University of Vermont Medical School Medical Cannabis Pogram



A Retired Dentist Explores Medical Cannabis Through UVM

Posted by Erica Houskeeper on February 7, 2020

James Brent is starting a new chapter in retirement.

Once he retired from dentistry after 42 years in private practice, the Missouri resident enrolled in UVM’s Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional Certificate.

Dr. Brent was eager to learn the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and dosing for medical cannabis.

“I’m kind of an herbal hobbyist. I took some classes in that area. Then in 2018, Missouri passed an amendment to the state constitution for medical cannabis. I thought I better learn something about why this works,” he says. “I’ve always been a student and I like learning. Since retiring, I’ve thought a lot about integrative health.”

The UVM online medical cannabis certificate is a seven-week program that covers cannabis history, business, law and policy, plant biology, biological effects on humans, production and safety, pharmacology, and clinical research.

UVM’s Online Medical Cannabis Certificate

Cannabis is now legal across the country. Used as an alternative to medications for chronic pain and other conditions, cannabis is also the fastest growing industry in the country.

“I grew up in the 60s and cannabis was part of the culture then. I look at cannabis as plant medicine and a lot of herbalists will say you need to develop a relationship with the plant,” says Dr. Brent. “It’s nice to know about the pharmacodynamics, which is how cannabis works on the body. And about the pharmacokinetics, which is how the body metabolizes cannabis.”

Dr. Brent also learned how to make infusions and tinctures, which have since helped his 90-year-old mother, who suffers from chronic pain. Professionally, he is working toward offering health and wellness coaching.

“We don’t have a health care system. We have a disease-care system,” Brent says. “I am presently trying to help clients and physicians, who are interested, approach cannabis as an herbal medicine substitute for allopathic pharmaceuticals used for pain. Plant medicines—herbs—are traditionally used to treat specific types of patients rather than a specific disease. Incorporating lifestyle and dietary changes as well as other medicinal herbs to restore homeostasis have the potential to improve the effectiveness of pain therapies.”

UVM’s online medical cannabis certificate assures professionals they can accurately inform patients and customers, as well as gain a competitive advantage as a knowledgeable, trustworthy provider who can effectively minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of cannabis for therapeutic use.

“The staff and curriculum were great. I particularly enjoyed the research aspect and learning to write the required papers and the online interaction with other students,” Brent says. “The UVM cannabis program provides a reputable source of information for not only medical professionals but anyone who wants to deep dive into the benefits of cannabis as medicine.”


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