The study of cannabis is split between public institutions and private, cannabis-specific colleges. Public universities vary in the quality of resources invested: for example, UC Davis offers just one course on the subject, whereas UC Berkeley has a dedicated Cannabis Research Institute staffed in part by faculty teaching their own cannabis coursework. Private universities offer one-stop educations on the plant.

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Cannabis Training University (CTU) was the first online cannabis college back in 2009, and being the leader in online cannabis colleges has attracted expert instructors in cannabis to contribute at CTU in areas such as: cannabis cultivation, cannabis extractions, cannabis business, cannabis as medicine, cannabis laws, budtending, CBD and hemp, and other cannabis careers. In addition, CTU does extensive research into what consumers and cannabis businesses are most interested in, in order to train job-ready graduates.

More Rigorous Research on Cannabis is Needed - Academia Can Provide That

Dr. Yu-Fung Lin teaches her own curriculum for the Physiology of Cannabis at UC Davis School of Medicine. She recognizes the transformative opportunity presented before the academic community and employs a scientist’s objectivity toward addressing the bleeding need to learn more about the plant.

colleges cannabis research iStock / Doris Karnberger

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From the medical point of view, “cannabinoids have promising ways to relieve suffering from different disorders”, says Dr. Yu-Fung in an interview with The Stash. Conversely, “the world-changing potential for the plant’s chemical applicability is becoming apparent and there’s a great desire to learn, but there’s too much wishful thinking about what cannabinoids can do.” Dr Yu-Fung is content to lead the charge when she says “the only solution is more rigorous research.” She hopes that her curriculum addresses a familiar loophole that’s joked about but not really addressed.

Dr. Yu-Fung’s course takes place within the UC Davis’ medical school and for now, unfortunately, the course is only open to medical students. Her course Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Physiology and Medicine addresses a direct community need, and that is educating the doctors who write prescriptions for medical cannabis.

Dr. Yu-Fung points out the disservice to the patient and faulty logic of a doctor prescribing medicine based on hearsay. Of course, patients have enjoyed the (very) easy access that doctors provide and Dr. Yu-Fung does not wish to make access more difficult. She actually hopes that her efforts promote the further discovery of the plant in all of its aspects, including recreational. At the end of the day, however, the employment of minimally educated doctors as glorified weed dealers is worst for the patients who really need advice. Guidance on which medical cannabis to use and how it will help should not fall to budtenders - or should it? 

Programs Like The Cannabis Training University Are A Step In The Right Direction

Man trimming marijuana leaves with scissors over bin iStock / BrindleBerry

Cannabis Training University has taught thousands of students from over twenty countries around the world seeking CTU cannabis certificates and looking to enter the booming cannabis industry. CTU students are often looking to begin a cannabis career and enroll at CTU to set themselves apart from other industry professionals. Graduates are trained to transition into roles as budtenders, trimmers, extraction technicians, growers.

Because the cannabis industry employs a great number of black market professionals able to put their years of forbidden knowledge to use legally for the first time. The recreational and medical markets in pilot states offer diverse products in a competitive business environment producing an always-rising standard of quality cannabis. The future of cannabis, however, remains unknown, because the leaders who will take the plant to its final situation in society have not yet emerged.

Derek Smith is the Executive Director of the Resource Innovation Institute (RII), a non-profit dedicated to establishing new sustainability benchmarks among cannabis grow operations. Among industry professionals, he says, “there are very few cultivators and operators who know how to control all the variables that go into creating a sustainable plant in a grow environment.” The solution is knowledge, which will carry the cannabis industry forward. Derek points out that “if education was available from the beginning, the plant never would have been illegal.”

Federal regulation is an outcome greatly desired by industry professionals but progress toward the outcome is stunted by a lack of education. Dr. Yu-Fung aims for her coursework to set the precedent for integration of canna-education into the general course of study for public health and into the generic medical curriculum. For the federal government to accept cannabis products into the market, their policies must be able to rely on accurate testings and reliable reports to protect our population. Dr. Yu-Fung hopes that the generation of students she teachers will go on to pioneer the techniques and standards that will allow for federal adoption and the study of cannabis at the highest level.