Collegiate Cannabis Courses

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Collegiate Cannabis Courses

Cannabis Courses in North America

“With the growing access to and use of medical marijuana, it is important to integrate related instruction into the curriculum as any other therapeutic entity and allow students to build the appropriate knowledge and skills prior to encountering a patient using medical marijuana in an APPE setting. No particular topic from among those included in the survey emerged as a priority over others. Therefore, individual schools’ and colleges’ curriculum committees should internally review and consider what topics would best fit the curriculum and prepare their students for APPEs and future practice settings. The authors recommend the inclusion of medical marijuana in medicinal chemistry as well as in the therapeutic courses where potential benefit has been identified. For states where medical marijuana is legalized for specific indications, the authors believe that these disease states should be the focus of topic inclusion. For example, in Pennsylvania, medical marijuana is approved for: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; autism; cancer; Crohn’s disease; damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity; epilepsy; glaucoma; Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome; Huntington’s disease; inflammatory bowel disease; intractable seizures; Multiple sclerosis; neuropathies; Parkinson’s disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective; sickle cell anemia. Therefore, in the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Curriculum, we have focused on the incorporation of medical marijuana as didactic lecture content in these therapeutic areas. Consideration should also be given to the inclusion of medical marijuana in patient case discussions. Schools and colleges of pharmacy should survey their faculty to evaluate if and where medical marijuana is taught in the curriculum and the perceived important areas to include this topic.” Evaluation of medical marijuana topics in the PharmD curriculum

Evaluation of medical marijuana topics in the PharmD curriculum


Alaska Marijuana Institute Endorsement Program – Marijuana Manufacturing Facility

Alaska Handlers Permit Certification Course

Alaska Marijuana Institute Endorsement Program – Marijuana Cultivation Facility

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The UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative is one of the first academic programs in the world fully dedicated to the study of cannabis.

For those looking for classes, UC Davis has just begun its first cannabis graduate course. The seminar-style sessions provide a broad overview of the plant’s biology, biochemistry and pharmacological potential.


University of Northern Colorado just produced a budding Doctor [C]ANNA Schwabe whom has published her thesis for peer review, and it accomplishes the goal of establishing a baseline type of plant that the U.S. Government has been providing from the University of Mississippi, and she has revealed that the Cannabis plant is in the HEMP type variety.

02 May 2019
Cannabis used in US research differs genetically to the varieties people smoke
Strains used for scientific purposes are more like hemp than the marijuana sold in dispensaries, suggests a study. – Sara Reardon

Looking at inconsistencies

“The agency’s crop “doesn’t look like marijuana, it doesn’t smell like marijuana”, says Anna Schwabe, a plant geneticist at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, who co-authored the study comparing cannabis genomes. The paper was published in late March on the preprint server bioRxiv.

Schwabe and her colleagues looked at 49 cannabis strains from sources including NIDA and dispensaries in Colorado, California and Washington, where marijuana is legal. Their samples included one of the NIDA strains classified as having very high levels of THC (over 10%), and a second that contained a mix of THC and cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound with potentially therapeutic properties. The team also examined wild-grown samples of hemp, a non-psychoactive cannabis strain that contains less than 0.3% THC.

The researchers compared ten genetic markers across each sample: they chose random, non-functional sections of the genome — sometimes referred to as ‘junk’ DNA — that likely weren’t influenced by evolution, to get the truest estimate of genetic diversity possible. The team found that the plants clustered into two genetic categories: drug-type strains and hemp-like strains. According to this classification, the genomes of NIDA’s two varieties looked more like hemp than the marijuana typically used as a drug. “I personally don’t think they’re providing something that’s similar to what any patient could get their hands on,” Schwabe says.

Mahmoud ElSohly, who directs the cannabis programme at the University of Mississippi, says that his lab seeks to create consistency in research cannabis — not to approximate strains found on the street or in dispensaries. “That’s not our charge,” he says. “We’re here to prepare standardized material for research.”

If other labs gained DEA permission to grow cannabis for research, scientists could begin comparing strains, says ElSohly.”

Anna’s first paper to be published was on May 28, 2018 titled – Genetic tools weed out misconceptions of strain reliability in Cannabis sativa: Implications for a budding industryAnna L. Schwabe, Mitchell E. McGlaughlin


Cannabis sativa is listed as a Schedule I substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency and has been federally illegal in the United States since 1937. However, the majority of states in the United States, as well as several countries, now have various levels of legal Cannabis. Products are labeled with identifying strain names but there is no official mechanism to register Cannabis strains, therefore the potential exists for incorrect identification or labeling. This study uses genetic analyses to investigate strain reliability from the consumer point of view. Ten microsatellite regions were used to examine samples from strains obtained from dispensaries in three states. Samples were examined for genetic similarity within strains, and also a possible genetic distinction between Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid types. The analyses revealed genetic inconsistencies within strains. Additionally, although there was strong statistical support dividing the samples into two genetic groups, the groups did not correspond to commonly reported Sativa/Hybrid/Indica types. Genetic differences have the potential to lead to phenotypic differences and unexpected effects, which could be surprising for the recreational user, but have more serious implications for patients relying on strains that alleviate specific medical symptoms.

The Centennial State has a host of non-science cannabis courses for budding professionals who want to work outside the lab. Students can learn cannabis journalism and law at the University of Denver and its Sturm College of Law, respectively  and the business of marijuana at its Daniels College of Business.

Paul Seaborn joined the management faculty at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver in 2011. Holding a PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Professor Seaborn’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of business strategy and government policy with a particular focus on regulated industries including the marijuana/cannabis industry.

In 2014, he published one of the first-ever teaching cases on the marijuana industry and in 2017 taught the first-ever Business of Marijuana course at any AACSB-accredited business school. Since 2015, he has organized or participated in over 10 conference presentations and symposia related to the marijuana industry and his analysis of the industry, including his Colorado Marijuana Market Report, has been featured in over 20 different media outlets. Prof. Seaborn has published scholarly articles in the journal Business & Society and Case Research Journal and has been the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including recognition as one of Poets & Quants Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professors in 2017.


But for a chemical education, there’s really only one place to go: Cloverleaf University. Founded in 2009 in Denver, the university specializes in quick cannabis crash courses to educate students on the knowledge needed to run a dispensary. But hopeful western US chemists can still consider its ‘chemistry for hash makers’ programm, a three-day course covering the chemistry related to making hash, extracts, and concentrates.


Full cannabis degrees are rarities in a country still emerging from prohibition, which is why the Great Lake State is so vital for nurturing the industry’s future leaders; it’s home to not one, but two full cannabis science degrees.

Northern Michigan University offers major in medicinal plant chemistry

Northern Michigan University could wind up being one of the colleges in that conversation. The Marquette, Mich.-based school started a degree program in medicinal plant chemistry two years ago. Already, they have 230 students enrolled, according to Mark Paulsen, the head of the school’s chemistry department. (The cost of freshman year at NMU is $10,729.44 for in-state students and $16,225.44 for out-of-state students).

While on the Canadian border, Lake Superior State University’s upcoming degree promises to be the first full cannabis chemistry programme in the US. Speaking to Analytical Cannabis, its organizers said, “We figured that there was no one really training these analysts, not from an academic standpoint. So having a university developed program would be a really good fit for the industry.”

New Jersey 

While the Garden State still mulls over legalizing adult use, students at Stockton University can at least get an education in the substance as part of their minor in cannabis studies. While most of the minor’s five courses center on the bureaucracy of the industry, the program’s coordinator, Kathy Sedia, is an Associate Professor of Biology and so also teaches on the clinical merits of cannabis and patient research.


A revolutionary course when launched, the University of Vermont’s cannabis science and medicine program is designed to give the next generation of clinicians an understanding of cannabis’ health benefits. Students will receive a full education in the plant’s biology, cannabis chemistry, and its biological effects on the human body.

Washington State

Another course designed for medical clinicians, the University of Washington’s medicinal cannabis program primes students to confidently discuss cannabis as a treatment of chronic pain with their patients. Entrants will learn about the body’s endocannabinoid system and how it interacts with cannabis’ unique chemistry.


Canadian Cannabis Courses


Niagara College, which offers a commercial cannabis production programme that teaches students plant nutrition, pest management, and crop health. Speaking to the Washington Post, the programme’s organizer, Professor Bill MacDonald, said that he “had licensed producers come to the college and say, ‘We need highly trained personnel.’ The demand is just huge.”

Collège Boréal, a college based in Sudbury, Ontario, recently launched three online courses in cannabis training available in both English and French. Among financial lessons, any interested science student can also expect to learn cannabis irrigation options, pest management, and crop cycles. Speaking to CBC last year, Julie Nadeau, Director of Contract Training at the college said, “With the cannabis industry obviously in a boom, and the upcoming legislation that’s around the corner, there is a very high demand for trained professionals.”

And for those Ontarians who can’t get enough online learning, Ontario Loyalist College has a partnership with the British Columbia university Kwantlen Polytechnic University to provide a range of online cannabis courses, one of which centers on plant production and facility management.

New Brunswick 

For some, this eastern region may seem too far removed from Canada’s urban centers. Perhaps because of this isolation, the Canadian government was willing to partly fund the tuition fees of 25 students to attend a medical cannabis cultivation course at one of the region’s community colleges. The first course of its kind offered in Canada, Dieppe Community College’s programme was also organized by one of the province’s two licensed medical marijuana growers, Organigram.

“It’s a science-based program,” Michel Doucet, the Executive Director of Continuing Education for the community college, explained to CBC. “Horticulture-based — so vegetation, plant care, control, environment, the watering, the elements that are required for successful growth.”


Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, also recently joined the growing list of universities offering online cannabis courses. Its three modules include one on plant production and facility management.


Reportedly coming as soon as January 2020, McGill University in Montreal will offer a full graduate degree in cannabis production. However, the Washington Post reports that it will only be open to students with botany backgrounds or bachelor’s degrees in related fields.

Nova Scotia 

This eastern province may be one of Canada’s smallest, but there are still cannabis education efforts to be found, such as the agreement reached between St. Francis Xavier University and THC Dispensaries Canada Inc., which will allow around 30 of the university’s students to work at the industrial facility for college credit.

In a press statement, Andrew Kendall, the university’s Manager of Industry Transfers, said that, “there are researchers at StFX with interest and expertise in cannabinoid compounds and how they may provide benefit for a variety of medical conditions. With THC Inc., we see opportunities where our faculty and students can collaborate in these areas.”

British Columbia

Of course, students anywhere in the country can study the online cannabis programme of British Columbia’s own Kwantlen Polytechnic University. But there might be an extra aspect of satisfaction studying the university’s plant production and facility management module in its home province.

For those keen to learn from their teachers in-person, Camosun College also offers a cannabis cultivation course on growing and retail consultancy. And students at Okanagan College can elect for its cannabis science module, which aims to “provide the foundation for entry-level positions with licensed production facilities or micro cultivators in the industry.”