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Pain and cannabis medicines: Everything you want to know (but were too afraid to ask)

The Royal Society of Medicine is proud to announce a collaborative event in association with Integro Medical Clinics, exploring the potential of cannabis medicines in the field of pain medicine in the UK.

Since the legalisation of cannabis medicines on prescription in November 2018, patients and clinicians alike have been awaiting more data and more information regarding the efficacy of these medicines. This event aims to provide those attending with a comprehensive understanding of the uses of cannabis medicines, and the practicalities of using them in their own practice. The event will consist of presentations on the history, regulatory environment, and pharmacology of cannabis medicines, including the use of different cannabis-based medical preparations in treating pain and related symptoms in a wide variety of clinical fields, in the context of the current UK regulatory framework.

Featuring presentations from international leaders in cannabis medicines, such as Professor Raphael Mechoulam, the chemist who discovered the endocannabinoid system and THC, Dr Anthony Ordman, Leading UK Consultant in Pain Medicine and previous President of the Pain Medicine section of the Royal Society of Medicine and Dr Arno Hazekamp PhD, who worked as Head of Research and Education at Bedrocan, the first European company to produce EU GMP grade cannabis medicines.

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Dr Anthony Ordman, Consultant in Pain Medicine

Founder of the highly respected Chronic Pain Clinic at London’s Royal Free Hospital, he is one of the UK’s most experienced specialists in the treatment of pain. For his contributions to Pain Medicine Dr Ordman was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 2005, and he is the Immediate Past President of the Pain Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. Dr Ordman is also Senior Medical Consultant and Lead Clinician at Integro Medical Clinics and has a special interest in the potential benefits of cannabis medicines in pain medicine.

Alex Fraser, Patient Access Lead at GrowPharma

Alex Fraser is a leading medical cannabis patient advocate. He is a patient himself having been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2010 at 19 years old. In 2014 he founded the United Patients Alliance and has since appeared on mainstream media multiple times, including on the BBC and ITV, to highlight the urgent need for access to cannabis medicines for the many patients who may benefit from them. He has taken delegations of patients to parliament to give testimony to politicians at the highest levels and organised educational events, rallies and protests calling for law change on medical cannabis. In Feburary 2019 Alex joined Grow Pharma, one of the leading suppliers of cannabis medicines in the UK, as their patient access lead. He utilises his extensive knowledge of medical cannabis, his understanding of patient needs and his network in the industry to ensure patient voices are heard and represented. His work includes informing top-level policymakers, educating healthcare professionals and conceiving and running projects that increase general awareness and provide practical help for patients.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel

Most well-known for the total synthesis of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System. Since the inception of his research in the 60s, Professor Mechoulam has been nominated for over 25 academic awards, including the Heinrich Wieland Prize (2004), an Honorary doctorate from Complutense University (2006), the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences – chemistry (2000), the Israel Chemical Society Prize for excellence in research (2009) and EMET Prize in Exact Sciences – Chemistry (2012).

Dr Sally Ghazaleh, Consultant Pain Specialist

Dr Sally Ghazaleh, is a Pain Management Consultant at the Whittington Hospital, and the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, London . She qualified from the University of Szeged Medical School, Hungary in 2000, and then completed her specialist training in the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Semmelweis University in 2007. She went on a fellowship at University College Hospital, London, to gain her higher degree in Pain MedicineDuring her time at the pain management Centre at University College Hospital, she gained extensive experience in dealing with and managing patients with complex multiple pain problems. She is accomplished at a variety of interventional and non-interventional treatments for this specific patient group. Sally specializes in managing patients with lower back pain, neck pain, neuropathic pain, abdominal pain, cancer pain, complex regional pain syndrome, post-stroke pain and Fibromyalgia. She has a particular interest in bladder and abdominal pain in women, and women’s health in general.

Dr Arno Hazekamp, Experienced independent consultant for cannabis research, development and education

Dr Arno Hazekamp has worked within the Dutch medicinal cannabis program since 2001. He holds an MSc degree in molecular biology and a PhD in pharmaceutical research on medicinal cannabis. His focus is understanding the cannabis plant from a biochemical point of view: what compounds are present in the many cannabis varieties, and how they can be developed into modern medicines that are acceptable to patients. He has worked within academic settings, as an independent consultant, and as head of Research and Education at Bedrocan International.

Mike Kindrat, Managing Director, Canneurox Portugal

Mike Kindrat is an industry expert who has successfully commercialized numerous medical cannabis products in various formats to the Canadian marketplace. He has been involved in developing businesses in all aspects of the cannabis value chain: building design, equipment selection, cultivation, processing, and commercialization, managing over 25 infrastructure projects in 3 countries. Mike is now focused on the build-out and operation of Eurox’s new cultivation facility in Portugal.
Since the liberalization of medical cannabis in Canada, Mike was an early adopter of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes (ACMPR) program, later joining one of the first Licensed Producers in Canada. Mike graduated in Construction Engineering and spent his early career managing large infrastructure projects for the Federal Government.

Dr Paul Chrisp, Director of the Centre for Guidelines, NICE.

Dr Chrisp joined NICE in March 2009, where he was responsible for setting up the accreditation programme for guideline developers. More recently, he was programme director of the Medicines and Technologies Programme. Before joining NICE, Paul spent over 20 years in international medical publishing and communications, focusing on evidence to aid healthcare decision making and the adoption of new medicines. Paul trained as a pharmacist and is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Sophie Hayes, Specialist Nurse at Integro Clinics & Clinical Lead at CPASS Nurses Arm

Sophie is a registered nurse with previous experience in Accident and Emergency at Royal Sussex County Hospital, St Thomas’s Hospital and currently works in Critical Care at Kings College Hospital London. Since 2014 Sophie has worked with cannabis patient advocacy organisations planning and working on campaigns and community events including taking delegations of patients to give testimony at parliament. She has spoken to countless patients about their cannabis use and has a wealth of knowledge from her own research and personal experience. In 2019 Sophie became the Clinical Lead of CPASS Nurses Arm, an organisation launched at the Royal College of Nursing with the aim of educating and supporting nurses in the field of Medical Cannabis as it rapidly progresses and changes. Sophie is currently writing a Nurse’s Guide to Cannabis Medicines in the UK to help guide nursing practice when it comes to these new medicines. In August 2020, Sophie joined Integro Clinics as the Specialist Nurse. As part of this role, she has provided support to both patients at the clinic and runs regular education sessions for clinicians at all levels on cannabis medicines.

Dr Basil Almahdi, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine

Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at the Whittington Hospital where he currently practices covering both Acute and Chronic Pain management. His special interests are the minimally invasive treatment of problems caused by degenerative spinal disease including disc herniation, radiculopathies and spinal stenosis. Dr Almahdi can also be found practising at the Complex Spine Clinic in London and is one of the prescribing consultants at Integro Clinics where he prescribes cannabis-based medicines for a wide range of pain conditions.

Dr Mayur Bodani, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist

Unlike many Neuropsychiatrists and Psychiatrists, Dr Bodani is qualified in both General Medicine (to hospital medicine standard) and Neuropsychiatry and has over 25 years of experience in the field. He has successfully treated many patients with psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, psychosis and dementia, championing the holistic approach. Dr Bodani is also a well-recognised expert in medicolegal cases, for example where there has been an accident and a brain or other injury is sustained. He has worked on more than 120 cases in the past three years alone and is one of the leading figures in this field. Dr Bodani is also one of the prescribing Psychiatrists at Integro Clinics and has been interested to see how cannabis medicines can be applied in mental health management.

Dr Andrew Gaya, Consultant Oncologist

Dr Gaya treats all gastrointestinal tumours (e.g. oesophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, colon, rectum, anus) using chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, biological therapies, and data from tumour genome analysis. Dr Gaya’s main interests are in the areas of functional cancer imaging (Kings College, London), and combining immunotherapy with radiation treatment. He is heavily involved with the implementation and usage of the latest radiotherapy techniques such as MRI guided radiotherapy, proton therapy and stereotactic body radiosurgery (gamma knife, cyberknife). He has published in and peer-reviewed widely for international journals.

He is an active member of ASTRO, the Radiosurgery Society, the International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society. Dr Gaya is also interested in the introduction of advanced technology such as AI and machine learning to medicine and is a big supporter of Exponential Medicine and the Singularity University programs. Offering both drug-based and radiation-based therapies and close liaison with surgical and interventional radiology, he is a leading authority on the unique combination of multiple treatment modalities and personalised tumour molecular profiling into a treatment package for each patient. Dr Andrew Gaya is also one of the prescribing Oncologists at Integro Clinics.

Dr Daniel Couch, Medical Lead at Centre of Medical Cannabis UK

Dr Daniel Couch is a fully registered specialist registrar in General Surgery working in the UK with 14 years of clinical experience. After completing his PhD in cannabinoid pharmacology, he has gone onto speak internationally on cannabinoid medicine and policy. Author of 15 scientific publications featuring those on the role of cannabinoids in health & disease, Dr Daniel Couch has a special interest in cannabinoid medicine, clinical research and policy development. He is currently the Medical Lead at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis and led a study in 2019 demonstrating that there are potentially 1.4 million adults in the UK using recreational cannabis to treat undiagnosed health problems.

Dr Matthew Brown, Consultant in Pain Medicine, Anaesthetics and Medical Cannabis at Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research.

Dr Brown is a consultant in pain medicine and anaesthetics at The Royal Marsden. Dr Brown’s anaesthetic training was conducted in the Imperial School of Anaesthesia in London and to fulfil his long-term interest in clinical research, he gained a place on the prestigious National Institute for Health Research’s Academic Clinical Fellowship Programme. This enabled him to conduct novel, award-winning research into pain at both Imperial College and King’s College, London. Dr Brown completed a two-year research fellowship at The Royal Marsden, investigating cancer-related pain and registered for a Doctor of Medicine at the Institute of Cancer Research (becoming the first anaesthetist in the Institute’s history to do so). His main interests include chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, persistent post-surgical pain, visceral pain, neuropathic pain and painful bone metastases.

John Brew, Pharmacologist and Regulatory authority for LVL Health
John Brew is an established figure in biopharma product development with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. He has been heavily involved in numerous product developments driving them from conception to market. Through his time working in the biopharma industry, he has gathered a deep experience and understanding of non-clinical and clinical developments including the relevant regulatory matters. He is an experienced pharmacologist and biologist with an excellent knowledge of a wide range of therapeutic areas, including pain, autoimmune disease, cancer, CNS disorders and metabolic disease.

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