Is cbd oil legal federally for pets

Six Things You Need to Know About CBD and Other Hemp-containing Pet Products

The trend toward state-level legalization of cannabis has led to a surge in cannabis-derived products and a continually evolving market with many types of cannabis products for people as well as their pets. Analysts predict that pet-and-animal product sales are among the fastest-growing sectors in the CBD market with estimated sales reaching $125 million by 2022.

Below is our list of six things we think every pet parent (or pet product manufacturer) needs to know about CBD and other hemp-containing pet products as well as the challenges facing regulators, veterinarians and industry stakeholders.

1. The basics on CBD, hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill

Cannabis sativa Linnaeus (Cannabis) is a hardy plant species that comprise many cannabis cultivars and chemovars with wide-ranging concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; the psychoactive component of cannabis); cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN); as well as terpenes, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. CBD is the main nonintoxicating phytocannabinoid, and unlike THC, CBD has a very low affinity for CB receptors of the endocannabinoid system and possesses the unique ability to counteract the intoxicating and adverse effects of cannabis, such as anxiety, tachycardia, hunger, and sedation in rats and humans.

Parts of the Cannabis plant have been controlled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) since 1970 [21 U.S.C 802(16)]. In December 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, changed how certain types of cannabis are scheduled by removing hemp, defined as cannabis and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of THC (less than 0.3% THC) from the list of controlled substances under the CSA. The 2018 Farm Bill did not change anything with respect to animal food. Hemp or any derivatives remain Unapproved Ingredients for use in animal food of any kind or any species.

2. Are any CBD and hemp-containing products legal for use in pet products?

CBD or any other hemp-containing products have not been approved by the FDA for use in animals as drugs or food/feed supplements, which are the only two legal options for marketing animal products in the US. There is no equivalent to dietary supplements in animals, because the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994 does not apply to products meant for animal use. Because FDA has already approved CBD as a drug for humans, then the use of CBD in any product, whether for use in humans or animals, would make that product an Unapproved New Drug or Unapproved New Animal Drug. New animal drugs, as well as new animal food products, are subject to pre-market approval for specific species.

3. Who’s responsible for regulating CBD in pet products?

In testimony before the US Senate in July 2019, Dr. Amy Abernethy, Principal Deputy Commissioner at FDA, stated that the Agency recognizes the need for “regulatory clarity, particularly given the significant public interest in hemp products, and CBD in particular.” Abernethy also stated that any manufacturer selling “any CBD food or purported dietary supplement products in interstate commerce” does so in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). She acknowledged that “FDA is considering the possibility of new legal pathways for CBD products.”

In addition to the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), animal products are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for advertising, DEA for controlled substances, USDA for growth and cultivation of hemp, and individual state regulatory agencies including the State Departments of Agriculture and other state regulatory agencies (i.e., State Chemists Office).

4. Warning Letters Issued for CBD-containing Products

On November 22, 2019, FDA issued 15 Warning Letters for CBD-containing products, 13 of those included allegations related to pet products marketed as unapproved new animal drugs. And, in May 2019, an FDA Warning Letter was issued jointly with the FTC for a CBD product for dogs that was being marketed as an unapproved new animal drug with unsubstantiated advertising claims. In 2020, several more FDA Warning Letters were issued for CBD products illegally marketed for pets. FDA has not reviewed the manufacturing process of these unapproved CBD-containing drug products, so the manufacturing conditions of, or contaminant levels in, these products is unknown.

In the December 22, 2020 News Release of Warning Letters for CBD, Dr. Abernethy said, “We [FDA] remain focused on exploring potential pathways for CBD products to be lawfully marketed while also educating the public about these outstanding questions of CBD’s safety.”

5. How are CBD and other hemp-containing pet products being marketed today?

At the 3 rd International Cannabinoid Derived Pharmaceuticals (iCDP) Summit, a virtual event held in September 2020, Dr. Dominick Chiapperino, Director of Controlled Substance Staff (CSS) at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), acknowledged challenges facing regulators and industry stakeholders alike due to the rapidly changing legal frameworks at federal, state, and local levels. He added that significant data is still needed to inform policy regarding use of consumer cannabis products.

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) and the Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) are two non-profit organizations working transparently with their members, FDA and manufacturers of CBD and other hemp-containing animal products to promote self-regulation and implementation of good manufacturing practices and quality assurance principles in the industry.

6. What Pet Owners Should Know When Discussing Use of CBD Products with a Veterinarian

Practicing veterinarians face a barrage of questions from pet owners about the use of CBD animal products for conditions ranging from arthritis to anxiety. Because the FDA has not approved cannabis-derived products for animals, vets are unable to prescribe a CBD product for a pet.

When a veterinarian prescribes, administers or recommends a product, they are usually doing so with the intent to prevent, treat, diminish, or cure a disease or condition. According to the AVMA, “Products for animals for which therapeutic claims are made that have not been evaluated and approved by the FDA are unapproved animal drugs. Unapproved animal drugs are considered to be ‘unsafe’ under the FDCA, because they have not been shown to meet FDA standards for safety and efficacy for their intended use.” As there are currently no approved cannabis-derived drugs for animals, the use of these unapproved drugs can put pets at risk and possibly create legal risks for veterinarians who administer, prescribe, dispense or recommend them. Additionally, the marketing of unapproved treatments by veterinarians increases the likelihood that animal owners may choose to use unapproved products instead of approved therapies to treat serious illnesses in their pets, which could result in worsening of disease and increased animal suffering.

As a matter of a First Amendment right to free speech, vets should be able to talk to pet owners about CBD. Nonetheless, laws applicable to the practice of medicine that may impact speech, such as laws that might limit a vet’s ability to recommend CBD products, will generally pass constitutional muster. But, free speech is not the only issue. Owners could administer CBD to pets on their own, and vets need to know what the animals they treat are taking. The American Association of Veterinary Boards, however, has taken the position that vets should be able to discuss CBD with clients. But, vets who talk to their clients about CBD could face license seizure from their state veterinary boards. Only a few states have addressed the use of CBD in pets, most notably California and Michigan have specific laws that allow vets to discuss the use of CBD with their clients. This area of the law is changing quickly, so, before addressing CBD with their clients, vets should clearly understand state rules and the position taken by their state veterinary board.

Final Thoughts

The laws around CBD and hemp-containing products is changing fast, so stay abreast of what is going on in your state (for talking to vets). It remains to be seen if (or when) the FDA will approve CBD products for use in animals and what sort of labeling requirements will be applied to those products.

Copyright © 2022 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All Rights Reserved. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 230

Is Hemp Legal in the U.S. and Canada for Pets?

There’s a lot of buzz out there about CBD products for pets. Since they hit the mass market, doting pet parents have been investigating their potential health benefits.

This is no surprise since the American Pet Products Association estimates that U.S. pet parents spent 95.7 billion on pet food, treats, over-the-counter treatments, vet care and other services in 2019. Translation: That’s a lot of money and a lot of love for our pets.. While hemp-derived CBD products are new in the wellness space, they’re quickly becoming mainstream. Some national pet stores are even starting to carry these products.

But there are still a lot of questions about the legality of CBD products for pets, and their legal status is different depending on where you live.

Are Hemp-Derived CBD Products Legal for Pets?

Because these products are so new, recent and rapid changes are still taking place regarding the legal status of hemp products for both humans and pets in the U.S.

The federal 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from its definition of marijuana, effectively making hemp-derived CBD products for pets legal in the U.S.

To break that down, marijuana remains a schedule 1 drug but hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% of THC are legal.

We’ll put it one more way: hemp-derived CBD products are available and legal as supplements, as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.

Keep in mind that not all CBD supplements for pets are created equal. They may not be processed the same way or have the same testing and quality standards. Learn more about how to choose a safe and effective CBD supplement for your pet.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is outlining marketing, labeling and claims rules for companies that make hemp-derived products . But demand is outpacing regulatory changes .

Labeling and Claims on CBD Products for Pets

Many consumers claim to see benefits from using CBD products in their pets, including:

  • Reduction in chronic pain and inflammation
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Help for other conditions

In fact, in my own practice we have seen promising results when implementing cannabis into a pet’s protocol.

However, it is not legal for hemp-derived products to make the same kinds of claims that pet medications do. CBD products designed for pets CANNOT claim to provide treatment for or cure any medical issue.

Research about the impact of hemp CBD products in dogs and cats is still limited. Much of what we know about the use of hemp CBD is anecdotal or has been inferred from human medicine.

We need a lot more research to be conducted, especially on different molecules of the plant—not just CBD. More detailed research on each compound in the plant can help establish and confirm what each part of the plant can or cannot do. But this will take time. We’ve only just now begun to understand this for human cannabis.

CBD Products: Differences in State and Federal Regulations

In order to understand the legality of CBD products for pets, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations for humans at both the state and federal level.

Marijuana Regulation

U.S. federal law does not recognize or protect medicinal marijuana possession or use. Even if medicinal marijuana is legal in your state, the federal government can still prosecute you for possession and/or use.

Even so, more and more states have legalized the medical use of marijuana , creating tension between state and federal marijuana regulations.

Hemp-Derived CBD Regulation

Hemp and marijuana are not the same, even though CBD can be extracted from both.

Hemp products are legal in the U.S. If the CBD comes from hemp plants and the products contain less than 0.3% THC (the intoxicating compound in marijuana) by dry weight at the time of harvest, the CBD products are legal at the federal level.

However, if the CBD comes from a marijuana plant, it is still considered illegal.

Are Hemp and CBD Products Legal in Canada?

The short answer is yes. There are many caveats to this though. In Canada, marijuana is legal and regulated at the federal level.

  • Canada’s Cannabis Act places all phytocannabinoids on the prescription drug list. CBD is included here.
  • Human marijuana and hemp products with CBD require a prescription from a doctor.

However, there are currently no approved CBD drugs for pets in Canada. The only legal way to buy cannabis products for your pet in Canada is by purchasing “veterinary health products” that have hemp in them. These products can be bought via retail avenues and are regulated.

Do I Need a Prescription for Pet CBD Products?

In the U.S., you DO NOT need a prescription for pet products that contains CBD. That said, it’s critical you do your research to find a reputable source for those products.

A 2017 Penn Medicine study found that only 30% of 84 CBD extracts bought online matched the label’s claims within 10% of the amount claimed on the labels. In fact, many contained more THC than the 0.3% maximum allowed.

Research companies before you buy. Buy from a trustworthy company that is transparent about where their products are sourced and straightforward about their claims. Any company over-promising or making curative claims about hemp-based products should be avoided.

In Canada, you DO need a prescription for CBD, however there are no approved CBD drugs for pets in Canada. Veterinarians aren’t allowed to prescribe, dispense or administer cannabis products to their patients. Instead, you can buy regulated “veterinary health products” directly.

A list of Canada’s veterinary health products is listed on Health Canada’s website . These products are regulated by the Industrial Hemp Regulations (IHR). However, regulations and legal issues are changing quickly! Stay up to date at the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine ’s website.

Can My Veterinarian Recommend CBD for My Pet?

The answer to this question is complicated, and it depends largely on your location, your veterinarian’s comfort level with CBD products, and your veterinarian’s knowledge of state laws.

There is still a lot of confusion within the profession about what veterinarians can legally discuss and what they can’t in regard to cannabis use in pets. Some may even choose to avoid the topic altogether.

Keep in mind—your veterinarian is mandated by the state veterinary medical board. The board can limit how much your vet is allowed to guide you with CBD products.

If you are interested in using CBD products as part of your pet’s care regimen, ask your veterinarian about the rules in your state. Many veterinarians are advocating to have the agency they need to help guide you on which products are safe for your pet. Let your veterinarian know if you’re interested in guidance–even if they cannot currently provide it.

Legal Status of CBD for Pets: The Bottom Line

The legal landscape around CBD for pets is still evolving at both the state and federal level. But here is what you need to know about the current laws:

  • In the United States, hemp products that contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight are legal in all 50 states and allowed to be sold as supplements. However, the FDA has not approved any hemp-derived CBD product as a drug for animal use.
  • No veterinary products are allowed to make claims of treatment for CBD products, but much anecdotal evidence is available regarding potential benefits for pets.
  • Additional research is needed to better understand and verify how CBD products impact specific medical conditions in pets.
  • In Canada, only “veterinary health products” made from hemp are legal without a prescription.
  • Your veterinarian may have limited ability to recommend or endorse CBD products. Consider asking them what their own familiarity with it is, and what they’re allowed to do regarding these supplements in your state.

You want the best for your pet. Seek out products manufactured for pets from a reputable company and get your veterinarian’s opinion to find out if your pet may benefit from hemp-based products. A simple conversation and good research can help steer you in the right direction for your pet!