Photo C/O Grant Holt
By: Neda Pirouzmand
The university has banned the consumption of cannabis on campus, but the McMaster Centre for Continuing Education, Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research and Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medical Cannabis Research have combined efforts to pilot a new “Science of Cannabis” program.
Science of cannabis is going to be a three-course program that will meet the needs of health and community professionals, educators, civil servants and individuals with personal interest.
The first course of the program, Fundamentals of Cannabis Science, begins on May 13 and will run until July 21.
Lorraine Carter, director of the CCE, emphasized the evidence-based nature and relevance of the program.
“The fundamentals course is an important introduction to the general history and science of cannabis, and sets the stage for subsequent courses focused on therapeutic interventions and the risks associated with cannabis use,” said Carter. “In all, grounded in contemporary evidence and delivered by McMaster’s leading experts in cannabis research, the program is an exceptional learning opportunity.”
Michael Amlung, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at Mcmaster, will be teaching the “Fundamentals of Cannabis Science” course.
As a faculty scientist, his research focuses on cannabis misuse.
Carter saw a perfect opportunity to partner with James MacKillop, director of the PBCAR and co-director of the DeGroote Centre for Medical Cannabis Research, in the creation of the program.
“The CCE is always looking for program ideas that are timely and relevant to adult, undergraduate and graduate students,” said Carter. “With the legalization of cannabis this past October and awareness of the exceptional research in cannabis happening here at McMaster University, the chance to partner with Dr. McKillop’s research team was a natural partnership.”
The CCE offers flexible workshops and courses for students to build upon past skills, obtain a professional designation or pursue new learning opportunities.
These include crisis and mental health training, data analytics and web design.
According to Carter, despite its smoking ban, McMaster should consider pursuing programs similar to science of cannabis in its future.
“More and more students are looking for programs in specific topics and skills areas. Programs that are shorter than a degree such as a three-course certificate and that are offered online are especially appealing,” he said.
Carter explains that online courses garner over 80 per cent of enrollment in the realm of continuing education.
“The accessibility and flexibility of online courses is something that today’s learners value a great deal,” said Carter.
Ryerson University launched a cannabis course called “The Business of Cannabis” last year and the University of Ottawa was the first Canadian law school to offer cannabis law courses for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Class sizes for the “Fundamentals of Cannabis Science” are limited and the second course of the program has yet to be revealed.
Depending on its success, the science of cannabis program may add more courses and update content as cannabis news and research develops.