Cannabis Training Requirements and Courses
March 2018 Council approved the Cannabis Task Force recommendation requiring all practicing pharmacists to complete mandatory cannabis education. A Cannabis Education Advisory Group was formed consisting of community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, educators and a patient advocate to provide input on defining competencies related to cannabis. The advisory group defined core competencies for cannabis education that must be met by course providers to ensure consistency in educational training for all Part A pharmacists registered with the College.
Following the guidance provided by the advisory group, the College worked with the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP) to identify cannabis education programs that met the identified competencies.
The approved courses are listed on the Continuing Education for Pharmacists page on our website, under “Cannabis”.
To learn more about the cannabis-related competencies approved by Council, please go to the CCCEP page.
1. What courses are approved by the College?
OCP approved courses meet the required competencies identified by the College. In order for a course to be OCP approved, it must undergo competency mapped accreditation through the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP). A list of OCP approved courses can be found at the Continuing Education page of our website (Cannabis section). Additional OCP approved courses will be listed on our website as soon as they are accredited by CCCEP. Please ensure you continue to read e-Connect for updates.
2. I’ve already taken a course on cannabis, do I need to do complete another course?
Part A pharmacists in Ontario are required to complete an educational program that is OCP approved. OCP approved courses meet the required competencies identified by the College. In order for a course to be OCP approved, it must undergo competency mapped accreditation through the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP).
The required competency categories, listed below, were developed through the Cannabis Education Advisory Group consisting of practicing community and hospital pharmacists and pharmacy educators.
- Ethical, legal and professional responsibilities
- Patient care
- Application of knowledge and research
More details on the components of these competencies can be found in the Appendix.
Cannabis courses which have been available through various providers may address some or most of the competencies, but not all. Some providers have recognized the gaps in their programs and plan to create supplementary content to submit to CCCEP for accreditation, so that their combined program will fully meet the list of competencies.
You are encouraged to contact the provider of the course you have already taken to inquire about their plans to supplement their course with additional content.
3. Why is cannabis education being mandated?
The legalization of recreational cannabis is an extraordinary public policy shift that has a significant impact on the health and safety of Canadians and increases the potential for more open use among the public and pharmacy patients. As medication experts, pharmacists are in a unique position to support quality and effective patient care for those who are using cannabis, for recreational or medical purposes, along with other medications that they may be taking.
Recognizing the important role pharmacy professionals play in safe medication practices, and in consideration of the legalization of recreational cannabis, in March 2018 the College’s Cannabis Task Force recommended that Council require all pharmacists to complete cannabis education to support and promote quality and safe patient care for cannabis users.
The following resources are available as supplementary information only and do not replace the mandatory cannabis education.
- Health Canada’s Cannabis Educational Resources https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/cannabis/education-resources.html
- Cannabis in Canada: Provincial and Territorial Resources https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/cannabis.html
- Canadian Public Health Association’s Cannabasics Factsheet: https://www.cpha.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/resources/cannabis/cannabasics-2018-fact-sheets-e.pdf
CAMH’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for Youth
The Centre for Effective Practice Non-Medical Cannabis Tool