Human cannabis lovers know that pot is the cat’s meow, a healthy treat with a little something something. But what do our feline friends think about this plant? Do they smoke it behind obedience school, hiding their joints whenever a veterinarian walks by? Do they get stoned and go to town on a bag of Science Diet? Do cats spend their nights in the back alleys sitting in boxes and talking about the meaning of their nine lives? In reality, cats probably don’t think about weed ever – they’re too busy assessing the threat of dryer lint and wondering how to thwart that laser pointer once and for all. But, just because they don’t think about it, doesn’t mean marijuana is off-limits to them. Medical marijuana is used to treat pets, including those of the feline variety.
Cats and Cannabis
At the forefront of pot for pets is Canna Companion, a supplement made of hemp; it’s used for animals with medical issues. It’s made of sativa strains that are specially designed to offer medicinal benefits while limiting the “high” pot is known for. It does this by minimizing the THC. The capsules are made of phytocannabinoids, terpenes used to modulate said phytocannabinoids, and flavonoids (anti-inflammatories found in a variety of foods). They also contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and Vitamin B6 to increase bioavailability. Each ingredient is found naturally inside the cannabis plant
Canna Companion is given to cats (and dogs) with a variety of conditions. These include chronic pain and inflammation, irritable bowel disease, pancreatitis, feline lower urinary tract disease, nausea, dementia, asthma, seizures, and anxiety.
It may also be given to cats to stimulate appetite, to ease symptoms of cancer, and to support the immune system. The reason Canna Companion works for cats is the same reason medical marijuana works for people: cannabis contains compounds that affect the endocannabinoid system. Nearly every tissue in the body contains receptors that respond to the components found in the plant. Cannabis helps the body harmonize with itself
Even so, Canna Companion isn’t a miracle drug and it’s not designed to be the only treatment. Typically, it works most effectively when used on a supplemental basis. Sometimes, it can even help cats get off dangerous medications or those with unpleasant side effects.
Cannabis Toxicity in Cats
Unlike humans, dogs and cats are prone to marijuana toxicity – it’s not common, but it occurs. Canna Companion contains very low THC (less than .3%) making the risk of toxicity nil, but pets can experience problems if given marijuana in other ways. If you blow pot smoke in their face or feed them edibles, overdose may happen. Canna Companion alone isn’t toxic but it may bring about some temporary issues. Some cats experience mild lethargy or soft stools with increased frequency. Cannabis is fibrous (since it’s a plant) and the bowel changes are usually a result of this – if it’s an issue – if your cats being more generous than usual with its boxes of crap – reducing the dose should reduce the problem. In rare circumstances, cats experience prolonged itching and nausea that warrants discontinuation.
Is It Legal?
Whether or not Canna Companion is legal is a valid question – after all, recreational pot is a rarity rather than the rule and, even then, it’s not allowed to be shipped via US mail. But Canna Companion meets the definition of hemp supplements, placing it, under federal law, in the same category as CBD oil. Besides, its low THC level doesn’t make it an enticing purchase for people trying to get high – taking these supplements will do nothing for you in terms of getting stoned. You’ll just be a human, eating cat food.
Watching for Signs of Overdose
Of course, some people don’t want to use hemp supplements for their pets; they want to use more potent medical marijuana. So, they make their own. This isn’t recommended without consulting a vet, but even then, watching out for signs of overdose is important – as mentioned above, marijuana has a toxicity in animals it doesn’t present in humans. A few things to watch out for are lethargy, excessive drooling, sluggishness, and wobbling
In more extreme cases, animals may lose control of their body, experience urinary incontinence, low blood pressure, seizure, and a slow heart rate. Animals can die as well – some choke on their own vomit and die from asphyxiation. The internet is full of ways to help a pet that’s overdosing, but you’re much better off playing it safe and taking your furry friend to the vet.
If you’re going to try to fix the situation yourself, you may use charcoal to soak up the toxins (this special charcoal is available at drugstores). You may also induce vomiting – with hydrogen peroxide - if that doesn’t work. But your pet’s going to be scared and uncomfortable; seeking professional help is the most compassionate thing you can do.
People and Catnip
Now that we’ve discussed Mittens getting into our proverbial stash, does it work the other way around? Can people get high by smoking catnip? Catnip is a plant that’s part of the mint family. It’s historically been used medicinally in humans and is known for aiding digestion, acting as a sedative, helping with colic, treating fever, easing tooth pain, and promoting menstruation, even though who the heck wants to promote that. It’s used as a tea too and acts as a remedy for the common cold and cough.
Catnip grew in popularity as a hallucinogen back in the 1960s (naturally) and people smoked it more regularly.
It tends to calm people and induce relaxation (though, in cats, it acts as more of a stimulant). Some people mix catnip with herbs to enhance their dreams. People who smoke catnip feel it for a few hours until they’re back to normal. Some do experience a few side effects as well – headache, nausea, dizziness, and infatuation with balls of yarn.