By / March 2, 2020

In legal limbo, veterinarians prescribe medical cannabis to sick animals

Animal health professionals are not supported by the municipalities to which they answer when it comes to prescribing medical cannabis to animals.

Veterinarians in Brazil have guided tutors of animals to use cannabis medicines in cases of pathologies such as epilepsy, cancer, inflammation, arthrosis, chronic pain, and also in the terminal phase. However, the indication is made without a law that prohibits, authorizes or regulates the use of medical cannabis in these cases.

That is because the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply (MAPA) and Federal Council of Veterinary Medicine (CFMV) do not have guidelines for the use of this type of medication. However, despite the legal limbo, the professionals in animal health are trying to help suffering animals benefit from the medical properties cannabis-based products have.

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Veterinarians say that cannabis demand started to increase

Pedro Silva is a veterinary doctor in Natal (RN) and has a number of patients treated mainly with cannabis oil. Silva said that the demand began to appear on the part of the tutors, who heard about the benefits but did not know how to get the cannabis-based medication or were not aware of the recommended dosage for each case.

“We began to notice an increase in demand in 2019, following the release of clinical studies for the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine. We explained how the dosage is done, the administration of the oils, how to start with low doses, because the animals are more sensitive, especially the dogs, so we follow up. However, we respond to MAPA, which has no rules on the subject. We are in legal limbo,” explained Silva.

Dr. Paulistano Christian Fantini Patané and his point of view about cannabis

Another veterinary doctor who has been guiding animal tutors to use cannabis in the treatment of diseases is the Paulistano Christian Fantini Patan. He started working with cannabis-based medicines a year and a half ago and accumulates in his list of ‘cannabis’ patients more than 40 animals.

Medical use of cannabis in Brazil has grown in popularity in order to to help suffering animals. (Source)

Patané explained that, even in this legal limbo, he chose to indicate the use of cannabis because it “works” and that the exchange between colleagues has been extremely important for the follow-up of cases.

“We are veterinary doctors catching up with each other. Medical literature is scarce, but we are treating and seeing positive results and passing on this information. I want to do my master’s degree in pharmacology on the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine. Someone needs to start studying and publishing studies on this topic,” said Patané.

MAPA and CFMV follow without guidelines

In a note, the CFMV clarified that the regulations regarding prescription, acquisition control and authorization for the use and trade of medicines are of the competence of MAPA and Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency).

The note also informed that “considering it is a substance that is not yet manufactured in Brazil, with which there is still no product of veterinary use registered at the ministry, it is up to the professionals to be aware of the import rules and controls established by these two organs.” Also by way of another note, MAPA stated that “at the moment, this matter is not under analysis.”


(Featured image by Christina Winter via Unsplash)

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