Cannabis poisoning

Cannabis sativa • marijuana • hashish • grass • pot • Indian hemp plant • dope • hash • puff • weed • ganja

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Introduction

  • From plant Cannabis sativa- usually found in the form of cannabis/marijuana (dried leaves and flowers of plant) or hashish (dried resin from flower tips).
  • Cause : accidental ingestion (or inhalation) of cannabis containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the principal active ingredient.
  • Signs : acute onset is usually within 1-3 h: ataxia, drowsiness, stupor, behavioral changes, tachycardia, hypotension, hypothermia, increased appetite, conjunctival injection.
  • Treatment : emesis (within 1 h of ingestion, only if asymptomatic), absorbents (activated charcoal, BCK granules), supportive therapy (intravenous fluids, warming).
  • Prognosis : good, recovery usually within 24-72 h.

Diagnosis

Clinical signs

  • Ataxia.
  • Inco-ordination.
  • Depression.
  • Conjunctival injection.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Respiratory depression.
  • Hypotension.
  • Absence of localizing signs on neurological examination and no evidence of systemic disease.
  • Hyperesthesia.
  • Vomiting.

Differential diagnosis

Outcomes

Prognosis

  • Prognosis for complete recovery following cannabis intoxication is very good.
  • Recovery is more rapid for affected dogs that receive veterinary attention soon after cannabis ingestion.
  • Death from exposure to cannabis is not expected.
  • A full recovery is usually seen within 24-71 h.

Expected response to treatment

  • The dog is alert and aware of its environment and clinical signs of toxicosis have resolved.
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