your time = not okay. Seeking the advice of a professional to get your ferrets arthritis in check with CBD = okay.

Common sense goes a long way.