Cannabis is now used as an alternative to medications for chronic pain and other conditions.

With the rapid rise in interest, there is an even greater demand for clinicians, dispensary managers, and other industry professionals to understand the indications, counter-indications, benefits, and risks of cannabis. Yet “a study of more than 400 health care professionals has revealed that most physicians lack knowledge of medicinal cannabis, with 65% saying that they have been asked about medical marijuana as a treatment for chronic pain but were unable to answer their patients’ questions”.*

UVM is the first medical school in the nation to offer a professional certificate in cannabis and medicine. Our seven-week, online professional certificate is designed for physicians, dispensary personnel, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, and regulators.

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Offered by UVM’s Department of Pharmacology, this non-credit program covers cannabis history, business, law and policy, plant biology, biological effects on humans, production and safety, pharmacology, and clinical research.

“Our online cannabis professional certificates concentrate on evidence-based, scientific approaches to understanding the therapeutic uses of cannabis for the future of medicine,” says Dr. Monique McHenry, Director of the Medical Cannabis Center for Research and Education and co-director of the cannabis pharmacology course at the University of Vermont Medical School.

Learning goals

This program is intended to be a unique experience for students to develop a broad understanding of Cannabis and its medicinal use, with more advanced concepts relevant to biology and medicine.

  • Utilize a balanced academic approach to dispel myths surrounding the benefits and toxicities associated with Cannabis use.
  • Discuss pharmacokinetics of Cannabis for therapeutic use.
  • Explain to patients the best evidence-based indications for clinical use of Cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • Identify the key legal issues around Cannabis for therapeutic use.
  • Describe the pharmacology and toxicology of Cannabis and cannabis-based products.
  • Critically review and assess the current evidence for safety and efficacy of Cannabis and cannabis-based products.

Students will also learn about the acute and chronic effects of psilocybin, factors that influence psilocybin pharmacology, and more including the therapeutic effects (beneficial and adverse) of psilocybin/psilocin.

As an industry-leading credential UVM’s Professional Certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine gives professionals assurance they can accurately inform patients and customers, as well as gain a competitive advantage as a knowledgeable, trustworthy provider who can effectively minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of cannabis for therapeutic use.

Course Prerequisites

Students must be 18 years of age or older, have a bachelor’s degree, and have completed college-level foundational science courses in Biology and Chemistry. Note that you are not required to submit transcripts and relevant career experience can replace academic requirements. For example, experience as a Registered Nurse will void the science course requirement.

Student Testimonials

“With this course, I felt like I really got a good base or foundation of everything that’s current. There’s a lot of anecdotal stuff out there but as a physician, what’s the evidence-based medicine behind it. What’s the science behind it. What’s the pharmacology behind it. And that’s what this course provided was a review of some of the things that I knew and a lot of other information that really helped fill in the gaps.” –Dr. Lisa Profera, Spring 2020

“I took this course so that I could be well informed about a variety of topics in this field. My expectations were not only met, but exceeded. It was fantastic. In fact it will take me the next several months to reflect, digest and utilize all of the information I was presented with. It was all valuable information!” –Spring 2019 Graduate

*Sources: Forbes