Cannabis and cannabis-infused products are certainly having their turn in the spotlight.
Last October, the Cannabis Act made it legal for adults to possess and access government regulated, quality-controlled cannabis. Now, adult consumers are able to legally acquire cannabis for both medical and non-medical purposes. As a result, we’ve seen a notable rise in the popularity of this naturally occurring drug.
It is no surprise that pet owners are growing curious about the applications of cannabis and cannabis-related products for the health and welfare of their pets. But, are there any safe, effective and veterinary approved drugs containing cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) available on the market?
The answer is a resounding: No.
There are no approved drugs with cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) for animals at this time.
According to an education piece released by The College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO), pet owners are urged to recognize that while cannabis products may be legal for medical and recreational purposes in adults, these products are not intended for animal use. In fact, the safety and efficacy of these products in animals is still unknown.
If cannabis isn’t safe for animals, then why am seeing these products in pet stores?
You may have noticed treats, supplements or other health products containing hemp in your local pet stores. Or, you may have come across supplements containing CBD marketed towards your cat or dog. And yet, there is limited research into the safety or efficacy of cannabis products in animals. So, how can these products be available?
According to CVO, the bottom line is this:
“ If a cannabis product does not have a drug identification number (DIN) or a notification number (VHP), then its safety and efficacy cannot be verified.”
Any product without a DIN or VHP number is not approved for use and not sanctioned by Health Canada. Therefore, pet owners are urged to steer clear of any products without the appropriate identification or notification number, as these products are not approved for safe use in animals.
What about hemp products?
Some veterinary health products (VHP) containing hemp are approved for sale in Canada. These products do not make health claims and are considered low risk substances.
As articulated by CVO, veterinary health products, “can contain ingredients such as hemp seed derivatives containing no more than 10 ppm THC.” It is important to note that these veterinary health products are exempt Cannabis Act.
When it comes to veterinary health products containing hemp seed derivatives, pet owners are encouraged to look for the appropriate notification number on the product label.
Can I expect to find veterinary approved cannabis products in the future?
CVO confirms that there are ongoing studies designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CBD and cannabis-based products for animals.
Following extensive research and clinical studies, cannabis product may one day receive approval from Health Canada. Any product approved for veterinary use must go through the appropriate legal pathways. Once approved for use, these products will have a visible drug identification number (DIN).
Until products containing cannabis are approved by Health Canada and receive the appropriate identification number, pet owners are urged to keep their cannabis products away from their pets.
Cannabis and cannabis products are toxic to cats and dogs. Safe dosages have not been established. Any accidental consumption of cannabis or cannabis products should be reported to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
For more information about the signs and symptoms of marijuana toxicity in cats and dogs, please read our Cannabis And Your Pets blog post.
For more information on this topic, please refer to the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and their Cannabis and CBD Oil for Animals literature.