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U.S. College Launches Nation’s Only Cannabis Science Graduate Program

College Cannabis

The legal marijuana industry is projected to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy in the next decade, which is why Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia decided to add a cannabis science degree program to its curriculum.

The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University announced it has created the nation’s first—and only—university-based, graduate-level certificates in cannabis education for healthcare and industry professionals.

“With the ever-evolving legislative and regulatory environment, accumulating data and diverse political commentary on the topic of medical marijuana, there exists a vast knowledge gap,” said Charles Pollack, MD, director of the Jefferson Institute of Emerging Health Professions and The Lambert Center. “Our goal at The Lambert Center is to help expand the knowledge base of scientists and clinicians—physicians of every specialty, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists—and these new programs will help advance the knowledge and treatment around medicinal cannabis.”

Prescriptions for cannabis have not been written since 1937, when medical marijuana was made illegal. That means most practicing medical professionals have learned only about the drug’s abuse potential and little about its clinical applications. It was only in the 1980s that scientists began to clarify the body’s endocannabinoid system, which provides our current understanding of how cannabinoids may work in the treatment of various diseases.

Beginning fall of 2018, the Lambert Center will launch graduate certificates in Cannabis Medicine and Cannabinoid Pharmacology, both the first of their kind. In 2019, the Cannabinoid Chemistry and Toxicology Graduate Certificate will be launched.

  • The Cannabis Medicine Certificate will target clinicians who want a higher level of knowledge about safe and appropriate medicinal cannabis to incorporate into their practices.  Pharmacological and pathologic concepts and current treatments of diseases for which cannabinoid compounds have been demonstrated to be therapeutic will be covered and supplemented with peer-reviewed research data on cannabis therapy as an adjunct or replacement for conventional therapy.  The program will also include a comprehensive review of the social, political and cultural landscape in which the current debates occur.
  • The Cannabinoid Pharmacology Certificate, targeting scientists and researchers, will explore the ways cannabis affects the human body as well as how the body metabolizes and excretes cannabis and cannabinoids.
  • The Cannabinoid Chemistry and Toxicology Certificate will give those working in regulation of the legal cannabis industry, as well as scientists, an understanding of cannabis botany and propagation, products and biological samples and principles of quality control for cannabis containing products.