Make Whole Plant Medical Cannabis Legal and Affordable for Pets

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Medical cannabis for pets is a wonderful, safe, and effective medicine. Until the first of October 2017, Hemp extracts containing cannabidiol CBD and other cannabinoids (without THC) were freely available to purchase as a dietary supplement. They weren't exactly cheap, but they were affordable. 

Since the first of October, CBD containing products have now been classified as a 'Schedule 4' medicine. This means that it must be prescribed by a doctor, or a veterinarian, and is much more difficult and expensive to import. 

An example - I had been prescribing a high quality CBD whole plant hemp extract for pets under my care, and could retail a 100 ml bottle containing 1800mg of CBD and 700mg of many other cannabinoid compounds, all that have medicinal activity) for $299.94 - with a 30% markup. 

For me to provide a pure CBD extract of 100ml containing 2500mg of CBD that I source from a compounding pharmacist, with the same markup, will cost my clients at least $667, or 122% more than the comparable product that was legal before the scheduling was changed. 

This is daylight robbery, in my opinion. CBD is a very safe compound, non-toxic, not psychoactive, and has been used extensively by humans for health and well-being in Australia for many years without any problem whatsoever. I can see no medical justification for making it a Schedule 4 drug. This shceduling should be reserved for drugs that may cause harm. 

Making CBD a Schedule 4 drug is making it both more difficult and far more expensive for pet owners to access this very valuable, safe, and effective herbal medicine.

I call on the prime minister and the ministers for agriculture and health to either remove CBD from the Schedule 4 category, or to make the regulatory changes necessary to allow registered veterinarians to be able to import THC free whole plant hemp extracts containing CBD and the broad range of cannabinoids that only whole plant extracts contain (all of which have medicinal value). 

I call on them to make any process or regulatory framework whereby vets can import THC free CBD products process simple and affordable, so that individual registered veterinarians can then easily import the hemp extracts of their choice, be it whole plant organically grown, or whatever THC free hemp extract their research indicates as the best choice for their patients' needs. 

It is worth noting that vets are already empowered to stock Schedule 8 drugs such as morphine, fentanyl, ketamine, and so on, so this would be a minor regulatory change. 

I invite you to add your voice to this call for a simple, sensible reform to access for THC free medical cannabis products for our pets. This will help ease the suffering of pets with health problems such as epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety, autoimmune disease, cancer, and more.

Thank you,

Dr Edward Bassingthwaighte BVSc(honsII)



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