Cannabis Chemistry

A bachelor of science degree in cannabis chemistry prepares you for a career in an expanding industry with an increasing need for qualified scientists specializing in growing techniques, compound extraction, and product quality control and analysis.

You may also want to explore the Cannabis Production and CBD Extraction certificate program.

Program Snapshot

Program Type Format Credit Hours
Major On Campus 120

Why Study Cannabis Chemistry at Wilkes?

Medicinal use of cannabis and legalization for recreational use in certain states creates a steep increase in the need for scientists who can research cannabis chemistry, extract and isolate compounds from the plant, understand laws and regulations, and assure purity and quality of products in the marketplace.

In the cannabis chemistry program at Wilkes, you’ll work alongside uniquely qualified faculty with expertise in chemistry, biology, pharmacology and neuroscience. They bring experience in analyzing cannabinoid compounds, the botany and physiology of medicinal plants, and growing plants in controlled environments.

This program meets requirements for American Chemical Society approval, so graduates qualify for ACS certification. That means you’re better prepared for technical careers in the cannabis industry and beyond.

Admission Requirements     Faculty & Staff

What Will You Learn as a Cannabis Chemistry Student?

  • Gain knowledge in a comprehensive curriculum that includes analytical, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry as well as biochemistry and biology as you partner with highly qualified faculty.
  • Explore language, tools, practical and regulatory challenges, and ethical issues in cannabis science during annual seminar courses.
  • Get hands-on experience growing hemp in the University greenhouse and growth chambers.
  • Learn fundamentals and gain hand-on experience in extraction methods of medicinally important compounds from plant materials.
  • Learn fundamentals of chemical analysis of extracts from cannabis plants and products and how to ensure purity, quality and safety in the community.
  • Develop skills using state-of-the-art chemical separations and analysis instrumentation for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of cannabis-related compounds and contaminants.
  • Take interdisciplinary coursework in medicinal chemistry, toxicology, hemp biology and plant physiology.
  • Enhance research skills with opportunities to participate in faculty-mentored summer projects.
  • Apply your knowledge in a senior capstone project related to production and characterization of cannabinoid products.
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Program Highlights

Expert Scientists

Wilkes faculty specializing in chemistry, biology, pharmacology and neuroscience bring unique qualifications to this interdisciplinary program.

Industry Connections

Relationships with industry and regulatory leaders ensure that Wilkes’ program meets industry needs and provides employment opportunities and real-world experiences

Assured Quality

Degree requirements align with guidelines of the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training for bachelor’s degree programs and certification of graduates.

Facilities and Instrumentation

Cohen Science Center

The 72,500-square-foot, LEED-certified Cohen Science Center features state-of-the-art equipment and laboratory space for hands-on, experiential learning – a hallmark of the Wilkes experience.

Cohen

Chemistry Instrumentation

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry maintains a wide variety of chemical instrumentation and facilities:

  • 400-megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer
  • Microwave reactor
  • Infrared spectrometer
  • High-pressure liquid chromatography
  • Gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer
  • Electrospray mass spectrometer
  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Circular dichroism spectrometer
  • Ultraviolet/visible spectrometer
  • Fluorimeter
  • Stopped flow fast kinetics instrumentation
  • Ozone generator
  • Parr hydrogenator
  • Calorimeter

Chemical Library

The department houses computer equipment for online access to the American Chemistry Society Archives and many other scientific online journals. Additional library resources are available in the main campus library, the Farley Library.

Chemical Stockroom

The department maintains a large inventory of routinely used chemical items.

Careers & Outcomes

Job opportunities in the legal cannabis industry continue to increase, with the 2022 Leafly Jobs Report citing 33% growth in job numbers in a single year. Average annual wages for chemists in all industries range from about $48,000 to $134,780, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Popular Careers

  • Analytical Chemist
  • Quality Assurance Chemist
  • Quality Control Chemist
  • Product Manager
  • Laboratory Manager
  • Method Development Chemist
  • Extraction Chemist
  • Extraction Technician
  • Extraction and Refinement Manager
  • Research Chemist
  • Research & Development Chemist
  • Laboratory Supervisor
  • Director of Manufacturing

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