The University of Maryland is launching a master’s degree program to instruct students on the science and regulation of medical marijuana. The new Master of Science (MS) in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics will “provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to existing research in the field, and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy,” according to a press release from the university.
The new degree is the first graduate program in the United States dedicated to the study of the medicinal use of cannabis. The two-year program will be based at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland and is designed for health care practitioners, scientists, regulators, dispensary owners, and other cannabis industry professionals.
“The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is an incredibly unique program,” said Dr. Leah Sera, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and director of the new program. “Faculty from the School of Pharmacy who lead courses for the program are experts in both basic and clinical sciences related to the study of medications, and are dedicated to making coursework both interesting and accessible to all students.”
“There is truly no other educational program that offers the in-depth instruction on the science, policy, and therapeutics of medical cannabis that students who are accepted into our program will receive,” she added.
Most Coursework Completed Online
The curriculum for the program will be a mix of online coursework and “face-to-face” experiences, according to the university. Dr. Natalie D. Eddington, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, said that the program will train professionals for a rapidly growing field.
“Medical cannabis has been legalized in 33 states, including Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico,” Eddington said. “This number is only expected to increase in the future, fueling a demand for an educated workforce that is well-trained in both the science and therapeutic effects associated with this medicinal plant. Our MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics has been critically designed to prepare students to meet this demand. Innovations in instructional design throughout the curriculum will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to make a positive impact on communities across the United States.”
Is the Program for You?
The program is open to applicants with a bachelor’s degree who work or wish to work in the medical cannabis industry. Students must be able to travel to the university’s campus outside Washington, D.C. once per semester for required symposia.
“Students who complete our program will have an unparalleled competitive advantage when it comes to pursuing or advancing a career in the medical cannabis industry,” Sera said. “These individuals will be well-prepared to support patients and the medical cannabis industry with the knowledge and skills gained from their coursework. They will also be able to add to existing clinical and scientific research on medical cannabis, and will be able to contribute to well-informed policies related to medical cannabis.”
Applications from students wishing to enroll in the program are due by August 15 for classes beginning on August 26.