Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Paul Michalec


Cannabis, Medical use of cannabis, United States, Healthcare, Endocannabinoid system (ECS), Physician education


Cannabis is a prevalent alternative treatment for many symptoms and conditions given its medicinal qualities and few side effects. As legalization for both medical and recreational purposes continue to develop quickly across the United States of America, there is serious discrepancy between legalization and clinical research. Clinical data is difficult since the U.S. federal government still classifies cannabis as a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Schedule I drug with no clearly established medical value. This lag in evidence-base data has affected cannabinoid therapy and endocannabinoid system education (ECS) for healthcare professionals. There are gaps in medical school and continuing medical education initiatives despite the increase in cannabis consumption. As a result, healthcare professionals at all levels from undergraduates to practicing primary care physicians, are unprepared and inexperienced to advise patients in medical cannabis use. Patients who acquire knowledge and guidance from their healthcare professionals about cannabis use know related risks and have benefitted from the plant’s efficacy and quality of life. Even though there are number of obstacles that hinder cannabinoid therapy instruction from being implemented in medical schools, hospitals, and clinics, expert healthcare professionals have transpired over time as a result of patient advocacy.

This phenomenological research study explains how expert healthcare professionals, specializing in cannabinoid therapy and the endocannabinoid system (ECS), acquired the knowledge and experience to best advise patients seeking medical cannabis advice in the United States. The data collected was analyzed through a conceptual framework, Joseph Schwab’s Five Commonplaces of Curriculum: teachers, learners, subject matter, milieus (contexts), and curriculum making (Schwab, 1964). The commonplace of these stakeholders allows for a greater capacity in designing curriculum that fits the need for practical situations rather than the direct application of theories. The expert’s insights and lived experience informed how cannabinoid therapy and ECS knowledge was acquired without traditional education; additionally, the data revealed practical implications to inform professional development, curriculum development, deliberation, and inquiry for novice learners in this plant-based therapy. The study explains potential educational opportunities and resources so that all healthcare professionals have the necessary tools to advise their patients in safe and effective medicinal cannabis use.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Courtney Collins


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


212 pgs

File Size

1.2 MB


Curriculum development, Education, Adult education