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Anxiety & Medicinal Cannabis: An Overview

Presented by Professor Kylie O'Brien.

About this module:

In this presentation, Professor Kylie O’Brien explores the scientific evidence of how our endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of emotions and in the pathophysiology of anxiety. She gives an overview of how CBD and THC may work in alleviating anxiety, and some of the preclinical and clinical evidence of efficacy of both in the treatment of anxiety. 

This presentation is suitable for healthcare practitioners and those with a background in biomedical sciences. It assumes a knowledge of the endocannabinoid system and medicinal cannabis pharmacodynamics.
Learning Outcomes

At the end of this module, learners will be able to:

  • Describe scientific evidence that the endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of emotions.
  • Describe some of the key pathomechanisms underpinning anxiety.
  • Explain some of the mechanisms of action of how CBD might work as an anxiolytic.
  • Justify the use of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of anxiety, based on an understanding of the scientific evidence of efficacy.
  • Debate whether the recreational use of cannabis is associated with anxiety.

Professor Kylie O'Brien, PhD

Professor Kylie O’Brien PhD is an Adjunct Professor at Torrens University. She has a strong academic career in the fields of Chinese medicine, integrative medicine and, after a career change in 2000; medicinal cannabis. She has worked for the Victorian Department of Human Services, and held senior leadership roles in the university and private education sector. An internationally recognised expert in Chinese medicine and integrative medicine, she has published extensively, including a book on integrative oncology (US: Springer, 2017). Kylie’s second book – on mental health and medicinal cannabis – is due for publication in 2020. She is a member of the TGA Advisory Committee for Complementary Medicines and a TEQSA Expert Panel.

Kylie has been leading doctor education on medicinal cannabis in Australia since 2018. Her courses were the first to receive RACGP Category 1 CPD accreditation. She also set up the pathway via the National Institute of Integrative Medicine Ethics Committee for doctors to apply to become authorised prescribers of medicinal cannabis under the TGA’s Authorised Prescriber Scheme.
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