Evaluation of trends in marijuana toxicosis in dogs living in a state with legalized medical marijuana: 125 dogs (2005-2010)

Stacy D. Meola, Caitlin C. Tearney, Sharlee A. Haas, Timothy B. Hackett, Elisa M. Mazzaferro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To report a correlation between the increased number of medical marijuana licenses and marijuana toxicosis in dogs in a state with legalized marijuana for medical use. Design: Retrospective case series from January 1, 2005 to October 1, 2010. Setting: Private specialty referral hospital and a university teaching hospital. Animals: A total of 125 client-owned dogs presenting for known or suspected marijuana toxicosis with or without a urine drug screening test (UDST). Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: During the study period, 125 dogs were evaluated including 76 dogs with known marijuana exposure or a positive UDST (group 1), 6 dogs with known marijuana ingestion and a negative UDST (group 2), and 43 dogs with known marijuana ingestion that were not tested (group 3). The incidence of marijuana toxicosis presenting to both hospitals increased 4-fold, while the number of people registered for medical marijuana in the state increased 146-fold in the last 5 years. A significant positive correlation was detected between the increase in known/suspected marijuana toxicosis in dogs (groups 1-3) and the increased number of medical marijuana licenses (correlation R coefficient = 0.959, P = 0.002). Two dogs that ingested butter made with medical grade marijuana in baked products died. Conclusions: A significant correlation was found between the number of medical marijuana licenses and marijuana toxicosis cases seen in 2 veterinary hospitals in Colorado. Ingestion of baked goods made with medical grade tetrahydrocannabinol butter resulted in 2 deaths. UDST may be unreliable for the detection of marijuana toxicosis in dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-696
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Canine
  • Elicit drug
  • Intoxication
  • THC

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