Cannabis Research in Universities

Written by Shawn Tucker

Cannabis is legal for adult use in 19 states across the United States and Washington D.C. In 38 states, cannabis is legal for medical use. As more research is published across the world on the medicinal benefits of cannabis, it is necessary for universities and colleges to keep up with the growing demand to produce educated individuals.


Different Areas of Study

A variety of educational institutes offer some type of cannabis education. That education ranges from medical applications to agricultural and horticultural focuses. Many universities are also researching the wide applications of hemp throughout different industries.

Scientists are constantly studying cannabis and learning about cannabinoids and terpenes that differ based on the exact genetics of each plant. The different applications for cannabis, just in the field of science go beyond medicine to include chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and botany. Within the medical field specifically, cannabis research is needed in every area of the body and scientists work to enhance their understanding of the endocannabinoid system that is unique to every mammal on the planet.

Cannabis has unique growing needs based on the purpose of use. The nutrient blend and practices used from seed to flower will be different based on whether the plant is being cultivated for medicinal or industrial use.

There is also a growing need for policy and legal understanding in the cannabis industry as the state and federal legalities continue to shift. As states legalize cannabis, whether for recreational or medical use, they are standing up boards and oversight offices, and writing laws and policies. It is important to have educated individuals in those positions who understand cannabis.


Institutes of Interest

At Thomas Jefferson University, a Master’s degree in Medical Cannabis Science and Business through the Institute of Emerging Health Professionals is just one of the cannabis-centered courses of study available. The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp is focused on medical research and educating future medical professionals

The University of Connecticut was the United States’ first university to offer a class on cannabis horticulture. Their College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources continues to lead the way in studying the unique ways that cannabis grows and its unique needs as a plant. The university also has an internship program for its students to develop specialized skills in different aspects of the cannabis industry such as production, processing, and testing.

Florida Gulf Coast University offers cannabis studies through their Integrated Studies programs. Students have the ability to choose from at least three different disciplines.

Saint Joseph’s University recently launched a cannabis certification program that offers four different certificates. They are responding to the need across industries for educated professionals.

The pinnacle institute of higher learning for cannabis study is Oaksterdam University, America’s first and only college focused solely on the study of cannabis. Since opening in 2007, they have focused on providing certifications in cannabis horticulture, budtending, business, and extraction and manufacturing.

As the cannabis industry grows, so does the need for cannabis professionals. The focus of education is as diverse and in-depth as any traditional field of study.


Photo Credit: Kirill Klimov on Unsplash

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Shawn Tucker

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