The third annual Cannabis Hemp Conference and Expo promises something for everyone.
For the lab-coat set, a keynote address by neurologist Dr. Ethan Russo promises to illuminate the pharmacology of cannabis. Or, if you’re hungry for a different experience, Vancouver’s self-styled, “weed-diva” Watermelon will show you some tricks for cooking with marijuana.
“We have really focused this year on the workshops as a way for people get a hands-on experience with cannabis as a medicine in four different ways, as a topical for healthy skin, cooking with cannabis, organic home-growing, and healthy edibles and cannabis juicing,” said organizer Salimeh Tabrizi. “Not everyone can smoke or bake, but juicing is an alternative for people who need it.”
The conference — slated for May 6 and 7 at the University of B.C. — includes a full program of workshops and panels, along with five international experts to deliver keynote talks on topics from medical uses for cannabis to hemp as an industrial crop.
If you listen carefully you may even hear the strains of reggae music wafting down the halls, but definitely not as loud as recent marijuana-driven gatherings.
“We respect the activists who have been pushing and fighting for legalization for the past 30 years, but 4/20 is a cultural phenomenon with freedom and activism,” said Tabrizi. “This is more of a gathering of experts and about education. We want to talk about your mother who has cancer and how she might use cannabis to relieve her pain and nausea.”
Unlike past years, this year’s conference takes place with the express promise of marijuana legalization in Canada, which has inventors, creators and potential businesses gearing up for commerce. Thirty exhibitors are booked to display wares at the Expo, many of them from the medical and scientific sectors.
“We have 50 speakers who are going to talk about the research that has been done on cannabis and its potential as a medicine, as a replacement for opioids and the genetics of cannabis,” she said.
Growing knowledge of the human endocannabinoid system — cannabinoid receptors found throughout the brain and peripheral nervous system — is opening the door to a diversity of medical uses for cannabis and its derivatives, she said.
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