As of 2019, the legal cannabis industry has been responsible for creating an impressive 211,000 jobs in the United States. With Leafly reporting that the cannabis workforce increased 21 percent in 2017 alone, gaining another 44 percent in 2018, at least another 20 percent growth in jobs is expected by the end of 2019. That would represent a 110 percent growth in cannabis jobs in just three years.
Consequently, universities across the country are acknowledging the importance of tapping into the world of cannabis in a bid to prepare students for this developing and career-promising industry.
Here is a list of the universities currently offering classes in cannabis:
Class: ‘Physiology of Cannabis’
Designed for students in the biological sciences, the three-unit undergraduate course covers the biology of cannabis and cannabinoids as well as their physiological effects in multiple systems, underlying mechanisms and therapeutic values. It also surveys the history of cannabis use, covers the endocannabinoid system and discusses potential medical targets for cannabis and their relative effectiveness.
“This course is one of the few taught on an American college campus with a dedicated theme on the biology, physiology and medicinal effects of cannabis and cannabinoids,” said Yu-Fung Lin, an associate professor of physiology and membrane biology at UC Davis School of Medicine who is teaching the course.
Lin, who also has a joint appointment in the Department Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, is preparing a similar course specifically for UC Davis medical students.
Class: Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry
Cornell, one of the most recent universities to adopt a cannabis class, fully recognizes the potential this industry has, noting in their class description that the medical marijuana industry in the United States is estimated at $6.7 billion and is expected to grow to over $10 billion by 2021.
Cornell students who enroll in this class will learn about the historical importance of cannabis in the development of medicines, textiles, paper, construction materials and foods, as well as cultural, religious and recreational uses. They’ll also learn about farming and cultivation and the challenges the cannabis industry faces as it evolves.
Carlyn S. Buckler, an associate professor of practice with Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science, “created the course to help students garner more skills within the cannabis industry,” The Ithaca Times reported. Buckler tells The Ithaca Times:
“The potential profitability of this industry is clear, but the obstacles to its economic and industrial development are significant and include establishing better agricultural supply chains, breeding research to develop more vigorous and disease-resistant varieties, refining/improving farming practices, as well as policy and legal challenges associated with cannabis.”
Class: Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform
This class examines the social and historical backdrop of intoxicant prohibition, and assesses the legal reforms and political debates now surrounding the control and regulation of marijuana use. The professor Douglas A. Berman, a Harvard Law School graduate, is an avid speaker on cannabis legalization and reform. In an interview with the Cannabis Law Report, Berman expressed his standpoint on the topic of nationwide legalization.
“I’m inclined to predict that we’re going to continue to see an evolution in state laws that are more permissive of a range of marijuana use rather than sticking with traditional prohibition,” he said.
Class: Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain
Developed specifically for health care professionals, this class presents current information and clinical practice guidelines on the use of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain. The class is divided into two modules: “Medicinal Cannabis Education for Clinicians” and “Medicinal Cannabis – Best Practices.”
The goal of this program is to increase students awareness of options in treating pain and other medical conditions and to decrease unnecessary suffering among people living with chronic pain in the state of Washington. The project aims to provide information and education about medical conditions for those of which medicinal cannabis is or is not recommended, side effects and other risks.
Class: Cannabis Studies
This interdisciplinary minor in Cannabis Studies offers students a foundation for understanding the burgeoning cannabis industry.
This minor arguably offers students the most in-depth insight and hands-on experience in the cannabis industry. Students will have to take classes focusing on issues such as the legal, social justice, health, financial and economic implications of legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Students will also study the history of marijuana legislation, and what business opportunities have developed or could develop in the future. Additionally, students are also required to secure an internship within the cannabis industry.
“This is a growing industry, and we want to prepare our students from a variety of academic viewpoints,” program coordinator Ekaterina Sedia said.