The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) is now accepting applications for the nation's first graduate program dedicated to the study of medical cannabis. The school's new Master of Science (MS) in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is a two-year program designed to “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.”
“The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is an incredibly unique program,” Dr. Leah Sera, a pharmacy specialist and the program's director, said in a statement. “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.”
The new program is targeted at a wide range of individuals seeking knowledge about medical cannabis, including health care professionals, cannabis growers, dispensary owners, scientists, researchers, or policymakers. Much of the curriculum for the program will consist of online coursework, but students will also be required to attend an in-person symposium once per semester, where they can meet and interact with industry professionals.
Students will not be required to complete a thesis, but must complete coursework featuring expert seminars, case studies, and discussions. The course will educate students on the basic science, clinical and medical use, and potential side effects of cannabis. Students will also learn about the patchwork of federal and state laws and policies concerning medical marijuana.
“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,” Dr. 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.”
There are a number of unaccredited colleges offering cannabis education, as well as a few accredited colleges that offer individual cannabis courses, but the UMSOP's new program is the first fully accredited graduate program on the topic. The University of Maryland attempted to roll out medical marijuana training classes on a smaller scale in 2017, but these classes were cancelled at the last minute under the advisement of the state Attorney General.
The UMSOP will be accepting applications for their medical marijuana MS program until August 15. Classes will begin on August 26th at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland.