CSU now offering majors in cannabis and building a $1.5 million research facility just to study the dankest dank

CSU now offering majors in cannabis and building a $1.5 million research facility just to study the dankest dank

Leading the charge into the dankest new frontier of science

VicesFebruary 13, 2020 By Will Brendza

A lot of people go to college for cannabis, but few actually have the opportunity to major in it.

Now, though, at Colorado State University’s Pueblo campus, students with a passion for pot can pursue their bachelor of science degree in cannabis biology and chemistry.

Because, after all, this stuff is a booming business and there’s a lot of science that goes into it.

The cannabis industry exploded out of Colorado faster and with more power than anyone really expected — making over $6.5 billion in tax dollars in just six years. Millionaires were made overnight, businesses were built, jobs created, employees hired and plants grown en masse all over the state. Cannabis quickly became one of Colorado’s biggest and most lucrative industries and the technology and science behind it are constantly evolving.

So why not educate people on how to grow the dankest dank? Why not offer an undergraduate degree specifically designed for prospective cannabis businesspeople?

It’s the same idea behind CSU’s major in fermentation science and technology. Beer is a huge industry here, employing tens of thousands of people in Colorado. When CSU introduced that major they became the first college in the state to offer a major in beer and brewing. A program that has so far had a lot of success, and helped brew-buffs hone their hoppy talents.

Now, CSU has also become the first college in the state to offer a major in cannabis cultivation. (So, theoretically you could go to CSU and major in both beer and weed — which is one of the most Colorado things I’ve ever heard of in my life.)

“It’s a rigorous degree geared toward the increasing demand coming about because of the cannabis industry,” David Lehmpuhl, dean of CSU-Pueblo’s College of Science and Mathematics told the Denver Post. “Hemp and marijuana has really come to the forefront in a lot of economic sectors in the country.”

The program will offer two areas of emphasis: natural products and analytical chemistry. The former (natural products) will be focused more on the biology side of things; the genetics of cannabis plants and their biochemistry. The latter (analytical chemistry) will have students working with the actual chemical compounds of cannabis, determining CBD/THC levels in products, etc.

Not only will this cannabis major help to train and educate future cannabis businesspeople, growers and synthesizers, but it could also help to make cannabis products more potent, more diversified and most importantly, safer.

“One of the things that motivated us to develop this program was this industry 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.”

Which, is a very good point. These are chemical products that we’re putting in our lungs, stomachs and on our skin. Why wouldn’t we want trained scientists making them? Why shouldn’t colleges offer degrees for people who want to break into that industry, or step up above their competitors?

It only makes sense, and the good People of Colorado will benefit dankly from it.

CSU is also planning on developing a $1.5 million research center the Fort Collins campus that’s specifically dedicated to studying cannabinoids, sometime this spring. At this facility, both students and faculty will have the ability to study the formulation of cannabinoids, separation efficiencies, efficacy testing and more, according to a press release.

“Cannabinoids have already been proven effective in a number of clinical applications, and there are more than 100 other compounds that have been identified in hemp that could have an impact in other areas,” Melissa Reynolds, professor of chemistry and associate dean for research in the College of Natural Sciences at CSU, said in a statement. “Honestly, the possibilities are limitless – we can explore all types of research that were never available before.”

Which CSU is in the right place to do. They’re taking cannabis education by the horns and leading the charge into this dankest new frontier of business, medicine and technology.