Record of Proceedings for the Science Advisory Committee on Health Products Containing Cannabis (SAC-HPCC) Subcommittee on Animal Health: October 7, 2021
October 7, 2021, 12:30-3:30 pm Eastern Time
Welcome and opening remarks
The Committee Co-Chair, Dr. Paula Brown, welcomed members of the Subcommittee on Animal Health, Health Canada participants from the Policy, Planning and International Affairs Directorate (PPIAD) and Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD), and guest speakers from Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The Co-Chair sought approval of the Record of Proceedings (RoPs) from the Subcommittee’s July 27, 2021 meeting, as well as the agenda for the present meeting. Both documents were adopted with no changes. There were no member updates to declarations of affiliations and interests.
Safety and efficacy worksheets
The goal of this agenda item was to consolidate the available evidence regarding available safety and efficacy evidence for CBD use by species and indication.
The Subcommittee focused the discussion on CBD in an oil dosage form for oral administration in dogs with pain associated with osteoarthritis. Other types of chronic pain indications in dogs were also considered. The available evidence was compiled within key parameters, including information on directions for use, safety and efficacy in the target animal, product labelling cautions, contra-indications and warnings. Discussions also focused on whether veterinary oversight would be required.
The Subcommittee also discussed the available evidence for CBD use in dogs for other indications apart from pain, as well as in cats, horses and other food-producing animals.
Presentation on cannabis use in food-producing animals and food safety
The Subcommittee received a presentation on the human safety requirements of veterinary drugs to receive market authorization in Canada. The presentation provided an overview of the VDD’s evaluation process that includes the following requirements to demonstrate food safety of a product intended for use in a food-producing animal:
- Safety studies must be provided as per standard guidelines to assess food safety (withdrawal periods, milk withholding times) that is displayed under warnings in the product label as well as the establishment of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) as food safety standards.
- MRLs, withdrawal periods and milk withholding times are established using the acceptable daily intake (ADI) which is derived from a set of safety factors and calculations based on toxicity data and microbiological safety data.
The presentation also included a discussion on the limited understanding of the metabolism and distribution of cannabis and its metabolites into edible tissues and food products to ascertain food safety and establish appropriate food safety standards.
Presentation on cannabis and animal feed
The Subcommittee received another presentation on the current requirements related to cannabis, hemp, cannabis products and by-products in livestock feed, as well as key issues and available research in this context
In Canada, feed ingredients are evaluated and approved by CFIA based on target animal safety, food safety, worker safety, and environmental considerations. Feeds must also have a purpose and as such assessed for efficacy. Although currently there are no products of cannabis approved in Canada for use in livestock feed, CFIA is working with the hemp industry to prepare for a submission of hemp products for feed. The CFIA lab is developing analytical methodology to monitor feed products for THC and other cannabinoids.
The potentially high inclusion rates for products as feed, and the variability of products and livestock species will be challenging in formulating appropriate safe levels of cannabis for animals and food safety. Allowing residues of THC and other cannabinoids into the food chain must be carefully considered as well.
Discussion of the forward agenda and work plan for the Subcommittee
The Secretariat confirmed that the discussion will be captured in writing and circulated to the members for their review and approval.
The Co-Chair thanked members for their active participation and adjourned the meeting.
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