Use of cannabis-based products in Queensland veterinary management

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.

The scheduling of medicines is governed by the Commonwealth, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration being the responsible area for the Poisons Standard. The definition of cannabidiol under Schedule 4 of the Poisons Standard is:

Cannabidiol in preparations for therapeutic use where:

  1. cannabidiol comprises 98 per cent or more of the total cannabinoid content of the preparation; and
  2. any cannabinoids, other than cannabidiol, must be only those naturally found in cannabis and comprise 2 per cent or less of the total cannabinoid content of the preparation.

If a CBD product/oil meets the above criteria, then under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996, a veterinarian can prescribe it for an animal they are treating. Determining the appropriate schedule of medicinal cannabis preparations can be complex, so veterinarians must confirm with their supplier that the product they intend to prescribe does in fact meet the criteria for a schedule 4 product under the Poisons Standard.

If the CBD oil does not meet the criteria for schedule 4, then it would be considered a Schedule 9 prohibited substance, and veterinarians would not be endorsed to prescribe it under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.

Currently, there are no products containing cannabidiol that are registered or permitted by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Consequently, all cannabidiol products are unregistered veterinary chemicals if used on animals and the Agvet Code and Chemical Usage (Agricultural and Veterinary) Control Act 1988 applies.

In Queensland, registered veterinary surgeons can use unregistered products within the following limitations:

  • The animals must be under the care of the veterinarian. (it is an offence to supply or possess for the purpose of supply, recommend or use unregistered products until the animal is considered to be under the veterinarian’s care)
  • Must not use, or prescribe, supply or recommend an unregistered product to treat more than one single animal of a species that is used for food or trading in fibre, bone or feathers.
  • Veterinarians may only supply other veterinarians in the same surgery/clinic and only if a pharmacologically equivalent registered veterinary chemical product with instructions for use for the particular animal species being treated is not reasonably available.

Queensland any possession of a schedule 4 medicine without a valid prescription is an offence, so if clients are sourcing CBD oil from the internet they may be committing offences under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.

Reference: https://www.vsb.qld.gov.au/resources/guidelines/guidelines-practitioners/use-of-cannabis-based-products-in-queensland-veterinary-management

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