Two professors at the University of Vermont are aiming to bring light to the growing area of medicinal cannabis treatment with the first course on the substance to be offered in the U.S..
As recreational and medical use of the the plant continues to grow, Dr. Wolfgang Dostmann and Dr. Karen Lounsbury are hoping to provide information to the nation’s physicians and scientists looking for information on cannabis’s impact on the body.
“It’s trying to raise awareness and dispel myths,” Lounsbury said.
As an illegal substance, the pharmacology professors have little scientific sources and no major funding available from the federal government, forcing the pair to compile much of their own data based on their expertise.
“There are not enough clinical trials to suggest what the dosage should be, what the side effects are,” Lounsbury said.
When developing the course, Lounsbury said she found no similar programs from accredited institutions, only biased sources trying to further their own pro or anti cannabis agenda.
“There’s so much information out there that’s just hearsay,” said Lounsbury.
The pair plan to write their own textbook for the course, based on their own research.
Dostmann’s focus is pharmacokinetics, the way a drug interacts with the body, and will speak to the plant’s chemistry, cannabinoid receptors in the brain and the difference between strains.
Dostmann said he hopes to get rid of the stigma around cannabis and have it treated the same as any other plant product.
Lounsbury is looking at biological responses to cannabis, including the plant’s pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties.
The course has already had over 100 enrol for its first offering in the spring, 2016 semester.