By Don Iler
Oregon State University will be offering the first course in industrial hemp beginning spring term. The course will be offered online and is the first of its kind in the world.
The three-credit course, WSE 266, is being offered by the College of Forestry’s department of wood science and engineering and will be coordinated by Anndrea Hermann, an instructor in the college.
“It’s an up and coming crop in the United States and we are going to need professionals coming out of academia who are experts in multiple areas,” Hermann said.
Cultivation of hemp is currently illegal in the United States, although importation of it is legal. Hemp is a non-psychoactive relative of cannabis sativa indica or marijuana, and can be used for a variety of purposes. Hemp was once widely grown in the United States but has been banned by the federal government for more than 50 years.
Hermann said hemp can be used in a variety of different applications, from making paper and textiles to food products and biofuels, and the industry stands to grow in the near future. Sales of hemp products exceeded $452 million last year according to the Hemp Industries Association.
Hermann said a variety of students would benefit from the class, anyone from food science students to those interested in fashion and textiles.