Cannabis sativa: The Plant and its Impact on People – New Graduate Course at UC Davis

Cannabis drawing

A new graduate course – Cannabis sativa: The Plant and its Impact on People – will be offered in Plant Sciences at UC Davis, starting fall quarter 2018.

This seminar style course will provide a scientific overview of the biology, genetics, biochemistry and pharmacological potential of Cannabis sativa. Cannabis is among the world’s earliest domesticated plant species and this class will explore its origin, evolution and ethnobiology.

Students will learn how specialized metabolites synthesized by Cannabis interact with receptors in the mammalian endocannabinoid neurotransmitter system and how these interactions affect pain sensation, mood, memory and other central nervous functions. The course will cover the status of clinical trials using synthetic and plant derived cannabinoids to treat neurological disorders. In addition, students will learn how cannabis is currently cultivated and the rapidly changing legal landscape associated with its production and utilization.

Cannabis drawing
Cannabis sativa illustration. (from Wikimedia commons)

A graduate from this course will be able to:

  • Understand the biology of the Cannabis plant including its anatomy, growth requirements, reproductive cycle, evolution, genetics and specialized metabolism
  • Identify the biochemical pathways and processes leading to bioactive secondary metabolites in Cannabis
  • Understand the basic biology of the endocannabinoid neuro-receptor system in humans
  • Compare the effectiveness of medical Cannabis to traditional pharmacologicals
  • Appraise the impact of Cannabis in modern society
  • Rationally explore career opportunities in an exploding agricultural sector

The course (PLS 290, CRN# 37559, 2 units), led by Professor John Yoder, consists of weekly lectures and discussions. Lectures will be presented by invited speakers selected for their expertise in their topic area. The first lecture is October 2, 2018.

The lectures will be recorded and streamed online. Students who wish to take this course for credit will also participate in a journal club discussion section after the seminar.

(Article by Ann Filmer and John Yoder, UC Davis Dept. of Plant Sciences.)

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