Cannabidiol products for use in animals
Technical advice is our interpretation of how professional standards apply in a particular situation. It is designed to help veterinarians deal with common issues in practice, using their professional judgement to apply the advice to their own situation. It represents our best efforts at the time of publication but standards and expectations change over time and particular care should be used when reading old advice.
Can a veterinarian authorise human Cannabidiol products for use in animals?
VCNZ has not established a specific position for Cannabidiol products yet. Until then, we are following the current regulations, which apply to therapeutic products (such as prescription medicines and Restricted Veterinary Medicines) and permit veterinary discretion.
As long as the therapeutic product you are considering using is a CBD product and is approved as a medicine, then it would be treated like any other prescription medicine and can be prescribed without specialist recommendation or Ministerial approval.
Any medicinal cannabis product which is not a CBD product is a Class B1 controlled drug. These may contain any level of cannabinoids and include all dried flower products.
If it is a less or unrefined cannabis or hemp product, then the potential presence of other tetrahydrocannabinols (especially THC) would trigger controlled drug status. Ministry of Health approval would then be required before special circumstances approval.
As of April 2023, there is only one Cannabidiol with no THC that is approved in New Zealand as a prescription medicine. Here is a link to the EPIDYOLEX minimum safety datasheet.
There is also currently only one approved, scheduled product (Class B1 controlled drug) available. Here is a link to the SATIVEX minimum safety datasheet.
Where can I find more information?
The Medicinal Cannabis Agency provides guidance for prescribing health professionals here.
There is also a list of medicinal cannabis products that meet the minimum quality standard available here.
What about products that are not a registered prescription medicine?
Other products that are not approved prescription medicine are considered to be Section 29 products. Although veterinarians may be able to prescribe them, they are not currently able to be sourced and sold to vets in NZ.
To authorise and dispense these products, you would need to import them yourself and would need ACVM approval to do this. For details about this, email ACVM: firstname.lastname@example.org