AUT offers medicinal cannabis paper

18 May, 2020
Ali Seyfoddin

AUT is the first university in New Zealand to offer a comprehensive postgraduate paper on medicinal cannabis. The Science of Medicinal Cannabis will be offered from semester 2 (starting July 20) by AUT’s School of Science.

Dr Ali Seyfoddin, course leader and senior lecturer in drug delivery, describes the paper as Cannabis 101 for those interested in the medicinal cannabis industry.

Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences Dean, Professor Max Abbott, says with New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis scheme coming online, it’s essential for research and education providers to develop courses to train students wishing to enter the industry.

Professor Abbott, a long-time advocate for cannabis law reform, says, “Education is an important component of the medicinal cannabis scheme and by introducing this new postgraduate paper, AUT will be leading this field in New Zealand. We have ongoing research on medicinal cannabis cultivation, extraction and formulation which will inform much of the course’s content.”

Students will be introduced to New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis scheme framework and gain a general overview of the chemistry and pharmacology of cannabis. This includes how to cultivate medical grade cannabis, how to extract and analyse cannabinoids and how formulate medicinal cannabis products.

Dr Seyfoddin says, “This is a useful paper for any postgraduate student or healthcare professional interested in expanding their knowledge on medicinal cannabis. There will be theory and practical components although, with the ongoing COVID-19 situation it may be run it as an online course.”

Industry demand

Chris Fowlie, CEO of AUT’s research partner ZeaCann, says the medicinal cannabis industry needs qualified staff with relevant expertise.

“This course will teach the skills needed to work in the field. Hundreds of new jobs are expected to be created, with the potential for medicinal cannabis exports to rival those of wine or wool.

“We're excited to help AUT deliver this course as part of our ongoing research partnership. Zeacann will leverage our extensive network of industry partners to provide practical content and access to global experts and key industry players.”

ZeaCann's research and production partners include manufacturers, growers, processors, botanists, pharmacies, laboratory and extraction equipment suppliers, and a network of contract growers spanning all cultivation styles.

Subject areas covered by the course include but are not exclusive to:

  • Introduction to medicinal cannabis: History and legislation
  • Current New Zealand legislative framework for the cultivation and use of medicinal cannabis
  • The New Zealand medicinal cannabis scheme
  • Botanical aspects of cannabis, including breeding and cultivation of cannabis cultivars
  • Pre-formulation processing of herbal cannabis
  • Cannabinoid pharmacology, cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system
  • The chemistry of cannabinoids
  • Medicinal uses of cannabis
  • Extraction of cannabinoids
  • Analysis of cannabinoids
  • Cannabinoid delivery systems and dosing