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Feb 18, 2020 3 min read

Learning about cannabis & the human body in Lisbon

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by Matan Weil
FIL-Lisbon-Portugal
The FIL in Lisbon, Portugal. (StockPhotosArt/Shutterstock)

CannX Lisbon 2020 got off to a great start last Tuesday, with the pre-conference medical cannabis intro course, “Introduction to Endocannabinology and Medical Cannabis.”

The day-long course was open to any and all members of the medical cannabis community in attendance at CannX. The goal of the course was to provide participants with in-depth insights on how medical cannabis is used as well as the physiology of the Endocannabinoid System and how some diseases can be relieved by its modulation.

CannX is accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME), and participants who took part in Tuesday’s course were eligible to receive six hours of credit towards their Continuing Medical Education and Continuous Professional Development (CME/CPD) accreditation.

Several dozen participants took part in the course, and while well over half were from Western Europe, there were also participants from the Middle East, the Americas, East Asia and Oceania, Central Asia, and Africa.

The course was designed for a wide range of specialists from psychiatrists to oncologists to pharmacists. Alongside healthcare professionals there were participants from the agriculture industry, higher education, startups, and the legal world, among other fields.

The experts who spoke to the participants discussed cannabinoids and a wide range of medical conditions, and the role cannabis can play both in treating these conditions and in providing palliative care for patients. It was also an opportunity for participants to learn more about the endocannabinoid system. First discovered in the 1990s, the endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors, endocannabinoids, and the enzymes that control the synthesis and breakdown of these compounds. Research shows that the endocannabinoid system is involved in many key processes, such as cognitive function, immunity, pain, sleep, and even eye health.

The course opened with remarks from Dr. Raquel Peyraube, a Uruguayan Medical Doctor and specialist on endocannabinology. Peyraube was the founder and first president of the Uruguayan Society of Endocannabinology (SUEN), is a board member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), and a member of the International Cannabinoids Research Society (ICRS). Since January 2019, she has worked as director of public policy and health for cannabis producer Plena Global Holdings.

Next up was a pioneer in the world of cannabis research, Dr. Lumír Hanuš, whose 50+ years of scientific work provided grist for his presentation: “Past and Present of Cannabis as a Medication, Current state of art: Generalities of Potential Indications.” Hanuš, who was interviewed by The Cannigma in January, was followed by Shay Sarid, co-founder and CTO of Seach Medical Cannabis Group, with a discussion of the physiology and chemical profile of the cannabis plant.

Later in the day, Dr. Guillermo Moreno Sanz, founder and CSO of Abagune Research, gave a presentation entitled “The Endocannabinoid System in Human Physiology,” followed by pediatric neurologist Dr. Orit Stolar of the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel, who spoke of epilepsy and autism, and how the endocannabinoid system affects both.

After lunch, a series of experts discussed how cannabis and cannabinoids can affect a variety of health conditions. These included Professor Kirsten Müller-Vahl of the Hannover Medical School, who spoke about cannabinoids and how they can affect neurodegenerative diseases and Tourette’s syndrome. She was followed by Dr. Guillermo Velasco of Complutense University of Madrid and Dr. Siolvi Brill from the Tel Aviv Medical Center in Israel, who spoke about cannabinoids and their role in cancer and cancer treatment and how they can affect chronic pain, respectively.

By now the participants were in need of coffee, and after a short caffeine break, they were treated to a look at how cannabis and cannabinoid affect the regulation of immune cells, courtesy of Dr. Gil Lewitus, a research associate from Dedi Meiri’s Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Cannabinoid Research at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Professor Marta Vázquez from the chemistry faculty at Uruguay’s Universidad de la República was up next and provided the crowd with a look at how cannabis interacts with other regularly-prescribed medications.

Dr. Peyraube was the final speaker of the day, and gave a helpful overview of medical marijuana in practice, entitled “Clinical Interviewing & the Most Frequent Questions from Patients & Clinicians (Dependency, Side Effects, Contraindications),” after which it was time for a lively session.

And all that before CannX Lisbon even got started!

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