Who Are We?

The Holistic Cannabis Academy is an education, training, and mentoring program founded by two registered dietitian nutritionists who have always been ahead of the curve. First, in food and nutrition communications before the field became saturated with media dietitians. Second, in culinary nutrition before the field was even invented. Third, in functional medicine, which remains an emerging area of practice. And now, in cannabis as medical marijuana leads the way in natural medicine.

What Is the Holistic Cannabis Academy?

  • Online training + education options for healthcare practitioners, caregivers + cannabis curious individuals
  • Begin as soon as you’d like and complete in accordance with a schedule convenient to you.
  • Upon completion of training, opportunity to earn a certificate of competency as a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner™ or Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor™
  • Created by two registered dietitian nutritionists with experience in functional medicine, medical marijuana, culinary cannabis recipe development, + continuing medical education
  • Content vetted by both medical marijuana + functional medicine clinicians + researchers
  • HCA toolkit with reference resources, client handouts, presentation materials
  • Onsite culinary workshops about producing edibles + tinctures

Introducing: The Holistic Cannabis Academy

An Online Bootcamp Leading To Cannabis Competency

How Do I Decide Which Path Is Best For Me?

Skilled healthcare practitioner, caregiver, or cannabis curious individual? The Holistic Cannabis Academy has something for you!

    • Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner takes Tracks I through IV
    • Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor takes Tracks I & II

Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner™

Tracks I, II, III + IV (32 modules) + membership

Join the curriculum at any time to suit your schedule and work at your own pace to complete.
Tuition + Options

Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor™

Tracks I + II (15 modules) + membership

  • Who can apply? Anyone who is a medical marijuana caregiver or cannabis curious individual interested in expanding their personal competency or pursuing a career in the medical marijuana field (2-year college degree is required)  Once this program is complete, you may opt to continue on to obtain your Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner designation once your professional credentials have been confirmed.
Join the curriculum at any time to suit your schedule and work at your own pace to complete.
Tuition + Options

What’s Included in the Membership?

The membership is loaded with value-added services never before available to those interested in medical marijuana.

For practitioners, upon successful completion of the comprehensive HCA education + training program Tracks I through IV plus a passing exam score, you’ll become a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner™. The business-building perks do not end there! You’ll also receive tools to enhance your competitive edge with a professional point of difference, leading to an increased scope of practice, more business, + increased revenue.

For caregivers + canna-curious individuals, you’ll immediately become a Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor™ after completing Tracks I + II, reaping the benefits noted below.

Your listing, as a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner™ or Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor™ is FREE for one year as part of your membership benefits. You will also receive:

  • Standards of Identity, Analysis, and Quality Control of Cannabis Monograph by the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (hard copy, value: $45) (included only with practitioner program)

  • Cannabis Therapeutic Compendium Monograph by the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (hard copy, value: $45) (included only with practitioner program)

  • NOVA Precision Decarboxylation Unit ($250 value)
    A breakthrough product for at-home decarboxylation, allowing maximum cannabinoid availability for those preferring to smoke or vaporize. Activating cannabinoids for edibles, extracts + tinctures, the NOVA also allows you to prepare fully-activated (or decarboxylated) sublingual cannabis in precise dosages, providing full-spectrum uptake in minutes + avoiding any irritation to the lungs or GI tract. (included only with practitioner program)

  • Autographed copy of the exquisitely photographed cookbook –The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook with recipes contributed by HCN Co-Founder Donna Shields ($25 retail value) (included only with practitioner program)

  • Online access to the complete 2016 Holistic Cannabis Summit – a 4-day online event with 28 experts from the medical cannabis + integrative medicine fields (narrated PowerPoint interviews)

  • Downloadable collateral resources + tools to keep you up-to-date in the rapidly-evolving world of medical cannabis
  • Printable client/patient education materials + handouts to provide immediately in your practice

  • Directory of medical marijuana dispensaries

  • Private Facebook page + listserv to connect with you with a like-minded community

  • Discount to CannaWellness – a retreat in beautiful Colorado to relax, rejuvenate, + restore while learning from pioneering cannabis experts

  • Calendar of speaking engagements featuring HCN Co-Founders Laura Lagano + Donna Shields

The Academy Curriculum

The Holistic Cannabis Academy is delivered in an easy-to-access online platform + includes video and downloadable materials you can immediately use in your practice or for everyday healthcare needs.

Paths To Cannabis Competency

What Makes this Education + Training Program Unique?

  • Designed for holistic-minded coaches + practitioners who consider all aspects of clients’ health, wellness + lifestyles
  • Offers a turn-key solution for YOU as the coach or practitioner to provide materials + handouts to your clients/patients – no more writing your own materials or searching the internet for credible information
  • Features leading medical cannabis clinicians + researchers who are also dynamic educators
  • Includes audio recordings you can listen to anytime + anywhere on any device
  • Continuing education credits for various credentials in progress

Track I – Groundwork: Foundational Fundamentals

Module 1
Cannabis through the Ages: A Historical Basis of a Plant

Medicinal cannabis + hemp have been an integral part of American history, politics + policy. Follow the evolution of cannabis + hemp from our founding fathers to 1930s prohibition, culminating with the current state-by-state patchwork of legislation. Learning about the history of this plant sets the stage for why cannabis belongs in the health practitioner’s toolbox.

Faculty: Robert Hoban, JD
Managing Partner, Hoban + Feola

Bonus! Where It All Began: The Ancient History of Cannabis

The medicinal use of cannabis began over 5000 years ago with Himalayan vedic traditions as an integral facet of yoga. Knowing this true genesis of medicinal cannabis from the spirit-based vedic medicine to the energy-based ayurvedic medicine provides a deeper sense of its value, credibility + authenticity as one of the most highly-revered medicinal herbs.

Faculty: Prashanti de Jager
Yogi, Educator + Ethnopharmacologist

Module 2
Cannabis: Laws + Legislation

Wondering how to keep up with ever evolving cannabis laws in the US + Canada plus around the globe? With varying regulations among countries and even within countries, from state-to-state and province-to-province, it’s a ball of confusion. Attain clarity with this overview + analysis of both medical cannabis + adult use (aka: recreational) legislation.

Faculty: Robert Hoban, JD
Managing Partner, Hoban + Feola

Module 3
The Endocannabinoid System: A Primer

Understanding how + why cannabis works means first grasping the fundamentals of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. Get ready for a review of the CB1 + CB2 receptors, the two best known endogenous ligands (anadamide + 2-AG) plus an overview of their downstream effects on the immune system, the hormone axis, pain, sleep, cancer + the major organ systems.

Faculty: Lex Pelger
Scientist, Educator + Host, Psymposia

Module 4
Is Your Cannabis Safe To Consume? Growing + Testing Guidelines

Because cannabis is a medicinal plant, standards for farming + analysis are crucial to insure consistency + efficacy. Both health practitioners + clients need to know what questions to pose in dispensaries. Get those questions + answers from extracts to edibles, covering pesticide use, regulatory requirements + laboratory testing procedures measuring quality, potency + purity.

Bonus! Quality Control of Cannabis-Based Medicines

A walk through the historic Standards of Identity, Analysis, and Quality Control Cannabis Monograph of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Referenced by numerous states with medical marijuana laws, the monograph provides cannabis stakeholders including growers, analytical labs + practitioners with the information needed to guide clients about what constitutes a quality cannabis-based medicine.

Faculty: Roy Upton, Executive Director, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Module 5
The Ayurvedic + Vedic Constituents of Cannabis

The classical use of medicinal cannabis hails from North India, where it is viewed through the energetic lens of vedas as opposed to the mass-centric Western perspective. Gain a deeper understanding of cannabis pharmacology, practical for clinical settings + client education, within the context of a comprehensive wellness system.

Faculty: Prashanti de Jager
Yogi, Educator + Ethnopharmacologist

Track II – Beyond Basics: Practical Applications

Module 1
The Constituents of Cannabis: Part 1

Just as the human body produces endocannabinoids, so does the cannabis plant produce phytocannabinoids. Explore the medicinal value of cannabinoids + understand how growing conditions and + varieties (aka: strains) offer multiple therapeutic value.

Faculty: Martin Lee
Director, Project CBD

Module 2
The Constituents of Cannabis: Part 2

An examination of the terpenoids, or terpenes, in the cannabis plant + their impact on health + wellness. Terpenes, a constituent that lends fragrance to lemons, lavender + many plants, are responsible for the aroma of cannabis. In concert with cannabinoids, they deliver therapeutic benefits. Begin to appreciate the interplay or “entourage effect” of all that cannabis has to offer.

Module 3
CBD: Facts + Fallacies

Considered non-psychoactive (or is it?), cannabidiol (CBD) is the 2nd most discussed cannabinoid following THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component. Though cannabis experts describe varieties according to the CBD to THC ratios, the value of CBD is often misunderstood + shrouded in misconceptions. Separate fact from fiction with this review of CBD.

Module 4
The Healing Toolbox: Cannabis as a Key Player

A scientific overview of the top health conditions where cannabis has therapeutic value to fully understand how the plant constituents promote healing + positive outcomes. The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia’s Cannabis Therapeutic Compendium Monograph serves as the guide book + reference to understand how the endocannabinoid system + cannabis interact.

Faculty: Roy Upton
Executive Director, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Bonus! Cannabis Desensitization

More is not always better when it comes to medicating with anything including cannabis. Learn how cannabis can be titrated for an optimal, individualized amounts based on specific clients + their particular presentations.

Module 5
The Many Ways to Consume: Cannabis Formats + Tools

Experience an analysis of cannabis delivery systems + tools available in today’s marketplace – smoking, vaporizing, tinctures, oils, dabs, waxes, edibles, sprays, transdermal patches + topicals. An overview of absorption mechanisms, label requirements + consumption guidelines for individualized best outcomes for clients’ specific health + wellness needs.

Bonus! Packaged Edibles: Making Informed Decisions

Cannabis-infused food products – known as edibles or medibles – require prerequisites before purchasing and consuming. With no national standardized labeling laws, product label information varies. Learn how to interpret package labeling for potency + safety to insure for optimal choice + experience.

Faculty: Julie Dooley
Founder, Julie’s Natural Edibles

Bonus! Making Cannabis-Medicated True Ghee

Infusing cannabis + other herbs into true ghee is a classic ayurvedic way to make medicinal products for skin + transdermal application, as well as a cooking ingredient. This how-to video demonstrates how to make medicated-true ghee in your own kitchen and where to source it.

Faculty: Prashanti de Jager
Yogi, Educator + Ethnopharmacologist

Track III – Digging Deeper: Cannabis as Medicine

Module 1
The Endocannabinoid System: Deep Dive

An advanced look at the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, covering the unique retrograde signaling in the brain, the known polymorphisms, the pharmokinetics, the gender differences + the modulators of the ECS. Building on the foundational ECS module in Track I, take a deep dive into the intricacies + nuances of this complex system.

Faculty: Lex Pelger
Scientist, Educator + Host, Psymposia

Module 2
The Cancer Frontier: Managing Symptoms + More

An overview of cannabis for symptom management related to cancer treatments, the emerging science about tumor reduction + the essential supportive role of nutrition + other holistic modalities such as meditation, acupuncture + energy medicine. Achieve competency about the multi-faceted healing options available for cancer care, treatment + prevention.

Module 3
Treating the Spectrum of Mood Disorders: Stress, Anxiety + PTSD

It’s no secret that opioids are abused + SSRI are overused. Can cannabis come to the rescue? Delve into the science + practical application of cannabis in stress, anxiety + post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), potentially reducing reliance on pharmaceuticals + eliminating unwanted side effects.

Module 4
Cannabis as Firstline Therapy for Seizures, Autism + ADHD

One of the most well-publicized clinical applications of cannabis is for epilepsy + seizures disorders. In fact, every state with a medical marijuana program approves seizures as a condition for cannabis recommendations. Review the data surrounding cannabis in these neurological issues plus the medicinal herb’s impact on autism spectrum disorder + attention deficient hyperactivity disorder.

Module 5: Food as Medicine: An Integrative Approach to Diet + Cannabis

The future of healthcare is all about integration. An integrative approach to using food + herbs as a path to root-cause resolution constitutes the evolution of healthcare. Examine food plans for specific conditions complemented by cannabis for optimal health + wellness. Food + herbs are medicine!

Faculty: Laura Lagano, MS, RDN, CDN
Integrative Clinical Nutritionist, Laura Lagano Nutrition

Bonus! Aromatherapy: Terpenes Overlaying with Cannabis

Aromatherapy is all about the science of terpene, or terpenoids. Responsible for the sativa + indica-like effects of cannabis, terpenes are key components of plants as diverse as pine, mandarin + clary sage.  Expand your knowledge of plant medicine + learn how to integrate aromatherapy into your holistic practice.

Faculty: Jessica Baker, Lac, Dipl OM, RH
Acupuncturist + Founder, Jade Dragon

Module 6
The Integration of Yoga + Danda Pranayama Meditation with Cannabis

Gaining a deeper state of consciousness through yogic practices + meditation can be enhanced with the appropriate use of cannabis. Learn how to empower + heal mind, body + spirit with these practices for personal enlightenment, as well as for PTSD + pain issues, longevity + wellness.

Faculty: Prashanti de Jager
Yogi, Educator + Ethnopharmacologist

Module 7
The Interplay of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine + Cannabis

As an ancient healing art, Chinese medicine has been practiced continuously for over 5000 years. The subtle energetics of yin yang + meridian flow are vaguely known to many, but not tangible for practical application. Get familiar with the 8 principles and the 5 elements of Chinese herbalism to start on your Eastern medicine journey to incorporate into clinical practice.

Faculty: Jessica Baker, Lac, Dipl OM, RH
Acupuncturist + Founder, Jade Dragon

Module 8
Alleviating Pain! Chiropractic Care, Massage + Cannabis

Pain management is the number #1 reason individuals medicate with cannabis. Coupled with massage + cannabis, consider this the trifecta for treating inflammatory pain conditions, sports injuries, neurological pain + more.

Bonus! Breath Work Made Easy

The Whole-Body Breathing program is designed to help people tune-in to listen to their bodies. We walk, talk + breathe ourselves into existence each day. Every breath counts. Learn how to transform breath into a healing tool. Practice creates presence!

Faculty: Anna Coy
Founder, Inspiring Your Life

Module 9
Cannabis: Exit Herb from Addiction

Opioid addiction is at crisis level in the US + around the world. Progressive practitioners + patients alike are lobbying for cannabis is as first-line therapy for opioid, alcohol + other substance rehabilitation. Understand the conditions + situations where cannabis is + is not appropriate as an exit tool.

Track IV – Ready for Clients: Making It Happen!

Module 1
Hanging Up Your Holistic Cannabis Shingle

Get down to the nitty gritty + learn from those with established holistic-oriented cannabis consulting businesses. Hear from the pioneers about establishing yourself as a Certified Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner, reaching out to medical marijuana doctors + communicating with clients from the cannabis virgins to the experienced consumers.

Module 2
The Client-Practitioner Relationship: How to Communicate about Cannabis

Get guidelines + tips about how to broach the topic of medical marijuana with clients who may benefit, featuring in-the-trenches health professionals – MDs, osteopaths, nutritionists, nurses + caregivers.

Module 3
Marketing Your Cannabis Competency

Now that you’re up to speed about medicinal cannabis, let your community know! Building a 3-way referral network including dispensaries, medical marijuana docs + allied health providers is critical to building your business. Hear from dispensary owners, medical cannabis clinics + cannabis consultants.

Bonus! What’s My Liability?: A Primer about Insurance

Cannabis remains a “schedule 1 drug,” yet it is approve by more the half the US states for medical use. A frank talk about liability + how to protect yourself.

Module 4
Clients, Caregivers, Practitioners: Shifting the Paradigm

Wondering how to effectively implement a new paradigm in your practice + set yourself apart? Learn how to create + implement a collaborative network in your community, involving allied professionals + physicians, resulting in improved clinical outcomes. Gain real world advice about peer-to-peer education programs plus ideas about how to work with medical schools + allopathic medical facilities.

Faculty: Regina Nelson, CEO, My eCS Therapy Center + Co-Founder, CPN Institute

Module 5
Holistic Cannabis Academy Membership, Referral System + Certification Exam

You’re in the homestretch! A review of your Academy membership benefits, staying connected to fellow HCA grads, getting ready for the exam + a Q+A with HCA co-founders Laura Lagano + Donna Shields.

Faculty: Laura Lagano + Donna Shields, Co-Founders, Holistic Cannabis Network

Once registered for the Academy, all collateral resource materials are yours to download or print for educational distribution. These resources are copyright protected in our system + cannot be used for third-party commercial distribution.

What’s Possible After You Become a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner™ or Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor™?

Avada Admin

Be Cannabis Competent

Because medical marijuana is approved in more than half the country, consumers want to know if this healing modality is right for them. You’ll be equipped to answer questions and integrate holistic cannabis recommendations into your clients’ health + wellness plans + in your own life.

Avada Admin

Be Empowered + Empowering

Continuing education is a crucial part of everyone’s life, especially when it comes to emerging topics in healthcare. Once trained in therapeutic cannabis, you’ll have an authentic point of difference in your local community positioning you as an up-to-the-minute, forward-thinking practitioner or caregiver. As a patient, you’ll have a sense of empowerment over your health decisions. Or if you’re simply looking for practical information in an easy-to-understand format, this is the program for you.

Avada Admin

Be Supported + Supportive

Having access to a network of like-minded professionals, caregivers + patients that you can tap into for advice and guidance is invaluable. The Academy membership will make you a part of a close-knit group lending support, referrals + recommendations to help answer your therapeutic cannabis questions.

Register or Apply Now

Special Introductory Price Until September 30, 2016

Click here for educational options + tuition.

Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor™

Tracks I & II (15 modules) + membership

Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner™

Tracks I, II, III + IV (32 modules) + membership
By Application Only


After your registration is complete, you will receive an email receipt. Your login information for the Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor ™ education + training program will be sent within 24 hours.


After your application has been reviewed, you will receive a decision about acceptance into the practitioner level program. If accepted, you will receive a check-out link for tuition payment. You will receive an email receipt after you complete your registration. Your login information for the  Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner™ education + training program will be sent within 24 hours.


Join Our Vibrant Holistic Cannabis Community!

This online program works with your schedule. Join the curriculum at any time and work at your own pace.

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

The Holistic Cannabis Network® is a cannabis education + training platform for holistic-minded practitioners about the therapeutic use of marijuana + its integration with other healing modalities.