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Course Overview: Medical Cannabis Medical Elective


  • Subject area: Medical Cannabis 
  • Duration: Maximum 4 weeks
  • Available course dates: Flexible

The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS) is privileged to offer the UK’s first-ever medical cannabis student elective, tailored for UK based medical students.

Our UK medical elective placement offers a unique blend of clinical exposure, hands-on training, and interdisciplinary learning. Whether you’re in the early or latter stages of your medical school journey, our elective placements are designed to provide you with invaluable insights and skills in an exciting new healthcare sector.

With limited opportunity to learn about medical cannabis and the endocannabinoid system within medical school, an elective with the MCCS aims to bridge that knowledge gap with this introduction into cannabis medicine.

Medical cannabis treatments are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. As doctors, it is inevitable that we will encounter medical cannabis in some form, whether or not you choose to prescribe it.

For those medical students interested in the field, there are many potential areas to follow:

  • Prescribing for conditions like chronic pain, epilepsy, psychiatric conditions, including ADHD, PTSD and anxiety, and neurological disorders, including migraine, MS and spasticity
  • A specials medicine, this treatment requires knowledge of specialised pharmacy practises
  • Opportunities for research
  • Patient advocacy roles
  • Educating peers and patients

For further information on our medical electives, please download the Medical Elective Placement Overview.

Medical Cannabis Elective
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Apply for our 2023/24 Medical Elective


We are accepting applications for 2023 now. The application process is straightforward – simply complete the online application form, sharing your contact details and other information about your field of study. If your interview is successful, you will be required to undergo a DBS check and provide evidence of your medical school course.

We have one placement available per year, and applicants will be evaluated based on their medical background, interests in cannabis medicine, and previous experiences in the field.

The closing date is Friday 5 January 2024. We will review applications received by 31 January. The suggested start date for this elective is flexible depending on your availability.

If you would like to participate, please complete the online application form.

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Choose medical electives tailored to your interests

Your elective experience will be uniquely shaped based on your interests. Our network includes leading doctors and clinicians specialising in a range of areas, so our elective placements can adapt to suit you.

Engage in real-world exposure by:

  • Participating in clinics run by the leading experts in medical cannabis, located in London, the West Midlands, and through virtual platforms.
  • Attending prestigious cannabis industry events, including Medical Cannabis Awareness Week (November), Cannabis Europa, and Project Earth, where you’ll have the opportunity to network with and learn from industry leaders in medicine, pharmaceuticals, cultivation, and extraction.
  • Getting involved with fascinating research and education projects with global leaders in the field

What you’ll get as part of the elective placement

Pre reading and training

Before you start, elective students will be given free membership to the Society, so you can network with and meet medical students and clinical colleagues.

An opportunity for pre-reading includes:

Introduction to medical cannabis for medical students

Explore our guides and training materials, giving you a thorough introduction to the guidelines regarding medical cannabis prescribing.

Expert training with Prof. Mike Barnes

Build on your foundational knowledge with our specialist medical cannabis training course, usually reserved for Society members [link]. This teaching explores the history, evidence and clinical applications of medical cannabis and provides an introduction to the endocannabinoid system.

Recommended Texts

Depending on your area of interest, we will provide a range of recommended books, articles, journals, and other helpful resources

Case Studies

A crucial component of our programme, you will review real-world examples of the clinical applications of medical cannabis. Gain an understanding of medical cannabis in patient scenarios, the dosages administered, and the effects observed.

During your elective placement

During your medical elective, you will be assigned a Supervisor and arrange a schedule of activities.

You will:

  • Attend conferences including Cannabis Europa and Project Earth, and networking events during Medical Cannabis Awareness Week.
  • Take part in the Society’s events and activities, including attending Cannabis Industry Council Meetings, training webinars, and meetings.
  • Have the opportunity to attend two clinic opportunities per week, where you can shadow a medical cannabis prescribing doctor during in person or virtual patient consultations
  • Attend pharmacy training, where you will work alongside pharmacists to gain an understanding of the role they play in medical cannabis prescribing.
  • Have access to an informal mentoring program, so you can learn from those with more experience in the field and ask questions as needed.

After the elective programme

After completion of your medical electives, you will have the opportunity to continue your involvement with the Society, its clinicians and members, and the wider medical community.

You will be asked to write and share your experience of the placement to better inform future applicants about what they can expect from our medical electives. 

You will also be supported to bring medical cannabis education into your university medical school and peer community, with virtual Q&A sessions, webinars and catch ups.You will have the opportunity to take part in our research projects, either independently or as part of a team, as well as developing post elective case studies. 

Rowan Thompson

Case study: past students


Read about Rowan’s experience with the Society’s medical electives.

“For my own medical placement, I was keen to use the time to get experience in as many areas of the medical cannabis sector as possible. I was able to work on multi-national collaborative papers and projects, attend the largest European medical cannabis conference with the Society, engage with clinics and pharmacies across the UK, and make new friends across the sector.

These multifaceted experiences have helped me in my own ongoing contributions to the literature around medical cannabis. Additionally, my elective has started my work with patient advocacy groups across the UK.

Being accepted into this elective placement has been enormously positive. My understanding of the real-world experience of what medical cannabis can do for patients has shifted my perspective and helped me grow as a medical professional.”

Rowan Thompson, University of Birmingham Medical School

Apply now

FAQs: Medical Elective

Looking for Medical Elective Ideas?

Good medical electives allow penultimate or final year medical students to gain clinical experience in areas not covered in the core curriculum and can provide specialised medical education.

As you explore medical elective ideas, consider elective opportunities that give you the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of a rapidly evolving field. With medical cannabis gaining recognition globally, there’s been a surge in scientific research, policy debates, and patient enquiries.

Why should I do an elective with the MCCS?

The MCCS is the only organisation offering an accredited elective programme in medical cannabis.

By taking the elective, you will learn about the clinical applications, cultural implications, and legal aspects of medical cannabis. You will gain a better understanding of how medical cannabis works, the current evidence supporting its use, and potential future therapeutic treatments that are being explored. The elective is led by experienced clinicians who will provide you with the necessary knowledge and resources to become informed.

  • Understanding the therapeutic potentials and limitations of medical cannabis can empower doctors to make more informed decisions, offering an alternative or complementary treatment to patients where appropriate.
  • Understanding the Legislative Evolution. The UK has seen evolving regulations around the prescription and use of medical cannabis. By specialising in this area, medical students can become informed about the current legal landscape and its implications for future clinical practice.
  • Take a Multidisciplinary Approach. Medical cannabis intersects with various disciplines – pharmacology, neurology, pain management, mental health, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to work alongside clinicians, pharmacists, nurses, and advocates.
  • Understand Future Career Opportunities. As the medical community continues to recognise the benefits of medical cannabis for many patient groups, there will be increasing job opportunities in this specialty, from clinical roles to roles in research, consulting, and policy-making.
  • Access Research Opportunities. Students interested in academic medicine may find our medical student elective placements a stepping stone to a future research project.
  • Broaden your horizons. Beyond the medical implications, medical cannabis also delves into ethical, societal, and cultural considerations.
  • Develop Clinical Skills and Knowledge. Students undertaking our medical cannabis elective will gain practical experience, as well as increase their knowledge in this field. This can include developing clinical skills such as patient assessment, communication strategies and forming differential diagnoses.

What is medical cannabis?

Medical cannabis is the therapeutic use of the Cannabis plant to treat conditions and illnesses. Medical cannabis works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body to produce an effect on various physiological processes. It has been found to have potential benefits for conditions such as chronic pain, PTSD, epilepsy, and cancer.

What are the benefits of medical cannabis?

Medical cannabis has benefits for patients living with conditions including PTSD, chronic pain, epilepsy, and cancer. It can also be used to manage associated symptoms, including nausea, pain, and anxiety.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates physiological processes in the body, from sleep and mood to appetite and pain sensation. It’s made up of two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. Endocannabinoids are signaling molecules produced by cells that bind to these receptors; they act like keys that fit into the receptors and open them to produce an effect from within. The ECS is believed to play a role in many diseases, making it a promising target for therapeutic intervention.

What is the future of medical cannabis?

The future of medical cannabis looks promising, as new clinical studies are being conducted to further understand how it can be used to treat various conditions. Increasingly, doctors and patients are turning to medical cannabis for treatment resistant conditions.

What is a medical cannabis clinic like?

A medical cannabis clinic provides a safe environment for patients to discuss their medical needs, ask questions, and gain access to quality care.

The clinicians also offer education about the different forms of medical cannabis, potential side effects, and how best to use the medicine in an effective way.

The majority of consultations are virtual.

I don’t know much about medical cannabis, can I still do my elective with the MCCS?

Yes, absolutely! The elective covers all aspects of medical cannabis, from basic knowledge to more advanced topics. It is designed for medical school students who are new to the subject, as well as those with a deeper understanding.

Resources for medical students

Medical Cannabis Elective
Join The Medical Cannabis Clinicians SocietyJoin the MCCS

News

News, case studies, clinician profiles and patient stories from the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society.

Patient stories

Patient stories

Hear from patients benefiting from medical cannabis treatments in the UK.

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Join the MCCS

Key reasons to join the MCCS, a supportive network of clinicians growing by the day. Exclusive prescribing information, product details and peer support.

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