What is Cannabis College?

What is Cannabis College?

If you love cannabis as much as we do, you’ve probably considered making a career out of it. 

Ever since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, cannabis has emerged as an entirely new industry – with colleges and universities taking note. 

Cannabis college is a relatively new phenomenon that lets you earn official certifications to open up the job market. Some renowned universities are even offering programs that focus on herbal medicine.

If you’re ready to become your own bud-trepreneur, let’s get started.

Accredited Programs and Degrees

The most official way to get started in the industry is by going to school for a cannabis-related degree. More colleges offer related programs than you may think. 

The best thing about going to college to learn the intricacies of plant science and business is that you’ll gain academic resources from CBD industry professionals. 

On top of that, it will open the door for tons of networking opportunities post-grad. 

Of course, this is a huge commitment, both in regards to time and money. So definitely do your research to make sure this is the route you want to take. 

When you’re ready, here are some majors you might want to check out.

Medicinal Plant Chemistry

As acceptance and legality of marijuana and other medicinal herbs become more pronounced in America, it means that we need more people who are qualified to continue research and ensure we’re using mother nature to our advantage.

A degree in medicinal plant chemistry is a prestigious way of saying you’re majoring in marijuana! 

Throughout your education, you’ll start by gaining business insight into the cannabis industry while also attending research presentations. 

Next, you’ll focus on research studies, learn and conduct CBD extraction, design greenhouses, and so much more.

Many universities currently offer medicinal plant chemistry programs, including:

This is a comprehensive degree that will give you a thorough insight into all the major components of the industry as a whole. It’s a great place to gain formal education if you’re serious about having a kush career.

Cannabis Biology and Chemistry

Studying medicinal plant chemistry may be more of an all-encompassing degree that dissects how other natural analgesics can benefit the human body. 

Colorado State University-Pueblo has taken things a step further by introducing a first-of-its-kind rigorous cannabis science degree program.

In this course, you’ll understand cannabis growth and physiology, its pharmaceutical implications, and practical applications in different aspects of the industry. 

You’ll work in biology labs, cannabis labs and pursue professional opportunities in cannabis research and other types of plant chemistry.

This also opens the door to let you pursue a graduate degree in Biology or Chemistry. 

Cannabis Production

If you’re less interested in research and more in learning how to grow and cultivate marijuana, then studying cannabis production might be suitable for you. 

With cannabis production, you’ll learn about cannabis breeding, propagation methods, management techniques, commercial production, and more. However, you probably won’t learn how to grow some bud in your closet  — that’s what High Times magazine is for.

While there are currently no colleges offering CBD majors in this department, Western Illinois University offers a cannabis production minor. 

This might be the perfect accompaniment to a degree in Biology or Chemistry to help narrow your focus for a CBD career post-grad.

Online Programs

If you’re looking for a career with a cannabis background, but you can’t justify spending a hefty price on tuition, then online programs are the way to go. This will help you build the right skills and begin to foster connections as you continue your job search.

Oaksterdam University: First Ever “Cannabis College”

Founded in 2007, Oaksterdam University has set the bar for applied learning and academic  rigor in medical cannabis. They’ve got over 50,000 alumni worldwide because of their affordable semester prices and their course options.

Their two main courses are the Business of Cannabis and the Horticulture of Cannabis, so you can choose which one you prefer based on your career prospects. 

Something that makes OU stand out is that they offer two types of classes:

  • Live classrooms
  • Self-Paced courses

This means you can have some flexibility over how you want to learn the material. Live classrooms will let you interact with an instructor and other students over a live video call, while self-paced courses allow you to work at your own pace.

University of Rhode Island: Certificate in Cannabis Studies

If you’re hoping to mix the laidback nature of online coursework with the academic rigor of a four-year institution, then the University of Rhode Island’s certificate program in Cannabis Studies is worth checking out.

This program won’t reward you with a degree or a minor to add to your transcript, but it will give you certification similar to Oaksterdam University. 

Their College of Pharmacy offers the program, so you can expect coursework focused on the foundation and competencies of cannabis from a medical and pharmaceutical standpoint. 

With that said, this is an excellent online curriculum from an accredited institution. And even though it may not equip you with a formal degree, the certification from such a respected university will look pretty stellar on your resume.

Mount Wachusett Community College: Cannabis Career Training

Mount Wachusett Community College has partnered with online Cannabis Education to create a comprehensive curriculum that’s all about kush. It is a comprehensive educational program that serves as a solid mix between a full-on undergraduate program and a basic online course.

The curriculum covers multiple different areas in the field, including production staples such as:

  • Growing medical marijuana
  • Understanding marijuana laws 
  • Medical marijuana information

However, they also offer coursework based on how to become a budtender, open a dispensary, and even prepare marijuana in culinary cuisine.

At the end of your program, you can receive one of nine different certifications to add to your resume.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Cannabis Degree?

Regardless of what route you take, the end goal is the same — you want a job in the cannabis industry. If you know you want to work with weed but not sure exactly what jobs can pay the bills, here are a few generous-paying jobs you can look into.

Cannabis Extraction Technician

A “cannabis extraction technician” has a lot of syllables. It simply refers to someone who turns the physical cannabis plant into something that consumers can use, like oils, lotions, and sprays

This is a highly technical position that requires you to be skilled in laboratory work.

Cannabinoids are extracted from the plant through several different solvent reactions by using chemicals like CO2 and butane. It’s a delicate process that requires someone with a passion for cannabis.

Average salary: $75,000 – $125,000

Botanical Specialist

A botanical specialist is a formal word for someone well-versed in the world of growing and cultivating the marijuana flower. 

We like to call them “grow masters.”

As a botanical specialist, you’ll manage cannabis warehouses, trim, clone, transplant, feed, and do all sorts of other growing tasks to keep the plants high-quality and fresh. You may also manage a warehouse crew, manage harvests, and other tasks associated with the cultivation of the cannabis plant.

Average salary: $80,000 – $100,000, plus bonuses for successful crops.

Marijuana Chef

Channel your inner Gordon Ramsay and cook up some grub that incorporates marijuana and other natural concoctions. Being a profound kush cook means you make the basics like gummies and cookies, but you’ll also use infused butter and oils to make some delicious and hearty meals.

Becoming a marijuana chef not only takes some knowledge of the culinary industry but also requires some background in cannabis legalization and laws to ensure that you’re abiding by government standards. 

You may work in a specified kitchen at legal vendors, or you may work as a food scientist in a warehouse type of setting. Regardless, you may be able to make a little extra cash by publishing your own cookbooks and techniques or catering to special events.

Taking an online course that specializes in culinary kush is a great toolset to have at your disposal. Check out the course offerings from Mount Wachusett if you think this is the path you want to take.

Average salary: $40,000 to $80,000

In Conclusion

It’s time to put the cool back in school by pursuing an education in cannabis cultivation. If you love weed and you want to help give back to the industry, you have more options now than ever before.

If you’re looking for something in line with a formal college education, places like Colorado State and Northern Michigan University offer undergraduate degrees in cannabis chemistry and biology. These are comprehensive studies that will prepare you for almost any type of career in the related field.

But if you — or your parents — aren’t willing to shell out thousands for a cannabis curriculum, you can try to get an online certification through several programs. Oaksterdam University and Mount Wachusett Community College offer fully online semesters that will reward you with credentials that you can slab on the resume. 

And with all of this knowledge, you’ll have a wide array of jobs at your disposal. Things like cannabis extraction technicians, botanical specialists, and even marijuana chefs are sought-after positions that need to be filled, so why not you?

Stuff that bong in your backpack and hop on the bus because cannabis class is in session!


Medicinal Plant Chemistry | NMU Chemistry

Cannabis Biology and Chemistry, BS | CSU Pueblo 

Medicinal Plant Chemistry | MSU

Cannabis Production | Western Illinois University

Cannabis Studies Certificate | URI Online

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