Cannabis courses prepare students for booming industry

The cannabis industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, but unless employees are equipped with relevant training and knowledge, it could be at risk of a skills gap.

Roles such as ‘head grower’ in horticulture industries and ‘budtenders’ at medical dispensaries are being increasingly recruited for, creating a great opportunity for educational institutions to offer cannabis courses.

Not only will this bring more students through their doors, but it will help to support the growth and sustainability of a fast-moving and ever-evolving industry. 

Below, we take a look at some of the cannabis courses available from colleges, universities and even online. 

Colleges and universities 

Educational institutions in America are best placed to offer cannabis courses, with some room for movement within the state law. State-level legislation has increased in recent years, but the federal law still declares the consumption and ownership of cannabis to be illegal. 

This has made it somewhat difficult for some universities to entirely embrace cannabis courses into their curriculum, but some schools are capitalising on the opportunity. 

There are a variety of workarounds for cannabis courses, as exemplified by Northern Michigan University’s major in Medicinal Plant Chemistry. Medicinal (and recreational) uses of cannabis have been legalised in this state and this four-year course prepares students to enter a career in testing, compliance, and analysis in the cannabis industry. 

The medical industry is not the only sector that demands qualified applications for its roles. As legalisation begins to roll out across America, there will be a need for individuals who understand and are empowered to change and instill regulatory changes. Clark University addressed this challenge with a graduate certificate in Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control. It teaches students an ‘understanding of the influences of social, medical and legal viewpoints on cannabis control’, as well as a ‘demonstrated knowledge of the regulatory bodies involved in the cannabis supply chain’. 

Not all colleges and universities offer majors, but some do offer minors – giving students a foundational understanding of the industry. Stockton University in New Jersey, for example, offers an interdisciplinary minor in Cannabis Studies. It gives students the opportunity to intern in a variety of different areas such as cultivation, patient research and even social media. It helps to expose students to different career paths that are available to them so they can gain relevant experience and build the right skill sets. 

Dedicated cannabis campuses 

You can even look further afield to find campuses that are entirely dedicated to educating students about cannabis, hemp, and even general horticulture. California’s Oaksterdam University is a perfect example of this. It offers campus-based and online courses including a monthly marijuana business seminar and a cannabis business semester. 

Online courses

In Europe, there is a growing interest in CBD and the uses of medical cannabis. Although legalisation is not as advanced as Canada and the US, discussion is gathering pace. Online cannabis courses offer a great alternative for those who are looking to expand their skillset and knowledge, especially in locations where diplomas and degrees aren’t accessible through traditional means. 

The Academy of Medical Cannabis, for example, offers courses in Medical Cannabis Training which is an online learning resource for clinicians. Based in central London, it is part of their Continuing Professional Development program and combines workshops, e-learning, and best practice sharing for the cannabis industry. 

For those looking to learn at their own pace, THC University gives students online access to more than 150 hours of classes. Students can put their knowledge to the test with pop quizzes and exams. They will be supported with M-F student support and monthly webinars. Once the final exam has been passed, students can access a certificate of completion and exclusive access to a dedicated jobs board. 


As the legalisation of cannabis – whether medical or recreational – continues to roll out, cannabis courses should increase in tandem. By equipping a generation with the right skill sets for cultivation, research, and dispensing for example, an evolving industry will be able to reach new levels of sustainability and success. 

To find out more about the future of cannabis, make sure you follow The Leaf Desk.