Report on Patients Out of Time Conference, RI

Larry SweetBy: Larry Sweet, San Diego ASA

The biannual Patients Out of Time Conference was held this year in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference keynote speaker was the discoverer of THC and eventually other Cannabinoid, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. There were over thirty speakers packed into a two-day conference so the information flow was intense. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of the speakers were talking about published and unpublished research of a very complex variety. Simply sitting in the current of this river of information was an exhausting experience.

The conference itself was an amazing coordination of scientists, practitioners and patients. In my career I have attended many conferences and found none to be better managed. Of special note was the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC). The members of this grassroots organization were extremely helpful to patients, especially the patients from out of State. This is an organization that is interested in coordinating with west coast advocacy groups to engage in national action for Medical Marijuana. Any west coast groups looking to partner with an east coast group of sterling reputation and compassion would be wise to contact them.

In general there was a lot of excitement about the use of Cannabidiol
(CBD) as a healing agent for a number of conditions. The research reported at this conference indicate that CBD is central in pain management, anxiety management, cancer, epilepsy, inflammation, diabetes, cardioprotective action, neuro-protection and more. Many of these conditions have been successfully treated with cannabis by patients for many years, but it was gratifying to actually see the research that verified our common knowledge.

The use of cannabis to treat Post-Traumatic Stress disorder was one of the most exciting topics for me. Several of the scientists presenting their research focused on the recent “discovery” that cannabis is very effective. PTSD is the leading cause for a certification for medical marijuana (MMJ) use in Rhode Island.

California was well represented by speakers such as Dr Donald Abrams.
Many distinguished Californian professionals gave data from their research, including Steve DeAngelo from Oakland’s Harborside Health Center (HHC). HHC has found that growers focusing on higher THC content have missed the point of MMJ. Marijuana has been grown for years for its THC content and as a result many strains have little CBD content. As the scientists that presented previously it was found that CBD mitigated the natural effect of THC relative to anxiety and psychotic ideation. HHC started Project CBD and started looking for CBD rich strains and found a very few strains that had that high CBD content. They are now looking to expand their search statewide in California to try to identify CBD rich strains in other locals. The CBD content (10% by volume CBD) that HHC has found makes it possible that I will have to travel to Oakland, join HHC, and bring the strain here to San Diego.

In summary, the conference was a mountain of research supporting the commonly held views of the efficacy of MMJ and presented a few more such as PTSD. There were advances made with the American Medical Association in support of MMJ as well as hard work being done by Michael Krawitz with the Veterans Administration relative to the use of MMJ in VA hospitals. CBD rich strains are the prize for MMJ and the search is on to find them. I am grateful to Patients Out of Time and RIPAC specifically for putting on this essential and informative conference.

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