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PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE

Medicinal Cannabis

Acquire the knowledge to safely apply cannabis as a medicinal tool for patients with common ailments in primary care.

Medicinal cannabis plant, oil and drop

Overview

This evidence-backed, science-based online program teaches how and why medicinal cannabis works, enabling you to provide holistic care and optimal outcomes for your patients.

  • Learn about the endocannabinoid system and the properties of THC and CBD.
  • Explore the routes of administration, side effects and contraindications of medicinal cannabis.
  • This course is for medical doctors, International Medical Graduates, registered nurses and degree-qualified health professionals.
  • CPD-accredited and university-reviewed.
NOTE: GPs working in Australia (except for in Tasmania) may prescribe medicinal cannabis, however, as part of the guidelines of the Therapeutic Goods Administration Special Access Scheme-B, you will need to acknowledge that you have the knowledge necessary to do so. This program will equip you with the knowledge required to manage and prescribe medicinal cannabis for various conditions and can serve as part of your documentation showing you have undertaken education in this field when you decide to become an authorised prescriber. More information here.

CPD requirements

Fulfils 50 hrs for medical professionals in Australia*

Study modes

100% online

Course fee

$1495
Special rates available

Study duration

77.5 hrs
Self-paced

*provided an outcome measurement activity with a minimum of 5 hours is completed.

Griffith university logo 200 x 100

Course benefits

  • Gain insights into cannabis history and medical acceptance, and debunk preconceived ideas.
  • Provide alternative treatment options for common chronic conditions and pain management.
  • Support patients with anxiety, insomnia, autoimmune disorders, IBS, autism, diabetes, hypertension, skin conditions, respiratory conditions, and more using medical cannabis.
  • Improve the quality of life for cancer patients through symptomatic treatment methods.
  • Understand the application of cannabinoids as well as their side effects and contraindications.
  • Explore the endocannabinoid system.

Get unlimited access to all course content, additional learning materials, ongoing post-course support, and more.

Course contents

History of cannabis and medical acceptance

This module considers the cannabis plant and its rich and colourful history as a psychotropic agent, a commodity, a sacred entity, and a medicine to treat a raft of disorders. Maligned and criminalised in the second half of the 20th century, cannabis is now in a new cycle with a burgeoning and sustained scientific interest in its potential medical uses. The module also outlines the history behind the discovery of different cannabis strains, specific phytocannabinoids (e.g., THC), endocannabinoids (e.g., AEA) and the body’s innate endocannabinoid system, and the myriad of biological processes to which it is linked. Finally, the module looks at the discovery of terpenes, and with it, the so-called entourage effect or the synergism between the multitude of compounds within the whole plant.

Introduction to the endocannabinoid system

This module analyses the homeostatic endocannabinoid system and its broad scope of influence in both health and disease. The endocannabinoid system’s three central instruments are established, the endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes, followed by an analysis of the system’s homeostatic functions, including analgesia, mood, energy balance, and stress coping. Evidence for the relationship between insufficiency or dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system and particular disorders is also discussed. Finally, the module provides an overview of our current understanding of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, and how ongoing research into targeted manipulation of the endocannabinoid system with active cannabinergic compounds may prove therapeutic in numerous pathological conditions.

Exploring THC and CBD

This module provides a comprehensive examination of the two main cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD); it distinguishes between their main actions and analyses their synergistic relationship. Given that THC and CBD interact differently within the endocannabinoid system and with other neurotransmitters, the module considers their different therapeutic potential, bioavailability, metabolism, toxicology, and dosing. The module also describes the most up-to-date method of cannabis classification, or chemovars, a method based on chemical composition in order to match a specific profile to a particular treatment. For example, chemovars establish the CBD to THC ratio in a given ‘species’ as well as other cannabinoids involved in whole plant medicine, such as CBG, CBN, and CBC. They also determine the presence of other important constituents, such as a wide variety of terpenes.

Routes of administration, side effects and contraindications

This module discusses the safe use of medicinal cannabis, outlining the routes of administration, side effects, and contraindications. Cannabinoid pharmacokinetics are also examined, including its absorption following diverse administration routes, metabolism by different tissues and organs, bioavailability and elimination from the body. Despite its extreme safety as a medication generally and particularly relative to opioids, potential adverse effects and contrindicaitons of cannabis are outlined. The module also analyses the potential for drug-to-drug interaction given CBD and THC’s effects on common biological pathways implicated in drug metabolism via their interactions with cytochrome P450 enzymes specifically.

Patient cases and basic ailments

This module identifies a number of basic ailments that may be successfully treated with medical cannabis in General Practice. For example, the adverse effects of cancer treatment, the symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia could be alleviated by medicinal cannabis with mild side effects and minimal risk of toxicity or addiction. Providing that conventional treatments have failed or caused unacceptable side effects, a growing number of conditions lend themselves to treatment with cannabis. Given the complex chemical profile, there is a single medication potential to assist with multiple symptoms, thereby reducing polypharmacy. The module applies an individualised management plan to three comprehensive case studies for patients with chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and anxiety and depression. Considerations ranging from the cost to the patient to the appropriate THC to CBD ratio are addressed. Finally, the module guides the practitioner in navigating an application for a TGA Special Access Scheme/SAS B.

Chronic pain and medicinal cannabis

This module discusses the use of medicinal cannabis as an emerging option for clinicians to reduce and alleviate difficult-to-treat, chronic, neuropathic pain. The module analyses the endocannabinoid system and the diverse, multimodal mechanisms of cannabinoid-induced analgesia. THC and CBD are an excellent additive treatment to concurrent conventional pain management for many chronic pain types associated with a range of diseases such as fibromyalgia, traumatic injury, and multiple sclerosis. For patients suffering from neuropathic pain, cannabinoids may be used successfully as an adjunctive, opioid-sparing, or ultimately a replacement therapy for managing their pain. The module also discusses a management plan’s necessary considerations (such as determining dosages and accounting for safety considerations) and applies these protocols to a chronic pain case study.

Anxiety, insomnia and depression

This module examines the homeostatic functions of the endocannabinoid system in relation to mood, stress response, and sleep. It also evaluates the therapeutic capacity of the major cannabinoids (THC and CBD), in isolation and in synergy, in relation to anxiety, depression, and insomnia. In developing a treatment plan, essential factors such as the interplay between depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia are considered, as well as protocols for THC to CBD ratios in basic dosing, and the route and timing of administration with reference to each condition. With regard to treating insomnia particularly, the module addresses the role of other lesser-known cannabinoids, such as CBN, and terpenes. Pertinent considerations such as the dampening effect of CBD upon the undesirable effects of THC such as intoxication, tachycardia and psycho-activity (of particular importance when treating anxiety) are also discussed.

Cancer: Symptomatic treatment

This module reviews the myriad of functions of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system and considers the supportive role they may have to play in cancer therapy. Although research continues into the anti-tumour properties of cannabinoids, there is currently no evidence that medical cannabis can cure or even treat cancer. Nonetheless, it can be a successful additional therapy used in the management of cancer symptoms and the iatrogenic effects of treatment. The judicious use of medicinal cannabis can significantly improve cancer sufferers’ quality of life by managing persistent symptoms and side effects such as, cancer pain, nausea, vomiting, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The module also considers the case studies of three different cancer patients and, for each, examines issues for the clinician related to assessment, dosing recommendations, formulation, methods of administration, and side effects.

Did you know you can also study most of these course modules in HealthCert 365?

If you're not interested in pursuing a full certificate in this field but simply want to enhance your skills in specific topics covered in this course, you can access the content of this and other courses for a flat fee of $83 per month (paid annually) within HealthCert 365.

Meet your instructors

 
Jonathon Arnold transp
 
Prof Jonathon Arnold
Professor of Cannabinoid Pharmacology

 

Deputy Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Professor Jonathon Arnold is a world leader in the science of cannabis and the cannabinoids. He is Deputy Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney, Australia. This is a cross faculty research initiative that specialises in the discovery and development of cannabis-based medicines. In 2018 he was one of four scientists selected to advise the World Health Organisation (WHO) on their historical review of cannabis and the cannabinoids.

Prof Arnold has over 20 years’ experience in cannabinoid pharmacology and has published extensively on the molecular, cellular, neurobiological and behavioural actions of the phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Since 2016 he and his team have conducted epilepsy research to improve the understanding of the anticonvulsant properties of the phytocannabinoids. He recently published a high-profile paper which shed new light on the mode of action of CBD in the treatment of childhood epilepsy (Altmetric 75). This paper received the Epilepsia Brain Science Prize honouring the most significant advance in knowledge in the field of epilepsy in 2019.

 
Vicki Kotsirilos transp
 
A/Prof Vicki Kotsirilos
AM, MBBS, FACNEM, FASLM

 

Expert Reviewer

Awarded Honorary Fellowship of the RACGP

Adjunct Associate Professor, NICM Health Research Institute

Research Committee Member, NICM Health Research Institute

Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM is a respected general practitioner with over 30 years of clinical experience, integrating evidence-based holistic therapies such as acupuncture, nutritional and herbal medicine with mainstream healthcare.

A/Prof Kotsirilos keeps up to date with the research in these areas culminating in the development of the successful textbook A Guide to Evidence-Based Integrative and Complementary Medicine. She is also a regular writer for Medical Observer, publishing a monthly column on evidence-based Integrative Medicine and circulates research updates for Australian doctors.

A/Prof Kotsirilos holds adjunct associate professorial positions with NICM and La Trobe University's, Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, and formerly with Monash University. She was the founding Chair of the RACGP Integrative Medicine Working group, as well as the founder and Founding Past President of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA).

A/Prof Kotsirilos served as an active board member on AIMA for 20 years, forging positive relations with government and peak medical bodies such as the AMA and RACGP. She has served on many state and federal government committees, such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Complementary Medicine Evaluation Committee (eight years) and as the GP member on the Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee (five years). In addition, A/Prof Kotsirilos served on the Victorian Council of the AMA and for several years worked closely with the Medical Panels, Victorian Workcover. She continues to work for regulatory federal government bodies such as AHPRA.

 
Harry McIlroy transp
 
Dr Harry McIlroy
MD

 

Integrative physician in San Francisco
 
Dr Harry McIlroy, MD is an integrative physician in San Francisco who combines the best of Western and Eastern medicine to help people live well and feel better.

Dr McIlroy is a licensed acupuncturist with training in functional medicine. He considers himself to be an old-time, small town family doctor with a big bag of tricks! He works hard to truly know his patients and help them optimise their health and vitality as naturally as possible. His specialities include medical cannabis, chronic pain, digestive health, regenerative medicine and insomnia.
 
Joe Kosterich (3)
 
Dr Joe Kosterich
MBBS

 

Lecturer, Curtin Medical School
 
Dr Joe Kosterich is a general practitioner, speaker, author, media presenter and health industry consultant. He writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications and is a regular on radio and television. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases, is clinical editor of a medical magazine, adjunct professor (teaching) at UWA and a lecturer at Curtin Medical School.

Dr Kosterich has a special interest in medicinal cannabis, men’s health, chronic disease and mental health. He has self-published two books and maintains a website and blog with health information and commentary. Through all this, Dr Kosterich continues to see patients as a GP each week.

 
John Teh transp
 
Dr John Teh
MBBS

 

Cannabinoid Clinician, Clinical Educator
 
Medical Director, PlantMed
 
Dr John Teh is the Medical Director of Plantmed Medical Cannabis Clinic, Australia. He has been working within the Medicinal Cannabis industry since the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use in Australia in February 2016.

Dr Teh is actively involved in Cannabis Medicine education, training medical practitioners and allied health professionals in all areas of cannabinoid therapeutics. He is a medical advisor to various cannabis producers and suppliers within Australia, and consulted the Thailand government prior their introduction of their medicinal cannabis program in 2019.

Dr Teh has vast experience treating a variety of patients with Medical Cannabis and integrates nutrition and plant based medicines which support cannabinoid treatment in his practice. His wealth of knowledge makes him sought after in all areas of cannabis medicine and education.

Study modes

Study 100% online

100% online

Study at your own pace and to your own schedule. 

  • View and replay video lectures at your convenience.
  • Participate in online case discussions with your peers.
  • Participate in course webinars prior to the examinations and ask questions.
  • Complete your assessment online and receive your CPD hours and certificate.
HealthCert 365 - a digital CPD library

HealthCert 365

Easily meet your CPD requirements and gain valuable skills – all in one place for $83 per month. 

  • Customise your learning experience by accessing and focusing only on course modules that interest you the most.
  • Gain access to 200+ additional CPD activities and 50-hour special focus CPD programs, sourced from all HealthCert university-assured programs.

Professional Certificate of Medicinal Cannabis

$1495 

 .
  • Meets the 50hr annual CPD requirement*
  • 100% online 
  • Flexible start and completion time

*provided an outcome measurement activity with a minimum of 5 hours is completed.

 

Bundle two courses and save 5%, or three courses and save 10% upon enrolment.
Talk to us about deferred payment options, registrar scholarships and special rates.

Example of Professional Certificate of Medicinal Cannabis
This certificate meets the 50hr annual CPD requirement for medical practitioners

HealthCert courses have become the standard by which you gauge all others.

Dr K. Abolarinwa

Good courses with excellent speakers. I particularly enjoyed the case study scenarios which helped to integrate the knowledge gained.

Dr A. Tucker

This is the pathway to improve your confidence and evolve into the GP you aspire to be.

Dr S. Shinwari

Accredited CPD activities in this certificate

This is an RACGP-approved CPD activity under the RACGP CPD program.

RACGP CPD Accredited activity
RACGP Activity Number Activity Title Education Hours Performance Hours Total Hours
411966 Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System 411966 4 5 9
411963 History of Cannabis and Medical Acceptance 411963 4 5 9
414131 Anxiety, Insomnia and Depression 414131 4 6 10
411977 Patient Cases and Basic Ailments 411977 4.5 6 10.5
411989 Cancer: Symptomatic Treatment 411989 4 6 10
414126 Routes of Administration, Side Effects and Contra Indications 414126 4 6 10
411982 Chronic Pain and Medicinal Cannabis 411982 4 6 10
411970 Exploring THC and CBD 411970 4 5 9
Grand Total 77.5

Outcome measurement

Outcome measurement activities are not a requirement of our professional and advanced certificates. You may use an optional HealthCert outcome measurement activity or develop your own.

HealthCert provides several options to meet your outcome measurement hours requirement. These options are self-submitted activities and hours may vary depending on your focus area.

  • Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) options on a specific topic.
  • Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) on your identified area. A generic template is provided.
  • Outcome Improvement Activity relating to specific topics within the course. 

The purpose of outcome measurement activities is to improve your clinical confidence in managing an identified learning gap. The outcome improvement activities are designed to examine current clinical care, align clinical practice with best practice standards and identify opportunities for improvement.

Pre- and post-course information

Entry requirements

This Professional Certificate of Medicinal Cannabis is for medical doctors who wish to gain a medical cannabis certification online with comprehensive CBD training that teaches how to improve patient outcomes with medicinal cannabis, especially those patients with conditions commonly seen in general practice. This qualification is the first stage of the Professional Diploma of Medicinal Cannabis.

This course is for physicians and degree-qualified medical professionals. There are no prerequisites. Participants do not have to pass an IELTS test but, as the courses are delivered in English, proficiency in listening, reading and writing English is assumed.

Participants will require access to a computer/laptop, an internet connection and a basic level of technology proficiency to access and navigate the online learning portal.

Recognised prior learning (RPL)

Professionally recognised qualifications and prior studies may be recognised for entry into this course if the learning outcomes match exactly. Please ask a HealthCert Education Advisor for an individual assessment of your prior qualifications and experience.

Certification

This certificate course meets the minimum 50 hours CPD annual requirement across all three mandatory CPD activity types, provided an outcome measurement activity with a minimum of five hours is completed. You may use an optional HealthCert outcome measurement activity or develop your own.

Outcome measurement activities are not a requirement of Professional or Advanced Certificates.

Upon successful completion of the exam, course participants will receive a Professional Certificate of Medicinal Cannabis.

This certificate course:

  • Is reviewed by Griffith University in compliance with RACGP/ACRRM standards.
  • Is quality-assured by Australian & New Zealand College of Cannabinoid Practitioners (ANZCCP).
  • Qualifies for CPD hours from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).
  • Qualifies for CPD hours from the Australian Council of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).
  • Meets World Federation of Medical Education standards.
Pathways

Professional Diploma Pathway

This course is the first stage of the three-part Professional Diploma of Medicinal Cannabis. The education pathway is Professional Certificate of Medicinal Cannabis, Advanced Certificate of Medicinal Cannabis and Professional Diploma of Medicinal Cannabis. 

GPs working in Australia (except for in Tasmania) may prescribe medicinal cannabis, however, as part of the guidelines of the TGA SAS-B, you will need to indicate that you have the knowledge necessary to do so. This program will equip you with the knowledge required to manage and prescribe medicinal cannabis for various conditions and can serve as part of your documentation showing that you have undertaken education in this field when you decide to become an authorised prescriber. More information here.

University quality-assured and CPD-accredited education provider 

Quality assured by Griffith University
RACGP Major Provider
ACRRM-2023-logo_200x100

Frequently asked questions

Don't see your question? Explore other faqs or talk to us.

What are the costs and payment options of the course?

Fees will vary based on the program and study option selected (fully online vs online + optional practical workshop). Payments can be made upfront or in monthly instalments. Special rates and various payment options are available. GP registrars and doctors in training enjoy a scholarship of up to $500. Talk to us to learn more.

What is the Alumni Support Program?

Completion of any HealthCert course or attendance at an event will enable you to access the HealthCert Alumni Program which includes:

  • Access to special alumni rates for new courses when they are released.
  • Special alumni price for HealthCert Conferences.
  • Exclusive advanced access to HealthCert events.
  • Regular Alumni Webinars pertaining to the course(s) you have attended. These will provide content review of the course and an opportunity to discuss case studies.
  • Access to the video lectures as seen during the course(s) that you have attended.
How will I receive my certificate?

HealthCert Education is pleased to issue digital credentials for alumni. Digital credentials are a permanent online record of your successful completion of a HealthCert course and are issued to all course participants in addition to PDF certificates. If you are based in Australia, you also have the option to order a hard copy of your digital certificate for a small additional fee.

How long will the course take to complete?

The recommended study duration of this certificate course is 77.5 hours, which includes study of the pre-course activities and readings, online lectures, live tutorials, and online assessment. This self-paced course offers the flexibility of 100% online study in your own time, at your own pace, in your own home or office, with no mandatory face-to-face requirements. You are not required to be online at specific times but can view and replay video lectures at your convenience.

Is this course recognised in my country?

All HealthCert courses meet World Federation of Medical Education standards. This certificate course qualifies for CPD hours from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Australian Council of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) in Australia. If you live or work outside Australia, please contact us on admin@healthcert.com to discuss whether this course can be recognised in your country.

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