URI online therapeutic cannabis program to graduate inaugural class

First of its kind program educates students in multiple positions in one of nation’s fastest-growing industry

KINGSTON, R.I. — April 28, 2021 — The inaugural class of the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy’s groundbreaking online undergraduate certificate program in therapeutic cannabis studies, is set to graduate this spring, adding educated personnel to one of the fastest growing industries in the country.

The 21 students expected to wrap up their studies April 26 will take part in a virtual commencement ceremony on May 19, just before URI’s Commencement Weekend. Pharmacy Dean Paul Larrat and Professor Navindra Seeram will deliver remarks to the graduates. URI President David Dooley and Provost Donald H. DeHayes will also offer greetings.

The online therapeutic cannabis studies course aims to provide graduates with an in-depth knowledge about the safe production and dissemination of cannabis-related information and products for qualified patients. The certificate program offered through the College’s Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences department is aimed at many diverse positions in the industry, including sales, brand ambassador, laboratory technicians, quality compliance/assurance, dispensary management and product development and manufacturing.

“This certificate is something that will help me in a short period of time grow a lot,” said student Brendan Craveiro, expected to graduate in May. “Currently working in the industry, I can see the growth happening every day. A lot of people I work with have backgrounds in cultivation, but with this certificate, I now bring post-cultivation experience to the workplace and contribute to the science-driven part of the business including extraction, sample preparation, working in a lab, etc. It’s rounded out my knowledge base in cannabis and I think it’s really going to help me grow professionally in the industry.”

The certificate program, taught by leaders in natural product research, including phytocannabinoids such as CBD, consists of four 3-credit courses each lasting seven weeks, including Foundations of Cannabis Studies, Cannabis Product Development, Cannabis Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, and Cannabis Therapeutics.

The program’s online nature opens the course to students around the country, and allows those already working in busy medical facilities to complete the course work at times convenient for them. That flexibility appealed to student Robin Maroney, a registered nurse working in cardiac rehabilitation. Several patients she has worked with are interested in therapeutic cannabis, and Maroney wanted to be qualified to advise them in the therapy.

“I’ve wanted to work as a cannabis consultant for patients, MDs and the general population. It’s important to help the consumer understand the benefits of using cannabinoids as well as being able to help manage pain, stress, anxiety, depression, etc.,” Maroney said. “I’m a big believer in people taking control of their own health and learning to heal themselves using plants. This program provides legitimacy to my quest considering it’s through the College of Pharmacy, which is so well respected.”

The online therapeutic cannabis program is geared toward multiple positions in the medical and cannabis fields. Students in the program’s first year represent multiple professions, including pharmacists, nurses, attorneys, dieticians, cannabis growers and budtenders, among others.

“The skills developed through the certificate program will prepare students for the evolving and expanding therapeutic cannabis industry,” said Professor Navindra Seeram, chair of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Science. “Students who complete the certificate will be highly competitive in several areas.”

Students successfully completing the course will earn a 12-credit certificate. Visit the undergraduate certificate in cannabis studies website for more information and to apply for the upcoming session. Applications for classes beginning in the fall of 2021 are now open, with a deadline to apply of Aug. 3.