University of Vermont Adds Cannabis Courses

Medical or not, Marijuana is becoming more mainstream with each passing day – and not just in Colorado.  As other states follow in Colorado’s footsteps with legalization, there comes a need for marijuana education.  And education that isn’t limited to law and policy. Finally, one college institution has stepped up and is offering courses allowing students to learn the actual science of the drug and not just the hearsay that we all absorb.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges and Universities, the University of Vermont is the first in the United States to offer an extensive course on medical cannabis. Twenty three states have legalized medical marijuana, however educational opportunities haven’t been too scientific.

Though the new offering is exciting, this does not come without its challenges. One major hurdle the professors need to leap over is teaching the class using high-quality information and facts about cannabis. Since cannabis has been an unmentionable topic in our country for so long, there is a severe lack of proper research and even textbooks that can be used as teaching tools. Books that are currently available tend to include information on how to clean pipes or use marijuana in cooking, which isn’t the intention of the course. Professors teaching this course will write their own textbook that will aid in educating people about the science behind marijuana going forward.

The Massachusetts Medical Society also offers courses regarding the use of medical marijuana, but has done so online only. They too have been hampered in educating students properly due to the lack of research.

Despite its challenges, the Vermont course will include specific topics such as cannabis taxonomy, plant biology, medical chemistry of cannabinoids, chemicals found in marijuana, physiological effects of the drug, evolving therapeutic applications, economic impacts as well as the historical, political and socioeconomic influences on marijuana legislation.

The course starts in the spring and enrollment has already surpassed expectations causing educators to expand the class. This is an indication that people are interested in a formal scientific education when it comes to medical cannabis. Could this be the start of quality educational offerings at accredited institutions? And as more research is conducted, could we possibly begin seeing even more of an acceptance of medical cannabis from medical professionals? We will have to wait and see what happens during this evolutionary period of the use of medical marijuana in the United States, but medical marijuana will continue to reach more people.

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