Jul 10, 2017 12:25 PM

Australia to Teach University Students About Medical Marijuana

Medical cannabis is becoming increasingly popular in many countries around the world, and Australia is not an exception. Last year, medical cannabis was legalized in Victoria, Australia, which made it possible to use marijuana in various studies. One of them was a medical trial that involved children with epilepsy.

Given the interest towards this topic and the lack of knowledge on the matter, the Deakin University has decided to accredit a new eight-week course that will allow students to learn the "whole continuum of medicinal cannabis."

Certainly, the course will not let students in on the mysteries of the black market of marijuana; instead, it will teach them best practices in growing, extracting, and manufacturing the herb.

According to Dr. Henry Pinskier, chair of the program named Cann10 Australia, since the cannabis industry is still very young in Australia, there is a "distinct lack of awareness." People need to get more information about the laws that regulate the marijuana business, the properties of medical cannabis, the methods of extracting and manufacturing the herb, and the cases when it should be prescribed.

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Cann10 Australia is a subsidiary of the Israeli Cann10 that engages in medical cannabis education.

The recent changes in the federal government have relaxed the importation laws and increased local supply. Therefore, Australian patients have received wider access to the herb, and now we see a rising number of patients asking for cannabis prescriptions to treat pain.

However, even despite the huge community interest, there is still a lack of scientific research and clinical trials across the sector. For now, Australian scientists are running trials on the medical properties of marijuana that can help treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. At the same time, there are specialists who believe that the benefits of the herb are largely overestimated by the public. That is why there is a pressing need for further research—it will allow to explore all the effects―both positive and negative―cannabis may have on the human health.

Professor Jon Watson, head of Deakin University's School of Medicine, believes that it is possible to integrate medical marijuana into undergraduate medicine programs, but only if there is more scientific information about the herb. He even wrote an endorsement letter for the Cann10 course noting that his faculty supported the initiative as they saw the need for proper training standards for the use of medical marijuana.

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The university course invites both students and professionals in commerce, agriculture, science, and medicine. They will study the genetic diversity of the herb and the best ways to grow it. One of the lecturers will be Peter Crock, the chief executive of Cann Group. This company was the first to get a license to cultivate medicinal cannabis in Australia.

The other lecturer, who will tell the students about the extracting and manufacturing processes, will be Phil Warner, director of Ecofibre, a prominent industrial hemp company.

Rhys Cohen, program director at Cann10, notes that the point of the course is not to teach students how to grow cannabis—after all, it is not hard. The goal is to grow the herb in a manner that achieves consistent results. There are many peculiarities in the process: choosing the right light system, finding the best nutrients, selecting the right humidity and PH level. This whole body of knowledge should be standardized so that we could get the best results on an ongoing basis.

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