URBANA — When people think cannabis, they often think marijuana.
But the cannabis plant takes many different forms, from medicinal cannabidiol (CBD) to industrial hemp.
A new class at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign aims to break down all the different uses of the crop and provide a foundation for students interested in entering the industry.
“We need to have a better understanding [of the] difference between a plant grown for the marijuana THC production or plant grown for the other CBD non-psychoactive compound,” says DK Lee, the crop sciences professor who will teach the class.
The class, titled Cannabis Classification and Management, is a part of U of I’s new cannabis certificate program, which will ready students to enter the cannabis production industry by covering everything from the plant’s biology to best production practices.
“We are expecting a lot of job opportunities to become available,” Lee says. “[If] we try to help a student or some public people look for a job in cannabis… they can be equipped and can take [the] opportunity of growing the cannabis industry.”
Cannabis certificate programs are in the works at other Illinois universities too, including Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and Oakton Community College in Des Plaines.
The U of I course will be available to enrolled students and community members, in an effort to meet the high demand and interest in the course.
“There’s a lot more indoor production facilities coming into Illinois and many students and other public people are looking at opportunities with this growing industry,” says Lee.
He says all 40 spots reserved for U of I students filled up quickly. There will be 50 spots available to community members, and registration will open in July.
Dana is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter: @DanaHCronin