By: Grant Goetcheus
This fall the University of Findlay has started to offer a new class. The class medical cannabis is an elective to fourth and fifth-year pharmacy majors. The class will talk about the medicinal purposes of the drug.
Topics discussed during the semester will include the most come diseases that cannabis has been used to treat. According to an article from CNN, even patients with serious or lifelong diseases like multiple scoliosis, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s have responded positively to the controversial drug. Other topics will be the legal system’s view of the drug and how addiction and abuse play into that view as well as the classification of the drug by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
The FDA classifies the drug as a schedule one drug. This means that in the eyes of the DEA, cannabis has no medical applications and has a high chance of abuse. Other drugs that are schedule one are heroine, ecstasy, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Deborah Berlekamp is the professor of the class. She began working at UF in 2014. In the beginning she was against medical cannabis. Her daughter was an activist for recreational use and that is what drew her into becoming educated on the issues. After that she began to get behind the use of cannabis in a medicinal use.
“If I’m the pharmacist, if I’m the drug expert then I better look into to this and at least make a decision either way,” explained Berlekamp.
Berlekamp would like for students to take away their own opinion of cannabis after the class. She wants to inform the students about the facts and have them make their own decisions as future pharmacists. She also hopes that some students might want to start advocating for more research on the drug. With more research the drug could be taken off the schedule one list.
UF is not the first start that has introduced cannabis related classes to their list. The Ohio State University started a class last fall. It is called “Cannabiz: Exploring the ‘Legalized’ Cannabis Industry” and is part of their criminal law degree. In the class they talk about the entrepreneurial risks and business associated with the drug.
Medical marijuana became legal in the state of Ohio in June of 2016. Ohio House Bill 523 was set to become effective on Sept. 8 of this year but the Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program, the Commerce Department, and the state medical and pharmacy boards were not able to meet the deadline in time.