U. of Md. launches master’s in medical cannabis science

BALTIMORE — The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has launched a master’s program in medical cannabis science and therapeutics.

According to a UM news release, the program will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to research in the field and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy. Based at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md., the two-year program blends online learning with face-to-face experiences.

It is the first graduate program in the country dedicated to the study of medical cannabis, according to UM. 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,” Natalie D. Eddington, dean and professor of the school of pharmacy, said in the news release. “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.”

The coursework addresses basic science, clinical use, adverse effects and public health, and federal and state laws and policies surrounding medical cannabis. Online coursework is designed to accommodate students with or without a background in science or medicine, as well as offer flexibility when completing assignments. In-person symposia held once each semester provide students with opportunities to network with peers, as well as meet and interact with experts in the science, therapeutics and policy of medical cannabis.

The application deadline is Aug. 15 for classes beginning on Aug. 26.

To better meet the needs of working professionals, the degree does not require the completion of a thesis. Instead, students complete a capstone course that features a selection of expert seminars, case studies and discussions.