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

Authors


  • The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to

Dr. Stacy D. Meola, Emergency Department, Wheat Ridge Veterinary Specialists, 3696 Kipling St, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033, USA

Email: smeola@wrah.com

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.

Ancillary