9th Annual Cannabis and Science Conference

Experts from the Czech Republic and abroad gathered at the Brno Observatory on Wednesday, April 24th, to participate in a full-day program of lectures and discussions on research, cultivation, hemp legislation, and the use of hemp in medical practice as part of the 9th Annual International Hemp and Science Conference.

The Hemp and Science Conference, organized by the International Clinical Research Center (ICRC), a joint facility of the St. Anne’s University Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University, offered a comprehensive, and above all, scientific perspective on this issue. ‘Within the conference, we aim not only to present the development of medical hemp research but also to contribute to demystifying hemp itself,’ says Václav Trojan, the event organizer and head of the Cannabis Facility at the International Clinical Research Center (ICRC).

The opening remarks were delivered by Vlastimil Vajdák, the director of the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, who has long supported cannabis treatment research at FNUSA and ICRC. A significant announcement was the introduction of a newly opened accredited lifelong learning course at Masaryk University. ‘This year, thanks to cooperation with Dr. Trojan, Dr. Hřib, and other colleagues from ICRC and the St. Anne’s University Hospital, we managed to organize the first edition of the Cannabis in Health and Disease course at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Masaryk University. We hope that the course will promote interdisciplinary cooperation, encompassing all aspects of working with hemp, including therapy and analytical evaluation of substances,’ stated Karel Šmejkal, Vice-Dean for International Relations and Internationalization at the Faculty of Pharmacy, MU, during the conference.”

From the left: Václav Trojan, Vlastimil Vajdák, Karel Šmejkal and Radovan Hřib.

Legendary figure in cannabis science, Lumír Hanuš, a globally recognized chemist and scientist who was the first to isolate anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter, shared his extensive experience with cannabinoid research. Among the Czech experts was also Richard Rokyta, a pioneer in neurophysiology and founding member of the patient association KOPAC. Also present was the esteemed Brno pharmacologist Alexandra Šulcová, who discussed polypharmacology and non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD). “It has significant therapeutic potential. It can be used for pain in adults or secondary sleep disorders. Limited evidence also suggests its use in childhood epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety disorders,” she stated.

Lumír Hanuš.

National Anti-drug Coordinator Jindřich Vobořil then briefed the attendees on the planned changes to hemp legislation. According to him, a strictly regulated hemp market would ensure better control and reduce health risks. “A regulated market has not led to an increase in cannabis use in any country,” he emphasized. According to the plans, the product would be subject to control from start to finish, specialized stores would become a necessity, and selling products to minors would be prohibited.

Jitka Götzová, Director of the Food Safety Department at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic, discussed CBD and HHC with the audience. A two-member delegation of experts from Israel also attended the conference in Brno, including the chairman of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicine (IACM) and neuropsychopharmacologist Ilja Reznik, along with Nirit Bernstein from the prestigious Volcani Institute of Agricultural Engineering.

The St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno is a pioneer in cannabis treatment. Cannabis has been prescribed to patients at FNUSA for ten years, but this year, the hospital has become independent in cultivating plants and preparing cannabis capsules.

Capsules made from cannabis grown at ICRC.

Almost 500 patients sought hemp treatment for pain relief just last year. “The largest percentage of our patients are people with back pain, arthritis, or rheumatism,” describes Radovan Hřib, Head of the Pain Treatment Center at FNUSA.

Doctor Radovan Hřib during the interview.

ICRC is one of the few institutions in the Czech Republic licensed to commercially cultivate hemp. Scientists grow plants under controlled conditions, regularly regulating light, heat, humidity, and carbon dioxide. “This allows us to ensure that products will contain a consistent amount of active ingredients. Additionally, hemp has the ability to absorb and concentrate all elements of substances from the soil, including harmful ones. We also control this in our cultivation facility,” adds Trojan.

Team of Cannabis Facility at ICRC: Nikolas Balog, Václav Trojan and Patrik Schreiber.