Colorado universities dive into cannabis education

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Community College of Denver now offers an associate’s degree in cannabis science, and it’s not the only school with a marijuana program.

Denver Community College

School is back, as have a plethora of cannabis courses offered at Colorado colleges.

This fall, colleges including University of Denver, University of Colorado Boulder, Denver Metropolitan State University, Colorado State University-Pueblo and the Denver Community College They are offering classes in cannabis business, law and science, among other plant-focused courses.

Although studying cannabis is not new to higher education in Colorado, these courses are expanding. CU Boulder currently offers the Cannabis and Health class, as well as a Modern Cannabis class, while CU Denver has hosted courses such as Cannabis Therapeutics, Legal and Regulatory Affairs in Cannabis, Pharmacology and Physiology of Cannabis, and Medical Use of Cannabis.

“It’s really about educating consumers, educating policymakers, and educating people in the cannabis industry so they really know what the evidence is and what evidence is missing,” explains Dr. Angela Bryan, CU Boulder professor of psychology and neuroscience and instructor of the university’s Cannabis and Health course. “It’s a very balanced picture of the public health implications of cannabis legalization, both in terms of potential harms and potential benefits.”

CU campuses are not the only universities offering cannabis courses this semester. After offering cannabis hospitality courses last year, MSU Denver now offers health, science and law courses covering medical marijuana. As younger generations become more involved with cannabis, MSU’s Cannabis as Medicine course instructor Emory Wilder compares marijuana education to sex education.

“Especially for young people, it’s kind of an analog of teaching proper sex ed versus just teaching abstinence. If all someone hears growing up is that marijuana is the devil, whatever the propaganda is, then the young people who come here don’t have good information and then they really get into trouble, ”he says.

However, the goal of most cannabis education courses at universities is to prepare students for jobs in the country’s growing marijuana industry. CU Boulder currently has an online Cannabis Science and Medicine graduate certificate program as well as a Cannabis Entrepreneurship Program through the Leeds School of Business. This year there are also classes in journalism and cannabis law at DU.

“Here in Colorado we are obviously the lead state, we need to keep that cache and help other states learn and create more systems to keep this going, and keep it regulated and done the right way,” says DU Professor Andrew Matranga. , who has offered a cannabis journalism course at the school since 2015.

At the beginning of this year, Denver Community College announced that it would begin offering an associate’s degree in applied cannabis science, while CSU-Pueblo started a similar program offering a degree in cannabis chemistry and biology, as well as various hemp science courses and research programs. According to Dr. David Lehmpuhl, Dfean interterim of CSU-Pueblo’s STEM Department, the university has plans to expand cannabis education opportunities by offering a master’s program in the future.

“From a public safety point of view, we think it’s a very good idea. We are not pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis. We’re only interested in the science of it, so we really want to try and bring the science up to speed, “says Lehmpuhl.” We are trying to educate the next generation of scientists who will conduct research in the area of ​​chemistry or biology specifically related to cannabis. ”

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