The McGill Medical Cannabis Course

The McGill Medical Cannabis Course – To be confirmed


About McGill University

McGill University is one of Canada’s best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. With students coming to McGill from over 150 countries, their student body is the most internationally diverse of any research-intensive university in Canada.


The McGill Research Centre for Cannabis is an inter-disciplinary research consortium that combines expertise in immunology, molecular pharmacology, respiratory medicine, genetics, oncology, supportive care and pain management for the biomedical component, with an integrated research plan in plant science, psychology, chemistry and education, as well as economics and law.


Therefore, the McGill Research Centre for Cannabis serves as a hub for integrated cannabis-related research activities – spanning agriculture/plant sciences, chemistry, biomedical and socioeconomics – the outcomes of which will be to provide education and training opportunities, knowledge mobilisation events and evidence-based science to impact cannabis-related decisions/policies surrounding health, society and law.

Collectively, they have the experience and expertise to deliver a medical cannabis course that covers the topic in its entirety, from plants to people.

The aim of this course is to:

  • understand a wide variety of topics on medical cannabis, based on the most current science and clinical research;
  • identify potential health-related applications for medical cannabis;
  • understand cannabis growth patterns, plant productivity and plant-related product quality;
  • be informed on quality assurance/quality control practices.

By the end of this course, participants will obtain a broad knowledge of cannabis suitable for entry into this emerging sector.

Course Modules

Topics will include historical uses of cannabis, taxonomy, production practices including considerations for plant growth (e.g. light, nutrients, stress etc).

Lecturer: Dr Donald Smith, PhD – Distinguished James McGill Professor in the Department of Plant Science

Topics will include preparation of plant material for extraction and further downstream processing. Classic extraction and decarboxylation methods (water, resin powder and alcohol) will be discussed and a survey of more recent microwave-assisted procedures using a variety of solvents such as butane, ethanol, and CO2-SFE, for the production of innovative, selective market-targeted consumer products.

Lecturer: Dr Valerie Orsat, PhD – Professor at the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University 

Topics to be discussed will include chemistry of full spectrum extracts, distillation techniques i.e.: short path and thin film, separation techniques using high performance and liquid-liquid chromatography, crystallization, cannabinoid and terpene analysis using gas/liquid-mass spectrometry.

Lecturer: Dr Nadeem Siddiqui, PhD – Biochemistry graduate from McGill University

QA/QC topics will provide an introduction to: Good agricultural practises (GAP), good production practises (GPP), pathogens of economic importance attacking cannabis production under indoor cultivation; microbial contaminants in cannabis products with a special focus on mycotoxins,their detection, limits and health concerns; and good manufacturing practises (GMP).

Lecturers: Dr Mark Lefsrud, PhD – Associate Professor at McGill University


Dr Suha Jabaji, PhD – Full Professor in Plant Science, McGill University

Included here will be how cannabinoids engage with their receptors (particularly the G-protein coupled receptors CB1 and CB2), focusing on the kind of cellular signalling they induce, and how these signalling events contribute to the physiological effects. Topics will also include biased signalling, issues of synergy and the “entourage effect” and how we could perhaps find/design biased compounds that could elicit more specific physiological responses.

Lecturer: Dr Jean-François Trempe, PhD – Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at McGill University

Topic will include description of endocannabinoid involvement in body metabolism and inflammation (pain sensation and neuroregulation), metabolizing enzymes (genetic differences) as well as cross-talk of the endocannabinoid system with phytocannabinoids; how exogenous cannabinoids affect the endocannabinoid system, etc.

Lecturer: Dr Jorg Fritz, PhD – Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at McGill University

Topic will include indications for medical use, differences in Absorption-Distribution-Metabolism-Excretion (ADME) between different dosage forms (edible, oils, inhaled; concentrates), dose titration, pulmonary effects of smoking/vaping cannabis; myths related to addiction and the potential to become dependent on cannabis; tools to assess dependence (ie, CUDIT-R scale); current products approved for medical use (Sativex, Marinol) and their MOAs, indications, adverse effects, efficacy based; major medical breakthroughs related to cannabinoids; major gaps in knowledge.

Lecturer: Dr Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, MD – Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at McGill University

Topics will include CBP study designs-overview; THC vs CBD vs both; the issue of synergy and the “entourage effect”; dosage form considerations for a clinical trial: oral/inhaled/edible/topical/concentrated; doses and dose-titration in clinical trials; patient diaries or medication logs; the issue of placebos and blinding in CBP trials; sample size estimates; recruiting proper participants (highlight key exclusion criteria); regulatory aspects/changing regulatory landscapes (Canada Research License 2018); pharmacy storage; Example of setting up a CBP pilot clinical trial in Canada: CTN PT028.

Lecturer: Dr Cecilia Costiniuk, MD – Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases/Chronic Viral Illness Service

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Aaron Refalo

My experience at IDEA Academy was exceptional. IDEA have their students at heart and they provide a high level of support. They walk alongside their students throughout the entire journey to make it possible for them to succeed.

Aaron Refalo

M.Sc in Healthcare Management and Leadership

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I chose IDEA Academy because every effort is made from staff and tutors to maintain a healthy study-work-life balance, differentiating them from other institutions.  I am grateful that throughout my studies, I was nurtured by being given professional advice, the necessary support and enough time to work at my own pace.  At IDEA Academy I did not just get a degree, but I’ve learned so many extra life experiences.

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I learnt a lot from my lectures at IDEA Academy. I very much recommend IDEA Academy – help is found every time you need it and they are flexible, especially towards part-time students such as as myself. My message to prospective students is that it is never too late to start or continue studying.

Maria Borg

M.Sc. in Healthcare Management and Leadership

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