'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Director James Gunn: My Dog Nearly Died From Pot Edibles

By McCarton Ackerman 07/11/16

Gunn is urging pet owners to be careful in securing edibles after his dog overdosed on weed-infused chocolate coffee beans that had been thrown in the trash.

'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Director James Gunn: My Dog Nearly Died From Pot Edibles

The director of Guardians of the Galaxy penned a warning letter to dog owners, urging them to keep marijuana away from their pooch, revealing the time his dog nearly died from eating marijuana edibles.

Writer-director James Gunn, who doesn’t drink or do drugs, recently wrote the note on his Facebook page. He said his dog, Von Spears, had gone “into seizures. He started walking in circles and falling and twitching arrhythmically, as if he had lost all neurological function.” After rushing the dog to the emergency vet, he was asked by a vet tech if Von Spears had consumed pot because “that’s where I’ve seen symptoms like this.”

After Gunn asked around, it became clear that the dog had consumed four weed-infused chocolate coffee beans that belonged to an assistant’s ex-girlfriend and were thrown in the garbage. Gunn explained that “a human would get stoned off one.” Von Spears was pumped with fluids and kept on watch for 24 hours, but made a full recovery and was released.

“I discovered nearly everyone I know has a story about a dog getting into edibles. Dogs that go into seizures like mine, dogs that walk around for days on end stoned and confused and unhappy, and even some dogs that have died due to large doses. It’s incredibly common, and yet I had never heard about it,” said Gunn. “Whether you partake in edibles or your friends do, be a little more careful with keeping them in a safe place if you have pets.”

Several veterinarian experts have said that dogs and marijuana are a bad mix. Some of the symptoms of marijuana use in dogs are similar to that in humans: dilated and red eyes, slow heart rate, anxiety or they may appear depressed. Vets will typically treat this by trying to remove the drug from their gastrointestinal tract via stomach tubes or by feeding them activated charcoal, which is designed to absorb toxins.

However, some veterinarians have advocated for medical marijuana for pets who suffer from chronic and debilitating conditions. Last year, Nevada considered a bill which would allow vets to prescribe it, which ultimately wasn't passed. But the late Los Angeles-based Dr. Doug Kramer, one of the primary vets who advocated for this practice, acknowledged that it’s not a cure and “just a question of increasing [their] quality of life" and delaying euthanization. 

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.