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The Science of Cannabis

Separate fact from fiction.

A collaborative program involving the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research, and McMaster Continuing Education

Student Interview


McMaster University Continuing Education prides itself on student success. We wanted to reach out to a current student in the Science of Cannabis program and see if they felt the program was able to future-proof their career. We love hearing student success stories, student feedback and graduate testimonials. Learn more about a current student Jonny and his story as he continues his educational journey in the Science of Cannabis program. 

What is your name?

My name is Jon, but I am often referred to as "Jonny"

What program are you in at McMaster University Continuing Education?

SCC 101: Fundamentals of Cannabis Science, completed in Spring 2019
SCC 103: Risks and Harms of Cannabis, currently enrolled in Fall 2019

When did you start the Science of Cannabis program?

I began the program on June 17, 2019

Where are you working now?

I am a retail cannabis employee with the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC)

How are you able to use your new skills from McMaster Continuing Education at your place of work?

The NSLC is the crown corporation responsible for the legal sales of beverage alcohol and recreational cannabis in the province of Nova Scotia. This course has increased my cannabis knowledge, and my ability to help the public in deciding which cannabis products are right for them. More importantly, I am better able to provide the public with information about the risks and potential harms of cannabis, and how to consume it as safely as possible.

What drew you to McMaster Continuing Education initially? 

I looked around at a number of universities and private courses throughout Canada. There were a lot of courses regarding cannabis cultivation, or general courses which covered the very basics of cannabis (i.e., Sativa vs Indica), but McMaster Continuing Education seemed to be the one that offered the most complete and in-depth program. This is a very well-rounded course, covering everything from public perceptions of cannabis (a particularly favourite topic of mine), to scientific studies with accurate information about risks and harms.

Can you provide a specific example of using material from class?

With public perception of cannabis being so important, I am now better able to discuss the subject using proper FACTS about cannabis to dispel some of the negative perceptions which currently dominate society.  It has gotten a little better over the last year, but the negative perception is still prevalent, so it is important to approach people with correct information.  McMaster Continuing Education was able to provide me with these facts.

What was the most useful thing you learned so far?

I have learned that there are SO many unanswered questions in the scientific world of cannabis.  Now that legalization is in place, there are students and scientists who can now finally ask the questions and look for the answers without the fear of breaking any laws.  The discoveries over the next 10 years will be incredible!

How do you find online learning?

Online learning was flexible, although time needs to be put aside each week. There are a lot of scientific studies that need to be analyzed, and a lot of questions that come up that you will want to research, so at least 10-12 hours per week needs to be set aside for course activity.  I consider this a hobby though, so I spend a lot more time than that, but it’s up to the individual.

Tell me about the instructors. What was the overall experience like? 

The instructors are highly professional and informative. The course assignments are relevant to the current legalization status and offer a more in-depth look at policies and procedures around the world.  I thoroughly enjoyed the study of social perceptions of cannabis, as general social acceptance has so much to do with the way policies and procedures are put in place.

What is your greatest motivation to complete your program?

I have dedicated my life to cannabis, and it will be my career until I retire.  My ultimate goal is to become the leading authority on cannabis for the Province of Nova Scotia.

How do you balance work, school and family life?

I currently work full-time, and in most of my spare time, I am researching cannabis, or partaking in cannabis-related activities. For example, I had a great time at the National Cannabis Conference in Toronto earlier this year.  My two daughters are age 7 and 11, they live in Moncton and are very proud of their Dad.

Another motivation for taking this course is so that I am well armed with facts when my daughters are at the age when they will consume cannabis.  I would like to think that would be after the age of 25, but if it’s not, I want to be able to give them the necessary facts so that they can make their own well-informed decisions in a safe way.

What would you tell a friend who is considering going to McMaster Continuing Education? 

I would recommend this course to anyone who is looking to expand their knowledge around this new and exciting world of cannabis.