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Safety of Medicinal Cannabis: A Deep Dive

Presented by Professor Kylie O'Brien.

About this module:

In this presentation, you will learn about the safety aspects of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) including common and rarer side effects, effects on blood pressure and heart rate, toxicity and drug-cannabis/THC/CBD interactions. Safety of terpenes will also be covered. 

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 the potential side effects of cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • Describe the potential side effects of cannabidiol (CBD).
  • Assess the potential for interactions between medicinal cannabis products and pharmaceuticals based on an understanding of why interactions may occur.
  • Debate the scientific evidence in relation to potential harm from recreational use of cannabis compared with medicinal use.
  • Advise a patient about the safety aspects of medicinal cannabis.

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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