Cannabinoid Curriculum

The global regulatory landscape regarding the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids is changing rapidly. This has considerable impact on health care professionals who currently receive little or no education on issues regarding medical cannabis. We propose a ‘cannabis curriculum’ that covers the spectrum of historical, botanical, physiological, clinical and legal issues to allow health care professionals to engage in meaningful discussions with their patients and colleagues around this stigmatized and controversial subject.

Topic Learning Objective
History of medical cannabis "Describe the historical perspective of medical cannabis use and the effects of cannabis policy on research and drug development. Comparison with opioid drug development may be useful."
Botany of Cannabis sativa "Describe the plant-based production of cannabinoids and other aromatic ingredients; describe genetic and phenotypic interspecies differences."
Biology of the endocannabinoid system "Describe the identity, location, and functional characteristics of cannabinoid receptors and endogenous ligands; endocannabinoid synthesis and metabolism; mechanism of action and role of endocannabinoids in normal physiology."
Pharmacology of cannabinoids "Describe the clinical pharmacology (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination) of cannabinoid molecules; potential drug-drug interactions."
Cannabinoid administration "Compare the pharmacokinetics of cannabinoid administration methods (oral, inhaled, topical, sublingual, rectal)."
Efficacy of cannabinoids in clinical conditions "Critically appraise clinical trial data: strengths, weaknesses, need for further study; clinical conditions studied to date; identify gaps in research knowledge."
Safety of medical cannabis use "Discuss known adverse effects of acute and chronic cannabis use; consideration of differences between safety of medical and recreational cannabis use; methods of studying cannabis safety; absolute and relative contraindications."
Cannabis misuse and abuse "Recognize and discuss cannabis use disorder characteristics and treatment."
Legal considerations in medical cannabis "Discuss medical cannabis policy: international, national, and local concerns; identify pragmatic factors in medical cannabis authorization (where legally possible)."
Communicating with patients about medical marijuana "Discuss the stigma of medical cannabis; establishing therapeutic relationship and goals of treatment; use of treatment agreements and compliance."

Ware, M. A., & Ziemianski, D. (2015). Medical education on cannabis and cannabinoids: Perspectives, challenges, and opportunities. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 97(6), 548-550.

CCIC Educational Events and Programs

The CCIC regularly organizes educational events.  For more information please visit the "Events" page of our website by clicking here.

The CCIC also has four cannabinoid education programs available online. Two activities are available through the McGill University CME website. These activities present background information on cannabinoids and medical cannabis and present up-to-date cannabinoid research. A case-based online activity is also available through This new addition to the online cannabinoid education tools deals with practical aspects of using cannabinoids in patient care.


ONLINE Cannabinoid Education Programs

ACE 1.1

Understanding the therapeutic uses of cannabinoids in pain and symptom management  

ACE 1.2

Medical marijuana: an evidence-based guide for medical practitioners  

ACE    2

Cannabinoids in Clinical Practice: Case-based Learning  

ACE    3

Synergies - Cannabinoids and opioids in clinical therapeutics