High Crimes & Parrot Health: Implications Of Loosening Marijuana Restrictions For You & Your Bird
There are several legal and ethical issues bird owners should consider as many U.S. states move to legalize or decriminalize medical and recreational marijuana use
Unless you?e had your head in the um Е clouds Е recently, you?e no doubt aware that an increasing number of cities and states have moved ahead with legislation to legalize or decriminalize marijuana for medical or recreational use.
According to the public information nonprofit ProCon.org, which has created a chart of medical marijuana laws state-by-state, medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C. This November, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. joined Colorado and Washington State when ballot measures passed to allow the sale and use of recreational marijuana.
The increase in availability of legal marijuana has legal, health and medical implications for pet birds and their owners.
Although there is not yet extensive research available on the specific effects of marijuana smoke on pet birds, Veterinarian Cassee Terry of Redmond, Oregon cautions that the effects could be severe. “Birds are much more sensitive to smoke inhalation toxicity than other animals,?she explained. Generally, Terry observed, “lung toxicities are more severe,?in birds.
There are several reasons for this. Birds have very efficient respiratory systems, which means that with each breath, birds extract much more air particulates than humans. In addition, birds breathe at an increased rate compared to humans, so airborne toxins such as smoke will have an increased impact on birds. Bird anatomy also plays a role.
In addition to their lungs, “birds have a system of air sacs,?explained Megan Jones, a researcher in bird behavior at Florida State University, “so when they inhale, the air goes first into the posterior air sacs, then into the lungs when they exhale.?But that breath remains in the bird, Jones explained, for yet another breath. The air travels “then through the lungs to the anterior air sacs on the second inhale, and is exhaled out of the body on the second exhale.?lt;/span>
Exposure to second-hand smoke of any kind, even from kitchens, can have negative health consequences for pet birds. Repeated exposure can cause skin and eye irritation and infection, respiratory infections and chronic respiratory disease. Birds can develop symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, sinus and eye infections, and these may lead to secondary bacterial infections which may even be fatal.
How Marijuana Can Affect Pet Birds
Peer-reviewed studies have not yet been published on the effects of so-called “edibles,?or edible products infused with THC oil, on birds. However, a recent study on songbirds at Oregon Health Science University demonstrates that alcohol affects birds, which metabolize it differently than humans but experience similar “drunken?effects. You can hear from the recordings of drunken zebra finches in this story by National Public Radio, that alcohol affected the birds?singing in the same way it slurs human speech.
Because all species of animals process different chemicals differently, don? assume that you can accurately determine how much of a cannabis edible product a bird could safely ingest based merely on its weight as compared to your own. In addition, effects such as distortions of balance and the senses, which humans might experience as a pleasurable “buzz?can be uncomfortable, disorienting and even frightening for animals. Terry cautioned, that in general, “The effects last longer when ingested than smoked, in birds and other species.?Therefore, even if a small amount of edible marijuana did not prove fatal or cause illness, a bird could experience any unsettling effects for longer if exposed to an edible product.
Some ingestion of marijuana by pets occurs by accident, through exposure to second-hand smoke, or when a pet raids its owner? unattended stash of marijuana or edible products. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical care found the number of marijuana poisoning cases in dogs at two Colorado veterinary hospitals quadrupled in five years following the legalization of medical marijuana. This increase, though shocking, covered the period before Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. Veterinarians generally encourage pet owners to honestly report whatever substance the pet has ingested in order to render the proper treatment and save the animal? life.
The Legal Ramifications For Exposing Your Pet Bird To Marijuana
Warning: Several of the following links reference news items that discuss animal cruelty cases, as well as a video of a bird having marijuana blown in its face.
Although there are some reports of pet owners attempting to treat their pet? diseases with marijuana, many anecdotal reports of bird exposure to marijuana appear to result from the owner? own use when their diminished judgment leads them, or their friends, to feed marijuana or its by-products (such as bong-water) to pets or blow smoke in their faces to see their response.
Before intentionally administering marijuana to your bird, either medicinally or in fun, you should be aware that there could be legal consequences for you. Intentionally subjecting your pet to the effects of marijuana could be viewed as animal abuse or cruelty in some states. Twenty-nine states have laws either requiring or permitting veterinarians to report animal neglect, cruelty, or abuse to authorities.
Although there are numerous examples on social media of people intentionally getting their birds high, some people who intentionally expose their pets to this drug are prosecuted . You should make yourself aware of criminal drug laws and animal abuse and cruelty laws in your state. As you could be held legally responsible for actions that are seen by authorities as animal cruelty or abuse, you should make it clear to your friends that any acts which might be illegal or harmful to your bird? health are unacceptable. To reduce the temptation for your friends to do something irresponsible, you should keep your bird in a separate room, away from potentially toxic fumes, in an area not connected by shared ventilation systems. If your bird does inhale smoke or consume marijuana products and becomes ill, taking prompt action to save her, like bringing her to a vet, could still be seen as a mitigating factor in your favor.
Even in states where medical marijuana is approved for human use, veterinarians are not permitted to prescribe it for animals. According to an article on the American Veterinary Medical Association website , which explores the medical marijuana debate in veterinary circles, “Physicians in states where medical marijuana is sanctioned are exempt from prosecution by the state for recommending the schedule I drug to patients. Such protections do not apply to veterinarians, for whom it is illegal in every state to prescribe or recommend marijuana to treat a patient.?
Some people are nonetheless using marijuana, usually in edible form, to treat chronic pain and illness in their pets. However, due to the lack of available medical research, dosage and administration is often a matter of guesswork. For bird owners, in addition to moral and ethical considerations, there may be criminal consequences for administering marijuana to your bird.
How Marijuana Use Impacts Birds In The Wild
Beyond the consequences for pet parrots within the United States, marijuana legalization stands to impact parrots in other parts of the world as well. As US states have begun to legalize it, Latin American nations have started to question the necessity of combatting marijuana cultivation and consumption within their own borders. At a 2010 summit on the issue, leaders from Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panam?Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos issued a declaration stating that the United States “cannot support the criminalization of these activities in this or that country and, at the same time, [support] the open or veiled legalization of the production and consumption of drugs in its own territories.?
Latin American countries such as Colombia are home to thousands of bird species and act as host to thousands more migratory birds throughout the year. Although increased recreational use and legal cultivation in Alaska, Colorado, Washington and Oregon will not have a significant impact on wild parrot species, legalization in tropical habitats would have more far-reaching effects.
We?l take a closer look at the effects of drug cultivation on birds, bird conservation projects and bird research in Latin America in the next article in this two-part series.
High Crimes & Parrot Health: Implications Of Loosening Marijuana Restrictions For You & Your Bird There are several legal and ethical issues bird owners should consider as many U.S. states move
Can Parrots Get High?
Many countries and states have recently legalized the use of marijuana. And if you don’t have a pet, smoking a joint probably isn’t a huge issue. But there are some animals that react to marijuana more adversely than others. Smoke marijuana around your dog, and it’s unlikely that anything drastic is going to happen – (just please don’t give them any)! But what happens if you smoke a joint around your parrot? We often like to share our lifestyles and food with our parrots, but what would happen if we shared our secondhand smoke? Can parrots get high?
The answer to this question is yes. And while there isn’t an extensive amount of research on how marijuana effects parrots, we can safely say that it does have adverse effects. Even if you don’t give your bird marajuana and simply smoke it around them, they can still see side effects from your second hand smoke. In other words, getting high around your bird is not a good idea.
But what effect does marijuana have on parrots? Why does it have such an adverse reaction? And what should you do if your parrot has accidentally eaten or taken in some form of marijuana? Today we will answer all of these questions and more, so let’s not waste another minute!
Can parrots get high and what effects does marijuana have on parrots?
So, as we have already established, yes, parrots can get high. But what does “getting high” mean for parrots? When a parrot gets high does it have the same effect that it has on humans? The answer is no. When humans get high, the effects are usually relatively mild (depending on how much marijuana was intaken). But when parrots get high, the effects can be deadly.
While few studies have been done to determine the exact effects of secondhand marijuana smoke on parrots, we can assume that parrots experience much the same effects as people. While marijuana effects haven’t been studied as much, the effects of alcohol on parrots has been researched. Findings suggest that parrots experience much of the same effects of alcohol as people.
Distortions, loss of balance, and loss of senses are all common. The difference is that parrots feel these effects much more so than their human counterparts. The same can be assumed for the use of marijuana.
Why do parrots feel the effects of intoxicants so heavily?
Firstly, because parrots are so much smaller than humans, intoxicants affect their body to a much greater extent.
Secondly, a parrot doesn’t know what alcohol or marijuana is. So while humans can anticipate the effects of marijuana or alcohol use, parrot’s don’t understand what’s going on.
This can make the effects of marijuana extremely terrifying and frightening for your parrot. The stress on their body is enough to make them extremely ill, but combine that with the increased risk of injury due to panic and the effects of marijuana can be deadly for a parrot.
Why are parrots more sensitive to inhalation than other types of animals?
When parrots or other birds inhale things like secondhand smoke, be it from marijuana or a cigarette, the effects can be much more toxic than they are for other animals. Why is this the case?
There’s actually a few reasons.
The first reason that parrots experience so much more toxicity in the lungs as compared to other species is because they have really good respiratory systems. They also breath at a quicker rate than we do as humans, or as many other animals.
Combined, these two factors mean that parrots extract more air particles and breathe in more toxins than we do. In return, they are more susceptible to airborne toxins from secondhand smoke.
The second reason that parrots are so much more deeply affected by airborne toxins is because they have a system of air sacs. Unlike humans who breathe in and then out, a parrots breath actually stays in their body for a second breath.
How? When a parrot inhales air, it travels into the posterior air sac. Upon the exhale, the breath doesn’t leave the body. Rather, the exhale causes the breath to travel into the lungs where it then sits for another breath before being released from the body. As a result, toxins sit in a parrots body longer than they do a humans body, thereby having a greater impact.
How does secondhand marijuana smoke affect parrots?
Aside from the effects listed above (disorientation, confusion, loss of balance, etc), parrots may also suffer other negative effects from secondhand marijuana smoke.
Again, not a lot of studies have been done on the effects of marijuana itself, but conclusions can be drawn based on other research studies related to second-hand smoke of other kinds. According to animal researchers, birds can be negatively impacted by second-hand smoke of any kind including cigarette smoke, marijuana smoke, and even smoke from kitchen stove tops or ovens.
Long term repeated exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to a variety of negative side effects including coughing, sneezing, and sinus infections. Bacterial infections can also be caused by secondhand smoke and, over the long term, these things can lead to chronic respiratory infections and diseases.
Can parrots have marijuana in any form?
No. As we all know, marijuana comes in all different forms – you can smoke it, you can vape it, you can eat it, it comes in capsules. But no matter what form your marijuana comes, it will have adverse effects on your parrot. Your parrot should never be given marijuana to eat or smoke, and exposure to secondhand smoke from marijuana should also be avoided.
What will happen if I give my parrot marijuana?
Aside from the negative reaction of your parrot, individuals who choose to forgo warnings and give their parrots marijuana could face legal consequences.
To date, there are over 29 states that require veterinarians to report animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect. If you or one of your friends is found to have intentionally provided your parrot with marijuana, it is a veterinarian’s job to report it and you could be held responsible by law. Even in states where marijuana has been approved for human use, it is still seen as a form of animal cruelty to give it to your parrots.
Always remember that even though it may have a calming, peaceful effect on you, marijuana will probably be quite frightening for your parrot. Do not, under any circumstances, provide your parrot with marijuana or blow smoke in their face. There are many videos on YouTube of owners trying to get their parrots high, but if caught, you could be charged.
Does this mean I shouldn’t take my parrot to the vet if they have intaken marijuana?
No! If your parrot has inhaled or eaten marijuana, please take them to the vet. If you don’t, it could cost them their life. The fact that you are taking them to the vet will be seen as a mitigating factor and there is a good chance you will not be charged.
Also, if your parrot got high accidentally (ie. through secondhand smoke or by finding your marijuana brownies) it is unlikely that you will be charged at all. Accidents are considered different than intentional acts.
PLEASE – if your parrot has eaten or inhaled marijuana take them to a veterinarian immediately. It could be a matter of life or death.
In conclusion, you should never give your parrot marijuana in any form or subject them to the effects of second-hand smoke. If you are going to smoke marijuana in the same home as your parrot, be sure that your parrot is kept in a seperate room that does not share the same ventilation system.
When finished with your marijuana, always make sure that it is put in a safe place where your parrot cannot gain access to it accidentally.
Remember, you are responsible for your parrots life – so make responsible choices – they are counting on you!
Can Parrots Get High? Many countries and states have recently legalized the use of marijuana. And if you don’t have a pet, smoking a joint probably isn’t a huge issue. But there are some animals