Can dogs break down THC?

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Bea Goldmann CBD specialist author

Bea Goldman

Specialist author with a master’s degree in naturopathy and complementary medicine


Have you ever wondered if dogs can break down THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis? This article will cover this question in detail and provide you with all the information you need to understand this topic.

What is THC?

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive component of cannabis that is responsible for the famous 'high' effect. For dogs, it is important to understand that THC is a substance found in cannabis and can pose a potential threat to their health. Dogs react differently to THC than humans, and it is therefore crucial to know how this substance can affect their bodies

Can tetrahydrocannabinol be dangerous for dogs?

In fact, THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, poses potential dangers to dogs. It is essential to consider that dogs respond to THC in a way that is significantly different than how humans respond. These differences in metabolism and biological processing can lead to unpredictable side effects. Therefore, it is of great importance to be aware of the potential risks that may be associated with dog exposure to THC in order to protect the health and well-being of our beloved pets.

Breakdown of THC in the body of dogs

How do people break down THC?

The breakdown of THC in the human body is a complex process that primarily takes place in the liver. When someone consumes tetrahydrocannabinol, whether by smoking, vaping, or eating cannabis-containing products, this psychoactive cannabinoid enters the bloodstream. From there it is transported to the liver.

In the liver, tetrahydrocannabinol is converted into various metabolites or breakdown products. An important metabolite is 11-hydroxy-THC, which is also psychoactive and contributes to the effects of cannabis. Another important metabolite is the non-psychoactive 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH). This is often detected in drug tests because it can linger in the body for a long time.

After the cannabinoid and its metabolites are processed in the liver, they are returned to the bloodstream. From there they reach the kidneys, where they are excreted into the urine. This elimination process can take some time and varies from person to person.

Differences in metabolism between dogs and humans

Dogs' metabolism differs significantly from that of humans, especially when it comes to breaking down THC . While humans and dogs both have an endocannabinoid system, this system responds to tetrahydrocannabinol in different ways in each species.

First of all, the speed of metabolism in dogs is generally faster than in humans. This means that substances, including THC, tend to be processed more quickly in dogs' bodies. This could cause the psychoactive effects of THC to wear off more quickly in dogs than in humans.

Another important difference lies in the enzymes responsible for breaking down THC. Dogs have higher levels of the enzyme cytochrome P450 2C9 than humans. This enzyme plays a crucial role in the breakdown of tetrahydrocannabinol. The increased activity of this enzyme allows dogs to metabolize and break it down more quickly.

In addition, body mass affects THC breakdown. Since dogs are generally smaller than humans, the same amount of THC in their bodies can have a more intense effect. This is because the concentration of THC in a dog's bloodstream is higher relative to its body mass than in a human.

So can a dog break down THC?

Dogs have an endocannabinoid system, similar to humans, that is responsible for processing cannabinoids like THC. However, this breakdown occurs more slowly in dogs than in humans.

A key difference is that THC can remain in a dog's body longer, which can result in more potent effects. The size and weight of the dog also play a role, as smaller dogs may be more sensitive to THC.

A dog's individual reaction to THC depends on various factors, such as his health and age. The metabolites of THC in a dog's body can vary and have different effects.

In summary, dogs can break down THC, but not as efficiently as humans. It is important to recognize the potential risks that may be associated with exposing dogs to THC.

What to do if a dog has been exposed to THC?

Symptoms of THC Exposure in Dogs:

  • confusion
  • Changed behavior (increased anxiety, increased aggressiveness)
  • Coordination difficulties (uncoordinated movements, disturbed gait)
  • Decreased absorption of food (loss of appetite)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound

These symptoms can vary depending on the amount and type of THC exposure. If signs of THC poisoning occur, it is important to seek immediate veterinary attention to take appropriate treatment measures.

Can CBD help dogs?

The use of CBD as a complementary therapy for dogs is becoming increasingly popular. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant. Many pet owners report that CBD has helped their dogs with various health problems, including pain relief, anxiety, inflammation, and even epileptic seizures. Although more research is needed to understand the full range of CBD's effects on dogs, research to date shows promising results. However, if you are considering giving CBD to your dog, it is advisable to do so in consultation with your veterinarian to ensure proper dosage and use.

Dog CBD oil


Dogs can break down the cannbinoid tetrahydrocannabinol to some extent, but not as efficiently as humans. THC can also be dangerous for dogs because they react differently to it.

It's crucial to understand the potential risks when dogs are exposed to THC and take the necessary steps to help them. We also discussed the safer alternative, CBD, and how it can help dogs with various health problems.

Ultimately, it is our responsibility as pet owners to ensure our dogs live in safe and healthy environments. The world of CBD pet products offers a promising option to support the well-being of our four-legged friends. Discover our CBD oil specially developed for dogs. Remember to always use THC-containing substances responsibly and put your dog's health first.

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Bea Goldmann,

Bea Goldmann, our experienced specialist author with a master's degree in naturopathy and complementary medicine. Bea is the heart of our content because she not only brings in-depth knowledge, but also a passion for holistic health solutions.

Thanks to Bea's deep understanding of the power of nature and the science behind CBD, we can offer you content that not only informs, but also inspires. With every article she writes for CBD Shinygram, you will not only get insights into the benefits and uses of CBD, but also practical tips on how you can integrate CBD into your everyday life.

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