The cannabis culture due to legalisation in some US states is bad for pets and humans. Ten states and Washington DC have legalised marijuana for recreational use for adults over 21. The first four states to legalise this recreational drug were Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. The US weed industry has become a $50 billion business. Both the authorities and businesses want weed to be legalised so that it can be sold on a widespread basis for profit and taxes. It makes people money but also, allegedly, it makes people into criminals.
And if people are on the way to becoming criminals they cannot be a good cat or dog owner. The effects of marijuana take away a person’s ability to care for their cat or dog properly, in my opinion.
Not only does cannabis affect some people such that they become criminals, there’s also been a dramatic increase in cases of psychosis and marijuana-use disorder. In 2006 there were 30,000 such cases and by 2014 that number was 90,000 in the US.
Modern cannabis is much stronger than the earlier variety. Back in the 1970s and 80s marijuana contained less than 2% of THC, the chemical responsible for psychoactive effects. Today it routinely contains 20 to 25% THC. This is an entirely different product.
The US National Academy of Medicine state that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychosis; the higher the use, the greater the risk”. Schizophrenics cannot look after pets to a high standard.
The legalisation of marijuana has created a massive American business which in turn raises huge amount of money in taxes. It is business which is now promoting the legalisation of this drug. More studies are needed on its effect on the brain and whether it is a route to more drug abuse.
In 2017, 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses. Is it wise to start on a crusade to promote the legalisation and sale of cannabis in America with that statistic hanging over you?
I’ve mentioned that if a person is taking cannabis they can’t be a great cat or dog owner, not in my view, but also in these households you will find that pets are ingesting THC via the smoke in the air. There is even a study about this. It’s entitled “Marijuana intoxication in a cat”.
It was published online in July 2018 on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes Of Health website. They state that animal intoxication occurs rarely and often accidentally (but the ‘rare’ label will change to ‘not uncommonly’). Most often it happens with respect to dogs but they referred to a six-year-old Persian cat who was brought to a veterinary clinic due to strong psychomotor agitation turning into aggression.
The cat was hospitalised for 14 days whereupon behaviour returned to normal. The cat was returned home and then redeveloped neurological signs and was re-hospitalised. During hospitalisation the cat developed “alternate signs of agitation and apathy, each lasting several minutes. On interview it turned out that the cat had been exposed to marijuana smoke.”
The cat was treated and after a complete recovery returned home to the owner. The owner was advised to isolate the cat from marijuana smoke.
We don’t have statistics on how many pets are affected by marijuana smoke in homes. If we did have them they would be on the rise. No question about it. But the greater problem, as mentioned, is that increased use of cannabis is going to result in a decreasing ability to provide high standards of cat and dog care in the home. This is what concerns me.
Why do humans have to rely on getting stoned in order to make life acceptable? We must have failed miserably in creating a pleasant society.
Let’s also not forget that ordinary cigarette smoking can have a detrimental effect upon cat and dog health as well. There are many hazards, some subtle and some obvious, in the human home affecting the health of our pets. We should all be fully aware of them.
My thanks to Alice Thomson of The Times of Wednesday 23rd Jan 2019 for the background info on cannabis use in the US.