As California prepares for expanded use of marijuana, UC Davis is offering courses in the science of the drug to boost awareness of its effect on the body.
The courses, called “Physiology of Cannabis,” are believed to be the first of their type in the University of California system. They join a small but growing number of weed-focused studies around the nation, reflecting the country’s changing attitude toward the drug.
“We feel it is important at this moment to educate students about the physiology and medical indications of cannabis and cannabinoids,” said instructor Yu-Fung Lin, an associate professor of physiology and membrane biology at the UC Davis School of Medicine.
UCD already has a long-standing Weed Research & Information Center. But that focuses on plants other than cannabis, such as crabgrass, clover and dandelions.
The new undergraduate-level course, launched in early April, can be used by undergraduates to fulfill the “Science and Engineering” general educational requirement to graduate. A more advanced class will be offered next year to medical students at the UCD School of Medicine.
A course for the general public also is planned in the future, allowing civic leaders, law enforcement and other people to learn more about the drug.
Education has been hampered by a lack of access to good information, as well as high-quality research.
Passage of Proposition 64 last November means it’s now legal to possess recreational marijuana in California. Possession of medical marijuana has been legal since 1996. But the state has until Jan. , 2018, to figure out how to license commercial businesses — so it can’t be bought or sold until then.
After that, experts expect it may be tried by many Californians who steered clear during its prohibition. But be warned: It remains classified by the federal government as an illegal