The University of Maryland will be the first University in the United States to offer a graduate degree in medical cannabis.
The Master of Science (MS) in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics will offer students the opportunity to not only learn how to treat medical marijuana patients but also work on research in the field and help potentially shape medical cannabis policy going forward through a two-year program.
“Medical cannabis has been legalized in 33 states, including Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor at UMSOP. “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.”
The program will be the first graduate program in the country to be focused specifically on medical cannabis. It plans to cater to anyone with an undergraduate degree that wants to work in the medical cannabis space, specifically noting that the program is right for health care professionals as well as growers and industry professionals.
“The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is an incredibly unique program,” says Leah Sera, PharmD, MA, BCPS, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at UMSOP, director of the MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program, and a clinical pharmacist who practices in the field of palliative care. “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.”
She adds, “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.”
The course itself will be held predominately online, a set up that the University hopes will accommodate students who might already have jobs or other commitments that would prevent them from attending on-campus classes. The coursework is designed to be understandable for students with or without a background in science or medicine.
In-person symposia held once each semester at USG provide students with opportunities to network with peers, as well as meet and interact with experts in the science, therapeutics, and policy of medical cannabis.
“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,” says Sera. “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.”
IF you’re interested in learning more about the program, you can visit the University’s website here.