Summer Kriegshauser is a Washington DC denizen studying for her second master’s degree online. Each day before she goes to work, she logs in to a website and goes through her lectures and classwork. She is hopeful that she will be able to change careers with additional qualifications. She is studying for a Masters of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics.
Kriegshauser is one of the 150 students who are the pioneers of the marijuana masters graduate program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in the U.S.
This is a standalone program. However, some universities are providing students with one-off classes on marijuana, and two others have created an undergraduate degree in medicinal plant chemistry, but none has gone as far as Maryland by offering a master’s degree in cannabis.
The program is carried out over a period of two years, and the highest percentage of the courses are online-based. The program comes at a time when the number of states legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use is on the rise. This is creating ever-expanding opportunities for people looking to grow in the cannabis industry, and given the dynamism of the marijuana industry and laws related to weed, the possibilities are bound to keep expanding.
Expertise in marijuana is gained through experience as the industry continues to grow. Those looking to make a career in the marijuana industry are taking a risky gamble because the likelihood of finding a job can be tasking in such fluid circumstances.
Kriegshauser says that she loves everything marijuana, but quitting her job to work at a marijuana dispensary to learn about marijuana was out of the question. She wanted to learn the properties of cannabis, all the compounds such as CBD, and how they interact with the body. She also wanted to learn about dosing and medical marijuana qualifying ailments.
According to the program director Dr. Leah Sera, the university officials at the school of pharmacy noticed that most of their graduates were entering a professional world where marijuana was viewed as an alternative medicine used for treating several illnesses.
Studies show that there is an educational gap when it comes to medical marijuana. Health professionals are requesting that more education on marijuana be availed since patients turn to them when they have a question related to cannabis and therapeutic uses, said Dr. Sera.
Several cannabis programs are being launched in different states across the U.S, and it would be irresponsible if the pharmacy professionals do not act on it.
The idea for the program was first conceived by the school’s dean, Natalie D. Eddington. She received the go-ahead from the Board of Regents and the state’s higher education authorities in May and June, respectively. The Attorney-General gave his go-ahead after he was assured that the students would not be handling marijuana in the school compound.
The university intended for the inaugural class to consist of 50 students, but they were forced to increase the number to 150 after an overwhelming number of 506 individuals applied. The class has students from different states and countries such as Hong Kong and Australia. The required number of courses is four and some electives.
Kriegshauser said that although there is much uncertainty when it comes to getting a job, she is confident that her master’s degree will enhance her professional career.
Industry watchers and the entire cannabis industry, including players like MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) are glad that higher education institutions are taking the initiative to bridge the knowledge and skills gap existing in the marijuana industry.
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