The cannabis industry is growing quickly, and medical professionals are needed to help lead and provide guidance. That’s where a new program from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences comes in.
The school’s initial program, offered through the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Colorado for the first time last spring, is an eight-week course for continuing education. The goal of the program is to teach what medical cannabis can do for patient care, as well as how cannabis should and should not fit into the medical world. There was so much demand for the program that the school is expanding its offerings to include advanced degrees in Cannabis Science and Medicine.
New programs offered in the state include a graduate degree in Cannabis Science and Medicine and a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences: Cannabis Science and Medicine Speciality Track. Even better, all classes will be taught online, so they are being offered on a global basis to anyone who wants to pursue a cannabis degree. Classes will begin in August.
The Intention of The Program
The certificate program will focus on understanding the pharmacology and therapeutics of cannabis and is mainly for healthcare professionals wanting to learn more about cannabis and scientists who are interested in learning more about cannabis chemistry. The master’s degree will cover topics of drug action and safety, and is a good fit for those with a health sciences undergraduate degree looking to get into pharmaceutical sciences.
“The data indicated that there was a void in evidence-based cannabis education for medical professionals and scientists alike,” said Laura Borgelt, PharmD, professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Family Medicine. “But it was the response to the eight-week CE certificate that we offered in the spring that really provided the feedback we needed. Across the board, participants told us that there just wasn’t anything else out there at this level of medicine and science. That’s when we knew we had to move forward in offering an advanced certificate and a degree in this emerging field.”
“The huge variety of cannabis products at dispensaries—inhaled, edibles, concentrates, topicals—and the proliferation of hemp and CBD consumer products makes it difficult for clinicians to gauge whether a patient’s cannabis use is potentially useful or harmful, or simply a waste of money,” said David Kroll, PhD, professor of Pharmacology. “These courses will help healthcare professionals ask the right questions of their patients and be able to give answers based on science and clinical research, not product marketing. These programs will also give scientists advanced training in applying the principles of pharmaceutical sciences to cannabis and other plant-based medicines.”
“Schools of pharmacy have traditionally been where healthcare providers go to learn about medicines from plants,” Kroll said. “As our University of Colorado faculty have led research projects to investigate the medical use and risks of cannabis and products derived from the plant, we feel that reaching out to the practicing and scientific community to share our knowledge and expertise fulfills our national and global mission to improve patient care and build academic and industrial research capacity.”
This major milestone for cannabis education will create a brighter future for those looking to make an impact on the industry through the world of healthcare.