California: LA Weekly Claims Marijuana Can Kill Your Dog (It's Not True)
By Steve Elliott
You can count on some clueless mainstream reporter, on a regular basis, claiming that marijuana can "hurt your pets" or is "bad for Fido" (it's not true; cannabis is non-toxic to all mammals). But when a reporter covering the weed beat for an alternative weekly -- i.e., a guy who should know way better -- claims that pot can kill your pooch, it's time for a public correction.
That's just what fact-challenged reporter Dennis Romero does on the LA Weekly's website today. Romero, who has (badly, often inaccurately, and with an obnoxiously condescending, anti-pot tone) for years covered the marijuana beat for the Weekly, actually touts the spectre of Rover OD'ing on marijuana in his latest ridiculously embarrassing bit of non-reportage.
Romero hangs his execrable piece on the peg of a year-old study from the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care that supposedly found a "fourfold increase" in the number of dogs that "had to be treated" for "cannabis exposure" from 2005 to 2010.
But, you see, there are problems with Romero's assumptions, here. Chiefly among them is the assertion that any dog "had to be treated" for "cannabis exposure," since, simply put, marijuana doesn't hurt dogs.
Dogs -- and all other mammals -- share the same cannabinoid receptors as human beings. Unlike as with opiates, for example, none of those cannabis receptors are located on areas of the brain having to do with breathing. This is what makes a "marijuana overdose" impossible, for either humans, dogs, or cats. It has not happened; it will never happen.
MARIJUANA DOESN'T KILL PETS, IN ANY AMOUNT. IT IS NON-TOXIC. To kill a dog with marijuana, you'd have to drop a bale of it on him -- there is NO FATAL DOSE with cannabis among mammals.
Past testing on dogs and cats for human clinical trials has revealed that pets have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans, and can therefore benefit in the same ways from marijuana. Marinol -- a synthetic form of THC -- is, in fact, already used in veterinary oncology as an appetite stimulant.
The second big problem with Romero's breathless reportage (he really does write like a pot virgin) of the "fourfold increase" in dogs that "had to be treated" for "cannabis exposure" is that -- of COURSE! -- veterinarians are all too happy to take a look at your stoned pet, cluck a bit in a professional way, and send you home with a $200 office visit bill. The fact that this entire exercise is completely unnecessary, and, to boot, ridiculous and expensive doesn't make your money any less green to the animal doctor.
"The trend we've seen in recent years involving pets and marijuana is significant," Romero quotes Ahna Brutlag, associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline, as saying. "Of all illicit drugs, marijuana has always been responsible for the most calls to Pet Poison Helpline, but this recent increase is the sharpest we have ever seen."
Of course, missing in all that alarmist talk is the fact that NONE OF THESE PETS WERE HARMED, only perhaps a little sleepy or disoriented, and that all those calls were by owners panicking over the fact that their Fluffy was stoned to the bone.
On a regular basis, inaccurate reports of marijuana being "poisonous" to cats or dogs appear in the mainstream media; such reports are nonsense. Cannabis is fundamentally nontoxic to all mammals.
Romero takes it well into the realm of fiction with these lines: "And -- we can't emphasize this enough -- stop blowing smoke into your pooch's snout. It's cute, but in extreme cases, the Pet Poison Helpline experts say, marijuana can kill your dog."
No, Dennis Romero of the LA Weekly. Pot can't kill your dog.
Get a clue, please?
(Photo: Fun Ripper)