Course Curriculum

We start this self-paced virtual course with a deep dive into soil science and microbiology, and continue with a discussion on sustainability and organic farming techniques.

Although cannabis production largely shifted toward indoor cultivation in soilless media during federal prohibition, there has been a long history of cannabis being grown in soil outdoors and greenhouse/mixed light operations. This class reviews the key components of soil, the key types of soil found on earth, soil microbiology, and the soil food web. Additionally, this class looks at how “living soils” benefit cannabis production and reduce excessive waste in cannabis cultivation.

We then move onto explore sustainability and organic farming. We examine the concepts of “organic” and “sustainable” related to cannabis cultivation. After a brief look into the history and science behind some common principles of organic and sustainable farming, we explore the cannabis industry’s historical reliance on synthetic nutrients and the harmful effects of chemical fertilization for all crops from a soil and ecosystem management perspective. Finally, we discuss the often unsustainable nature of many common inputs used in cannabis cultivation and learn why something organic may not always be sustainable.

About Our Self-Paced Electives

Self-Paced Programs are asynchronous, meaning you may log on and complete the courses anytime, anywhere that is convenient for you. You can access the course online as soon as you enroll.

Programs consist of reading materials developed by our expert faculty, accompanied by videos, texts, and recommended resources.

All self-paced programs include live links to a wealth of information that allow you to dig deeper into subjects of particular interest.

Each program also includes a Virtual Video and Resource Library with corresponding recorded lectures from our faculty.

Self-paced students receive access to virtual field trips, grow labs, the Oaksterdam Alumni Network, and more.

Completion of all requirements results in OU certification.



If you are looking to make your cannabis grow more environmentally sustainable, this self-paced virtual course is for you. It may be counterintuitive, but organic practices are not always sustainable. This course examines the concepts “organic” and “sustainable” related to cannabis cultivation and gives you the knowledge you need to make a difference.


Get the Latest News from Oaksterdam

Get the Latest and Greatest News On the Cannabis Industry in Our Newsletter