Courses in the MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program are designed to accommodate students with and 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 information related to medical cannabis, and educate patients and other professionals.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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).

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.

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).

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).

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).

MCST 611: Research Design and Medical Cannabis

In this introductory course, participants will develop the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for designing research related to medical cannabis. Participants will learn how to perform a literature review to identify gaps in knowledge, formulate a research question and hypothesis, select an appropriate corresponding research design, and describe best practices for data collection, management, and analysis. Those enrolled in the course will also learn key ethical principles and laws and regulations pertaining to research, including the role of institutional review boards. By the end of the course, participants will have developed a research protocol that is suitable for submission to an institutional review board. (Pre-requisite: MCST 604 Clinical Effects of Medical Cannabis).

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.

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. 

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.

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).

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.