Call To Clear Up Confusion Over Cannabidiol

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Call to clear up confusion over cannabidiol
7th November 2018

By Karen Pickwick



The Pets’n’Vets Family, a network of veterinary practices with surgeries around Glasgow and surrounding areas, has issued a call for improved public awareness of the legal position surrounding the use and administration of products containing cannabidiol (CBD) to pets, notably those with chronic conditions such as epilepsy and osteoarthritis.

Following the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s recent judgment that veterinary products containing cannabidiol are veterinary medicines and should be regulated as such, CBD products for use in animals now require a marketing authorisation before they can be sold or supplied in the UK. No such products are currently available, which means that, at present, it is illegal for owners to purchase CBD products with the intention of giving them to their pet.

Pets’n’Vets Family partner Ross Allan, an RCVS advanced practitioner in small animal surgery at the award-winning Roundhouse Veterinary Hospital in Glasgow, said: “The control of pain is extremely important to the wellbeing of pets and, as a progressive practice, we are interested in new and novel options for helping manage pain and the treatment of chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.

“While some early studies suggest a potential pain-relieving benefit of CBD, and an addition to our armoury would be welcome, there is a need for much more work to be done to understand the true benefits and risk of CBD products.

PUBLIC INTEREST

“We know there is a public interest in the use of such products. However, using these products without first seeking veterinary advice is not something we would advise. There is a defined legal ‘duty of care’ to the pet that centres around veterinary medicines with known action and effects. As a practice we wish to work with pet owners to ensure that their pets receive the individual care best suited to their needs.

“While the various medications we currently use are thoroughly tested and we have a good understanding about how each medication will affect an individual patient and interact with other medications, the idea of clients using CBD medication, about which we do not have such information, is of concern.”

At present there are currently no CBD products authorised in the UK for veterinary use and, therefore, there would be a need for a veterinary surgeon to prescribe a legally-obtained human CBD product under the provisions of the prescribing cascade.

Ross said: “We are in favour of understanding more about CBD and believe that the fact that particular cannabis products are connected to recreational use needs to be taken out of the equation so that we can determine whether CBD is going to be another compound that enables us to cut down the number of pets in pain and extend the period of time within which all pets can enjoy a happy and healthy life,”