Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cannabis Science: Therapeutics, Product Design, and Quality Assurance

Overview


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Credits per Trimester
3-6
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Total Credits
15
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Duration
3 Trimesters
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Trimester of Entry
Fall, Spring
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Format
Online

COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE: This program will next enroll students for the Fall 2023 trimester. This program will be delivered in its standard online format for students entering the program in the Fall 2023 trimester; the program can be completed by taking only online classes, and there are no requirements to come to campus.

This program is designed for individuals approaching the cannabis field through the primary lenses of health and wellness and herbal medicine. The training develops the research literacy necessary to acquire a deep understanding of cannabis safety, formulation, and quality assurance, which allows students to develop innovative strategies for commercializing safe and effective products. Clinicians gain the background needed to guide their patients in using cannabis as an adjunct therapy. The 15-credit program can be completed in 1 year and is delivered entirely online.

Your journey starts here. Programs now enrolling for Fall 2023.

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Audience


The program is designed for individuals who wish to promote evidence-informed, safe, and responsible use of high-quality cannabis-based products in combination with herbal medicine, especially those with a holistic approach and a focus on a health promotion model rather than a disease management model. The program is ideal for career starters and those seeking an initial career in the industry or looking to expand their job options. 

  • Students interested in working in licensed dispensaries will acquire the tools to evaluate retail products, build general quality control practices into the dispensary workflow, and inform customers about available products ethically and responsibly.  
  • Students interested in product design will learn the principles of formulation and quality assurance to evaluate existing products and design new, innovative products.  
  • Complementary and integrative health (CIH) practitioners will learn how to assess the quality of CBD-dominant hemp-based products on the market and recommend them safely and appropriately. Although recommending THC-dominant products does not fall within the scope of practice for most CIH practitioners, many clients are consuming or considering consuming THC-dominant products. CIH practitioners must be well informed about the quality, safety, and effectiveness of THC-dominant products to identify safety concerns as well as refer to other clinicians when appropriate. 

Program Description


The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cannabis Science: Therapeutics, Product Design, and Quality Assurance is one of the few graduate programs in the U.S. dedicated solely to studying cannabis, and the only one that addresses cannabis through an herbal medicine and health and wellness lens. The coursework emphasizes developing research literacy and focuses on cannabis health effects, safety, formulation, and quality assurance. The program integrates cannabis legacy knowledge with the research from herbal medicine and cannabis fields necessary to develop innovative strategies for commercializing safe and effective cannabis products.

Unique to this program, students investigate ways to combine cannabis with other herbs to optimize health benefits and reduce risks. The certificate benefits from MUIH’s 20 years of experience offering graduate-level herbal medicine programs. Our herbal program faculty are specifically qualified to discuss cannabis within the framework of herbal medicine principles and practices, something quite distinct from a conventional medical or pharmaceutical perspective.  

This is a non-experiential program. There are no internships, laboratories, field work, or hands on work with cannabis as part of this curriculum and program.

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cannabis Science is a graduate program, which differs from training programs offered in the field. Students gain skills that employers seek and which are not typically provided by non-credit training programs. These include critical thinking, problem solving, and research literacy skills. Click here for a description of the added value of a graduate program.

Admission Requirements


Trimester of Entry: Fall, Spring
Application Priority Deadline: Application deadline by Trimester
General Requirements:
Program Specific Requirements: Complete Essay Questions in application:

  • Why have you chosen to apply to this program at MUIH?
  • How does the program relate to your future personal and professional goals?

Curriculum


Required Courses

The program consists of 15 credits of the following required courses:

HRB610 The Endocannabinoid System and Phytocannabinoids (3 cr)

This course investigates how the endocannabinoid system provides a foundation for rational cannabis therapeutics and formulation. Students learn the role and mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system in regulating biological functions in health and disease. They gain an understanding of the basic components of the endocannabinoid system including different types of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. The course explores endogenous cannabinoids made by the body as well as the modulatory effects of phytocannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) from cannabis and other medicinal plants.

HRB611 Cannabis Therapeutics (3 cr)

This course identifies balanced research summaries for pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical research on cannabis with attention to different cannabis chemotypes and phytochemicals. Students learn to describe the evidence base for cannabis as a therapeutic intervention for disease and illness and as a tool for promoting health and well-being. They examine evidence and research gaps regarding both benefits and risks of cannabis use, and utilize current evidence to identify safe and effective cannabis-based therapies and inform decision making in case studies.

HRB612 Cannabis and Herbal Dispensary Practices (3 cr)

This course addresses federally legal CBD-dominant cannabis products within the context of a good manufacturing practice (GMP) compliant herbal product dispensary. Students learn best practices in herbal dispensary operations. Grounded in the range of federal and state laws, students learn to use an ethical and legal framework to communicate professionally about cannabis and other medicinal plants, and to help individuals identify preferred products.  (Cannabis-specific discussion will focus on federally legal CBD-dominant products. This is a non-experiential course; there is no hands-on work with cannabis as part of this curriculum.)

HRB613 Formulating Herbal Products using Cannabis (3 cr)

This course explores the opportunities for combining cannabis with other medicinal plants to optimize cannabis’ benefits and reduce risks. It reviews pharmacological, toxicological and clinical research as well as the traditional use of candidate medicinal plants. Students apply this information to evaluate cannabis-containing herbal products already on the market as well as to design new products. They learn to formulate a cannabis-containing multi-herb blend for a specific purpose and to explain the rationale behind the product. Emphasis is placed on designing CBD-dominant, hemp-based dietary supplements and wellness products. (This is a non-experiential course; there is no hands-on work with cannabis as part of this curriculum.)

HRB614 Quality Assurance in Cannabis and Herbal Products (3 cr)

This course prepares students to identify and evaluate the authenticity and quality of cannabis raw material from federally legal types of cannabis and other medicinal plants.I Students learn how to interpret assays and specification sheets required to produce good manufacturing practice (GMP) compliant products. They also learn how to apply procedures associated with GMP compliant manufacturing and herbal dispensary function to ensure the purity, strength, composition and to prevent adulteration of products. (Cannabis-specific discussion will focus on federally legal CBD-dominant products. This is a non-experiential course; there is no hands-on work with cannabis as part of this curriculum.)

MUIH550 Academic Research and Scholarship (0 cr)

This course is designed to prepare students to engage in graduate-level research and scholarship with a focus on the utilization of resources available at or through MUIH’s Sherman Cohn Library. Modules cover the Association of College and Research Libraries information literacy threshold concepts in higher education. These concepts are: Scholarship as Conversation, Research as Inquiry, Authority is Constructed and Contextual, Information Creation as a Process, Searching as Strategic Exploration, and Information Has Value.

Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of the program graduates will be able to:

  • Explain the endocannabinoid system and its role in the body’s response to cannabis and other medicinal plants.
  • Apply foundational knowledge of herbal pharmacology, clinical research, and traditional use to design and evaluate safe and effective cannabis-containing herbal supplements that support health and well-being.
  • Apply an ethical framework, along with regulatory and industry standards, to provide cannabis education and access to high-quality cannabis products in dispensaries and other retail environments.
  • Apply best practices in quality assurance to develop quality control practices and assess cannabis-based products.
  • Summarize and synthesize peer reviewed research into an effective written narrative that provides the rationale for decision-making in cannabis product design processes.

Program Format & Schedule


Program Format

This program is offered in the online format. Click here to view MUIH’s definition of the online program format.

Program Schedule

For trimester start and end dates, see the Academic Calendar.

The schedule of courses for this program is shown below:

Trimester 1

  • MUIH550 Academic Research and Scholarship (0 cr)
  • HRB610 The Endocannabinoid System and Phytocannabinoids (3 cr)

Trimester 2

  • HRB611 Cannabis Therapeutics (3 cr)
  • HRB612 Cannabis and Herbal Dispensary Practices (3 cr)

Trimester 3

  • HRB613 Formulating Herbal Products using Cannabis (3 cr)
  • HRB614 Quality Assurance in Cannabis and Herbal Products (3 cr)

Tuition & Fees


Fall 2022 Intake
Course Code Cost per Credit # of Credits Tuition Cost*
HRB $928 15 $13,920
Total 15 $13,920

*Prices subject to change. Tuition costs are for illustrative purposes only.

Timeline

Average Credits per Trimester Typical Completion Time
6 2 Trimesters

Additional Fees

Fees Cost
Application Fee $50
Non-Refundable Tuition Deposit $150
University Fee (per trimester) $275
All students, including students taking a voluntary break in enrollment. Click here to learn more about the fee.
Late Registration Fee
$75/course
After registration deadline and before start of the schedule adjustment period for current students$150/course
During the schedule adjustment period for current and new students who have confirmed before the late confirmed student registration period begins
Cooking Lab Fee NUTR 681 – $40/course
NUTR 682 – $40/course
NUTR 683 – $45/course
NUTR 684 – $45/course
NUTR 686 – $30/course
NUTR 687 – $40/course
NUTR 688 – $40/course
Cooking Kit Fee $225
M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health students (1st trimester) and other students taking cooking labs (NUTR 681 – 689)
Herb Kit Fee  Students enrolled in the following herbal medicine courses:
HRB 605 $160
HRB 614 $185
HRB 622 $150
HRB 642 $220
HRB 653 $85
HRB 705 $180
Due to international customs requirements, we do not ship herb kits outside of the United States
Facilities/Food fee:
HRB 636 $175
Credit Card Adjustment Fee 2.75% of amount paid by credit card
Graduation Fee $75
Spring 2023 Intake
Course Code Cost per Credit # of Credits Tuition Cost*
HRB $928 15 $13,920
Total 15 $13,920

*Prices subject to change. Tuition costs are for illustrative purposes only.

Timeline

Average Credits per Trimester Typical Completion Time
6 2 Trimesters

Additional Fees

Fees Cost
Application Fee $50
Non-Refundable Tuition Deposit $150
University Fee (per trimester) $275
All students, including students taking a voluntary break in enrollment. Click here to learn more about the fee.
Late Registration Fee
$75/course
After registration deadline and before start of the schedule adjustment period for current students$150/course
During the schedule adjustment period for current and new students who have confirmed before the late confirmed student registration period begins
Cooking Lab Fee NUTR 681 – $40/course
NUTR 682 – $40/course
NUTR 683 – $45/course
NUTR 684 – $45/course
NUTR 686 – $30/course
NUTR 687 – $40/course
NUTR 688 – $40/course
Cooking Kit Fee $225
M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health students (1st trimester) and other students taking cooking labs (NUTR 681 – 689)
Herb Kit Fee  Students enrolled in the following herbal medicine courses:
HRB 605 $160
HRB 614 $185
HRB 622 $150
HRB 642 $220
HRB 653 $85
HRB 705 $180
Due to international customs requirements, we do not ship herb kits outside of the United States
Facilities/Food fee:
HRB 636 $175
Credit Card Adjustment Fee 2.75% of amount paid by credit card
Graduation Fee $75

Career Opportunities


The cannabis industry consists of three fields – 1) medical marijuana, 2) recreational marijuana, and 3) hemp-based, CBD-dominant cannabis. Each has experienced, and is projected to have, continued significant growth. The increase in use and sales of cannabis nationally is driving significant job growth in the field.

Legalization and Use

 As of August 2022, medical cannabis is legal in 38 states, recreational cannabis is legal in 19 states, and hemp is federally legal in all 50 states. According to Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits poll, conducted on July 6, 2021, over 49% of U.S. adults have tried cannabis (1).

Medical and Recreational Cannabis Industry Sales Growth

New Frontier Data reports that overall sales within the legalized U.S. cannabis industry, including recreational and medical marijuana, reached $25 billion throughout 2021 (2). Globally, BDS Analytics projects sales of recreational cannabis at $83 billion and medical cannabis at $19 billion by 2027 (3). For example, on a state level, Maryland’s medical cannabis market for 2021 reached $600 million in sales, while sales in 2022 thru August were ~$360 million (4). In November 2022, Maryland voters elected to legalize recreational cannabis. Globally, Fortune Business Insights reports the cannabis market (including medical, recreational, and hemp-based) was $10.6 billion in 2018 and projects it to reach $97.3 billion by the end of 2026, a 33% annual growth from 2019 to 2026 (5).   

CBD Industry Growth

Significant consumer interest exists in hemp-based and CBD-containing cannabis supplements. Hemp-derived CBD is now available in general retail channels outside licensed cannabis dispensaries, including online, drug stores, natural products, beauty, convenience, grocery, and pet stores.   Hemp-based cannabis sales of CBD-based supplements grew 332% from 2018 to 2019, with over $52 million in 2019 sales, making hemp-based cannabis supplements the top selling herbal supplement in the U.S. market (6). Current herbal supplement manufacturers are increasingly embracing CBD based cannabis products. The percent of natural product manufacturers selling such products doubled in the first six months of 2019, with 75% of the industry planning on launching new CBD-based products over the next two years (7). 

Cannabis Industry Job Growth

 The 2022 MJBiz Factbook estimates the number of full-time workers in the U.S. cannabis industry to be upwards of 520,000 in 2022. By 2025, jobs are expected to approach 675,000 (2). The number of jobs is expected to grow even faster once federal law is changed.

The career opportunities vary based on the segment of the market (medical vs. recreational vs. hemp-based cannabis). However, all three segments demand similar knowledge and skill sets that are basic to the world of herbal supplements. Nationally based cannabis-specific hiring firm Vangst provides a benchmarking salary guide for working in the cannabis industry and the requirements for employment in each state (8).

Careers for which graduates of the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cannabis Science may qualify: 

  • Cannabis Jobs in Testing: Laboratory Analysts, Laboratory Technicians, Quality Control Inspector, and Cannabis Tester
  • Cannabis Jobs in Processing and Manufacturing: Extractor, Product Developer/Formulator, Marketing Lead, and Regulatory Specialist
  • Cannabis Jobs in Dispensaries and Retail: Budtender, Dispensary (or Store) Manager

References

  1. Gallup’s 2021 Consumption Habits poll. Retrieved from: https://news.gallup.com/poll/353645/nearly-half-adults-tried-marijuana.aspx.
  2. 2022 MJBiz Factbook, 10th edition. Retrieved from: https://insights.mjbizdaily.com/factbook-2022/.
  3. BDS Analytics (2019) The Global Cannabinoids Market: Will CBD Overtake THC? [White Paper]. Retrieved from: https://bdsanalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BDS-Analytics-The-Global-Cannabinoids-Market-Will-CBD-Overtake-THC.pdf.
  4. Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission 2021 Reports. Retrieved from: https://mmcc.maryland.gov/Pages/2021-Data-Reports.aspx.
  5. Arcview Market Research. (2019) The Roadmap to a $57 Billion Worldwide Market [White Paper]. Retrieved from: https://bdsanalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Roadmap-Exec-Summ.pdf.
  6. Smith T., et al. (2019) Herbal Supplement Sales in US Increase by 9.4% in 2018: Record growth driven by sales of CBD, mushrooms, and immune-health products. HerbGram. 23: 62-73. Retrieved from: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue123/files/HG123-HMR.pdf.
  7. Parfitt, S. (2018) U.S. Cannabis Industry Jobs Estimated to Triple by 2025. com. Retrieved from: https://azmarijuana.com/marijuana-news/u-s-marijuana-industry-jobs-estimated-to-triple-by-2025.
  8. Cannabis Jobs Database. Retrieved from: https://vangst.com.

Upcoming Webinars


Take a look at what our Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cannabis Science program offers and how MUIH is the choice for you!

Mar 13

Program Administration


James Snow D.C.N
Department Chair

Michael ​(Bhodi) Tims, Ph.D.
Program Director, Herbal Product Design and Manufacture
Program Director, Cannabis Science: Therapeutics, Product Design and Quality Assurance

Rachel Voss, M.P.A.
Department Manager

Devyn Cain, M.S.
Academic Advisor

Click here to view the faculty.

An MUIH education is not just for living, but for life.