Carnival Cruise Line To Continue Using Drug Dogs Amid Prevalence of Pot

Carnival Cruises will continue to deploy drug detection dogs to search for pot and other drugs, according to a brand ambassador who confirmed the cruise line’s drug policy Tuesday.

Don’t plan on smoking if you’re vacationing on a cruise: Carnival Cruise Line (CCL), Royal Caribbean (RCL), Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH), and every other major cruise line operating or departing U.S. ports bans cannabis consumption on-board. Most display “Drug Free Zone” signs aboard and employ a zero tolerance policy.

Cruise lines follow federal law, which trumps state laws, even though their ships are not flagged in the U.S., so cannabis is prohibited in nearly every circumstance. The open seas are not actually lawless and laws typically extend miles from shore, and most cruises stop in multiple countries.

The Gwinnett Daily Post reports that Carnival Cruise won’t be changing its policy on cannabis anytime soon, after a brand ambassador clarified the cruise line’s efforts to control cannabis use on-board.

“As for the drug detection dogs, well let me say that they have, along with our no tolerance rules and enforcement, made a massive difference to the problem of people thinking it is legal and allowed to use marijuana on their cruise. It isn’t,” Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald posted on his Facebook page on May 23. 

Some cruise guests complained of the weed smell that is common on cruises. Passengers say they get it while ships dock on ports and when they venture into the city.

“They really need more drug dogs when we are getting back on the ship because people pick up drugs in ports and that is when I smell marijuana on the balconies,” a commenter named Janet replied on Heald’s page.

Problems with Drug Sniffing Dogs and Cannabis

There are a handful of problems with using dogs to sniff out drugs and pot. Commenters raised concerns about allergies to dogs that might be interfering with privacy.

Heald continued, “These uber intelligent and highly trained dogs are used at embarkation and occasionally, not every cruise on every ship will sail as well with their handlers. Again, the ships are large enough for this [to] not be a concern for anyone who is allergic…”

It turns out that the Washington Post asked this same question last March, and a CCL representative confirmed the cruise line’s cannabis policy.

“In case there’s any confusion, let me remind guests that while marijuana and cannabis products may be legal in some states, we are required to follow federal law irrespective of the law in the state where you may be boarding your ship,” CCL President Christine Duffy told the Washington Post.

Since dozens of states have legalized cannabis in one form or another, drug dogs in general are losing their jobs in droves. In other cases, drug-sniffing dogs are getting trained to ignore cannabis. Why? A major exposé from The Chicago Tribune in 2011 claimed that drug-sniffing dogs can pick up on and follow the biases and prejudices of their handlers. 

It’s not just dogs. China enlists drug-sniffing red squirrels, while honeybees could soon be the next natural drug locator. Researchers at the University of Cologne in Germany recently published a study in the journal Plos One, entitled “Detection of Illicit Drugs by Trained Honeybees,” showing the promise they have in law enforcement.

Cruise passengers who are caught with cannabis are typically punished quickly, and often kicked off the cruise at the next port.

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From the Archives: Mother’s Day (1994)

By Marsha Turner Brown

The cruiser was backed into a space beside the Kentucky Fried Chicken. Blissfully unaware, I sped by him at 20 miles above the limit. He pulled behind me at the first caution light; I was driving through the second signal when he put on his siren. Pulling to the curb I readied for the drill: name, number, state of sobriety and registration.

In the moment it took to review my license, the trooper smelled a rat, or as I would shortly discover, a “leafy vegetabletype contraband.”

When I unlocked the glove box to retrieve the registration a little pistol fell to the floor mat. Things got worse, real fast, from here on in. The officer, who had been leaning in my window, spoke. “Please open your door and step out and away from the car, ma’am.”

I stepped out and away and was escorted to the back seat of his car. Safely caged away, he called police central and reported the gun incident. Three more cars arrived, blaring and flashing, before a policelady reopened the cruiser door. That was the first time I saw the dog.

She was sniffing like an anteater, dancing around her trainer’s knees and yodeling. When the door of my car was cracked open, the big slobbering hound jumped in and over the front seat. Her nose came to rest under a pile of food trash my son had thrown in back. Just as we were clearing the gun-ownership/right-to-carry issue, an officer reached under the hamburger wrappers and produced my son’s shaving bag. Unzipping it, he reached inside and produced two baggies, each over half full. 86.2 grams, the warrant read.

The legitimacy of my status as an elected school board member, community activist, and Baptist became questionable. The A.M. teaser on our television station: “Ranking school official arrested on narcotics charge…details at six….” The morning papers were no less complimentary: “Indictment Pending: Drug Dog Gets Big Dog. ” It was a stupid headline, and I discovered, painfully, the repercussions of telling a city editor he had a stupid headline. The next morning it read, “Commissioners Want Resignation Immediately. ”

Let me clear up any misconceptions you may have about mothers. Not all mothers are capable of loving a child; some mothers—and others—are incapable of loving anything or anyone. The lack of a mother’s love is the greatest tragedy of childhood, the coldest injustice. Those who haven’t experienced this unboundaried love are poorer for the loss.

Those who have known a mother’s love will understand, if not embrace, the insanity and absurdity of genetics. What would Mama do for you? What indeed.

Look at the market, around your neighborhood, watch CNN, read a paper. Documentation is available if the reality is beyond believable. There are mothers whoring on streetcorners and conference tables to house and feed their kids; mothers waiting in unemployment and HUD offices to do the same. Mama will give her last dollar to feed you or keep you warm. She will give you a kidney if you need one, or her life, if required.

Mama will also be cavity searched, bailed from county holding, indicted, arraigned, and pronounced guilty to protect her child.

Marijuana ruins lives. Ask any moralist or Baptist and they’ll tell you about the ruin. “People smoke that stuff, think they can fly, and jump out windows.”

I have never consumed anything that made me think I could fly and felt slighted for the exclusion. Good enough to fly? That was good.

I split from the Protestants on points of cause and effect. Possession, not inhalation, is the destroyer of lives and families. Get caught in the deep South with two ounces and life as you know it ends. There are no laws, below the Eastern Continental Divide, to protect from the crimes of intolerance and injustice. My son is just starting on his career trek. Mine was growing tiresome long before the arrest. I saw no need to mention that my child had driven the car last, that the marijuana was his. Denial wouldn’t have changed the reality: the floorboard held proof. My career was the required, and judicially necessary, sacrifice to protect my child.

I seek amended laws as a citizen and nonuser. As a mother, I make a simple request to sons and daughters everywhere: Until the repeal of criminality, please do not leave your stash in the back of your mother’s car. She won’t be happy when the hound dog jumps on her seat cushions. Trust me.

High Times Magazine, May 1994

Read the full issue here.

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Littered Joint Roaches Wreak Havoc for Dog Parents in New York City

A growing chorus of dog parents are complaining about the scourge of joint roaches littered on New York City streets, less than six months into adult-use cannabis sales.

KTLA 5 reports that dog parents and veterinarians are concerned about dogs eating littered roaches throughout New York City, which they say is a public nuisance.

Dr. Amy Attas, a New York City veterinarian, told KTLA 5 that she’s been getting more and more calls about concerned dog parents when their dogs sniff up and eat roaches left on the sidewalk.

“The reason we’re seeing so many cases is that people are using marijuana on the street and then discarding the unwanted ends of their joints,” Attas said. “And that’s a real problem because dogs will eat those.”

According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, (APCC) recreational drugs including cannabis are part of the organization’s annual list of top toxins for pets, which was announced during National Poison Prevention Week last March 19-25.

In 2022, the APCC team received nearly 11% more calls related to potential cannabis ingestion than in the year before, and they have seen a nearly 300 percent increase in calls over the past five years. “To me, it is unbelievable how prevalent this now is,” said Attas.

According to the APCC, most calls involve pets ingesting edibles which are more dangerous than ingesting plant material, sometimes combined with ingredients like chocolate, another dog toxin. Eating edibles can result in symptoms such as stomach upset, urinary incontinence, and ataxia in pets like dogs.

Colleen Briggs is one of the dog parents in New York who is concerned about roaches on the sidewalk, after her 8-month-old toy poodle ate some cannabis. “He was just doing his usual—exploring everything, sniffing everything,” Briggs told KTLA 5.

Sue Scott, whose 9-month-old pug ate a roach, is also concerned. “I don’t know if you know pugs—they’re constantly on the lookout for their next morsel,” said Scott. “But sometimes it’s pretty tough to control them because they are so fast. They’ll just dart at something.”

CBD, not THC, for Dogs

While THC is considered a toxin for dogs, as their bodies are generally believed to be too small to handle the compound, CBD may have a different outcome. 

Dr. Helen Rudnick of Austin Urban Vet told High Times in 2018 that anecdotal reports suggest CBD can be beneficial for dogs. One claim is that CBD can be helpful for dogs suffering from seizures, as it has been reported in children.

Professional British Boxer Anthony Fowler, for instance, posted a video of a dog having a seizure and how fast CBD oil stopped the dog from shaking. Another viral video shows CBD oil stopping a seizure in another dog in less than one minute.

In 2022, the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) launched a petition against Idaho’s ban on CBD for animals. The NASC believes CBD bans are more dangerous because CBD products need certificates of analysis and need to be vetted under a regulatory program. 

So the NASC called people to action on the Council’s website and launched a petition on 

What to Do with Roaches Instead of Littering

There are several ways to salvage the weed leftover in a joint roach.

You can make a grandfather joint, using emptied out roaches and re-rolling several of them into a new joint. The cannabis left in roaches typically contains extra resin that is collected while the original joint was smoked.

First or second generation roach joints are best, though some users say they’ve smoked five-generation roach joints before. Another option is getting a roach clip so you can smoke all the way to the end.

Another option is to make roach butter, or infuse the leftover weed into a butter using the same general guidelines you’d use with unused cannabis. Most likely the weed has already been partially decarboxylated. 

If you don’t want to smoke roach weed, then throw it out somewhere so that it won’t end up on the sidewalk where dogs will inevitably sniff them down and eat them up.

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From the Archives: Pets on Pot (2007)

By Matt Ellis

“Hey—let’s get the dog stoned!’’

You’ve heard it before. Hell, you might’ve even been the one who said it—at a party, or when you were bored with some friends, or maybe when it was just you and your pet and you didn’t want to smoke alone. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, a hamster or a long-haired chinchilla, the fact is that people seem to like the idea of getting animals high. And why not? It’s not a malicious act—most times it comes from kind intentions: wanting to share with your furry (or scaly, or feathery) friend that which gives you such great pleasure.

But maybe giving reefer to Rover isn’t as good an idea as you think. Before you presume to know or dismiss the effects of pot on your pet, ask yourself these questions: Which stoner symptoms transfer over from man to beast? Do you know what to do if your dog eats an entire baggie of marijuana? And what of the ethical responsibility of owning and caring for another living being?

To understand the effects of THC on animals, we first must understand its effects on humans. THC works by attaching itself to specific receptors in the brain, which exist specifically to receive cannabinoids. The body naturally produces its own cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids) at specific times, which scientists suspect help to regulate pain relief and/or memory. Since THC and endocannabinoids share almost the same molecular structure, they can both connect to cannabinoid receptors, and thus both produce a “high” effect. Most living things possess cannabinoid receptors—including invertebrates. This is important for two reasons: First, it means these receptors have survived at least 500 million years of evolution (dating back to the time when vertebrates and invertebrates split), implying that the function of these cannabinoids is pretty damn important; and second, it means that most everything alive can get stoned—even something as simple as a slug.

But just because something can get stoned doesn’t necessarily mean it should. Dr. Steven Hansen, manager of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, equates smoking up your pet to smoking up a toddler. “A toddler, like an animal, also does not know what’s going on. That, along with their low body weight, makes them more susceptible to the effects than an adult making a decision on their own.”

Because of animals’ lower body weight, a human-sized dose of THC will have a far more potent effect on them. They aren’t used to being stoned and can’t cope with it the way experienced humans can. When dealing with animals, a little smoke goes a long way. This is especially true of tiny pets such as hamsters or birds. In fact, smoke can be exceptionally harmful to birds, whose respiratory systems are designed differently for flight.

“In humans and mammals, we intake one breath and exhale that full breath,” explains Dr. Amy Kurowski, a veterinarian at the St. Marks Veterinary Hospital in New York City, “whereas in birds, they inhale a breath, and that breath stays in their system for several more breaths. So, if you’re smoking marijuana in a room with a bird, their exposure is actually greater than mammals.”

While birds may not be heavy smokers, they do have an affinity for hemp/cannabis seeds (as many of you outdoor growers are probably already aware). It’s well known among bird fanciers that hemp seeds are not only exceedingly nutritious for birds, but also make their plumage brighter and more colorful. Many bird-lovers’ blogs actually report that birds may refuse to sing unless they are fed cannabis seeds. Occasionally, Dr. Kurowski even prescribes hemp seeds for feather-picking and other nervous symptoms in birds, as the seeds seem to “calm them down.”

Birds are not the only animals that can benefit from the nutritional value of cannabis seeds. Following the radical marijuana-law reforms in Canada in 1998, the Med Marijuana company began research on the potential health benefits of hemp products, and created a liquid health supplement for pets made from cannabis-seed oil called Canna-Pets. According to Med Marijuana spokesman Terry Collier, one teaspoon of the supplement per day in a dog’s food will positively affect their coats, joint problems or arthritis, and even give older pets a renewed playfulness.

Courtesy of High Times

“When you look at all the nutrients in a cannabis seed, it’s just amazing,” says Collier. “There are three substances that occur in nature that can support human or mammal life: One is mothers’ milk, another is the coconut, and the third is the cannabis seed.”

When asked if Canna-Pets was legal in the U.S., Collier hesitated. “Legal is not really the right term to use,” he replies. “It’s not illegal.” He explains that they’d gotten heat from the U.S. government when they tried to take a shipment across the border, but that was only because of the content labels. Though Canna-Pets is presently unavailable in the U.S., Collier assures us that they’re working to change that.

Some research in behavioral studies found that animals may enjoy getting high. In a “place-preference” experiment conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1995, animals were given repeated mid-range doses of THC in a specific place. Later, when the animals were given a choice between the place where they received the drug and the place where they did not, the animals chose the place where they received the THC. These results did not occur, however, with extremely low or high doses.

Another study done in 1986 suggests that some animals may show withdrawal symptoms. In it, Rhesus monkeys were trained to press levers for food while receiving a continuous infusion of THC. When the scientists stopped providing the THC, the monkeys showed a marked decrease in their responses.

Okay, so you’ve gone ahead and gotten your pet stoned. How do you know if your pet is too high? There are a few symptoms to look for. The most common sign is ataxia, which is a fancy word for stumbling—or, more accurately, loss of muscle control. Because they have no awareness of what the effects of the drug are, or even that they are on a drug at all, animals can’t take the proper precautions against its natural dangers—for instance, going slowly down stairs (when animals lose muscle control, stairs can be exceptionally dangerous).

Another telltale sign is depression—though the symptoms in animal depression may be a little different than in humans.

“When we say ‘depression,’ we basically mean that the dog looks like it’s asleep,” says Dr. Hansen. “They may appear weak, disoriented, reluctant to move, difficult to rouse.” Other symptoms include vomiting, dribbling urine, slow heart rate and vocalization. In those rare or extreme cases where a pet owner (who may be high himself or herself) seriously overestimates how much pot they can give to Spot, an overdose can even lead to seizures and coma.

“If enough cannabis is ingested that the animal appears comatose, you should be very concerned,” warns Dr. Hansen.

An overdose may occur even when you’re not there—i.e., when your pet noses its way into your stash and eats it. All of it. This is typical of dogs, who are known to “eat first and ask questions later,” but it can also be seen in cats and ferrets (who have similar eating habits to dogs). Dr. Hansen says that it’s not uncommon for dogs to eat an entire bag of marijuana, plastic bag and all. Dr. Kurowski says she’s even seen cases where dogs have eaten entire bottles of aspirin, including the bottle. Once a dog finds something with an interesting or unique smell—be it a joint, baggie or even a whole plant—they might just gobble it up.

If your dog or cat does manga all your ganja, it’s important to seek medical treatment. Depending on the time passed since ingestion, the treatments will vary. In the first hour, vets can either pump the pet’s stomach or induce vomiting. After an hour, most of the toxins have already been absorbed into its system, so vomiting becomes useless. In these cases, vets use activated charcoal—the same treatment used on humans for drug overdoses or poisonings. The activated charcoal solution thoroughly cleanses the system. If the animal’s heart and respiratory rates have slowed, IV fluids are given to the animal until they stabilize. But in most cases, there’s little need to worry— there are no reports of permanent symptoms after treatment for such overdoses.

“Usually it’s not a big deal,” Dr. Kurowski reassures us. “They just need time to metabolize the drug. As long as you seek treatment, they’ll be okay.”

Being honest with your vet about what your pet ate is very important. Vets have seen cases of animals ingesting far more harmful (and more illegal) substances than marijuana, so don’t let your paranoia of getting busted interfere with your pet’s well-being. “We’re here to treat the animals,” Dr. Kurowski says. “We’re not here to turn anybody in.”

When all is said and done, the issue of whether or not to give your pets pot is not a scientific but an ethical one. While the clinical effects of low doses of THC aren’t very alarming, you should really stop and think about what is best for your pet. Like people, some animals may enjoy being stoned and some may not. But unlike people, animals don’t have the power to “just say no” or stop if they don’t like it. So before you get your kitty crooked on chronic, ask yourself this: Am I doing this for his/her enjoyment, or for mine?

High Times Magazine, December 2007

Read the full issue here.

The post From the Archives: Pets on Pot (2007) appeared first on High Times.

Is Cannabis Safe for Dogs? Yes, But…

The first president in more than a century to not have an official First Dog at the White House—and maybe the first to have an (in)famous thing with canines—Donald Trump nonetheless did more than any other president to ensure your dog can get weed—and, in an accidental and roundabout way, to ensure that your dog can access a cannabis-based treatment safely. But, the question remains: Is cannabis safe for dogs and, if so, at what levels?

Pet owners for years have been experimenting with medical cannabis to solve maladies in their pets, including pain, seizures, anxiety and inflammation—in other words, treating them like tiny people who suffer from the same ravages of life and aging. 

Though the issue is still under-studied, it turns out dogs can indeed be given cannabis-based treatments, and dog owners can enjoy the comfort and security of knowing that the cannabis can be given both safely and effectively, as recent research published May 5 in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research confirmed.

However, there’s one significant caveat: That cannabis you give your dog had better be high in CBD, and with low or no THC. That means many products derived from hemp—legalized federally under the most recent Farm Bill, which Trump signed into law in December 2018—are good and proper to be shared with both man and man’s best friend.

Dogs Best Weed

Among the tasty treats enjoyed by humans that are problematic or potentially harmful for your dog, cannabis ranks somewhere between avocado, onions and cooked chicken bones. Beware when it comes to weed and pets: With 30 times more CB1 receptors in a dog’s endocannabinoid system than a human’s, THC and dogs don’t mix, as canines are extremely sensitive to THC. In fact, if you could choose between accidentally letting your dog eat your edibles and leaving them out where your kid could get them, for least harm, you’d give your weed candy to a baby. (Note: Don’t do that either, please.)

Well before Trump triggered the CBD boom by encouraging US farmers to grow hemp—which, for a while, was converted almost exclusively into CBD, the cannabinoid that doesn’t intoxicate like THC and is instead associated with beneficial health effects—certain cannabis-product makers followed some bold pet-owners’ experimentation, and marketed cannabis-based oils and tinctures for pets.

As a team of Brazilian researchers conducting a review of the science found, there’s a scientific basis for this, if the cannabis-based concoction is CBD forward. As they found, in addition to assisting with pain and anxiety, two common afflictions in older as well as urban dogs, “products rich in cannabidiol (CBD), free or with low concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol” can “potentially promote improved quality of life and reduce pain perception in animals affected by canine osteoarthritis.”

Since the Farm Bill legalized cannabis (CBD) with 0.3 percent of THC or less, Farm Bill-legal cannabis is the right concoction for a dog—though you might not have much luck getting solid advice or product recommendations from your veterinarian.

Dont Ask Your Vet

One thing the Farm Bill didn’t legalize was “medical hemp.” As the American Veterinary Medical Association notes, neither that bill nor any state-level medical cannabis bill extended legal protections to pet owners or vets who might want to prescribe cannabis. And under Food and Drug Administration Rules, a product can’t be marketed as a medicine or having medical benefits until after a rigorous scientific process is concluded.

That hasn’t happened for CBD and dogs. Thus, according to the AVMA, “the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.”

“While findings from a few well-controlled studies have been published, much of what we know is related to anecdotal or case reports,” the AVMA noted, adding that to complicate factors, many commercially available CBD products are mislabeled. For these reasons, the AVMA can’t quite say that cannabis is safe for dogs, even if other research, such as the Brazilians’ review of data, concludes that doing so is generally safe and effective—and even if prominent veterinarians are frustrated by the AVMA’s understandable intransigence.

Just Ask Your Dog

If you practice holistic medicine for your pets, you probably have a book written by Dr. Gary Richter. The former medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, CA, Richter is a certified practitioner of veterinary acupuncture and veterinary chiropractic techniques—and he’s also the co-founder of the Veterinary Cannabis Society.

Though the recent review of canine application of CBD “didn’t necessarily tell us anything we didn’t already know… any study that supports the safety and efficacy of cannabis is a plus,” he said. “There really aren’t that many, so we’ll take it where we can get it.”

While CBD’s value for pets in applications for seizures and arthritis has been studied most, for all applications where a human might want to try CBD, they can also carefully proceed giving man’s best friend a dose. Pet owners can rest assured that with CBD and dogs, “you’re talking about a product that’s very, very safe,” Richter said. “Clinical and anecdotal evidence would suggest that pretty much any application you know that it might be used in a person is also applicable for dogs.”

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Everything You Need To Know About CBD Oil for Dogs

Pet wellness topics are an almost all-time favourite with netizens. But there is a deluge of available information on trending issues on the topic, making it difficult for the layman to distinguish facts from fiction. Let’s face it, we love our canine friends and would go to great lengths for their well-being and health. That […]

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Is CBD Oil Safe For Your Dog or Cat?

Just like humans, many of our furry companions like dogs and cats suffer with anxiety, arthritis, cancer and other health conditions. Similarly, we know that research and anecdotal reports show how CBD can help with lots of our everyday struggles. Yet, many are still unaware if CBD oil is safe for their pets. Good news […]

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Cannabis Around Pets: Some Precautions and Considerations

There is a pet boom going on. With these new friends, there are some considerations and precautions when it comes to cannabis around pets. To start, we could first look at how a pet’s body reacts to cannabis consumption. Like with humans, cannabis can affect the neurochemistry of cats and dogs. Furthermore, consumption often happens […]

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