JUL 19, 2018 11:00 AM PDT

Cannabis Science Graduate Education Certificates Now Offered at Pennsylvania University

WRITTEN BY: Mauri Brueggeman

Last summer in July, Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University merged to create, “a new Jefferson”, accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.  The school includes multiple health and science focused programs including the Sidney Kimmel Medical College and Colleges of Health Professions, Nursing, Life Sciences, Population Health, and Rehabilitation Sciences.  They just announced the first graduate program certificates focused in Cannabis Sciences in the nation.  There is an undergraduate program major, Medicinal Plant Chemistry, being offered at Northern Michigan University which admitted their first cohort last fall.  These programs at Jefferson will admit their first cohorts in August 2018.

The first graduate certificate is in Cannabinoid Pharmacology.  It is offered in the school’s Institute of Emerging Health Professions within The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp; the curriculum focuses on the mechanisms of drug action, neurotransmission, history, use and abuse, and the pharmacokinetics of cannabis.  The program requires 4 courses for a total of 12 credits.  The certificate is in partnership with the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education in Pennsylvania.

The second graduate certificate is in Cannabis Medicine; the target learner is the current practitioner or clinician looking to gain an understanding of available and current therapeutic approaches using cannabis or cannabinoids in addition to their effects on individual and population health.  This program was created to fill a gap in medical education which traditionally has only approached the topic within the scope of addiction and drugs of abuse medicine.  Most medical education curriculums do not include information about the human endocannabinoid system which is what compounds in marijuana use to exert their effects.  The scope of physiological balances maintained by our endogenous cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system are complex and of clinical value in considering medicinal approaches to condition treatment.  This graduate certificate is 18 credits total and is offered fully online to be accessible to clinicians across all areas of the country and/or globe. 

The school also plans to have Medical Cannabis focused Continuing Education offerings in the future.

It is hard to deny that cannabis science is an emerging field with far-ranging effects for healthcare, government, civilians, and researchers.

Sources: Jefferson University, Center for Forensic Science Research & Education,

About the Author
  • Mauri S. Brueggeman is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and Educator with a background in Cytogenetics and a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the clinical laboratory, taught at the University of Minnesota, and been in post secondary healthcare education administration. She is passionate about advances and leadership in science, medicine, and education.
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