University Offering Graduate Program in Cannabis

The University of Mississippi, renowned for its rich history in pioneering cannabis research, has recently unveiled an innovative online graduate program focused on Medical Cannabis and Dietary Supplements. This groundbreaking program emerges as a significant advancement in the field of medical education, aligning with the evolving landscape of medicinal cannabis use in healthcare. The launch of this program at such a pivotal moment—when Mississippi and the nation are increasingly recognizing the potential of medical cannabis—underscores the University's commitment to staying at the forefront of research and education in these burgeoning fields.

For over fifty years, the University of Mississippi has held a unique position in cannabis research, being the only institution with a federal license to cultivate cannabis for the National Institute on Drug Abuse Drug Supply Program. This long-standing expertise forms the cornerstone of the new graduate program, which is set to revolutionize the way professionals and researchers approach the dynamic and rapidly expanding worlds of medical cannabis. In the words of Donna Strum, Dean of the School of Pharmacy, this program is not just an educational pathway—it's a gateway to a world of opportunities for those seeking to advance their careers and make meaningful contributions to these growing industries.

Historical Background of Cannabis Research at UM

cannabis research in mississippi

The University of Mississippi has a storied legacy in cannabis research, stretching back over five decades. Since 1968, it has held the exclusive federal license to cultivate cannabis for research purposes, a distinction bestowed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This unique privilege has positioned the university as a vanguard in the scientific exploration of cannabis.

Dubbed the Marijuana Project, this long-term research initiative at UM has been instrumental in unraveling the complexities of cannabis. Researchers at the university have diligently studied the chemistry and potential therapeutic uses of cannabis, contributing significantly to the national and global understanding of this once enigmatic plant. This rich heritage of discovery and innovation forms the bedrock upon which the new graduate program is built, underscoring UM’s unparalleled expertise in the realm of cannabis research.

The National Center for Cannabis Research and Education

In 2022, the University of Mississippi established the National Center for Cannabis Research and Education, further cementing its role as a leader in this field. The center, residing within the School of Pharmacy, was created with a vision to expand upon the university's existing research capabilities and to delve deeper into the health-related aspects of cannabis and cannabis-derived drugs.

Under the guidance of Interim Director Larry Walker, the NCCRE is set to explore an array of research areas. These include the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use, the development of new cannabis-based drugs and delivery systems, and possibly clinical studies in collaboration with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. By integrating basic laboratory research with advanced drug development initiatives, the NCCRE is poised to significantly contribute to the evolving narrative of medical cannabis, both in Mississippi and beyond.

Program Overview and Unique Aspects

cannabis studies at the university of mississippi

The University of Mississippi’s Master of Science in Dietary Supplements and Medical Cannabis stands out as a pioneering online graduate program, one designed to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary education in this evolving field. This program is built upon the university's esteemed research history and leverages the expertise housed within the National Center for Natural Products Research and National Center for Cannabis Research and Education.

Unique in its approach, the program transcends the conventional boundaries of pharmacology education. It is tailored not just for pharmacists, but for a broader audience who aim to delve deep into the science of medical cannabis. The curriculum encompasses plant genomics, drug formulation, manufacturing, and regulatory aspects, aiming to produce graduates who are well-equipped to drive innovation and excellence in the medical cannabis and dietary supplement industries.

Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of this groundbreaking program is to establish itself as a premier educational platform that not only serves the burgeoning cannabis industry but also leverages UM's strengths to provide an unmatched learning experience. According to David Colby, the program’s organizer and a professor in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, the objective is to create one of the best programs in the field that serves both the industry and the community.

Dean Donna Strum emphasized the program’s commitment to ensuring that the workforce is well-prepared to meet the growing demands of these industries. Whether it's influencing government regulations, advancing research, leading product innovation, or excelling in the medical cannabis and dietary supplements sectors, the program is designed to equip students with a solid foundation for success.

Future Expansion and Educational Reach

the future of cannabis education

The University of Mississippi's vision for its graduate program in Medical Cannabis and Dietary Supplements extends beyond its current offerings. The program, set to officially launch in the fall of 2024, is just the beginning of a comprehensive educational trajectory planned by the School of Pharmacy.

In the fall of 2025, the university plans to introduce a one-year graduate certificate in dietary supplements, followed by a similar certificate in medical cannabis in fall 2026. These certificate programs aim to provide specialized knowledge and skills to those seeking expertise in these specific areas. This expansion signifies the university’s commitment to integrating cannabis and dietary supplement education into various levels of academic pursuit.

Faculty and Industry Insights

The program’s innovative approach is guided by the insights and expertise of its faculty, particularly David Colby, the program’s organizer and a professor in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences. Colby highlights that the program aims to do more than just educate pharmacists on recommending cannabis products; it seeks to delve into the intricate details of cannabis chemistry, biology, and toxicology. The program’s comprehensive curriculum will cover a wide array of subjects, from plant genomics to drug formulation and manufacturing, as well as regulatory aspects of the industry.

Donna Strum, Dean of the School of Pharmacy, has expressed her confidence in the program's potential to open up a world of opportunities for those looking to make significant strides in these rapidly growing industries. The program’s launch and its development are a testament to the university's dedication to staying ahead of the curve in cannabis and dietary supplement education.

Student Engagement and Response

students look forward to cannabis centric college courses

The response from students to the University of Mississippi's foray into medical cannabis and dietary supplements education has been overwhelmingly positive. This enthusiasm is a testament to the growing interest and recognition of the importance of these fields among the younger generation. When the pharmacy school recently introduced a course in medical cannabis as an elective, the demand far exceeded expectations. With a cap at 30 students, the course saw a waitlist of 50, underscoring the high level of student interest in cannabis studies. This robust response has been a driving factor in the university's decision to expand its educational offerings in this domain.

The program's anticipated impact extends beyond the university's current student body. The Hearin Foundation's support of nearly $145,000 and additional funding from the university's Division of Outreach and Continuing Education indicate a strong institutional commitment to this innovative program. Such backing not only solidifies the program's foundation but also enhances its appeal to prospective students locally and nationally.

Significance in the Current Healthcare and Educational Landscape

The University of Mississippi's Master of Science in Dietary Supplements and Medical Cannabis program is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the future workforce of these rapidly evolving industries. As the legal landscape surrounding medical cannabis shifts, there is a pressing need for educated professionals who possess a comprehensive understanding of these fields. The program is uniquely positioned to fill this gap by providing students with a multidisciplinary education that encompasses all aspects of medical cannabis, from the scientific underpinnings to practical applications and regulatory considerations.

The program's distinct focus on the chemistry, biology, and toxicology of medical cannabis sets it apart from other institutions offering similar programs. By catering not just to pharmacists but to a broader range of professionals seeking to work in these industries, the University of Mississippi is extending its educational reach and influence far beyond traditional pharmaceutical education.


The University of Mississippi's establishment of the Master of Science in Dietary Supplements and Medical Cannabis is more than just an addition to its academic portfolio; it represents a significant leap forward in the field of medical education and research. As the first institution to cultivate cannabis for federal research and a leader in natural product research, the university has long been at the forefront of exploring the potential of cannabis and dietary supplements. This new graduate program is a natural progression of UM's pioneering spirit and deep-rooted expertise.

The significance of this program extends beyond the university and the state of Mississippi. It reflects a broader shift in societal attitudes towards cannabis and acknowledges the growing importance of dietary supplements in healthcare. By providing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary education in these fields, the University of Mississippi is preparing a new generation of professionals equipped to lead and innovate in an industry that is at the cusp of significant growth and transformation.

As the landscape of medical cannabis and dietary supplements continues to evolve, the University of Mississippi remains committed to advancing research, education, and policy in these critical areas. The Master of Science in Dietary Supplements and Medical Cannabis program is not just a milestone for the university but a beacon for the entire field, signaling a new era of understanding, acceptance, and application of these natural products in health and wellness.

E1011 Labs: Pioneering the Practical Application of Cannabis Research

In light of the University of Mississippi's groundbreaking initiative in medical cannabis and dietary supplements education, E1011 Labs stands as a testament to the practical application and real-world implementation of this research. As a company at the forefront of cannabis innovation, E1011 Labs' commitment to leveraging research for the development of effective, safe, and accessible cannabis-based products aligns perfectly with the educational strides being made at the university.

Bridging the Gap Between Research and Application:

heat not burn device for cannabis flower

E1011 Labs' mission is to bridge the gap between academic research and the consumer market. With the university’s program focusing on the chemistry, biology, and toxicology of medical cannabis, E1011 Labs takes these findings and translates them into tangible products. Our state-of-the-art elon® device, designed for optimal dry-flower vaporization, exemplifies this translation of research into practical solutions. It provides users with a safe, efficient, and enjoyable way to experience the benefits of cannabis, rooted in the scientific principles that the University of Mississippi's program aims to teach.

Advancing Industry Standards:

At E1011 Labs, we are committed to advancing industry standards in cannabis consumption. Understanding the importance of rigorous research, as conducted at the University of Mississippi, we ensure that our products are not only effective but also adhere to the highest safety and quality standards. Our approach mirrors the university’s emphasis on thorough understanding and responsible application, making us a leading example of how businesses in the cannabis sector can contribute positively and constructively to the industry.

Educational Collaboration and Support:

Recognizing the value of academic-industry collaboration, E1011 Labs is open to partnering with institutions like the University of Mississippi to further cannabis research and education. Through such collaborations, we aim to support the next generation of cannabis experts and enthusiasts, whether they are students, researchers, or consumers. By aligning ourselves with academic institutions at the forefront of cannabis research, we hope to contribute to a better-informed and more responsible cannabis industry.

Empowering Consumers with Knowledge and Quality:

At E1011 Labs, we believe in empowering consumers with knowledge and quality products. As the University of Mississippi paves the way in cannabis education, we strive to complement their efforts by providing consumers with products that are a direct result of extensive research and innovation. Our commitment to education extends to our customers, as we aim to enlighten them about the science behind our products and the benefits of cannabis used responsibly and effectively.


As the University of Mississippi embarks on this exciting educational journey, E1011 Labs proudly stands alongside, committed to translating academic research into high-quality, scientifically-backed cannabis products. Together, we are shaping a future where cannabis is not only understood and respected as a natural product but also utilized to its full potential for wellness.