CBD to become OTC for humans and animals
July 29, 2022 By Haley Nagasaki and Deepak Anand
Yesterday Health Canada released a report by the Science Advisory Committee regarding a review of public access to health products containing cannabis, and more specifically, on the prolific, non-intoxicating cannabinoid, cannabidiol.
Since the legalization of cannabis In Canada, CBD has been regulated in the same manner as THC, which means access to CBD products is solely permissible though authorized cannabis retailers within the consumer’s respective province or territory.
As a benign, non-intoxicating cannabinoid widely consumed by different demographics, including dogs, as the Health Canada report clearly states, the push towards access via establishments such as pharmacies and veterinary clinics, has been at the top of the industry as well as adjacent/affiliated industries (practitioners, health food stores, etc.) wish list for some time.
The first consultation by Health Canada regarding CBD as a separate cannabis health product was held from June 19, 2019, to September 3, 2019.
The next step was the Scientific Advisory Committee, formed in November 2020, which met all throughout 2021. Since completing their meetings, the committee was to prepare a report and present that report to the government, the verdict of which we are finally seeing now.
These are the results of the report, as relayed by Deepak Anand, Principal ASDA Consultancy Services, who offers three main takeaways and a look at what to anticipate over the next year-and-a-half to two years.
Disclaimer: This is a Scientific Advisory Committee — a report to government offering guidance. Reforms in the regulatory framework must follow in order to implement change.
The following is a transcription of Mr. Anand in correspondence with Grow Opportunity.
CBD has been in demand by people for several natural health product type needs. It is available at places such as gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, corner stores in the U.K., certain European countries as well as the U.S., in many states.
Obviously, Canada has had a very different story. We’ve had it regulated exactly the same as THC and the government hasn’t distinguished between the two.
The public generally, for better or worse, gravitate towards CBD; they want to have access to it. And not everyone who wants those products is going to go to a “cannabis store.”
When Health Canada formed the Scientific Advisory Committee, people were very excited because it was going to create a new track for CBD products. And so to me, the results of the report show three things:
CBD is safe for human consumption
The committee has said that CBD is relatively benign, in that 200 milligrams of CBD for humans, per day, is not a very high dose, and can be done over the counter as long as there’s consultations done with pharmacists.
CBD is safe for dogs and veterinary use
The second takeaway is that animals are generally ignored by the Cannabis Act, but we know that veterinarians and people who want to give their pets CBD or cannabis have generally not been able to, at least legally, do so. Certainly, this report lays a lot of attention to dogs.
The Scientific Advisory Committee has determined that dogs can access CBD and they’ve proposed to create a pathway where veterinarians will be allowed to sell CBD.
Manufacturers of CBD products, at this point, are unknown
The committee hasn’t really said who can and can’t manufacture CBD. I don’t think it’s within the gamut or the purview of the committee to decide who can or cannot produce or manufacture CBD, but I’m assuming it will be the LPs.
And now, Health Canada has put out a second document, a consultation, asking for input from a variety of stakeholders including industry participants.
Looking ahead: when will CBD products be available to the public?
This answer is obviously going to be a little bit more complicated because what needs to happen now is government needs to take this back and set up regulations and I think that’s where the interesting piece is because some of the proposals in this report contradict, in many ways, the current structure of the regulations and the way the act itself is structured.
That would require them to amend a number of things. For example, as it stands today, veterinarians cannot access cannabis products as defined under the Cannabis Act. So, what the Scientific Advisory Committee are proposing is to allow for veterinarians to access at least a type cannabis of products, which cannot be done under the existing framework without modifications.
There are structural changes that are going to be needed to both the regulations as well as the act, and that is going to be another long, drawn-out process, but at least we’re making progress.
My speculation is that we will not see these changes for another year and that Health Canada will look to align these changes with the pending cannabis act statutory review changes.
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