All course information is listed within this syllabus.

PLANT 240: Fundamentals of Cannabis: An Introduction to the Botany, Cultivation, and Harvesting of Hemp (3 credits). Hemp is any Cannabis species that expresses THC at less than 0.3% This course provides a broad overview of hemp's natural ecosystem, biology, domestication, phenotypic plasticity, industrial cultivation, and business models within the hemp industry that foster bioeconomic empowerment for growers. The course starts with the basic biology of Cannabis species, the effects of light on the production of cannabinoids, the various uses in the economic fabric of industrialized nations, and concludes with what makes hemp a unique plant for industrial production. Despite the legalization of hemp, optimal conditions for indoor and outdoor cultivation of cannabis remain not well understood. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to basic principles, best horticultural practices, and specific concepts for getting started in industrial hemp production. Throughout this course, potential business opportunities are emphasized for various aspects of the hemp industry.

Instructor

Instructor for PLANT 240

Louis Bengyella, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor

Department of Plant Science
19 Tyson Building
University Park, PA 16802

Phone (Office): 814-863-0918
E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Twitter: @PSU_hempcourse

All worries related to the coursework must be directed to the instructor.

Course Overview

This course provides a comprehensive overview for outdoor, indoor, and hydroponic hemp production for rapid integration into the hemp industry. It fosters students' economic empowerment by stressing the needed quick-start horticultural skills for production, expansion, and business opportunities from seed to harvest and vertical integration. The course starts with understanding federal and state laws, drug enforcement agency (DEA) rules, and best hemp production practices needed for launching hemp production. Students will learn thought-provoking concepts that cut across basic biology, biochemistry, and agronomy and stressing on business opportunities in the hemp industry.

Why should you care about hemp? Hemp delivers medicines, construction materials, automobile parts, animal and human food, textile and papers, high tensile nanomaterials, essential oil, body care products, mattresses, and fuel. In this course, you will combine your knowledge of sciences and plant biology to bridge the grand challenges involve in hemp production. How will this course help you succeed? Grand challenges are fundamental questions in the production of hemp and with broad applications in the bioeconomy.

Course Objectives

By continuous learning and interaction with students in the classroom, greenhouse facilities, group assignments, or group presentations, students should be able to:

  1. Identify key elements of federal laws, 2021-USDA Final Rule, State laws, and drug enforcement agency (DEA) rules that govern hemp production and utilization best practices.
  2. Discern the differences among hemp genotypes and indigenous landraces.
  3. Describe the economic importance of common hemp genotypes and indigenous landraces.
  4. Describe the various hemp production systems and related drawbacks involved with the cultivation of Cannabis sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis dominant genotypes.
  5. Explain abiotic and biotic factors that influence hemp growth patterns and phytochemical content in their ecological niche.
  6. Employ basic hemp growing practices including scientific principles of how to grow hemp, monitor its health, and collect qualitative and quantitative data for forecasting yield.
  7. Assess market opportunities in the hemp industry including consideration of industrial hemp propagation and production.
  8. Investigate areas of interest where hemp grows and identify post-harvest management principles.
  9. Demonstrate skills and conceptual knowledge in the areas of growing, quantitative analysis, and research communication.

Course Outline

  • Module 1: Introduction to Hemp History
  • Module 2: Bioeconomics of Hemp
  • Module 3: Hemp Propagation
  • Module 4: Outdoor Cultivation of Hemp
  • Module 5: Optimization of Outdoor Production
  • Module 6: Water, Irrigation, and pH Management
  • Module 7: Nutrient Management
  • Module 8: Indoor Hydroponics System
  • Module 9: Indoor Soil-Based System
  • Module 10: Integrated Pest Management
  • Module 11: Post-Harvest Management of Hemp Flowers
  • Module 12: Post-Harvest Management of Fibers and Seeds
  • Module 13: Introduction to Cannabis Breeding
  • Module 14: Introduction to Feminized Seed Production
  • Module 15: The Future of Hemp Production

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check the World Campus Course Catalog approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.

Required

ISBN: 978-1845937928
Bouloc, P., Allegret, S., & Arnaud, L. (Eds.). (2013). Hemp: Industrial Production and Uses (Illustrated ed.). CABI.

For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website.

Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. It is very important that you purchase the correct materials. If your course requires one or more textbooks, you must have exactly the correct text required (edition and year).

Assignments

There are 2 exams in this course, each worth 20% of your total grade. Exam 1 will test on information from modules 1 to 5; Exam 2 will test on information from modules 6 to 10.

There is a cumulative final exam covering information from modules 1 through 15 at the end of the course. The final exam is worth 40% of your overall grade.

In addition, there are two research writing assignments:

Virtual Lab Activity: This activity will require you to analyze video recorded by microscope to detect different types of trichomes and answer related short essay questions. This activity will help you to develop your science writing skills – 10%

Data Analysis Report: This activity will require you to examine the research findings of a quantitative experiment testing hemp growing conditions. You are required to analyze the provided data set and report on your analysis. This activity will help you to develop your science writing skills – 10%

Note: No late submissions will be accepted. If you are ill or otherwise unable to turn in your work by the deadline in Canvas, it is your responsibility to discuss alternative due dates with the instructor.

Grading Policy

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value Weight
Exams (2 @ 20% each) 40 40%
Virtual Lab Activity 10 10%
Data Analysis Report 10 10%
Final Exam 40 40%
TOTAL: 100 100%

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 94%
A- < 94% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 84%
B- < 84% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 77%
C < 77% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

Getting Help With Canvas Courses

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Accessibility Information

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Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

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Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

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Copyright Notice

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Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

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Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

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In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.