For much of modern American history, cannabis has been considered taboo in most arenas of public life. Even beyond the restriction on its purchase, the societal stigma surrounding cannabis prevented it from being discussed in most public settings, including in academic contexts.
However, the rising tide of legalization has done much to eliminate the negative perception towards cannabis and open the doors to the appreciation of cannabis in public life. In many parts of the country, dispensaries no longer have to be secretive about their business, and discussion of cannabis and its use has become commonplace and normal within society. And even something to learn about.
Recently, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia became the first accredited university to offer a cannabis degree to its students. While this degree is unique in the academic world, there are reasons to think it won’t be anywhere near the last.
A Masters in Cannabis
While a cannabis degree may sound strange to the general public, one Philadelphia University is actually ahead of its time in catering to a rapidly expanding industry. With nearly exponential job growth in the cannabis industry predicted in the near future, the demand for expertise in the field is greater than ever before. Until now, that expertise was based on professional experience and education in adjacent fields, without a specific academic discipline associated with it.
With a masters in cannabis from Thomas Jefferson University, students who have already completed bachelors degrees in medical or scientific areas of study will have the opportunity to focus their attention on the field of cannabis. At the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, students interested in understanding the medical capabilities of cannabis can deepen their knowledge of the plant and prepare themselves for work in the emerging industry.
The primary goal of the Lambert Center is to direct research towards enhancing the medicinal properties of cannabis and develop new uses for the plant. Dr. Charles Pollack Jr., the director of the Lambert Center, has stated that the intent of the facility is to explore uncharted territory. As prohibition of cannabis has prevented proper research of cannabis in the past, the Lambert Center hopes to uncover the ways in which cannabis can be used as a therapeutic drug.
How to Acquire a Cannabis Degree
Right now, Thomas Jefferson University is the only university offering a specialized masters degree in the field of cannabis. While other “cannabis universities” exist, none of these are attached to any accredited university program.
Those enrolled in the Thomas Jefferson University cannabis masters degree program are mostly engaged in work related to research and health. Doctors, scientists, and other professionals can participate in the program to become experts in the field and, potentially, make an important contribution to the nascent field of cannabis knowledge. However, the program is fairly exclusive at the moment, and only 40 students were enrolled as of the first class in the fall of 2018.
Other schools are slowly jumping on board with certificates and classes geared at honing skills valued in the cannabis industry. Would you take a class in cannabis?