“New horizons in cannabis research: medical and food application” is the title of the Cannabeta Conference, an international review of meetings and events dedicated to Cannabis, sponsored by Enecta, and which was held in Italy for the first time, structured in two appointments.
The first one was held on Friday 3rd of May at the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Naples, Federico II and on Monday 6th in Rome at the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies - Sapienza University of Rome
In Naples the conference was held in the marvellous setting of the Complesso di SS. Marcellino e Festo, organised in partnership with the Department of Pharmacy and the associations of social promotions like Canapa in Terra di Lavoro and Fracta Sativa UniCanapa.
Structured in two sessions, the first one about ‘Research and medical perspectives’ and the second one regarding the topic of ‘Medical and food application’.
The proceedings were opened by the welcome word of the institutions, expressed by the mayor of Naples, Luigi De Magistris.
“In the present years – the first citizen states – we are witnessing much interest around the world of Cannabis, I see many companies, guided by young competent people, investing in this sector and we need an appropriate regulatory framework. At the moment there isn’t much attention from the State. It is hence necessary to generate a bottom-up public debate, in order to make clear how important therapeutic cannabis is. Promoting - De Magistris concludes – a citizen's initiative law on Cannabis”.
Following Gianpiero Zinzi, president of the III special Commission ‘Terra dei Fuochi’ in the regional council of Campania.
In March this year, in the Commission a pool of physicians and biologists discussed the Topic of Hemp, which could reveal to be useful in this territory both from the environmental and the social point of view.
The 1st session of talks about ‘Research and medical perspectives’ was opened by Vincenzo Di Marzo from the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of the National Council of Research (ICB-CNR) of Pozzuoli (NA) and of the Institut Univeristarie de Cardilogie et Pneumologie du Quèbec et Institute sur la Nutrition et les Aliments Fonctionnels, Université Lavel, Quebec City, Canada.
Di Marzo testified over twenty years of studies conducted with his collaborators, on the endocannabinoid system.
“It is a plant, which, due to its abundance in molecules, presents interesting therapeutic potentials, and therefore, if there is something one can say about it, is that it has been little studied and much underestimated.
It is necessary to do much research, the compound studied most is, today, THC, which, however, also generates little desired side effects for the consumer, while there are other cannabinoids presenting less adverse effects and deserve just as much interest”.
“Events like Cannabeta are fundamental - Di Marzo states – it is a highly exploited topic by the media and must therefore be explained well. Generalisations must be avoided, like cannabis same as endocannabinoid system, there are points to be clarified; I still encounter much confusion in the medical field, today, there are substantial differences”.
Vittorio Guardamagna, director of the Unit of Palliative Treatment and Pain Therapy at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, testified the experience of medical use of Cannabis in palliative treatments. Massimo Nabissi, from the University of Camerino, underlined how: “ in preclinical research there is much interest and preclinical studies, triggering clinical trials, are necessary”.
Among the international lecturers of Cannabeta, Cristina Sànchez Garcìa from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Madrid and Leslie Mendoza Temple, physician and professor at the University of the Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the topic of “Medical and food applications”;among the talks we had the one of Mauro Maccarrone from the Department of Medicine of the Bio-Medical Campus, University of Roma, and the one of Pasquale Striano from the University of Genoa, IRCCS G. Gaslini Institute.
“Cannabeta is an excellent initiative, formative and informative – Striano states – making Cannabis extracts, having been used by physicians for centuries, acceptable to the public opinion”.
We talked with Doctor Striano about how Cannabis extracts, and particularly CBD, can be effective in patients affected by forms of drug-resistant epilepsy.
“This is a highly topical issue; epilepsy affects half a million people in Italy and about 30% of the paediatric patients does not respond to traditional medicines. Cannabidiol made a name as a molecule capable of demonstrating characteristics of effectiveness regarding control of seizures and of tolerability, in contrasting some forms of drug-resistant epilepsies”.
Monday 6th of May the second day of Cannabeta was held at the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies, Sapienza University of Rome. The first session entitled “Agronomic aspects and food applications” was opened by the presentation of Alberto Ritieni from the Department of Pharmacy, University Federico II, Naples, on the nutraceutical properties of Hemp seed oil, after which followed the talks of other professors and researchers of the sector. The afternoon session, “Research and medical perspectives”, included for the second time, after Naples, the participation of professors Vincenzo Di Marzo, Mauro Maccarrone and Giuseppe Meco.
“Cannabeta was created – the company states in a note – as a reply from Enecta to the request by the medical world, but not only, of knowledge regarding the therapeutic use of cannabis. The interest and follow-up it received in these days were beyond all expectations”.