In Naples and Rome, national and international experts discuss Medical and Industrial Cannabis presenting the latest research results within the review Cannabeta.

“New horizons in cannabis research: medical and food application” is the title of the Cannabeta Conference, an international project of meetings and events dedicated to cannabis, sponsored by Enecta, which for the first time came to Italy with two meetings.

The first was held on Friday, May 3 at the Department of Pharmacy of  the University of Naples “Federico II” and on Monday, May 6 in Rome at the Department of Chemistry and Drug Technology of “Sapienza” University of Rome.

In Naples, the conference was held in the beautiful setting of the Complex of SS. Marcellino and Festo, organized in partnership with the Department of Pharmacy and social promotion associations such as “Canapa in Terra di Lavoro” and Fracta Sativa UniCanapa.

It is divided into two sessions, the first ‘Research and medical perspectives’ and the second on the theme ‘Medical and food application’.

The work was opened by a greeting from the institutions with the Mayor of Naples Luigi De Magistris. “In these years – says the first citizen – we are witnessing a great interest around the world of cannabis, I see many companies, led by young people with skills that invest in this area and we need an appropriate regulatory framework. There is not much attention from the State at the moment. It is necessary to create a public debate from the bottom up, in order to understand how important medical cannabis is. To promote – concludes De Magistris – a citizens’ initiative law on cannabis”.

This was followed by Gianpiero Zinzi, president of the 3rd Special Commission ‘Land of Fires’ in the regional council of Campania – Italy. Last March a group of doctors and biologists discussed the issue of hemp within the Commission, which could prove useful in that territory both from an environmental and a social point of view.

The first session of ‘Research and medical perspectives’ was opened by Vincenzo Di Marzo of the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of the National Research Council (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 has witnessed over twenty years of studies conducted with collaborators on the endocannabinoid system. “It is a plant that, thanks to its abundance of molecules, has interesting therapeutic potential, and therefore if there is something that can be said, it is that it has been poorly studied and underestimated. We need to do many studies, the most studied so far is THC, which also generates unwanted effects for the user, while there are other cannabinoids that have fewer side effects that deserve as much interest.

“Events like Cannabeta are fundamental – says Di Marzo – it is a subject that has been heavily exploited by the media, so it must be explained. Generalisations should be avoided, such as cannabis equal to endocannabinoid system, there are things that must be explained, I still see confusion in the medical field; there are substantial differences”.

Vittorio Guardamagna, director of the Palliative Care and Pain Therapy Unit at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, testified to the experience of the medical use of cannabis in palliative care. Massimo Nabissi, from the University of Camerino, underlined how: “in preclinical research there is great interest and pre-clinical studies are necessary to support clinical trials”.

Among the international speakers of Cannabeta, Cristina Sànchez Garcìa of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Madrid and Leslie Mendoza Temple, a doctor and lecturer at the University of Chicago,  Pritzker School of Medicine.

The afternoon session was dedicated to the theme “Medical and food applications”, among the speeches by Mauro Maccarone of the Department of Medicine at the Bio-Medical Campus of the University of Rome and Pasquale Striano of the University of Genoa, IRCCS Istituto G.Gaslini.

“Cannabeta is an excellent initiative in terms of training and awareness,” says Striano, “clearing customs for extracts of Cannabis, which have been used by doctors for centuries.

With Dr. Striano we talked about how Cannabis extracts, and CBD in particular, can be effective in patients with drug-resistant forms of epilepsy. “It is a very topical subject, epilepsy affects half a million people in Italy and about 30% of people of paediatric age do not respond to traditional drugs. Cannabidiol has established itself as a molecule capable of showing characteristics of efficacy in crisis control and tolerability, to counteract some forms of resistant epilepsy.

On Monday, May 6, the second day of Cannabeta took place at the Department of Chemistry and Drug Technology of the Sapienza University of Rome. The first session “Agronomic aspects and food applications” was opened by the presentation of Alberto Ritieni of the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Naples “Federico II”  on the nutraceutical properties of hemp seed oil, followed by speeches by other lecturers and researchers in the field.  The afternoon session “Research and medical perspectives” was again attended, after Naples, by professors Vincenzo Di Marzo, Mauro Maccarone and Giuseppe Meco.

“Cannabeta was born – says the company in a note – as the answer of Enecta to the request of the medical world and beyond for knowledge on the therapeutic use of cannabis. The interest and follow-up received over the last few days have been beyond all expectations”.