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Overview of Medicinal Cannabis: Foundations

Presented by Professor Kylie O'Brien, PhD. This learning module is suitable for healthcare practitioners with an interest in learning about medicinal cannabis. 

About this module:

In this learning module, we explore what medicinal cannabis is, including its history of use, the major components of cannabis (cannabidiol [CBD], tetrahydrocannabinol [THC], terpenes), and the major therapeutic actions of THC and CBD and their mechanisms of action. We also examine what people are using medicinal cannabis for, evidence of its efficacy and briefly cover safety in relation to THC and CBD.
Learning Outcomes

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

  • Describe the key components of Cannabis sativa including key therapeutic actions.
  • Explain some of the history of medicinal cannabis use in different cultures.
  • Compare and contrast the mechanisms of action of THC and CBD.
  • Describe common conditions that people are using medicinal cannabis for.
  • Explain some of the safety aspects associated with CBD and THC. 

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, since 2018, in 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, with co-author Dr Philip Blair, O’Brien K, Blair P, Medicinal Cannabis and CBD in Mental Healthcare, Springer, 2021 has now been published (Springer). She is a member of the Australian government’s Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) Expert Panel and a previous member of the TGA Advisory Committee for Complementary Medicines.

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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