A range of medicinal cannabis products for pets could help treat pain and anxiety in animals, developers say.
Hale Animal Health is working on New Zealand’s first range of cannabidiol (CBD) veterinary medicines, starting with a pain relief product for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Other cannabis-based products could include cannabinoid chews to help with anxiety, and shampoos and conditioners to help with skin conditions.
Hale, which is part-owned by medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, recently launched its first off-the-shelf nutraceutical products for pets.
* Cannabis referendum: Medicinal cannabis bosses divided over legalisation
* Time to harness economic benefits of medicinal cannabis
* Cannabis referendum: How legalisation could affect medicinal cannabis companies
* Medicinal cannabis expert calls on New Zealand doctors to upskill
But Hale managing director Leila de Koster said creating the CBD-based range is “absolutely central” to its strategy.
Data will be collated and clinical trials conducted over the next two years, she said.
Hale Animal Health is working on New Zealand’s first range of cannabidiol (CBD) veterinary medicines, starting with a pain relief product for dogs. (File photo)
An application will then be made to the Ministry for Primary Industries for registration under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act.
Difficulties gauging the effectiveness of CBD products for animals and a lack of scientific research showing their efficacy were barriers for pet owners in the United States, de Koster said.
“Kiwi pet owners and vets will likely have these same concerns. That’s precisely why we are providing solid evidence through the clinical trials and registration process for our CBD products here in New Zealand.”
Announcing the partnership with Hale last year, then-chief executive of Helius Therapeutics, Paul Manning, said while medicinal cannabis products for pets were a novel concept in New Zealand, the sector was experiencing rapid growth globally.
Home to at least 1.1 million dogs and 1.5 million cats, New Zealand’s pet owners already spend $1.8 billion on pet products and services each year, and demand is increasingly shifting towards natural health products, Manning said.
“To have high-quality, locally-produced therapeutic cannabis products readily available in New Zealand will be a game-changer for many Kiwi pet owners,” he said.
“Pets are family members too. Animals suffering from arthritis or anxiety, for example, may well benefit from natural, New Zealand grown and manufactured cannabis and hemp products.”
The commercial cultivation of cannabis for medical use and the manufacturing of THC and CBD products was enabled under the Medical Cannabis Scheme, which came into effect on April 1 last year.
Estimated to reach $55 billion by 2025, the medicinal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the world.