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UWI Mona hosts Jamaican Cannabis Conference

  • Top Medical Cannabis Research Leaders to speak at Jamaican Cannabis Conference this week 
  • THEME: ‘Wake Up Jamaica…, Our Opportunities are Slipping Away  

The University of the West Indies, Mona will host a  three-day Inaugural Jamaica Cannabis Conference, from  May 22 – 24, 2014, at the Faculty of Law, Lecture Room 2 and the Undercroft, under the theme “Wake Up Jamaica, Our Opportunities are Slipping Away”. The conference is expected to attract several international speakers, including scientists and researchers.
 
The first day of the conference will address the Reform Agenda, under the theme ‘Decriminalization, the First Step’.
 
Day Two on Friday, May 23,  will include presentations from two  high-level medical cannabis research experts from Israel:  Dr. Michael Dor, Chief Medical Advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Health Medical Cannabis Unit and formerly Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health Medical Administration in charge of its Community Medicine and Hospitals Division, and Dr. Lumír Hanuš, a Research Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an undisputed major authority concerning medical cannabis.
 
Both men will speak at a Medical and Scientific Symposium organized and sponsored by Strains of Hope, Colorado, USA.  The session will take place at the Faculty of Law, Lecture Room 2, UWI, beginning at 10.00 a.m.
 
The two Speakers are being sponsored by ISA Scientific and the US-based company Strains of Hope.  The UWI, Mona recently   signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GenCanna Global, Inc., trading as Strains of Hope, to facilitate the conduct of research into the medicinal properties of marijuana (cannabis sativa). Strains of Hope is one of the largest marijuana growers and dispensary owners in Colorado, in the United States of America. Several other speakers from Jamaica, the United States and Canada, including Harvard Professor Charles Nesson, will also participate in the three-day Inaugural cannabis conference.
 
The third and final day of the conference on Saturday, May 24, will include two sessions. Session one, from 9:00 am to 12 noon, will address the topic ‘Opportunities for the Health and Wealth of the Nation’ and ‘Advancing Research, Health Care and Commerce’. This session is organized and sponsored by Timeless Herbal Care, (Jamaica & Canada).
 
Session Two, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. will include a plenary session with the theme - Cannabis, Reform and its Socio-Economic Implications for Jamaica and the Caribbean.
 
According to the conference organisers, the main outcome expected, is a ‘Conference Position Paper and Declaration’ setting out a roadmap and a recommended timeframe for the decriminalisation of ganja, including its use for the sacramental rights of Rastafarians and its wider medicinal uses. The framework for a regulated commercial industry is also expected to emanate from the Conference and from which increased and sustained public education and advocacy will commence.
 
The Jamaica Cannabis Conference is being organized and sponsored jointly by the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force (CCMRT) and The UWI, Mona. The CCMRT is an umbrella group, launched in September 2013 and is chaired by Professor Archibald McDonald, Principal of The UWI, Mona, and has as its Patron, the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, the Hon. Phillip Paulwell. Participating organizations include The University of the West Indies, the University of Technology (UTECH), Jamaica, the Scientific Research Council, the Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME), the Jamaica Agricultural Society, Small Business Association of Jamaica, the Rastafarian Millennium Council, Ganja Law Reform Coalition (GLRC), and the National Alliance for the Legalization of Ganja (NALG), among others.
 
About the Speakers
 
Michael Dor, M.D., M.P.A.
 
Dr. Dor is Chief Medical Advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Health Medical Cannabis Unit and formerly Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health Medical Administration in charge of its Community Medicine and Hospitals Division.Israel is on the leading edge of countries allowing cannabis for medical use, and Dr. Dor is integral to helping make this the case. There are now more than 15,000 registered medical cannabis patients in Israel and 200-300 more being approved each week by the Health Ministry. Israel is also the undisputed world-leader in medical cannabis research. Current studies are looking at cannabis chemistry for treating cancer, neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, cardiac infarction and more. Dr. Dor received his Medical Degree at Tel Aviv University and a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University. Prior to his duties at the Medical Cannabis Unit, he was in charge of Israel’s hospitals, community medicine and quality assurance programs. He also served as Medical Director of Israel’s National Emergency Hospital Program, and is a Senior Lecturer teaching Health Management in Jerusalem and at Ariel University. Noteworthy special assignments for Dr. Dor have included (1) being the Personal Physician for two Popes during their visits (2000 and 2011) to Israel, (2) establishing a national network of Emergency Walk-In Clinics, and (3) instituting volunteer clinics for refugees without medical insurance.
 
Lumír O. Hanuš, D.Sc., C.Sc., R.N.Dr.
 
With more than 100 scientific publications, Dr. Hanuš, a Research Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is an undisputed major authority concerning medical cannabis. He was the first to isolate and describe anandamide, one of only two cannabinoids known to be made in the human body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid prominent in marijuana, binds to the receptors for anandamide in the brain, which then results in THC’s psychodelic or mind-bending effects. The non-psychoactive Cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD), plays a significant role in almost every aspect of the apparent therapeutic benefits of cannabis, and it seems to be an especially promising drug for many intractable, debilitating and life-threatening conditions. Dr. Hanuš has been an industry leader with respect to looking at CBD as serious human medicine. His CBD-related accomplishments include not only multiple scientific articles but also patents for pharmaceutical applications.Dr. Hanuš deems cannabis chemistry among "the safest known medications". In that regard, he enthusiastically supports cannabis for medicinal or therapeutic purposes, but does not condone smoking it because of the dangers to health associated with smoke inhalation. A key player in making cannabis a legal medical therapy in the Czech Republic, Dr. Hanuš obtained his Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.) at the Charles University of Prague in the Czech Republic. He holds Doctor of Philosophy (as Candidate of Chemical Sciences or C.Sc.) and Doctor of Natural Sciences (R.N.Dr.) degrees from Palacký University of Olomouc in the Czech Republic. He has received many accolades and awards for his achievements in cannabis research, including a “doctor honoris causa (D.h.r.)” degree from Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, appointment as an Honorary Scientific Fellow of the Czech Neuropsychopharmacological Society, and Outstanding Immigrant Scientist by the State of Israel. 

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