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Cannabis Products

Interest in the benefits of cannabis for pets has grown significantly in recent years. However, Health Canada has not approved any products containing cannabis of any type for use in animals in Canada, and CAHI remains engaged with regulatory officials on this important topic. Giving cannabis products to your pet may have unknown side effects, unproven effectiveness and could result in a medical crisis.

Cannabis Products

Cannabis Products

CBD in Veterinary Products

The cannabis plant contains hundreds of chemical substances. Over 100 of these are known as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these cannabinoids, and can be found in different varieties of the cannabis plant, including hemp.

CBD is a controlled substance under United Nations drug control conventions. Consistent with the controlled status of CBD internationally, CBD is a controlled substance in Canada and other jurisdictions.

As a result, CBD and products containing CBD are subject to all of the rules and requirements that apply to cannabis under the Cannabis Act and its regulations. This includes CBD derived from industrial hemp plants, as well as CBD derived from other varieties of cannabis.

While Health Canada has not approved any veterinary drugs containing CBD yet, an expert subcommittee was struck to examine CBD for animal use and issue a list of recommendations.

CAHI remains engaged with Health Canada and our members on this important topic.

Cannabis Products

Current Status

Veterinarians are increasingly being approached by pet owners about options for CBD products for their pets.

Despite Canada allowing both medicinal and recreational sales of cannabis for humans, under the Cannabis Act, veterinarians cannot currently authorize or prescribe, dispense or administer cannabis products to veterinary patients.

The only legal way to access medical cannabis is through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR) which applies only to ‘persons’ and can only be authorized by physicians and nurse practitioners, but not veterinarians.

Non-medical (or “recreational”) cannabis products are now also legally available through provincially licensed cannabis retailers under the Cannabis Act. However, these products are intended for human consumption and use in animals is considered similar to ‘extra-label’ drug use.

Engaging Regulators

CAHI continues to engage with Health Canada, and partner with the CVMA to open up possibilities for the use of CBD to treat certain conditions in animals.

While Health Canada has yet to approve any CBD products for pets, CAHI and the animal health industry remain committed to working on this file to raise awareness with regulators.

Cannabis Products

Keeping pets safe

Current legally licensed products on the market are only meant for human consumption. Products currently marketed for animals are not in compliance with Canadian legislation and therefore are not regulated like legal products for human consumption are and may contain an inappropriate ratio of THC:CBD for your pet.

Increased accessibility to cannabis products has increased accidental exposures of cats and dogs. Pets can become intoxicated by cannabis products and it only takes a small amount to cause toxicity. If you suspect that your pet may have ingested some cannabis products, call your veterinarian immediately.

Pet owners who choose to use cannabis products for their pets are encouraged to discuss their use with their veterinarian. Although veterinarians cannot currently prescribe, dispense or administer cannabis products, they can provide pet owners with information on new information from published studies as these become available, help to avoid potential drug interactions, and provide guidance on how to recognize and reduce the risk of adverse effects and toxicity.