FORT MYERS, Fla. - There's a packed classroom at Florida Gulf Coast University in search of higher education. The students are enrolled in FGCU's Cannabis Professional Certificate Program. It's aimed at people in the medical cannabis industry and the public who want to better understand cannabis and its effects.
"It started out like gangbusters because people want to learn this," explained Martha Rosenthal, a professor of neuroscience and physiology who runs the program. "We've had physical therapists, physicians, CEOs, accountants, attorneys. We've had pharmacists."
During the five-day intensive program, lectures go deep into weed.
"Today was the body, physiology and pharmacology. Tomorrow is cannabis law. Then we have cannabusiness: the unique challenges for banking, taxes, and insurance," Rosenthal continued.
Retired physician Dr. Cormac Coyle is learning more than he imagined.
"My curiosity has just gone through the roof as a result of this program," he said.
In today's shifting medical climate, he sees great value in the course for all physicians. "The information in it is relevant and their patients are taking these products, whether they are aware of that or not."
Chef Kristina San Filippo hopes to bring what she learns into the kitchen. "I'm trying to move away from just producing food for people to consume, to teaching people how food heals the body.”
Prof. Rosenthal says her goal is to squash the inaccuracies surrounding the plant.
"There is misinformation on both sides. People who are saying it’s a gateway drug, which it’s not. But people on the other side saying there's no negative effects, and of course there are."
She says she just want to educate people about a budding industry that shows no signs of slowing down.