The cannabis industry is one of the most rapidly expanding business opportunities in the world at the moment, and we are excited to present our review of the 10 best cannabis education programs. It seems like everyone wants their slice of the pie, whether that’s opening a dispensary, budtending, cooking, or legislative jobs. As more states begin to legalize cannabis for recreational and medical purposes, it’s becoming more and more accepted and welcomed to have a career related to marijuana. However, many people trying to break into the cannabis industry don’t honestly know what it takes. Casually using cannabis does not equip you to start your own CBD or cannabis business, and many people end up biting off far more than they can chew. Without formal education, many people are just guessing surrounding the care of their plants, which can cost both time and money.
Before the last decade, there wasn’t anywhere you could go if you wanted to get a degree in cannabis. Fortunately, this has all changed in recent years. Now, there’s a certification for pretty much any sector of marijuana you can imagine, including everything from culinary applications to cultivation. This article will be discussing the top 10 cannabis education programs, both online and in-person, and why they’re worth your money.
What Do They Teach?
No matter what you want to learn, there’s a cannabis education program for you. Many people don’t want to be involved in the physical cultivation of cannabis but want to learn cannabis science. In this case, you might lean more toward a medical program such as one from the Medical Cannabis Institute. If you’re going to own a cannabis farm, you may want to pursue a horticulture certification from Oaksterdam University. If you’re more interested in the legislative consequences of cannabis legalization, maybe a certification from Clark University is right for you.
The possibilities are quite endless, and many cannabis colleges have the option of taking singular classes if you don’t want to commit to an entire program.
How Much Does It Cost?
One of the great things about cannabis colleges is that there are a variety of different price points to suit your commitment level. Many adults don’t have the time or resources to drop everything and go back to school for an entire semester. Luckily, many cannabis programs are offered online. Taking classes online also does wonders to reduce the cost, as there’s no need for transportation or housing.
At institutions like the Medical Cannabis Institute, you can pick and choose which classes you want to take, which makes it incredibly affordable. The classes run between $30-$40, so there’s no need to break the bank. However, fully immersive options are also available if you have more financial resources available to you. Attending a full semester at an accredited university can be helpful if you need more structure in your life, or if you want to benefit from more personal connections. A masters’ program in Medical Cannabis Science at the University of Maryland can run between $20,000-$25,000 depending on where you live.
The following list is comprised of 10 highly acclaimed cannabis colleges where you can indulge in a variety of different programs. If you’ve ever wanted to apply for a job at a cannabis company, or even start your own business, keep reading to see our top picks for places to begin your journey.
1. Oaksterdam University – Oakland, CA
Oaksterdam University is America’s first-ever cannabis college, founded in 2007. Its campus is located in the heart of Oakland, California, and its staff and faculty quite literally helped form the laws surrounding cannabis. At this university, you can focus your certification in either business or horticulture, helping you to narrow down your niche in the industry. Oaksterdam is the most highly acclaimed cannabis education program in the country, so going there will most definitely set you apart from other job applicants. Another benefit of Oaksterdam is that it’s an in-person program, so you’ll get to make real-life connections with staff who have been working in the cannabis industry for decades. However, Oaksterdam does also offer an online program, so you can attend even if you’re unable to relocate to California. A full semester in either cannabis business or horticulture will cost you between $1,600-$1,900, while a shorter cannabis business seminar will run you about $700.
2. Clover Leaf University – Locations Vary
Founded in 2009, Clover Leaf University is the only cannabis university in the United States approved by Colorado’s Department of Higher Education’s Private Occupational School Board. Based in Denver, they offer courses of all types, including phytotechnology, horticulture, business, law, and even cannabis medical training. CLU’s resources are available online, in addition to providing workshops and classes at various locations across the country. CLU has been raved about on major media outlets such as ABC, CNN, and The New York Times. They have helped their alum to open their businesses, form laws, and even protect consumer safety surrounding cannabis products. Standalone classes cost between $100-$400, while more extended three-day certification programs can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
3. THC University – Online
THC University, a preeminent online cannabis education program, has a mission to provide its students with cannabis education in the easiest way possible. This university has a particularly exciting way of presenting its resources to students, as you only pay for as long as you want to have access. THC University focuses more on individual courses and offers subjects such as budtender basics, terpene basics, marijuana 101, growing basics, and horticulture specialization. Classes can be accessed on laptops, desktops, and tablets, so they’re available to you no matter where you are. THC University also offers business training, so you have the opportunity to train your entire team simultaneously. The monthly cost of THC University’s resources is $50, while three months costs $135 and six months costs $240.
4. Cannabis Training University – Online
Cannabis Training University prides itself on being able to provide an education to students of all skill levels, from total beginner to budtending expert. Based out of Denver, Colorado, CTU offers training on how to open a dispensary, cooking with cannabis, extracting cannabis, cannabis laws, and many other subjects. CTU’s classes can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and they recently doubled the video content available to students on their website. Their “How To Grow Medical Marijuana” program is the most extensive collection of online resources assembled and is widely recognized as the best online program in the country. CTU’s master certification currently costs $249 to obtain.
5. The University of Maryland – Rockville, MD
At the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy, a new masters’ program is offering a degree in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics. This two-year program combines online courses as well as in-person workshops. UMD’s program is especially useful for those who are more interested in the research end of cannabis science. This is because UMD equips students to do their own research in the cannabis field. More specifically, it provides education surrounding basic cannabis science, its clinical uses, adverse effects, public health concerns, and federal or state laws surrounding cannabis. This program is undoubtedly designed for the more committed student, tuition and fees to attend are approximately $20,785.20 for in-state students, and $25, 621.20 for out-of-state students.
6. Clark University – Worcester, MA
With a mission to “bridge the knowledge gap” surrounding the massive cannabis industry, Clark University offers the nation’s first certification in Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control. This university is one where the location is significant, as Worcester is home to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Being one of the states where cannabis is legal, Massachusetts is a valuable place to make connections in the industry. This program can be completed in only two semesters, and any credits you obtain can also be applied to a master’s degree in Public Administration. This certificate provides a comprehensive education in understanding the social, legal, and ethical consequences of cannabis legalization. Currently, the program costs a total of $8,505 to complete.
7. Cleveland School of Cannabis – Cleveland, OH
With a mission to provide cannabis education to the nation’s future leaders, the Cleveland School of Cannabis offers students a top-notch education in a budding industry. CSC offers both a Medical Cannabis Comprehensive program, as well as a few other smaller certifications. These certifications include cannabis horticulture, opening a cannabis dispensary, and medical applications of cannabis. The Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools has approved all of its state certification programs. Also, they are designed to be a practical form of learning, which leads to immediate employment. Tuition costs approximately $1,000 for a one-week class or $5,200 for the entire program. You can also take a weekend introductory course covering several topics, which costs $250.
8. The Medical Cannabis Institute – Online
Designed for healthcare professionals, The Medical Cannabis Institute’s goal is to provide qualified individuals with further knowledge on medical cannabis and its potential clinical application. TMCI also partners with cannabis institutions to expand their constantly-growing course catalog. Their courses include topics like the basics of the endocannabinoid system and specific medical cannabis treatments, but also extend to topics like cannabis therapeutics in hospice care. Many of their courses are designed to train your entire team and are incredibly affordable. Most classes are between $30-$40, so you don’t need to break the bank if you only want to take a select few.
9. The Trichome Institute – Online
Known for their unique concept of “Interpening,” The Trichome Institute is designed to enroll groups in various forms of cannabis education programs. In addition to online classes, The Trichome Institute has an online store where they offer tools to further digital learning, such as books, posters, and educational “wheels.” Their professional Interpening course consists of a comprehensive five-hour lecture, and covers what the institute calls “the art of the Cannabis Sommelier.” The conference covers how to evaluate cannabis quality, identifying cannabis flaws, and predicting the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The Interpening course costs $249 and can be taken by both an individual or a group.
10. Cannabis Career Institute – Locations Vary
Founded in 2009, the Cannabis Career Institute was inspired by Oaksterdam University and wanted to follow carefully in their traditions. CCI has much more of a focus on business techniques, focusing primarily on creating, branding, and marketing your own business. Unlike many other cannabis colleges, CCI holds frequent seminars which are one day long and includes everything the student needs to know. The workshops typically run from 10 am-7 pm, and cost $349. The cost of the class also includes the textbook, which is to be kept and used throughout the student’s business experience. Once you pay for the seminar, you can also re-attend whenever you please at no extra cost, and guests of former students receive $100 off the seminar.
Getting an education in cannabis can give you a significant leg up in the search for a job. When an employer views your resume and sees that you have a full education specialized in their field, you’ll stick out among the competition. Transitioning your career to the cannabis industry will be much less of a challenge when you complete your education because you’ll be guessing less and working more.
Even if you aren’t interested in working in the cannabis industry, attending a class at one of the schools mentioned above can be incredibly valuable. Being a frequent cannabis user comes with its own set of risks, and knowing everything you possibly can about your products can help you make more informed decisions. Knowing where your products come from and how they’re made can be vital to staying healthy and performing at your physical best.
If you’re interested in attending any of the schools mentioned above, visit their links to learn more about the programs they offer.
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By BCR Staff