US (MD): Inside Maryland's graduate degree in medical cannabis

Melissa Beatty has been a pharmacist for more than 20 years. But after becoming jaded by seeing so many patients return for pill after pill, she knew she wanted to explore a more holistic approach to medicine — especially since medical marijuana helped her mother through cancer and has relieved her own struggle with back pain.

Two years ago, Beatty helped open a dispensary in Baltimore, and now she’s back in school at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. There, she is one of 150 students in the brand new Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program.

School officials say it’s the first graduate program of its kind in the country and will help meet the growing demand for more research and an educated workforce as public opinion shifts to become more accepting of the use of cannabis to treat illnesses and chronic pain.

“If you look at the number of states that have a comprehensive medical cannabis program, it has increased over the last several years,” said Leah Sera, the program’s director and an assistant professor at the pharmacy school. “This is an expanding field.”


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