Courses in the Graduate Studies in Medical Cannabis programs are designed to accommodate students with or without a background in science or medicine. Faculty are dedicated to making courses interesting and accessible to all students regardless of academic background.

MCST 601: Introduction to Medical Cannabis History, Culture, and Policy

In this introductory course, participants will learn about the cultural history of medical cannabis use, explore how federal law and policy relating to medical and non-medical use of cannabis has evolved in the United States, and discuss ethical issues related to medical cannabis. Additionally, students will learn how to identify credible sources of online information related to medical cannabis.

Course Manager: Leah Sera, PharmD, MA

MCST 602: Principles of Drug Action and Cannabinoid Pharmacology

This course introduces students to the factors influencing drug action in the body. Students will learn about receptor theory, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, dose-response relationships, and drug tolerance and dependence. This course will develop participants’ skills to evaluate cannabis (and its components) from a mechanistic and pharmacologic perspective with the ultimate goal of providing the most appropriate cannabis regimen for individual patients.

Course Managers: Andrew Coop, PhD and Chad Johnson, PhD

MCST 603: Basic Cannabinoid Chemistry and Drug Delivery

This course introduces students to the chemical characteristics of cannabis components. The course will describe the classification system for cannabinoids, cannabinoid compound ratios in plant materials, cannabis-derived products and their constituents, oils, terpenoids, flavenoids, hydrocarbons and nitrogen containing compounds. This course also introduces students to the science of designing dosage forms. Topics include the formulation, development, evaluation, selection and administration of safe, effective, reliable, drug delivery systems, with a focus on development of medical cannabis products. The wide variety of cannabis delivery systems and routes of delivery and the impact of those delivery systems have on the bioavailability of cannabis will be evaluated in this course.

Course Managers: Ryan Pearson, PhD, Andrew Coop, PhD, and Chad Johnson, PhD

MCST 604: The Clinical Effects of Medical Cannabis

This introductory course provides an overview of patient care skills including communication and cultural competence. The course also introduces students to evidence-based medicine and how to apply EBM to therapeutic questions. Students will learn about medical cannabis dosing strategies, administration, and educating patients about medical cannabis side effects, precautions, and drug interactions. Special populations are also discussed.

Course Managers: Leah Sera, PharmD, MA and James Trovato, PharmD, MBA

MCST 605: Advanced Cannabis Therapeutics for Somatic Conditions

In this advanced level course, students will learn in-depth about the physiology, pathophysiology, and treatment strategies of selected conditions, including pain, muscle spasm, nausea/vomiting, and anorexia/cachexia. Students will evaluate available evidence, complete case studies, and explore dosing strategies and formulations. Side effects, drug interactions, and precautions are also discussed. (Pre-requisite: MCST 604 – Clinical Effects of Cannabis).

Course Managers: Alison Duffy, PharmD and Carrie Hempel-Sanderoff, DO

MCST 606: Advanced Neuropsychiatric Cannabis Therapeutics

In this course, students will dissect the latest evidence about cannabis to explore cannabis’s place in therapy for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Students will learn about the physiology, pathophysiology, and evidence-based treatment strategies for psychosis, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, mood disorders, epilepsy, and autism spectrum disorder. Students will be equipped with the tools necessary to find, interpret, and apply the cannabis-based literature. The evidence-based medicine objectives will be interspersed through each module and continue to build upon each other in various assignments as the course progresses. Students will learn how to clearly articulate the reasoning behind clinical decision making as they complete case studies where they discuss side effects, drug interactions, precautions, dosing strategies, and formulations. NOTE: This course is not a continuation of MCST 605 (Advanced Cannabis Therapeutics for Somatic Conditions) and may be taken independently of MCST 605. (Pre-requisite: MCST 604 – Clinical Effects of Cannabis).

Course Manager: Tiffany Buckley, PharmD

MCST 607: Negative Physical, Psychiatric, and Social Effects of Cannabis

In this course, students will explore the consequences of cannabis use, including adverse effects and misuse or addiction. Students will evaluate available evidence, analyze case studies, and participate in group discussions. This course explores the effects of cannabis on populations, including effects on the workplace, public spaces, impaired driving, adolescent use, and unintentional poisoning, among others.

Course Manager: Jimmy Leonard, PharmD

MCST 608: Cannabis Genomics and Pharmacognosy

This course introduces students to the components of the cannabis plant and the resultant biosynthetic pathways that form active and inactive agents. Students will learn the genetic basis for the differences in components between different strains and the subsequent impact on medicinal efficacy, as well as the role that plant components have on the entourage effect. (Pre-requisite: MCST 602 - Principles of Drug Action and Cannabinoid Pharmacology).

Course Managers: Chad Johnson, PhD and Andrew Coop, PhD

MCST 609: Advanced Cannabinoid Chemistry and Analytic Testing Methodology

This course relates chemical characteristics of cannabis components to their pharmacological activity. The course covers a variety of cannabis targets, methods for improving drug activity, and the principles of rational drug design and characteristics such as solubility, stability and metabolism. Additionally, this course will explore methodologies for concentration, extraction, and purification of plant constituents, along with scope and limitations of analytical techniques for the identification and quantification of plant and synthetic cannabinoids, contaminants, and adulterants in cannabis products. (Pre-requisite: MCST 603 - Basic Cannabinoid Chemistry and Delivery).

Course Managers: Maureen Kane, PhDAndrew Coop, PhD, and Chad Johnson, PhD

MCST 610: State and Federal Cannabis Laws and Policies

This course introduces students to the constantly evolving field of cannabis regulation that spans federal, state, and local government.  To better understand this complex system, students will first learn about key aspects of constitutional law that shape cannabis regulation. Once this foundation is established, the course will explore the federal regulation of cannabis and the Controlled Substances Act; state legalization trends and the policy issues states must address; the regulation of cannabis businesses, health care providers, patients, and cannabis products; social equity initiatives; and the regulation of industrial hemp production and its derivative products.  In addition to these substantive areas, student will learn how to track and analyze state legislation to remain current on developments in this legal field. (Pre-requisite: MCST 601 - Introduction to Medical Cannabis History, Culture, and Policy).

Course Managers: Matt Kamps, JD and Leah Sera, PharmD, MA

MCST 611: Research Design and Medical Cannabis

In this course, participants will develop the foundational knowledge and skills involved in designing clinical research related to medical cannabis. Students will learn and apply the skills of generating a medical cannabis clinical research question, performing a literature review to identify gaps in knowledge, selecting an appropriate corresponding study design, describing essential statistical concepts, and applying key ethical principles and best practices in research. In addition, students will apply clinical research concepts specifically to the unique real-world challenges inherent in designing and conducting high-quality clinical research with cannabis. By the end of the course, students will have developed a mock cannabis clinical research proposal suitable for further development into a formal proposal and have a deeper understanding of the complex legal, social, and economic factors involved and affected by cannabis research activities. This course focuses heavily on the skill of medical and professional writing, and the assignments for the cumulative research project involve weekly writing prompts in addition to quiz-based knowledge assessments.

Course Managers: Carrie Hempel-Sanderoff, DO and Leah Sera, PharmD, MA

MCST 613: In this course, students will participate in two symposiums that will include seminars and activities exploring current scientific, clinical, and legal issues related to medical cannabis.  After each symposium, students will reflect on what was learned from the different presentations/experiences, how the knowledge gained relates to what has been learned so far in the MCST program, and how the knowledge can be applied in practice.

Course Managers: Leah Sera, PharmD, MA

MCST 614: Students will participate in one symposium that will include seminars and activities exploring current scientific, clinical, and legal issues related to medical cannabis.  After the symposium, students will reflect on what was learned from the different presentations/experiences, how the knowledge gained relates to what has been learned so far in the MCST program, and how the knowledge can be applied in practice. Additionally, students will work with a group of peers and an organization/client to identify a knowledge gap and design an educational intervention.

Course Managers: Leah Sera, PharmD, MA and Thomas Clobes, PhD

MCST 615: In this course, students will complete the instructional design project that was started in MCST 614 (Medical Cannabis Capstone 1), working with an organization/client to identify a knowledge gap and design an educational intervention. Additionally, students will create a professional portfolio to showcase the work completed as part of the MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program.

Course Managers: Leah Sera, PharmD, MA and Thomas Clobes, PhD

MCST 616: Public Health and Patient Advocacy

This elective course explores the factors that influence health outcomes of individuals and populations and introduces skills necessary to be an effective medical cannabis policy analyst or policy advocate. This course examines the ways in which different disciplines inform the development, implementation and analysis of health policies. Students will learn how policymakers interact, and how outside influences such as the media and advocates help shape policy. (Pre-requisite: MCST 601 Introduction to Medical Cannabis History, Culture, and Policy).

Course Managers: Debbie Churgai, MA and Andrew Coop, PhD

MCST 617: Introduction to Integrative Health and Wellness

In this course, students will examine the fundamental concepts of integrative health and wellness (IHW), including the history, philosophies, and methods of prominent integrative therapies. Perceived differences between and limitations of traditional “allopathic” medicine and IHW “nontraditional” medicine will be identified. Patients’ motivations and patterns of use of IHW approaches will be explored. Components of the five major areas within IHW as identified by the National Institutes of Health will be introduced. These include alternative medical systems, body-based systems (massage, chiropractic, rolfing), mind-body medicine, biological approaches (herbal medicine, nutritional approaches, pharmacological therapies, Ayurveda), and bioelectromagnetics (energy healing). The state of basic scientific knowledge and data from controlled trials relating to the safety, efficacy, and mechanisms of action of integrative therapies are presented. In the second half of the course, an overview of the scientific evidence for the integrative biological and body-based approaches will be provided. Theories for how these approaches function to affect health are examined, such as psychoneuroimmunology, the role of inflammation, and the gut microbiome. Key practice, legal, and ethical issues facing CAM researchers and practitioners are reviewed, as well as future directions in IHW. (Pre-requisite: MCST 604 – Clinical Effects of Cannabis)

MCST 617 counts as the first required course in UMB’s Integrative Health and Wellness Online Graduate Certificate ProgramStudents who complete MCST 617 will only need to complete the final three courses in the program to receive their certificate: Advanced Skills in Mind-Body Interventions (Fall B); Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching (Spring A); and Clinical Application of Integrative Health and Wellness (Spring B). To learn more about the Integrative Health and Wellness Certificate Program and to apply, please see the website or email Dr. Michelle Pearce, who directs this program.

Note: The textbook for this course (Integrative Medicine, Rakel, 5th edition, 2023) is not available through the UMB library and must be purchased/rented by the student.

Course Managers: Carrie Hempel-Sanderoff, DO and Michelle Pearce, PhD

MCST 618: Medical Psychedelic Science and Therapeutics

This course provides an overview of the science and therapeutic uses of psychedelic agents, with a focus on hallucinogens, hypnotics, empathogens, and entheogens. The course includes historical use, current laws and policies, pharmacological and chemical properties, and the current state of the evidence for therapeutic use. (Pre-requisites: MCST 602 Principles of Drug Action and Cannabinoid Pharmacology, MCST 603 Basic Cannabinoid Chemistry and Drug Delivery, and MCST 604 The Clinical Effects of Medical Cannabis).

Course Managers: Leah Sera, PharmD, MAAndrew Coop, PhDChad Johnson, PhD

Take the Next Step: Apply Today

The growth of the medical cannabis industry in the U.S. is projected to increase significantly over the next 10 years. Gain the knowledge and skills you will need to respond to this demand. Apply for enrollment in the MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program.

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