Does your dog know you're high?

Cannabis and Dogs

The eternal question before you light up beside your best pal as their hopeful eyes look up at you. Man's best friend has cultivated an iconic image of their owners in their mind and now you're wondering if they'll judge you for smoking weed.

We already know that enforcement agencies utilize drug dogs for their keen sense of smell to detect drugs and bust criminals but what about your everyday Golden Retriever named Spike? And if they knew would your furry friend judge if the legal system had never taught them it was bad?

Marijuana and your dog

This shouldn't need to be said but do not give your dog cannabis and be wary of secondhand smoke... It's best to avoid any smoke exposure because your dogs also have their own complex system of endocannabinoid receptors.

Receptors are the paths that chemical molecules must adhere to in order for them to act upon their target.

CB1 and CB2 are the two known kinds of cannabinoid receptors which indicate where they bind on neurons in the body. Both of these chemicals react with these neurotransmitters that affect dogs behavior, appetite, and pain just as they do for humans.

This means that while the psychoactive properties of cannabis could potentially affect your animals they don't have the capacity to understand the effects and won't enjoy it in the same way.

I've heard stories of dogs getting into unsupervised pot brownies and unfortunately this is toxic for your dog and can make them sick. If your dog does ingest pot brownies or a significant amount of cannabis I would recommend taking it to the vet prior to experiencing symptoms just to be on the safe side.

Keep the green to yourself and instead spoil your dog with attention and food while you treat yourself.

Now into the nitty gritty.

Can your dog smell if you are high?

When you smoke pot the molecules are aerosolized and disperse quickly through the air making it harder for others to smell what you're doing. This must mean that dogs can't smell cannabis right?

Wrong. A dog's sense of smell is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom, tens of thousands of times stronger than humans. A dog's olfactory bulb in their brain is 40x larger than humans and has an abundance of receptor cells which make them extremely sensitive to smells. So when you light up your pet most likely knows something's up because they can smell it a mile away!

A dogs sense of smell is so powerful that it can detect cancer and other types of illness and alert their person before any symptoms occur. This is truly amazing because dogs will inherently continue to care for us if we're sick.

Dogs have more smell receptors, a higher concentration of smell receptor cells, and a larger olfactory gland compared to us which makes all the difference. even the slightest change in your body's natural chemical composition could be detected by your dog's sense of smell. This means that unfortunately your weed odor is detectable by Spike.

Even if you think you're being sneaky by dipping out of the house for a quick puff and have the door closed your pup will be able to smell it on you when you come back in.

Dogs have a cognitive ability to recognize the unique scent of cannabis and will associate this with their owner lighting up.

Does your dog care if you're high?

More importantly because I don't necessarily mind if my dog knows if I smoke weed but do they care?

If your dog is already high on life and enjoys treats, a good sleep or a lounge on the couch talking with it's owner then they may actually appreciate your self care routine. Animals are just like their human counterparts and require time to unwind.

If your pet is prone to anxiety, and sensitive to emotions or change in the feel of the room than there is a slim possibility your dog may have trouble adjusting to your stoned self.

For the most part I would assume that smart pets that are sensitive to changes in your body are just concerned for your health. And of course you need to remember that dogs are much more understanding than a person or kid and if you feel the need to explain yourself I'm sure they would understand.

Even though we may feel as though our dogs are proficient mind readers I do not think they are.

It may be the case that you are projecting your feelings upon them, similar to an actor who plays a character in a movie but I don't want to jump down that rabbit hole too far - this is a conversation for my dog and I to have.

In my unscientific opinion this may depend on the personality of dog that you have, the breed of your dog and whether or not it enjoys your high activities.

You could test the theory on differing dog personalities by getting high and hanging out with two dogs at the same time. In my mind this seems like a win-win either way.

At the end of the day if your dog seems standoffish or distant then perhaps they are judging you, remember dogs similar to humans are reacting largely to body language. If you are paranoid, they will be too.

A dog's sense and ability to detect changes in emotions in a room is very powerful and you can use this to your advantage to project food vibes on your pets.

The social cannabis pack

When you decided to pick out your chosen dogs they also adopted you into their social pack hierarchy.

Dogs will naturally try to adapt to the behavior of their human. Regardless of if your dogs can detect marijuana on you it is the behavior that they attempt to match, dogs are very pure in that way.

Connecting with your dog through cannabis

Cannabis affects everyone differently and if you really want to get on the same level as your dog try matching your cannabis strain to the activity you would like to do with your furry friend.

I've found that on marijuana I can be much more intuitive with animals. Marijuana for as much flack as it gets can be a powerful tool to understand the behaviour of dogs, cats, and even kids.

If you're going out on a walk try something more energetic and euphoric, if your planning on a night in to eat snacks and hang on the couch maybe try something a little more relaxing.

Regardless, as long as you are giving your dogs sufficient attention and intuitive to their needs they will appreciate your company.

Final words on your dog and cannabis

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that one of the most debated questions in this 21st century is whether or not dogs can tell when their human is high on cannabis.

Many dog owners have a passionate stance, with many believing that their dog does in fact know when they're under the influence of weed.

Others believe that it's absolute nonsense and that dogs cannot sense if their human is high or not.

I prefer to trust my senses and weigh out the evidence based on rigorous testing with control groups of different dogs.

Many dog owners claim that their dogs will not only become protective and more loving when they're high, this may be because the dogs can tell something is amiss with your behavior or it may be because you are more sensitive to your dogs naturally protective tendencies.

This debate is one that has no clear answer and unfortunately the only way to conclusively solve this is to get in the trenches and test it out for yourself.

This is a tough job but someone has to do it.

I'd recommend reducing all of your internal filters when you try it out and really trying to get on the same psychological and potentially even physical level as your dogs when you try this.

As always I appreciate you taking the time to read. Drop a comment with your favorite high activities to do with your dog or if you have input in the can your dog tell if you're stoned debate.

Stay Lifted,


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