As the US government and various institutions across the country butt heads over the future of cannabis, the educational sector is set on improving and elevating our knowledge about the plant. Some universities in the United States have already started programs that educate students about cannabis, its therapeutic effects, and how it relates to both state and federal law. The University of Vermont is the latest addition to this growing list of educational institutions with this goal in mind.
From online courses to traditional lecture settings, tm,he University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine is bringing a wide range of courses to students-all of which have a scientific focus.
UVM was the first university in the nation to offer courses on the medical uses of cannabis, a program that they began two years ago. Pharm 200: Cannabis Past, Present and Future is an annual class that was pioneered by pharmacology progessor Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D and Wolfgang Dostmann, Ph.D, with an emphasis on the most current of clinical knowledge.
In the state of Vermont, possession of cannabis still carries penalties ranging from fines to jail time if it was obtained outside of a medical space. Under the language of state law, UVM students are also forbidden from making trips to dispensaries for research.
And that isn’t the only way that the law could be impeding the development of knowledge in these young, inquiring minds. There is a serious amount of red tape that researchers, including those at universities like UVM, must navigate in order to move forward. This is because of federal law, which declares cannabis as an illegal, Schedule One illicit substance, not Vermont state law.
To be able to legally create the courses that are being offered to students at the university now, there had to be a distinct focus on pharmacology and other concepts that outline”underlying medicinal and other cannabis use.”
In Pharm 200, the content is broken down into three sections:
- Cannabis plant biology and history
- The medicinal chemistry of cannabis
- The therapeutic aspect of cannabis
The goal of these courses is to bring awareness to a new generation of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, which has been in use for thousands of years and is now slowly becoming a mainstream part of medicine.