With the impending legalization of cannabis in Canada less than 2 months away, the focus has mainly been on use in people and the human benefits. However, other opportunities for products containing cannabis and its derivatives are coming to the fore, including cannabis veterinary health products for companion animals.
In Canada, beyond being licensed as a veterinary drug (subject to the same rigorous standards as human prescription drugs), products benefiting the health of pets can be notified as Veterinary Health Products (VHPs). VHPs are low risk drugs intended for the maintenance and promotion of good health, but not for disease curing, prevention, or treatment. VHPs undergo a pre-approval notification process reviewed by the Veterinary Drug Directorate (VDD) of Health Canada.
Ingredients permissible in a VHP (such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal substances) must be listed on “List C: List of Permitted Substances”. This document also lists restrictions that the ingredients must comply with in order to be acceptable. Currently, cannabis (Cannabis sativa; “Hemp”) is permitted as per List C, but has the following requirements:
Changes to List C are permitted via a Substance Application, though this application requires extensive scientific data, a history of safe use, reporting of adverse events from the past, and exhibition of the unlikelihood of risk. This application would then undergo an exhaustive review by the VDD.
Nonetheless, companies have already started to invest research into the benefits of cannabis on animals, to acquire the required scientific data. Recently, Health Canada approved clinical trails to examine the effectiveness of the cannabis-derived compound cannabidiol as a treatment for anxiety in animals.
If you are considering developing and marketing cannabis veterinary health products (VHPs), now is an ideal time to start planning and preparing for these pathways. Get them them notified and registered early. If you have questions about the regulatory hurdles and options available for your cannabis and hemp products, contact dicentra and let’s get started! 1-866-647-3279 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
dicentra Cannabis Consulting is committed to keeping both current and prospective clients well informed and educated on the Cannabis Act and the cannabis regulatory framework. We are committed to providing you with news, updates and information on the Act and their implications for business. For any cannabis related questions, please contact us at 1-866-647-3279 or email@example.com.
Government of Canada, Veterinary Drugs Directorate. (Nov. 2017). About the VHP Notification Program. Ottawa. Retrieved from https://health-products.canada.ca/vhp-psa/en/about/1 .
Government of Canada, Veterinary Drugs Directorate. (Nov. 2017). List C: Veterinary Health Products. Ottawa. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/antibiotic-antimicrobial-resistance/animals/veterinary-health-products/list-c.html.
Government of Canada, Health Canada. (July 2018). Health products containing cannabis or for use with cannabis: Guidance for the Cannabis Act, the Food and Drugs Act, and related regulations. Ottawa. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/drug-products/applications-submissions/guidance-documents/guidance-cannabis-act-food-and-drugs-act-related-regulations/document.html#a35
Grauer, Perrin. Health Canada approves clinical trials for cannabis-derived compound to treat animal anxiety. Toronto Star. (August 2018). Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/cannabis/2018/08/08/cannabis-company-begins-first-federally-approved-study-of-cbd-treatment-for-pets.html