The campaign to reword Schedule 8 cannabis and THC entries in the Poisons Standard to allow for veterinary access has received a boost after the Therapeutic Goods Administration delayed a final decision pending further consultation with stakeholders. 

In an interim decision published in March, the TGA Delegate rejected the move based on advice from the advisory committee on medicines and chemicals scheduling.


The committee said the benefits “have not been adequately established and are likely outweighed by the risks presented by the toxic effects, as evidenced by veterinary presentations of pets inadvertently poisoned by cannabis”.

It also expressed concern about the “small but significant risk of inadvertent diversion to children if the product is in the form of an ‘edible treat’.”

While acknowledging the potential use of cannabis and THC for animals in pain or for the management of epilepsy and anxiety, the committee said the application “failed to provide evidence of therapeutic value… in animals”.

The proposal would allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinols (THCs) in animals under Schedule 8, except those bred for human consumption.

Dr Marta Calvo Blanco

ECS Vet (previously Cannect Vet) is among the companies to have responded to the interim decision.

Head of veterinary education Dr Marta Calvo Blanco told Cannabiz: “We believe the risk of diversion is minimal, and equivalent to that present for currently available human medications.

“The lack of research is probably more a ‘lack of knowledge’. We’re working hard to educate, train and support vets in the use of cannabinoids for animals. These molecules are quite safe, and especially so under veterinary supervision.”

She added: “Our submission included more than 100 scientific papers on the topic. All the data we have to support the safe use of cannabinoids in humans are relevant here. Humans are animals too.”

The TGA said it will publish its final decision following a review of the consultation.

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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