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XXIX W.O. McCormick Academic Day Conference

Psychiatric Aspects of Cannabis

Friday, April 27, 2018

Marriott Halifax Harbourfront Hotel, Nova Scotia Ballroom
1919 Upper Water Street
B3J 3J5


Schedule of Events





8:30 – 9:00  



9:00 – 9:20  


L. Hazelton, M. Teehan, R. Boehm

9:20 – 9:40

Introductory session

David Gardner, ABCs of Cannabis

9:40 – 10:40  

Plenary 1

Phil Tibbo, Cannabis and Psychosis – What’s the buzz?  

10:40 – 11:00



11:00 – 12:00

Plenary 2

Anne McLellan, Legalization of Cannabis

12:00 – 12:45  



12:45 – 1:30

Concurrent Sessions  1

Selene Etches, The Effects of Cannabis Use in Adolescents

Daniel Rasic, Weeding through the Haze: A Review of Cannabis Use in PTSD

Neil Petrie, Cannabis and cannabinoids: Use, abuse, and misuse in ED patients

Eileen Denovan-Wright, THC and cannabidiol affect CB1 receptor function

1:30 – 2:15  

Concurrent Sessions 2

Repeat of sessions above

2:15 – 2:35  



2:35 – 3:35

Plenary 3

David Hammond, Cannabis advertising and public education: promotion and risk communication in a legal market

3:35 – 4:15  


Facilitator: David Gardner  



Lara Hazelton


Speaker information

Phil Tibbo, plenary speaker

Title: Cannabis and Psychosis – What’s the buzz?


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1. Understand the potential outcomes of regular cannabis use during adolescence and young adulthood with a focus on psychosis

2. Appreciate the role of the endocannabinoid system on adolescent brain development

3. Appreciate the mental health community’s role in knowledge translation in this area


Dr. Tibbo received his B.Sc. (Hons) from Mount Alison University in Sackville, NB, and his MD from Memorial University of Newfoundland.  He completed his residency in psychiatry at the University of Alberta, and following this joined the staff at the University of Alberta Hospital as a clinician and researcher. He was instrumental in the development of and co-directed both the Bebensee Schizophrenia Research Unit and the Edmonton Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic.

In 2008 Dr. Tibbo was named the first Dr. Paul Janssen Chair in Psychotic Disorders, an endowed research chair, at Dalhousie University in Halifax NS. He is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry with a cross-appointment in Psychology at Dalhousie University and an Adjunct Professor in Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. He is also Director of the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program (NSEPP) and co-director of the Nova Scotia Psychosis Research Unit (NSPRU).

Dr. Tibbo’s publications are primarily in the area of schizophrenia, and his current foci of study include individuals at the early phase of, and individuals at risk for, a psychotic illness. Dr. Tibbo’s areas of research include application of  in vivo brain neuroimaging techniques to study psychosis as well as research interests in co-morbidities in schizophrenia, psychosis genetics, addictions and psychosis, stigma and burden, pathways to care, education, and non-pharmacological treatment options. He is President of the Canadian Consortium for Early Intervention in Psychosis (CCEIP), helping to advance early intervention care at the national level. He is funded by local and national peer reviewed funding agencies and well published in leading journals. Dr Tibbo is a recipient (2015) of the Michael Smith Award from the Schizophrenia Society of Canada for research and leadership in schizophrenia and more recently the recipient of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health’s Champion of Mental Health Research/Clinician award in 2017.

Anne McLellan, plenary speaker

TitleLegalization of Cannabis: The Way Forward


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1. Describe the findings of a national consultation on cannabis in Canada.

2. Discuss the reasons for the upcoming public policy change on legalization of cannabis.


The Honourable A. Anne McLellan, P.C., O.C., A.O.E. joined Bennett Jones LLP in its Edmonton office July 4, 2006.  Ms. McLellan provides strategic advice to the firm and its clients.

Ms. McLellan served four terms as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre from October 25, 1993 – January 23, 2006.  She served as Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and the first Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (December 2003 – January 2006), Minister of Health (January 2002 – December 2003), Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (June 1997 – January 2002) and Minister of Natural Resources and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians (November 1993 – June 1997).

Ms. McLellan serves on the Board of Directors of Agrium and Cameco.  She served on the Board of Nexen from 2006 to 2013 and the Edmonton Regional Airport Authority from 2007 to 2015.  In addition she is Vice-Chair of the Board of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. She also served as a member of the Premier's Council for Economic Strategy from 2009 – 2011 where she provided "guidance on actions the Alberta government could take to best position the province for the future."

On May 12, 2006 Ms. McLellan was appointed Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of Alberta in the Alberta Institute for American Studies, a position she held until she retired from the University of Alberta June 30, 2013.  Ms. McLellan was awarded honorary doctorate of law degrees by both the University of Alberta (in 2007) and the University of Cape Breton (in 2009).

In July 2009 Ms. McLellan was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and in October 2013 she was invested into the Alberta Order of Excellence.

In May 2015 Ms. McLellan became Dalhousie University’s seventh chancellor.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Law degree from Dalhousie University and a Master of Laws degree from King's College, University of London. Ms McLellan was admitted to the Bar of Nova Scotia in 1976.

David Hammond, plenary speaker

Title: Cannabis advertising and public education: promotion and risk communication in a legal market


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1. To understand the regulatory framework for cannabis legalization with respect to product communications and perceptions of risk.

2. To understand the potential effect of cannabis marketing on consumer perceptions and behaviours.

3. To identify and discuss priority messages for public education, particularly in the area of mental health.


David Hammond is a Professor and CIHR Applied Chair in Public Health in the School of Public Health & Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Professor Hammond’s research focuses on population-level interventions, including in the areas of tobacco control policy, food and diet, as well as harm reduction and drug policy. Professor Hammond works closely with governments and NGOs around the world, and has served as an Advisor for the World Health Organization. Professor Hammond also serves as an Expert Witness in court cases, primarily on behalf of governments defending health regulations from legal challenges by the food and tobacco industries. Professor Hammond’s research has been recognized by awards from CIHR, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal Statistical Society of Canada, and the World Health Organization.

David Gardner, introductory speaker

Title: ABCs of Cannabis


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1. To develop a shared knowledge and familiarity with cannabis nomenclature, constituents, effects, and formulations

2. To introduce participants to the basic pharmacology of cannabis constituents THC and CBD and the endocannabinoid system 


A member of the Atlantic Mentorship Network in Pain and Addiction and Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Gardner’s research covers pharmacoepidemiology, safe and effective use of psychotropic medications, and program development and implementation in mental health and addictions services in primary care with a focus on pharmacists’ roles and services. Along with Dr. Andrea Murphy at Dalhousie University, he has co-developed More Than Meds, the Bloom Program, Headstrong – Taking Things Head-On, and Sleepwell. He has over 80 peer reviewed publications and is the author of Antipsychotics and Their Side Effects. Recognitions include multiple teaching awards, the 2012 Canadian Pharmacists Association Pharmacist of the Year award, and in 2017 was identified as a CAMH Difference Maker in its 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health campaign. Dr. Gardner balances his scholarly work with regular community outreach, advocacy, and clinical activities.  

Selene Etches, concurrent session speaker

Title: The Effects of Cannabis Use in Adolescents


At the end of the session, participants will be able to understand:

1. The endocannabinoid system

2. Cannabis (including synthetic cannabinoids) and methods of cannabis intake

3. Epidemiology of adolescent cannabis use disorders

4. Management of cannabis intoxication and withdrawal

5. Mental health and cognitive effects in adolescence

6. Psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatments for cannabis use disorder in adolescents


Selene Etches is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the IWK Health Centre and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She obtained her MD at the University of Toronto, her psychiatry degree at Dalhousie University and completed further fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.  Her time is split between working as an Emergency Room and hospital inpatient consultant liaison psychiatrist as well as physician lead of the Concurrent Disorders Specific Care Clinic at the IWK. She is also involved in teaching psychiatric and pediatric residents and medical students at Dalhousie University and conducting research. Current research interests include outcome evaluations of patients with concurrent disorders, risk and protective factors in adolescent substance users (particularly the impact of past trauma), sleep disturbances in substance users, primary prevention programs, tertiary program development, and staff/family/community education.

Daniel Rasic, concurrent session speaker

Title: Weeding through the Haze: A Review of Cannabis Use in PTSD 


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1. Explain the theoretical basis for cannabis' proposed use in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

2. Evaluate the scientific evidence regarding cannabis and PTSD

3. Communicate effectively with patients requesting cannabis for PTSD, and those who have received cannabis prescriptions from other providers.


Daniel Rasic is a psychiatrist in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He obtained his MD at the University of Manitoba, his psychiatry training at Dalhousie University and completed a Master's Degree in Epidemiology at Dalhousie through the Clinician Investigator Program.  He worked as a consultant psychiatrist at the Operational Trauma Stress and Support Centre Atlantic before establishing his private practice where his clinical work focuses on the treating Veterans, RCMP and active military members with conditions related to trauma. 

Neil Petrie, concurrent session speaker

Title: Cannabis and cannabinoids: Use, abuse, and misuse in ED patients


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1. Summarize the history of cannabis in Canada

2. Discuss the pharmacology of cannabis and cannabinoid analogues.

3. Identify medical and recreational indications for use.

4. Describe adverse reactions and side effects, especially as seen in ED settings.


Dr Neil Petrie is a staff physician at IWK and Halifax Infirmary Emergency Departments in Halifax, NS.   He has a BScH in Chemistry (Queen’s University), MSc in Medicinal and Synthetic Organic Chemistry (Queen’s University), MD from Dalhousie, and an FRCPC in Emergency Medicine.  His clinical work includes EHS oversight/on-call physician for the ground ambulance service, extended care paramedic service, and provincial Collaborative Emergency Centres. His interests include Toxicology, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and Emergency Medical Services.

Eileen Denovan-Wright, concurrent sessions speaker

Title: THC and cannabidiol affect CB1 receptor function


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1. To describe the action of THC at the CB1 receptor as a partial agonist displaying ligand bias

2. To illustrate the important modulatory role of CBD at the CB1 receptor

3. To highlight some preclinical data on the effect of these drugs in a model of neurodegeneration


Dr. Eileen Denovan-Wright received her PhD in 1994 from Dalhousie University.  She was awarded a Medical Research Council of Canada and an Eli Lily Zyprexa Postdoctoral Scholarship to work as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Harold Robertson Head of the Department of Pharmacology.  Dr. Denovan-Wright was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Dalhousie University in 2000.  Currently, she is a Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dalhousie University.  Dr. Denovan-Wright has long-term research interests in neuropharmacology for the management of neurodegenerative disorders.  She and her close collaborator, Dr. Melanie Kelly, Dalhousie University have been investigating the function of the endocannabinoid system and drugs that affect this system since 1998.  Together with students and postdoctoral fellows, they are working to understand the endocannabinoid system in the CNS and peripheral systems with the aim of contributing to the development of novel therapeutics.  Specifically, the team is looking at the role of ligand bias, allosteric modulation, the effects of heterodimerization and manipulation of the enzymes that control the levels of endogenous cannabinoids to fully understand and harness the therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoids system.


Presentation Slides

Anne McLellan

David Gardner

ABCs of Cannabis [PDF - 1.7MB]

Eileen Denovan-Wright

Selene Etches


Accreditation Information

This event is accreditated by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

This group learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by the Dalhousie University Continuing Education Professional Development Office for up to 6.0 Mainpro+ credits.

As an accredited provider, Dalhousie University, CPD, designates this continuing professional development activity for up to 6.0 credit hours as an accredited group learning Section 1 activity as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Through an agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Medical Association, physicians
may convert Royal College MOC credits to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Information on the process to convert Royal College MOC credit to AMA credit can be found at amaassn.org/go/internationalcme.

In keeping with CMA Guidelines, program content and selection of speakers are the responsibility of the planning committee. Support is directed toward the costs of the course and not to individual speakers through an unrestricted educational grant. This program has received an educational grant or in-kind support from:

Janssen Canada Inc.
Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical Inc.
Lundbeck Canada Inc.
Purdue Pharma (Canada)