The University of Maryland launches a master’s degree in medical marijuana
You might associate cannabis with college because you smoked so much of it to survive, but now weed and academia have a new partnership. The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has announced that it will offer a graduate degree program in medical cannabis, the first degree in the country that relates to marijuana explicitly.
While the degree is part of the pharmacology school with a medical-specific focus, we sure are excited for this one small step towards the giant leap of taking cannabis seriously in the academic realm!
Starting out: Getting cannabis studies off the ground
In an interview with CannabizMD, Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, and Professor Executive Director of University Regional Partnerships at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) explains “We started a couple of years ago working with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Initially, we were doing an online program for industry professionals and there were some issues. One of the challenges that we had is we developed the program and didn’t run it past Maryland’s Attorney General’s office. So that was a lesson for us.”
The legal issues around marijuana in the state of Maryland meant that getting the degree offline and into the classroom was a complex process. One of the main challenges was to open up this field of study to anyone who wanted to study it, not just the more obvious medicine candidates.
“After going through the appropriate process, we started to write our program about a year ago. We didn’t want to put barriers in place. We could have said that it’s only for, let’s say, healthcare professionals. Or only for students who have a bachelor’s degree in science. We didn’t want to do that because we didn’t want to limit it.” Dr. Eddington said.
While the medical angle sure if fascinating, Dr. Eddington hoped that the graduate degree could be studied by students of alternative medicine, such as students interested in therapeutics, not just science.
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The multi-faculty nature of this degree is what makes it particularly unusual. “In this program, we are saying that anyone with a bachelor’s degree can apply and we will provide you with the background you need to understand the science courses, as well as classes that are focused on therapeutics.” Dr. Eddington explained.
High times: Responding to future workforce needs
Although the masters degree offers a wide scope of study, Dr. Eddington is quick to point out that the workforce needs of tomorrow’s marijuana industry are growing.
“There are 250,000 new positions in the industry that will be available over the next couple of years. These huge numbers aren’t usually seen in terms of workforce needs.” She said.
Like most masters programs that are tailored towards getting students employed in their relevant industry, Dr. Eddington and her colleagues hope the program will offer a foot in the door for students looking to step up into roles within the growing cannabis industry.
“Just as we bring in community pharmacies and health systems for the pharmacy students, we will also bring in medical cannabis experts from around the state and have a full-day symposium. We will also have industry leaders from across the country to talk with our students about their needs and perspectives.” She added.
Here at GRASSDOOR, we’re proud to offer employment opportunities that relate to the ever-growing weed industry, providing customers with top-shelf marijuana delivery in Los Angeles. Beyond, the industry requires experts in growing, policy, sales, marketing, distribution, branding and a host of other areas where a college degree might get you far.
In the medical field though, Dr. Eddington explains that more substantial research is required if the US is going to lead the marijuana revolution.
“What we still don’t know is what if you’re extracting CBD, what’s the role of the terpenes? We sort of know, but we could optimize that and do some research. There is a lot of work to be done to clarify how to best use cannabis. How do we get the right components and the right dosage at the right time for the right patient?”
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Women in the weed industry
Dr. Eddington is hoping to see a variety of applicants, hoping that the alternative nature of study will be an area where women take up positions of leadership. She hopes the masters program will provide a platform for more women to enter the cannabis business.
“The biggest problem is we don’t see ourselves in leadership positions. We want somebody to say, “It’s your turn.” As women, when we are able to identify an opportunity that aligns with our portfolio, our characteristics, our expertise, then we need to pursue that.” Dr. Eddington explained.
As federal limitation of the cannabis industry evolve, here at GRASSDOOR we’re excited to see how the marijuana landscape grows, encompassing a diverse workforce that makes it an exciting and fair place to work.
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So whether you see yourself as an aspiring Professor of Cannabis, or you prefer to study all the different strains at home, we are happy to deliver excellent, affordable marijuana in record time!