THE UWI, MONA LEADS THE WAY IN MARIJUANA RESEARCH: In this file photo, Archibald McDonald, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, UWI, Mona, prepares the hole to plant a marijuana seedling following a press launch for the symbolic planting of the first legal Marijuana Plant at the Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching and Research Complex. He is assisted by Louis Moyston (left) and Phillip Paulwell. Looking on from left are: Courtney Betty, Richard ‘Dicky’ Crawford, Mark Golding, Paul Burke, Dr Angela Brown Burke, and Raymond Pryce.

UWI conference on cannabis and cannabinoids set for Nov 5-10


FMS annual scientific conference and workshop to explore research, opportunities and challenges (subhead)

FOR THE PAST 26 years the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Mona Campus, UWI has held its annual scientific conference and workshop. This year the theme, “Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Research, Opportunities and Challenges”, is opportune as The University seeks to position itself towards becoming a major player in the cannabis industry through the conduct of innovative research. As the rest of the world is recognising the therapeutic value of medical cannabis, more local research is needed to direct the medicinal use of cannabis and cannabinoids, to provide the legal framework and to effectively and ethically support the promotion and marketing of cannabis products. This annual conference caters to a wide audience including but not limited to high school students, members of the public, health professionals and university students and faculty.
Conference venue is the Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching and Research Complex, on The UWI, Mona Campus. Conference proceedings kick off Sunday, November 5th at 8:30 am, with the examination of grey matters in clinical ethics. This time around, presentations and discussions will fall under the theme “Optimising the Health and Wellbeing of the Health Care Team”, to highlight the need for the creation of ethically aware and wellness-oriented health care organisations.
The opening ceremony begins 5:30 pm on Wednesday November 8th. The key feature is the annual Sir Kenneth Standard Distinguished Lecture to be delivered this year by Professor Marilyn Huestis, President, Huestis & Smith Toxicology and Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Maryland. Her presentation, “Long and Short-Term Consequences of Cannabis Medicalisation and Legalisation”, will highlight some of her ongoing research which has sought to discover the mechanisms of action of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists, effects of in utero drug exposure, and the neurobiology and pharmacokinetics of novel psychoactive substances, the emerging face of drug abuse. Her work has yielded more than 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts, most recently with a focus on the effects of marijuana use on driving impairment. Another feature of the evening’s proceedings will be citations read to the Sir Kenneth Standard Top Parish and Regional Public Health Nurses who have made stellar contributions to the profession and within their respective communities. This is the third consecutive year for such awards, with previous recipient categories being Community Health Aides (in 2015) and Public Health Inspectors (in 2016).
Day 3 of the conference, November 9th, runs 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, with over 50 respected and emerging researchers presenting their wide ranging work via oral and poster presentations. In the evening there will be the launch of the book, Going Crazy in the City: Neighbourhood Context and Mental Health, authored by Dr Jasneth Mullings, Environmental Epidemiologist, and Professor Rainford Wilks, founding Director of the Epidemiology Research Unit (ERU), Tropical Medicine Research Institute (TMRI, UWI) [now Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR, UWI)]. The book examines the contribution of neighbourhood infrastructure and conditions to the mental health of Jamaican citizens, demonstrating an inverse relationship between the availability and quality of neighbourhood infrastructure and the burden of depressive symptoms. This book is a call to action for the health, urban planning and community/social development sectors to improve the living circumstances of each Jamaican, especially those most vulnerable to the deleterious effects of the neighbourhood environment.
The conference culminates Friday, November 10th, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, with what promises to be an exciting and informative workshop specific to the conference Opportunities and Challenges”. Presentations and discussions will include Jamaica’s experience with pharmaceuticals and edibles derived from cannabis theme “Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Research, as well as topical psychiatric, societal, economic and legal considerations of cannabis use. Professor Huestis returns for the plenary lecture and a panel discussion on the way forward. Also presenting will be local psychiatrists Professor Frederick Hickling and Dr Winston De La Haye, noted scientist Dr Henry Lowe, Professor Wayne McLaughlin and Mrs Carole Lindsay from the Department of Basic Medical Sciences as well as representatives from the Police Narcotics Division and the Cannabis Licensing Authority.
For further information, interested persons may contact the conference secretariat by phone at: 876-927-1297 or 876-970-4892 or by e-mail: fmsarc@uwinmona.edu.jm . Persons are encourage to visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fmsarcmona. Health professionals attending the conference may also apply to the Secretariat to receive the Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits associated with this conference.
Article contributed by the Faculty of Medical Sciences