Can Animals Get Stoned from Secondhand Marijuana Smoke? Exploring the Facts

Freddie Aug 17, 2023
1 People Read
is weed bad for animals, dog, dog high

In a world where marijuana has gained increasing acceptance and legalization, a curious question arises: Can our furry companions be affected by secondhand cannabis smoke? For both marijuana enthusiasts who share their homes with pets and the simply curious, this concern is captivating and significant. Let's delve into the truth behind this matter, separating fact from fiction.


As the aroma of cannabis wafts through the air, pet owners may wonder if their beloved cats and dogs could experience the same sensations as humans. Could secondhand cannabis smoke lead to unexpected reactions in our loyal animal friends? In this exploration, we'll closely examine the potential effects of weed smoke on pets, focusing on dogs and cats.

While the concept of pets getting "stoned" might provoke a chuckle, the underlying concerns are far from a laughing matter. Responsible pet owners must grasp the nuances of this issue to ensure their animals' safety. In this guide, we'll navigate the science of how animals respond to cannabinoids, explore safety precautions, and outline steps to take if your pet encounters accidental exposure.

Whether you're a dedicated marijuana enthusiast looking out for your pet's comfort or a curious soul seeking knowledge, you're in the right place. Through research and anecdotes, we aim to provide a well-rounded understanding of whether animals can truly get stoned from secondhand cannabis smoke. So, let's embark on this journey where our love for pets intersects with the world of marijuana.

ingesting marijuana, pets, dog

We love the cannabis plant, but do our pets?

The Curious Case of Secondhand Cannabis Smoke and Pets

The increasing normalization of marijuana usage brings forth a fascinating query: Can pets be affected by secondhand cannabis smoke? This question holds particular relevance for marijuana users who share their homes with animal companions. However, it also piques the curiosity of those who wish to understand the potential impacts of this seemingly innocuous situation.

As marijuana becomes more integrated into daily life, it's only natural to contemplate whether the inhalation of cannabis smoke could lead to unintended effects in pets. Could cats and dogs, with their sensitive senses, experience alterations similar to those experienced by humans exposed to secondhand smoke? In this section, we will explore the intricacies of this query, seeking to unravel the truth behind the anecdotal tales and establish a foundation of knowledge.

cannabis sativa effect on animals, dog

Unveiling the Effects on Dogs and Cats

Dogs, known for their loyalty and sensitivity, can react quite differently to cannabis smoke compared to their human counterparts. Their heightened senses, particularly their acute sense of smell, might play a significant role in how they perceive and respond to the fumes. While direct exposure to weed smoke can lead to symptoms like lethargy, incoordination, and even vomiting in dogs, the effects of secondhand smoke appear to be less severe. Dogs might show signs of being sedated or having altered behavior, but getting truly "stoned" from secondhand smoke is unlikely.

Cats, on the other hand, display their own set of reactions. With their unique physiology, they might be more sensitive to the compounds present in marijuana. The exposure to secondhand smoke could lead to changes in behavior, coordination issues, and lethargy. However, definitive evidence on whether cats can get stoned from secondhand smoke remains scarce.

While it's essential to remain cautious about exposing pets to any type of smoke, including marijuana smoke, the direct intoxication effects on pets from secondhand exposure are generally considered to be less severe than those experienced by humans. In the following sections, we'll delve deeper into the scientific aspects of these reactions and what steps to take to ensure your pets' well-being

marijuana plants effect on pets

The Endocannabinoid System – Why Pets React Differently

To unravel the mystery behind why cats and dogs respond uniquely to secondhand cannabis smoke, we must delve into their individual endocannabinoid systems. This intricate network of receptors and signaling molecules plays a pivotal role in how cannabinoids, like those found in marijuana, interact with their bodies.

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System in Cats and Dogs: While both cats and dogs share the endocannabinoid system with humans, there are crucial differences that contribute to their distinct reactions. This system regulates various physiological processes, such as mood, appetite, pain perception, and immune responses. When cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), enter their bodies, they interact with these receptors, setting off a chain of effects.

Unique Sensitivities in Cats: Cats, being obligate carnivores, have a somewhat different endocannabinoid system compared to humans and dogs. Their metabolism and certain receptors are distinct, potentially leading to unique sensitivities to cannabinoids. The structure of their receptors might contribute to variations in how they react to THC and other compounds present in marijuana.

Dogs' Differential Responses: Dogs, our loyal companions, exhibit variations in their endocannabinoid system as well. Their olfactory senses, which are incredibly sharp, are accompanied by a higher concentration of cannabinoid receptors in their brains compared to humans. This heightened presence of receptors could account for dogs' potential sensitivity to marijuana smoke and its effects.

Size Matters: Size also plays a role in how pets experience the effects of cannabinoids. Smaller animals, whether cats or tiny dog breeds, might be more susceptible to even trace amounts of exposure due to their lower body mass and metabolism. Larger animals, on the other hand, might have a higher tolerance.

By delving into the nuances of the endocannabinoid systems in cats and dogs, we gain a deeper understanding of why their responses to secondhand cannabis smoke are so diverse. These unique physiological factors underscore the need for cautious consideration when it comes to exposing our furry friends to any type of smoke. In the upcoming sections, we'll explore safety concerns and delve into the potential risks associated with exposing cats and dogs to cannabis smoke.

cannabis plants effect on pets

Delving into Safety Concerns

As responsible pet owners, ensuring the well-being of our furry companions is paramount. When it comes to exposing pets to secondhand marijuana smoke, a thorough understanding of the potential safety concerns is essential. While the idea of pets getting "high" might sound amusing, the reality requires careful consideration.

The Risks of Secondhand Exposure:

It's crucial to acknowledge that secondhand cannabis smoke can carry risks for pets. Cats and dogs, with their unique sensitivities, might experience adverse reactions when exposed to the compounds present in marijuana. The psychoactive effects of THC, for instance, can affect their behavior and overall well-being.

Respiratory Health:

Beyond the psychoactive effects, the inhalation of smoke itself can pose respiratory risks for pets. Dogs and cats have delicate respiratory systems, making them vulnerable to the irritants and toxins present in smoke. This exposure could potentially lead to coughing, sneezing, and even more serious respiratory issues.

Edibles and Ingestion:

While secondhand smoke exposure is a concern, the accidental ingestion of marijuana or edibles can have more severe consequences. Pets that ingest marijuana can experience symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, incoordination, and, in extreme cases, seizures. The effects of ingested marijuana can be longer-lasting and more pronounced compared to those from inhalation.

Recognizing the Signs:

It's vital for pet owners to recognize the signs of intoxication or distress in their animals. Changes in behavior, coordination issues, altered responsiveness, and changes in appetite could indicate exposure to marijuana. Prompt recognition of these signs allows for timely intervention.

Creating a Pet-Friendly Environment:

To mitigate risks, it's advisable to create a pet-friendly environment where exposure to secondhand smoke is minimized. Designate smoking areas that are away from your pets, and ensure proper ventilation to prevent the accumulation of smoke indoors.

By acknowledging the safety concerns associated with exposing pets to secondhand marijuana smoke, we empower ourselves to take proactive measures. In the following sections, we'll explore what steps to take if your pet is accidentally exposed to marijuana and delve into the intricacies of marijuana ingestion and its effects on pets.

can cats experience weed or cannabis

What to Do If Your Pet Gets Exposed

Discovering that your furry friend has been exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke or has ingested marijuana can be distressing. However, staying calm and taking prompt action can make a significant difference in ensuring their safety and well-being. Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do if your pet is exposed:

Step 1: Observe and Assess: Keep a close eye on your pet for any changes in behavior or physical symptoms. Signs of marijuana intoxication can vary but may include lethargy, drooling, vomiting, unsteady movement, or dilated pupils.

Step 2: Remove the Source: If your pet has been exposed to secondhand smoke, move them to a well-ventilated area free from any residual smoke. If your pet has ingested weed or edibles, keep any remaining marijuana products out of reach to prevent further consumption.

Step 3: Contact Your Veterinarian: If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Provide them with as much information as possible, including the type of exposure or ingestion, the estimated quantity, and your pet's weight.

Step 4: Pet Poison Control Hotline: Having the contact information for a pet poison control hotline can be invaluable in such situations. If you're unsure about the severity of the exposure or ingestion, a trained professional can guide you on the appropriate steps to take.

Step 5: Do Not Self-Treat: Avoid attempting to treat your pet at home without professional guidance. Home remedies or human medications can sometimes worsen the situation. Your veterinarian is the best source of advice in such circumstances.

Read more about marijuana poisoning here:


Is medical marijuana smoke safer?

No, it is the same as non-medical smoke. You should not expose your pets to it.

Can I smoke weed inside while my pet/pets are there?

You should definitely not smoke inside while your animals are there. Inhaling smoke is unhealthy for both of you.

Can weed or CBD products be used as a medication for pets?

The balance between potential benefits and risks concerning the use of medical marijuana for dogs remains uncertain. Self-administering this treatment to your dog can pose hazards. Although there are anecdotes suggesting that medical marijuana might alleviate arthritis and cancer discomfort in dogs. for now, it lacks approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association.


In the realm where our devotion to pets meets the evolving landscape of marijuana, the question of animals being affected by secondhand smoke piques our curiosity. Throughout our exploration, we've dissected facts and science to uncover the truth behind this intriguing inquiry.

We've traversed the effects of marijuana on cats and dogs, unraveled their unique endocannabinoid systems, and recognized the risks of exposure. Vigilance as responsible pet owners is paramount, prompting us to take measures to protect our companions.

Armed with the knowledge of recognizing signs of exposure and swift actions to take, we're prepared for the unexpected. Our mission is clear: to ensure our pets' safety in a world where marijuana is prevalent. Especially at this time when we fight to legalize recreational marijuana.

As we conclude, let's advocate for responsible marijuana use around pets, sharing insights within our communities. Real stories from fellow pet owners underscore the importance of awareness and preparedness.

Whether you're a dedicated enthusiast or a curious mind, I hope this article has shed light on the intricate intersection of animals and marijuana. Our commitment to our furry friends, paired with informed choices, creates a harmonious bond where science and empathy thrive. Smoking cannabis is fine if it's legal. However, you should not give your dog weed. Remember to keep your pets safe!