PSYC 4541 Special Topics in Psychology – Social Science: Cannabis and Health

Instructor Contact:

Kent Hutchison, Ph.D.


About the Course:

The legalization of cannabis (i.e., marijuana) and the recent federal legalization of cannabidiol (CBD) has led to unprecedented access to cannabinoids (e.g. THC and CBD), a projected 60 billion dollar industry (cannabis and hemp) by 2025, and the fastest growing jobs sector in the economy according to recent reports in the media. Despite all of this, there is very little evidence-based information about the health effects of cannabis or about how to maximize the potential benefits while minimizing harm. Parents of children with seizure disorders, veterans with PTSD and chronic pain, cancer patients, and our aging parents deserve better. People WANT evidence-based information about the potential risks and benefits of cannabis products so that they can weigh the pros and cons of cannabis versus other options. They also want to know how to minimize the risks while maximizing any benefits.  This course is designed to provide that information.

The specialization is useful to a range of learners. It is intended for patients and their loved ones who have questions about cannabis and CBD products as well as for health care providers and others who work in public health who want to provide helpful information to patients. It is also intended for people who want to work in the cannabis industry. For all of these groups, understanding the evidence base is critical in terms of communicating the risks and potential benefits.Course Prerequisites: None


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  1. Understand the risks of THC and CBD and how to minimize those risks
  2. Understand how the risks and benefits of cannabis products compare to other traditional treatments across a range of disorders and conditions

Required Texts:

National Academy of Sciences Report on the Health Effects of Cannabis (free online)


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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado