Blank notebook with cannabis leaves and black pen.
Image: © Kemedo/

Students in Colorado can now take a course in cannabis

14 Feb 2020

Colorado State University has received approval to launch its cannabis biology and chemistry programme in the autumn.

Colorado State University has announced a new programme for prospective students – a bachelor of science in cannabis biology and chemistry.

Although the programme is a first for the state, it won’t be the first cannabis-related degree on offer in the US. Northern Michigan University, for example, offers a similar qualification in medicinal plant chemistry, in which cannabis is a major focus.

A lucrative career choice

As a medicinal product, cannabis has been making headlines for many years. From its reported palliative effects for those with epilepsy or migraines, its use in healthcare is still a major topic of discussion.

Since it was legalised in Colorado in 2014, cannabis sales have totalled $1bn for the state. It is an emerging business sector across the US, with hiring in the industry growing by 76pc in 2018, and with many salaries higher than the national average.

Colorado State’s programme will teach the fundamentals for working in the cannabis field. Students will learn about natural products, analytical chemistry and the plant’s genetics to equip them with the skills necessary for researching the types of cannabis most appropriate for new medicines.

According to Fortune, around 60 people will take the major over the next four years.

Demand for ‘oversight and regulation’

Dean of Colorado State’s Pueblo College of Science and Mathematics, David Lehmpuhl, described the programme as “a rigorous degree geared toward the increasing demand coming about because of the cannabis industry”.

“Hemp and marijuana have really come to the forefront in a lot of economic sectors in the country,” Lehmpuhl told the Denver Post.

“One of the things that motivated us to develop this programme was [that] this industry sort of developed without oversight and regulation.

“I think now it’s becoming clear when you look at even the recent vaping crisis that occurred that there’s a need for having trained scientists in that space.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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