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You’ll soon be able to earn a degree in cannabis from a Colorado university – The Denver Post

Colorado State University-Pueblo received state approval Friday for the state’s first cannabis-related degree program, to be launched this fall.

The program — called “Cannabis, Biology and Chemistry” — will focus on the science necessary to work in the cannabis field, with coursework similar to double-majoring in biology and chemistry, said David Lehmpuhl, dean of CSU-Pueblo’s College of Science and Mathematics.

“It’s a rigorous degree geared toward the increasing demand coming about because of the cannabis industry,” Lehmpuhl said. “Hemp and marijuana has really come to the forefront in a lot of economic sectors in the country. We’re not pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis. What we’re about will be the science and training students to look at that science.”

The degree program has two areas of emphasis: natural products and analytical chemistry.

The natural products route is focused more on the biology side of things with students taking additional courses in neurobiology, biochemistry and genetics, and work in a lab setting to learn about the genetics of cannabis or other natural product plants.

“A lot of the products that people are selling from the cannabis plant, if they can be genetically produced, become more profitable,” Lehmpuhl said.

The analytical chemistry option will have students focused more on working with chemical compounds, such as determining what kind of cannabidiol, or CBD, concentration should exist in a product.

Students will be working in a lab setting, but not with products containing high levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The lab is licensed to grow industrial hemp and students might work with CBD.

Lehmpuhl expects a high demand for the program.

CSU is also planning to open a new research center on the Fort Collins campus dedicated to studying cannabinoids this spring.

“One of the things that motivated us to develop this program was this industry is sort of developed without oversight and regulation,” Lehmpuhl said. “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.”

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