UVM studies the science of cannabis

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UVM studies the science of cannabis

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 3:59pm -- tim

Monique McHenry (left) is the director of Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional Certificate at the University of Vermont. UVM Photo.

by Bruce Edwards, Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont offers a non-credit course in cannabis science and medicine. Program Director Monique McHenry, PhD, responded to e-mailed questions about the program and its future. 

What is the scope of the cannabis science and medicine professional program? 

McHenry: The Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont has emerged as a leader in education focused on the medicinal use of Cannabis. The UVM Larner College’s pharmacology course, PHRM 200: Medical Cannabis is considered to be the first of its kind at a US academic institution.

It delves into molecular biology, neuroscience, chemistry, and physiology. UVM is also the first medical school in the nation to offer a professional certificate in cannabis and medicine. These one-of-a-kind educational offerings at the UVM Larner College of Medicine are led by faculty of the College. 

The fully online Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional Certificate equips people in the medical and pharmacology fields with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and have informed discussions with patients on the use of cannabis and cannabis-based products. In addition, it provides regulators and dispensary personnel with medical, biological, and legal knowledge surrounding cannabis.

All students will leave the course knowing the current evidence for safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis-based products, understanding of the therapeutic and clinical uses, and pharmacology and toxicology of Cannabis and cannabis-based products.

The Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional Certificate offered online through UVM’s Department of Pharmacology in the Larner College of Medicine covers:

A quick overview of history of cannabis in politics and human culture, and law.

Basic science covering plant biology, chemistry, including bio botanical extraction, the endocannabinoid system (how it affects the human body). 

Pharmacology including psychology and adverse effects.

Known evidence of the impacts of cannabis in three clinical areas, focusing on pain, endocrine system and cancer, and motor disorders.

Who is the program geared towards?

McHenry: Medical professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners, RNs, pharmacists, PAs; individuals wanting to learn more about cannabis science with basic biology background.

Pre-requisites: 18+, BA degree, completed college level foundational science course in biology and chemistry.

Is it strictly medical or CBD?

McHenry: The Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional Certificate program covers cannabis and we are also developing separate on-demand online module that covers CBD or cannabidiol.

We are also working with UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to launch an evidence-based plant biology professional certificate program online.

Will the program change if Vermont legalizes retail sales of marijuana?

McHenry: The program science will not change because it is focused on evidence-based data, but the policy section would be updated if Vermont legalizes retail sales of marijuana. As new research is done and new evidence is available the program will be updated to include information about new findings.

Does UVM anticipate increased demand for this program?

McHenry: Yes, program developers at UVM know that there is a real need for science-based decision making within this growing industry, we are evaluating various approaches to helping more people learn ranging from creating new programs and offering additional sections to licensing content to other educational entities.

Bruce Edwards is a freelance writer from Rutland.