The campaign to reword Schedule 8 cannabis and THC entries in the Poisons Standard to allow for veterinary access has finally hit the buffers.

In an interim decision published in March, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) rejected the move based on advice from the advisory committee on medicines and chemicals scheduling.

Hopes were raised when the regulator delayed a final decision pending further consultation with stakeholders, but the TGA Delegate has now confirmed there will be no change until more safety evidence emerges.

Dr Marta Calvo Blanco

They said: “While I acknowledge the current evidence for the potential benefits of the veterinary use of these substances, I consider these benefits to be presently outweighed by the associated risks set out in the interim decision. 

“I agree with the expressed need for alternative pain relief for animals and that the use of cannabis and THCs has the potential to provide this. 

“However, given the current evidence of safety and efficacy of these substances in a veterinary setting, the current scheduling remains appropriate for cannabis and THCs. 

On a more positive note, the Delegate added: “A change to the scheduling of these substances may be appropriate should additional relevant evidence emerge.”

ECS Vet head of veterinary education Dr Marta Calvo Blanco has been a leading campaigner for improved access to cannabinoid medicine for animals and said the onus was now on the industry to make a renewed case for change.

She said: “This is certainly a call for researchers to focus on this area since the change is ready to be enacted.

“ECS Vet will keep working for the welfare of animals while supporting the vets to always have access to the best possible treatment option, including cannabinoid-based medications.”

To view the Delegate’s final decision, click here.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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