Posts tagged with "Marijuana"

Cannabis courses and degree programs are multiplying like weeds

August 6, 2019

A big challenge for employers in the nearly $14 billion global market for legal marijuana is not a shortage of applicants—but a lack of qualified applicants, according to a recent report by Quartz.

“We have one of the biggest industries developing without any trained professionals,” says Jamie Warm, co-founder and CEO of Henry’s Original, a Mendocino County, California-based cannabis cultivator and distributor.

Instead, he’s pulling staff from packaged goods industries such as liquor and fashion, where the “particular business feels like their experience translates,” he says, but there’s still a “learning curve.”

However, that’s about to change, as universities and colleges nationwide start offering courses and degrees in cannabis cultivation, distribution, and retailing.

This autumn, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, will offer the undergraduate course, Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry.  The course will explore the history, culture, pharmacology, breeding, horticulture, and legal challenges associated with cannabis in an effort to inform and stimulate new ideas towards solving these problems—motivating future plant breeders, horticulturists, farmers, pharmacologists, and entrepreneurs to be successful in the cannabis industry.

Even more in-depth is the program being offered at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.  has launched a new Master of Science (MS) in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to existing research in the field, and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy.

Based at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville, Maryland, the two-year program blends online learning with face-to-face experiences, and is designed for any individual who has completed his or her undergraduate degree and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical cannabis industry.

The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is the first graduate program in the country dedicated to the study of medical cannabis. It aims to meet the needs of all individuals interested in advancing their knowledge about medical cannabis, including health care professionals such as physicians, nurses, and pharmacists; scientists and regulators; growers and dispensary owners; and policy and industry professionals.

“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 of the School of Pharmacy. “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.

She continues, “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.”

two-year program starts in late August, which also is when the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia will offer the first of four courses in a new MBA option for students interested in studying the cannabis industry.

And in Canada, which last year became the second country in the world to legalize weed nationwide, McGill University plans to offer a graduate degree in cannabis production starting in 2020.

The growing number of colleges adding degrees and courses in cannabis (there are also online cannabis certificate programs out there) reflects a hot industry with needs for both high-level and broad-based skills, whether in horticulture, chemistry, entrepreneurship, pharmacology, policy and regulation, communication, or the law.

Jamie Warm, who has interviewed ex-employees of Nike and Tesla for jobs at Henry’s, said in an interview with Quartz that his company has just over 100 employees now and expects to double its headcount by next year. He says that in addition to management skills and agricultural know-how, there’s a need for people with startup experience who are comfortable with “tackling things at more of a grassroots level.”

There’s also the obvious challenge of attracting professionals to an industry that is not completely legal in most countries, including the United States.

Research contact: @qz

Smoke and mirrors: Marijuana users weigh less, despite the ‘munchies’

April 22, 2019

“Munchies” or not, people who like to get high on marijuana sustain a lower body weight than those who abstain, according to findings of a study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and released on April 19.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, belie the belief that marijuana users ultimately gain more weight. Results also suggest that new and persistent users are less likely to be overweight or obese, overall.

“Over a three-year period, all participants showed a weight increase, but interestingly, those who used marijuana had less of an increase compared to those that never used,” said Omayma Alshaarawy, lead author and an assistant professor of family medicine. “Our study builds on mounting evidence that this opposite effect occurs.”

Indeed, she said, “We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight,” she said. “Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.”

Researchers used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions and looked at the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 33,000 subjects, ages 18 and older; then,  compared the numbers.

While the actual weight difference among users and non-users was modes— about two pounds for a 5-foot-7-inch participant who weighed close to 200 pounds at the start of the study—the variance was prevalent among the entire sample size.

“An average two-pound difference doesn’t seem like much, but we found it in more than 30,000 people with all different kinds of behaviors and still got this result,” Alshaarawy said.

So, what is it about marijuana that seems to affect weight? Alshaarawy indicated it’s still relatively unknown but it could be several factors.

“It could be something that’s more behavioral like someone becoming more conscious of their food intake as they worry about the munchies after cannabis use and gaining weight,” she said. “Or it could be the cannabis use itself, which can modify how certain cells, or receptors, respond in the body and can ultimately affect weight gain. More research needs to be done.”

Alshaarawy cautions, though, that marijuana should not be considered a diet aid.

“There [are] too many health concerns around cannabis that far outweigh the potential positive, yet modest, effects it has on weight gain,” she said. “People shouldn’t consider it as a way to maintain or even lose weight.”

Research contact:  alshaara@msu.edu

Canadian legislators vote to ‘go to pot” nationwide in September

June 21, 2018

Following a 52-29 vote in Canada’s Senate in favor of The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) on June 19, America’s neighbor to the north will become the second country in the world—and the first G7 nation—to legalize marijuana this coming September. The first nation to do so was Uruguay, which decriminalized marijuana production, sales and consumption in December 2014, according to a report by CNN.

The move—promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the run-up to his election—was supported by nearly 70% of the Canadian population, based on findings of a CTV poll conducted back in 2016. A more recent Nanos survey established that 43% of Canadians fully supported legalization, while 26% “somewhat’ supported the idea; and only 26% opposed decriminalization.

On Twitter, Trudeau said he was happy with the legislative vote, noting, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana—and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept

Indeed, the bill set a floor on the minimum age of the consumer at 18 years—and makes the production, distribution, or sale of cannabis products an offense for minors. Canadian adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public, the bill specifies. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants at home and prepare products such as edibles for personal use.

However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana, CNN reports. Consumers are expected to purchase marijuana from retailers regulated by provinces, territories or—when neither of those options are available—federally licensed producers. Marijuana also will not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco.

The Canadian government also has implemented changes to its impaired driving laws, to address repercussions is estimated to surge as high as 58%, especially as users are expected to be willing to pay a premium for legal access to the drug

In the United States, BDS Analytics  has estimated that the marijuana industry took in nearly $9 billion in sales in 2017.

Research contact: @bani_sapra