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News & Policy Grow

One of the first Canadian cannabis post-secondary programs now offered at McMaster University

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Peter Smith Mar 25, 2019 9:34 am 79

Those looking to upgrade their knowledge on the subject of cannabis science may need to act quickly as Hamilton’s McMaster University Continuing Education has opened enrolment on March 25 for its new program, the Science of Cannabis.

According to the university, this is one of the first post-secondary programs in the country focused on the “scientific study of cannabis and its therapeutic applications, risks and harms.”

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One of its primary goals is to combat misinformation that reaches the public through a variety of sources.

“There’s a lot of information out in the world about cannabis,” says Dr. James MacKillop, Director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addiction Research, in a video for the program. “Not all of it is accurate.”

Graduates of the three-course program will receive an academic certificate, with the first course, Fundamentals of Cannabis Science, starting in May 2019.

The course’s enrollment page lists it at $849.36 and students will take the course online.

“This program really takes advantage of a lot of faculty expertise,” said MacKillop, in a release. “Students are going to have first-hand exposure to all different avenues of cannabis research that are being pursued within our centres.”

The first course will be taught by Dr. Michael Amlung, an assistant professor of psychiatry at McMaster and faculty member of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research.

Once completed the program, says the university’s course description, certificate holders will be able to take a more evidence-based approach to the subject, including: demonstrating an advanced understanding of the nature of the cannabis plants, the therapeutic applications of cannabis, and the risks associated with cannabis; identify the different plant species; understand the fundamentals of the endocannabinoid system and its relationship to other major neurotransmitter systems in the brain; describe the historical evolution of cannabis use and the shifting regulations; and evaluating the evidence basis for the use of cannabis for treating a medical condition.

“Our goal is to offer programming that aligns with industry trends and provides skill development for working professionals,” said Dr. Lorraine Carter, Director of McMaster Continuing Education.

“We know the scientific study of cannabis is something that individuals from physicians to social workers to first responders and others will be interested in. The program will help demonstrate how cannabis research interacts with fields such as addictions, mental health and public policy.”

According to the university, McMaster Continuing Education is one of Canada’s largest providers of academic certificate and diploma programs, professional development education, and corporate training.

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