• Kylar Sharp

Medicinal Plant Chemistry added to chemistry options

Starting in the spring of 2019, Minot State University will offer a third option in its chemistry major. This option focuses on the on the extraction, purification, and analysis of compounds in plants. Minot State will be one of only two four-year institutions in the country to offer medicinal plant chemistry.

“The motivation to bring this to campus is actually kind of interesting. It didn't start here in this building (Cyril Moore). There was a committee that was formed across campus that were looking for different degree options,” assistant chemistry professor Christopher Heth said. “The idea being able to put together a program that would be well suited to students entering a number of industries, and one being the medicinal cannabis industry which is growing at a rapid rate.”

By adding this third option into the chemistry major, students will receive new tools and resources to help prepare them for when they enter the workforce.

“The degree itself is a third option on the BA in chemistry that we already have, so it kind of fits in between the previous two,” Heth Said. “We had one for professional chemistry that was designed for students who planned on going to graduate school, and we had our general chemistry which was designed for students who wanted to go to professional school like pre-med. This third option falls in the middle. It would serve students well who wanted to go into either.”

Students will continue typical coursework in chemistry, physics, biology, and calculus along with learning some new skills and techniques involving specific plants, hops, and botanical supplements.

“As far as plant matter itself, one we will not be working with would be cannabis. We can use a number of analogs, we will be looking at using hops, industrial hemps, and extract some CBD oils out of hemps. We would also pull some caffeine out of tea and coffee along with some other options,” Heth said.

This new option allows students to explore new hands-on activities along with some time being spent in the lab.

“When we add up the total scheduled lab time for the option, it ends up being around 600 hours. That is with all the classes for the option, and that is not including the lab time spent on their research project that is also required as a capstone,” Heth said. “Students will at least be receiving 600 hundred hours of lab experience.”

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