Minot State launching major in medicinal plant chemistry | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Minot State launching major in medicinal plant chemistry

Jun 5, 2019

Credit Minot State University

It’s the first of its kind in North Dakota, and only the second such program in the country.

Minot State University will offer a major in “medicinal plant chemistry.”

Think medical cannabis.

Minot State Chemistry Professor Chris Heth said most often, marijuana is either smoked or eaten.

"And then you get everything in the plant," Heth said. "That's not always desirable."

THC is the main chemical that provides the psycho-active effects. Heth said there are other compounds that may do some useful things, or do nothing.

"What the (medical marijuana) industry will need are people who take the raw plant material, extract the compounds they're interested in, separate them, and provide products that only contain the medicines that people want," Heth said.

Minot State’s first major in medicinal plant chemistry is Zachary Schuller.  He called it "exciting."

"It is such a new area of research," Schuller said. "There are so many compounds that we don't know exactly what they do."

Schuller said this opportunity is not something you would find very often today.

"That's true especially at the undergraduate level," Schuller said. "It's definitely an exciting opportunity for me."