The green, serrated leaves of cannabis are something you might expect to see on a college campus — perhaps grown secretly in a dorm, or emblazoned across clothing of students who support marijuana legalization — but certainly not within a college classroom.
At the University of Connecticut (UConn), cannabis is taking center stage in the biggest lecture hall on campus.
The university is teaching a whole class focused on growing just this one kind of plant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a popular class — around 300 students have signed up.
In the class, students have classes on topics such as seed selection, lighting, irrigation, and plant nutrients in order to learn how to best grow cannabis. It’s a skill that some students, like senior communication major Michael Milius, think may prove useful in their careers.
“I see on the news a lot that cannabis and marijuana are becoming more prevalent, becoming legal across the country,” Milius said. “I figured if this does turn out to be something that, like, a market pops up, maybe it would be good for me to know how to grow.”
Students aren’t learning about growing marijuana directly, but are instead learning to grow another type of cannabis: hemp. Though hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis, chemically, they’re different.
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Like marijuana, hemp has cannabidiol (CBD), but unlike marijuana, it does not have enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to produce a high.
The market for hemp is growing. Due to its ability to create durable, breathable textiles, hemp is often used in clothing. Hemp is also used in beauty products, because moisturizing properties within hemp seed oil. There are even hemp food products like hemp milk or hemp protein powder.
The lessons students learn on hemp are directly transferable to marijuana, where the