An independent cannabis training and information hub is being rolled out in a move to attract new prescribers and draw in healthcare professionals who have become wary of industry-led education.

United in Compassion (UIC), the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association (AMCA) and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians Australian Chapter (SCCAC) have joined forces to launch TEACH-hub – Training and Education About Cannabis in Healthcare.

It will offer an interactive and comprehensive online program for a variety of healthcare professionals, with modules tailored for doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

An early, in-person version of the course was first presented at UIC symposium last May. But with the courses now transitioning to online – using funds from the Dan Haslam Memorial Grant – it is hoped they will reach many more healthcare practitioners, including nurses and pharmacists.

Prescribers and pharmacists will be offered face-to-face adaptations of the courses at the 2023 symposium in August.

The education hub will also contain other resources, including video content from all previous UIC Symposiums.

UIC believes the independent nature of TEACH-hub – it will be entirely free of industry influence – will entice new prescribers in addition to healthcare professionals who may be wary of information provided by individual companies with commercial interests.

The prescriber course, donated by Dr David Caldicott, will cover a variety of topics, ranging from the historical use of cannabis through to clinical indications, delivery methods, product selection and how to use the Special Access Scheme portal.

Dr Vicki Kostirilos

Australia’s first Authorised Prescriber, Dr Vicki Kostirilos, has also contributed to the course.

Pharmacists, meanwhile, will receive education around the therapeutic uses of medicinal cannabis, management of supply and the regulatory requirements of dispensing. The course is currently being developed by the Lambert Initiative together with the University of Sydney School of Pharmacy.

The courses will be accredited by the Australasian College of Pharmacy and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

A module specifically aimed at nurses will also be added to the hub.

In unveiling details of the program, UIC called for further backing from industry members who “support the long-term benefit of such a project”.

ANTG, Cannatrek, MedTec Group, Medlab and Canopy are among the firms who have already contributed, joining the late Olivia Newton John who became the first to support the initiative.

UIC said grants will be used solely to fund the project which is aimed at “putting the spotlight on the endocannabinoid system and the positive benefits of medicinal cannabis”.

“This is a limited opportunity that provides many benefits to reward financial contributors from the broader medicinal cannabis industry while maintaining strict independence and integrity,” it said.

“This is considered a long-term project and should become a valuable Australian educational resource similar to that of the SCCAC’s parent organisation in the US.”

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...

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