8 Jobs You Can Get with a Degree in Cannabis - HØJ

8 Jobs You Can Get with a Degree in Cannabis


Time to read 5 min

The future of cannabis has never looked as promising as it is today.

According to Lake Superior State University, the cannabis industry is projected to create over 500,000 jobs by 2022. The high demand for individuals pursuing careers as inventive chemists, dispensary proprietors, cannabis cultivators, and professionals specializing in regulation and law enforcement is widely acknowledged.

We live in a world where universities just started to teach cannabis studies academically. Colleges and universities are fostering an

environment that encourages critical thinking, scientific inquiry, and

evidence-based decision-making. These will pave the way for a more

enlightened, progressive, and empathetic society.

Whether you choose a major in cannabis or a minor in cannabis studies, the majority of programs have a wide variety of areas, such as medicine, agriculture, business, and even sustainability. But what can you exactly do with a cannabis degree? 

Let’s find out. 

Developing a Career with a Cannabis Degree

As mentioned by LSU, the emerging industry is in need of professionals who want to become the best of the best in the following job positions: 

1. Bioanalytical Chemist

A bioanalytical chemist in the cannabis field specializes in analyzing and testing cannabis samples to determine their composition, quality, and safety, playing a vital role in supporting consumer protection and regulatory compliance. These scientists use specialized techniques and instruments to examine various compounds present in cannabis, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents.

Their responsibilities include quantifying the concentration of active compounds —that would be THC and CBD—, detecting impurities or contaminants, and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards. Their findings contribute to product labeling accuracy, consumer safety, and regulatory compliance in the cannabis industry.

Last but not least, bioanalytical chemists also participate in research and development activities related to cannabis-based products. These can include new formulations, delivery systems, and extraction techniques. They also collaborate with other professionals, such as cultivators, product developers, and quality assurance teams to ensure the overall quality and consistency of cannabis products.

2. Cannabis Extraction Manager

A cannabis extraction manager is responsible for overseeing and managing the extraction process in a cannabis production facility.  They also oversee the entire extraction process, ensuring optimal efficiency and safety. They manage equipment, develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), maintain quality control, train staff, and contribute to research and development efforts in the field of cannabis extraction.

The main role of an extraction manager is to ensure efficient and safe extraction of desirable compounds from cannabis plant material, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds. However, quality is also at the top of their priorities, since they collaborate with quality assurance personnel to establish quality control measures and conduct regular testing of extracted samples. This whole process involves analyzing the potency, purity, and composition of extracted compounds, as well as testing for contaminants and their derivatives.

Hands with gloves holding a cannabis plant
Cannabis plant study (Envato)

3. Clinical Chemist

A clinical chemist in the cannabis field primarily focuses on studying the effects of cannabis on human health. They also conduct research related to therapeutic applications of cannabinoids and other compounds found in cannabis, while playing a crucial role in understanding the biochemical interactions between cannabis and the human body. This also includes evaluating its potential benefits and risks.

In short, this career path requires studying the therapeutic effects, safety, and potential drug interactions of cannabis. Through research, analysis, and patient education, they contribute to advancing the understanding and responsible use of cannabis in medical applications. 

4. Field Application Scientist

A Field Application Scientist —FAS, for short— in the cannabis field serves as a bridge between scientific expertise and customer support. An FAS primary role is to provide technical assistance, training, and guidance to customers who utilize cannabis-related scientific instruments, technologies, or research products. They are also responsible for understanding the specific needs of customers in the cannabis industry and helping them effectively utilize the tools and products available to them.

An interesting responsibility is their collaboration with sales and marketing. They work closely with these teams to provide technical expertise during product launches, exhibitions, and trade shows. They also contribute to the development of marketing materials, scientific content, and application notes, keeping in mind customer’s feedback so they can work together and identify areas for improvement or new product development based on market needs and trends.

As you can see, FAS plays a crucial role in ensuring customer satisfaction, promoting the effective use of scientific tools, and advancing research and testing capabilities in the cannabis industry. 

5. Food Safety and Quality Assurance Chemist

A Food Safety and Quality Assurance Chemist in the cannabis field focuses on ensuring the safety, quality, and compliance of cannabis products with regard to food safety standards and regulations. For example, this field requires to stay updated on food safety regulations specific to the cannabis industry and ensure that production processes and products align with these requirements. Chemist who work on this field monitor and interpret regulations from relevant governing bodies and implement necessary procedures to meet compliance standards

Among other responsibilities, their priority is to establish and maintain sturdy quality control measures throughout the production process to guarantee the safety and integrity of cannabis-infused edibles and other consumable products, contributing to a culture of safety and quality throughout the production process. 

6. Formulation / Process Development Scientist

A person who specializes in Process Development Scientist in the cannabis field focuses on optimizing and improving manufacturing processes for cannabis products.

These scientists work on process optimization, formulation development, scale-up, quality control, cost analysis, and compliance with regulatory standards. Their efforts contribute to efficient and high-quality cannabis production, ensuring consistent and safe products in the market. Other key responsibilities include process optimization, technology transfer, process validation, and many more.

7. Laboratory Manager

A laboratory manager in the cannabis field oversees the overall operations and management of a laboratory dedicated to cannabis testing and analysis. People who specialize in this play a crucial role in ensuring the laboratory operates efficiently, maintains regulatory compliance, and delivers accurate and reliable results.

Other important tasks consist of coordination within the staff, establishing and maintaining a robust quality assurance program within the laboratory, and other key responsibilities like managing the equipment and inventory,  along with the data management and reporting. 

Scientist woman on a cannabis lab
Scientist woman on a cannabis lab (Envato)​​
Studying a cannabis plant
Studying a cannabis plant (Envato)

8. Pharmaceutical Chemist

Similar to clinical chemists, a pharmaceutical chemist focuses on the research, development, and analysis of cannabis-based pharmaceutical products. They apply their expertise in pharmaceutical chemistry to study the chemical composition, interactions, and therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and other compounds found in cannabis.

Additionally, pharmaceutical chemists are also responsible for intellectual property and patent research, where they contribute to intellectual property (IP) strategies by conducting patent research and analysis related to cannabis-based pharmaceuticals. They also collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to advance cannabis-based pharmaceutical research and development.


Which will you choose?

Author: Mary Jane

Gray, K. (2017) Want to study the business of marijuana? There's a degree program for that. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/10/09/marijuana-degree-northern-michigan-university/745964001/

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