What Nurses Need to Know About Cannabis


Recreational cannabis was legalized October 17, 2018 in Canada. In a national survey conducted by the Canadian Nurses Association, 9 out of 10 people supported the idea that nurses should be key educators on cannabis use. However, it also showed that less than one-third of nurses felt knowledgeable about providing patient education on cannabis and its use. This raises concerns because all of us are likely to interact with patients using cannabis. This course will give you the opportunity to address the question of what do nurses need to know about cannabis education.

There are three modules in the course that provide information on cannabis legalization and regulation, evidence-based information on pharmacology, health risks associated with cannabis use, and harm reduction strategies towards cannabis use.

Course Learning Objectives

Module 1

The learner will:

  • Be familiar with the knowledge surrounding the current legislation of recreational & medical cannabis use in Canada.

  • Enhance their understanding of the jurisdiction surrounding the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis in Alberta.

  • Understand the legal framework that authorizes an RN and NP to administer cannabis for medical purposes.

Module 2

  • The learner will develop a basic overview of "What is Cannabis?"

  • The learner will be able to identify the difference between the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid receptors, and the interactions between them.

  • The learner will have an enhanced understanding of the pharmacology, methods of ingestion, and the variability of effects of cannabis use on the individual.

  • The learner will look at research into the potential therapeutic uses and risks of medical and recreational cannabis.

Module 3

  • The learner will be able to identify safety considerations for patient use of cannabis.

  • The learner will develop an enhanced understanding of the health effects of cannabis and its influence on their practice.

  • The learner will consider the nurses' role in the clinical care of patients who use cannabis.

  • The learner will be able to identify harm reduction strategies and lower-risk guidelines and its relevant applications in practice.


Who is it for?

This course is expected to be of interest to individuals employed as:

  • Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners in Alberta

  • Registered Psychiatric Nurses

  • Licensed Practical Nurses in Alberta

  • Health care aids in Alberta



This fully online, non-credit course is delivered using the University of Alberta's external eClass platform and consists of three modules. It includes videos, articles, links to websites and interactive elements. The expected duration of the entire course is estimated to be between 1.5 - 2 hours.


Technical Requirements

It is the student's individual responsibility to ensure all technical requirements for online participation are met and functioning before the course starts. To participate in the online content, the student must have the following minimum requirements:

  • Access to a computer or mobile device with high-speed internet connection

  • An internet browser (Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is recommended)

  • It is recommended that you download the latest version of Adobe Reader for viewing PDF files

  • Mobile phone users - Should you have issues viewing the content of the course, please change the position of your phone to landscape.


How to Register?

To register to take the "What Nurses Need to Know About Cannabis" course, please click the link below. You will be directed to the payment system to create an account. Once you've created your account, look under the Continuing Professional Development tab for the "What Nurses Need to Know About Cannabis" item and add it to your cart. Complete the payment process to confirm your registration.

Registrations without a completed payment will not be considered.

Step 1: Complete Online Course Registration Form & Payment ($49.99+GST)

Step 2: Your registration and payment will be confirmed, after which you will be sent instructions on how to access the course.

If you have any questions regarding the course registration process, please contact nucpd@ualberta.ca.


The development and creation of this online non-credit course is solely endorsed by the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta.