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NMU introduces medicinal plant program (but no, students won’t be growing weed)

A close-up shot of a cannabis plant
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The Next Idea

Northern Michigan University has unveiled a new program: a first-of-its-kind undergraduate degree in medicinal plant chemistry where students will study the science of cannabis.
Mark Paulsen joined Stateside to discuss the new program. He’s a professor and head of the Department of Chemistry at Northern Michigan University.

Health professionals, scientists, and entrepreneurs are all interested in learning more about medicinal plants. And the booming medical and recreational marijuana industry means they are especially interested in studying cannabis. NMU students in the school's new program will study chemistry, botany, and biology of the plant in order to get jobs in quality control labs or to get the information they need to start their own small businesses.

The program will include a weekly seminar to help students understand the medicinal industry, including the complicated regulatory environment that surrounds marijuana.

Paulsen emphasizes that no students will be growing or working directly with cannabis at the program. Instead, they’ll learn techniques that will be applicable for testing samples of any medicinal plant, which they could potentially apply to cannabis in the future.

Hear more from Professor Mark Paulsen in the interview below.


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