Latest scientific research into cannabis to be presented at major international conference

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research will take place at Trinity College Dublin from Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th April. The conference is being organised by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) together with Irish cannabinoid researchers and will be the largest and most high profile scientific conference on cannabis and cannabinoids ever held in Ireland.

This conference is the leading forum in Europe for the presentation and discussion of novel findings in the area of cannabis and cannabinoid research. The meeting will feature a very lively and high calibre scientific programme with many of the world’s leading scientists in this area speaking in Dublin. It also represents a valuable forum for early career research students and postdoctoral researchers to present their work in oral or poster form, with number of prizes and awards conferred during the meeting.

Cannabinoids are the biologically active constituents of the cannabis plant or synthetic drugs with similar effects. Cannabinoids bind to receptors throughout the body to exert their effects which can be wide-ranging. Indeed, the body itself produces its own cannabinoids, so-called endocannabinoids, which are now understood to play very important roles in health and disease processes. In recent years there has been considerable interest in the area of cannabis and cannabinoids for the treatment of a number of conditions including multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, psychiatric disorders, obesity and others.

The local organising committee comprises Irish cannabinoid researchers based at NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork. Chair of the organising committee, Dr David Finn of NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming some of the world’s leading cannabinoid researchers to Ireland for what promises to be a very exciting and important conference, at a time when the potential benefits and harms of cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be hotly debated here in Ireland and overseas. Our understanding of the body’s own cannabinoid system has grown enormously – it is clear now that it plays a key role in health and wellbeing, and represents a promising therapeutic target for a range of diseases and disorders.” 

There will be two keynote lectures. The first will be delivered by Professor Aron Lichtman of Virginia Commonwealth University, USA and is entitled ‘Harnessing the endogenous cannabinoid system to treat pain’.  The second keynote lecture is entitled ‘The road ahead for endocannabinoid research’ and will be delivered by Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Professor Mechoulam is regarded by many as the founding father of modern scientific research into cannabinoids, having identified delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as the main psychoactive constituent within the cannabis plant in the mid-20th century.

In addition to BPS, the conference has received support and sponsorship from Science Foundation Ireland, The Irish Research Council, The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland,  Fáilte Ireland, The International Society for Neurochemistry, industry sources and NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research.

-ENDS- 

Keywords: Press

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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