Cannabis-Related Content in North American Post-Secondary Curricula: A Scoping Review


  • Tianhao Xiao Thompson Rivers University


On 11 August 2016, the Canadian government announced the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) outlining reasonable uses of cannabis for medical purposes. Educators teaching cannabis-related content face new challenges, as this legalization requires a shift away from a focus on substance abuse towards incorporating economic, social, and health promotion aspects. I report on what curricula incorporating the concept of cannabis are offered by post-secondary institutions as well as how and for what purpose this content is offered. To do this, I conducted a scoping review of published and grey literature to determine the extent of the available research and content related to the concept of cannabis in post-secondary curricula in North America. Online search engines and multiple databases were mined for relevant data. I found that peer-reviewed nursing articles generally emphasize teaching cannabis in terms of substance abuse treatment rather than knowledge about medical cannabis. In English-speaking Canadian universities/colleges that have a nursing school, various cannabis-related courses are being developed. These include different disciplines such as pharmacology, agriculture, and marketing and are delivered in the format of courses, workshops/seminars, and public presentations in classrooms or online. The results of this review suggest that a limited number of courses about medical cannabis are being offered in post-secondary institutions in North America. As legislation changes continue to impact post secondary education, curricula must be adapted to meet the new requirements.