Students organize first-ever cannabis science symposium at University of Michigan

Experts will speak at Sept. 29 event in Ann Arbor

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Photo: Pixabay

ANN ARBOR - For the first time ever, world-class scientists, researchers and physicians will gather at the University of Michigan to discuss the future of cannabis and "separate fact from fiction" in a science symposium.

The event is open to the public and will take place Saturday, Sept. 29, at 10 a.m. at the Ross School of Business' Robertson Auditorium.

The science symposium was organized by Green Wolverine, a student organization focused on discovering opportunities for success in the cannabis field and researching legal business activities in the multi-billion-dollar industry.

Adam Rosenberg, a business student at Ross, founded Green Wolverine in early 2017 during his sophomore year.

"I founded Green Wolverine to create a credible platform for students to learn about the cannabis industry and network with like-minded peers," Rosenberg told A4 via email. "The Ross student club attained 184 members within the first year, and the organization has grown to six chapters in four states as a nonprofit corporation. In addition, the scope of our educational focus has broadened beyond business opportunities to include policy and science."

A member of faculty at University of Michigan, speaker at the symposium and advisor to Green Wolverine, Dr. Gus Rosania, told us via email, "The FDA recently approved Epidiolex, the first cannabis derived prescription drug, so this can now be considered main stream pharmaceutical sciences. It is something we need to be teaching our students and that our healthcare providers need to be aware of.

"Yet, the ability for us to do research in this area is still very restricted, because of cannabis's legal status -- not only is it still a Schedule 1 substance under federal law (no approved medical use), but Michigan's medicinal marijuana laws ironically do not cover medical cannabis research. So the scientific knowledge is still very limited although the medical use is widespread."

University of Michigan School of Nursing senior Juan Aguirre, who serves as Green Wolverine's medical research committee chair, says he feels there is a need for cannabis science to be added to the curriculum in medical and nursing schools.

"I completed hundreds of clinical hours on various units at UM's hospital, where I noticed a serious knowledge deficit among healthcare professionals regarding cannabis science and cannabis use," he wrote via email. "This is an enormous problem given the fact that nearly 220,000 Michiganders possess a medical marihuana card, making Michigan the second largest medical cannabis patient population in the country.

"Unfortunately for card holders, U.S. medical and nursing schools fail to provide a comprehensive teaching of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) or cannabis science. Michigan is expected to legalize adult use cannabis on November 6, 2018, which will hopefully make public health education regarding cannabis use a number one priority for our state's government." 

The symposium has been made possible by a collaboration with the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy and the School of Nursing.

Topics include treating PTSD and sleep disorders, the role of cannabis in pain management, industry improvements to research, development and testing of the full spectrum of products derived from cannabis.

Speakers include:

  • Dr. Marilyn Huestis, Ph.D. -- Former chief of chemistry and drug metabolism at NIDA’s Intramural Research Program.
  • Dr. Daniele Piomelli, Pharm.D., Ph.D. -- Director, Institute for the Study of Cannabis; Professor, anatomy and neurobiology at University of California-Irvine School of Medicine; Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences.
  • Dr. Sue Sisley, M.D. -- Site principal investigator for the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial examining safety/efficacy of whole plant marijuana in combat veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.
  • Stephen Goldner, J.D. -- FDA/NIH advisor; co-inventor of a liquid form of methadone.
  • Dr. Mark Ilgen, Ph.D. -- Director, University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Services; Professor, Department of Psychiatry.
  • Dr. Daniel Clauw, M.D. -- University of Michigan professor, anesthesiology; Professor, medicine (rheumatology); Professor, psychiatry.
  • Dr. Gus Rosania, Ph.D. -- University of Michigan professor, pharmaceutical sciences.
  • Dr. Audra Stinchcomb, Ph.D. -- University of Maryland professor, pharmaceutical sciences.
  • Debra Kimless, M.D. -- Cannabis medical advisor at Pure Green.
  • Evangelos Litinas, M.D. -- Chief medical officer at Om of Medicine.

Register to attend and watch the livestream here.

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