News & Events

Veterinarians lobby MPs to legalize medical cannabis for pets

By Adam Quirk, Summer Student-at-Law | May 22, 2019

On May 15, 2019, members of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine (“CAVCM”) and their dogs took to Parliament Hill to raise awareness of their campaign to legalize medical cannabis for pets. The idea of medical cannabis for pets has gained momentum since Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis for adults in October 2018 and is seen by veterinarians as another tool to address pain, seizures, arthritis, anxiety, and other conditions.

Canadian law does not currently allow veterinarians to prescribe medical cannabis for pets and also prohibits vets from offering advice to pet owners on suitable cannabis products or doses. This has led many pet owners to self-administer cannabis to their pets which, according to the CAVCM, raises many health and safety concerns. Chief among these concerns is the safety and purity of recreational cannabis products designed for human consumption and cannabis products acquired on the black market. There is also a concern that pet owners will not administer an appropriate dose, which could lead to THC toxicity.

Despite lobbying efforts, it is unlikely that the legalization of medical cannabis for pets will be considered by the federal government anytime soon. A spokesperson for the Hon. Ginette Petipas-Taylor, federal Minister of Health, stated that veterinary use of cannabinoids is not currently a priority for the department, and can be considered when the Cannabis Act is reviewed in three years.

Dr. Sarah Silcox, president of the CAVCM, has argued that waiting for the Cannabis Act review to address medical cannabis for pets is unacceptable because veterinary patients age significantly faster than humans and believes pets cannot wait three years for a legislative review. Dr. Silcox noted that the federal government is currently reviewing cannabis regulations, in anticipation of the addition of edibles and oils to the legalized regime, and she believes government should take this opportunity to add veterinarians to the list of medical practitioners authorized to prescribe cannabis. The CAVCM is a national non-profit corporation founded by veterinary professionals and advocates for access to and species-specific research of medical cannabis for pets.


Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






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