The International Association of Cannabinoids As Medicine (IACM), one of the top global research organizations devoted to cannabis study, met in Cologne Germany for its ninth annual meeting in late September.
The internationally well-known research group predominantly hailed from a global list of countries. Doctors and researchers were present from Israel, Australia, the U.S. and Canada, as well as multiple countries in Europe starting with the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Conference attendees also came from Asia, including Japan, plus Africa, starting with South Africa.
Focus and Interest
The IACM is comprised of two groups of individuals. Medical researchers and academics plus doctors. And it is clear that the cannabinoid genie is well and truly out of the bottle.
While many of the studies presented focussed on CBD – a reflection in part of where the study money is flowing these days – there was no question about the efficacy of THC nor its legitimate use in a range of conditions.
Nor was there squeamishness about other issues still of contention everywhere from national legislatures to insurance companies. The medical efficacy of the drug was affirmed repeatedly from the stage by credentialed academics at top universities globally. The antipathy to THC still might be a shield to slow down reform for politicians, but it is already showing major holes on the medical front.
There is also no doubt that within the next decade, if not before that, the medical efficacy of cannabinoids – will be firmly established as mainstream science. The world, in other words, is no longer flat.
If there was one other major theme of the conference besides the overwhelming data from the individual abstracts, it is this. Cannabinoid science is not only about to revolutionize medicine as we know it. It will also lead to new understanding about the human body.
Much of the research presented was unpublished. One of the more interesting aspects of this conference however, was that it did not solely rely on just established academics and formal study data. Some of the more interesting abstracts actually came from non-conventional sources.
There were many abstracts presented on specific disease efficacy that ranged from Crohn’s to cancer as well its uses in the treatment of “psychological” conditions like ADHD. One abstract described the attempts of researchers to even create a survey to study the impact of cannabis on appetite. It is a telling reality of cannabis research that even this most basic impact of the drug has not been widely if not formally studied yet.
The next generation of terpene research is already on the cusp of fascinating. Ethan Russo, a leading canna researcher at GW Pharma before decamping for American academia and entrepreneurial endeavours, also presented the leading edge of his work in this area.
From a technology angle, it is clear that vape tech is well on its way to becoming highly engineered if not efficient. Multiple vape studies as well as vape tech presentations suggested that the good old “joint” is on its way out. Certainly for the medical community.
Most fascinating, however, from a strictly science perspective, was the idea, mentioned multiple times from the presenting stage, that cannabinoids work with the body to sustain working homeostasis. When that is challenged by infection, inflammation or pain, the body uses cannabinoids to attempt to solve the problem.
Just this issue alone is a major step forward for advocates if not people who used to exist on the fringe edges of medicine and science.
The IACM is not the only medical cannabis conference around, even on an international level. However this year, as Germany struggles to mainstream the drug, it is clear they are messengers with one theme only. Cannabis as a drug works on some of the worst conditions still known to man. Where, on what conditions and even how is just now on the verge of a new dawn of understanding. And while the Inquisition might not yet be totally over, cannabis looks like it might be the first indigenous survivor to withstand such a historical assault.[Image Credits: Marguerite Arnold]