© Helius Therapeutics 2018

Royal College endorses medical cannabis masterclass

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

A New Zealand masterclass in medicinal cannabis has been formally endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) – marking a significant first for the country.



Set to take place later this month in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, the medicinal cannabis training is available free of change to doctors and healthcare professionals. It is sponsored at arms-length by New Zealand’s largest licensed medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics.


Hosted by The Academy of Medical Cannabis (UK), the masterclass is designed by Director of Education, Professor Mike Barnes, who will also lead the training. The British neurologist is recognised globally as a pre-eminent medicinal cannabis expert.


Professor Mike Barnes, neurologist and Director of Education at The Academy of Medical Cannabis
“This marks New Zealand’s first RNZCGP-endorsed professional training in medicinal cannabis for doctors on a national scale. It’s a major milestone for our burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry, as well as the healthcare sector,” says Paul Manning, Executive Director of Helius Therapeutics.

“The College does not give endorsements lightly. Natural, cannabis-based medicines are quite different to other prescription drugs. Professional training for doctors is essential in order to give patients quality care and advice. Having the Masterclass in Medical Cannabis now sanctioned by the College has added considerable mana, sparking interest from doctors and healthcare professionals alike,” he says.


Paul Manning, Executive Director at Helius Therapeutics

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is the professional body and postgraduate educational institute for GPs. The College strives to ensure a high standard of care in general practices across New Zealand by setting the standard for quality systems.

The Masterclass in Medical Cannabis has been approved for up to 4.5 CME credits for the General Practice Educational Programme (GPEP) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) purposes.


Listed on the RNZCGP’s website, learning areas of the masterclass include the endocannabinoid system, chemical constituents such as CBD and THC, side effects of medical cannabis, relative and absolute contraindications, different delivery systems and formats, the patient clinic flow and questionnaire tools, how to use and dose medicinal cannabis products, and the evolving regulatory landscape in New Zealand.


“Helius is sponsoring these events because we believe it’s absolutely critical that New Zealand’s doctors have access to professional training, in advance of locally-produced medicinal cannabis products becoming widely available from next year. Our sponsorship has made the Masterclass free for doctors, in an effort to ensure as many GPs as possible have access to the training,” says Mr Manning.

“Thousands of suffering Kiwis will be relying on their GPs for professional advice about medicinal cannabis for a range of therapeutic possibilities, and if appropriate, access to products on prescription.Let’s not repeat the mistakes of Australia and the UK, where doctors were simply unprepared for the changes, causing widespread frustration among patients,” he says.


The masterclasses for New Zealand doctors and healthcare professionals will take place in Auckland on Wednesday 24 July; Wellington on Thursday 25 July; and Christchurch on Friday 26 July.


Healthcare professionals can reserve their tickets online through Eventbrite:


Book the Auckland Masterclass in Medical Cannabis

24 July at The Maritime Room, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland


Book the Wellington Masterclass in Medical Cannabis

25 July at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington


Book the Auckland Masterclass in Medical Cannabis

26 July at the Crowne Plaza, Christchurch


Learning Objectives: Masterclass in Medical Cannabis

  • Understand the endocannabinoid system.

  • Be able to describe the key chemical compounds in the cannabis plant used clinically, including CBD and THC.

  • Understand short and long-term side effects.

  • Know the relative and absolute contraindications.

  • Be able to apply a ‘medical cannabis care plan’, minimising side effects and psychoactivity and maximising efficacy for a variety of chronic conditions within your area of practice.

  • Understand the potential safety issues of medical cannabis use and how to counsel patients on these concerns.

  • Review different delivery systems for cannabinoids.

  • Understand the available medical cannabis products.

  • Understand the patient clinic flow, both direct to specialist and in-house GP-referred streams, and triaging system.

  • Review validated questionnaire tools used to assess and monitor patient response and symptoms.

  • Understand the basic language of cannabinoid medicine.

  • Understand CV risks and management of patients with CV risk factors with medical cannabis products.

  • How to use and dose available products, interpret labels and write a medical cannabis prescription.

  • Be able to conduct initial and follow-up cannabis medicine-focused visits, including dosage adjustment.

  • How to report adverse events.

  • Understand the current local regulatory environment.

  • Understand global medical cannabis legality.