Medical Cannabis Conference highlights billions for Jamaica

BY DENNISE WILLIAMS
Oserver writer

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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As he prepares for the upcoming initial public offer (IPO) of Medicanja Ltd, Dr Henry Lowe holds medical marjiana as a way for Jamaica to grow its economy once the country fully invests in its own medical cannabis industry, thereby driving growth and attracting a niche market of tourists with a genuine interest in the plant's medicinal benefits.

Speaking at the recently held “Medical Cannabis: The Way Forward' conference and book launch at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, Mona, Dr Lowe noted, “This conference was conceptualised as a means of informing our health care professionals of the advances of medical cannabis, specifically scientific research and development. Also, we seek to introduce the audience to the uses and applications of medical cannabis as it relates to health care.”

Attendees received the opportunity to explore the journey of cannabis as it relates to its history as a therapeutic agent, the regulatory boundaries surrounding its medicinal use, and its present position in the field of pharmacology as an emerging drug.

With pharmaceutical revenues worldwide exceeding US$1 trillion and with the advances of science and technology, medicinal cannabis has an overwhelming potential to succeed in this market. There has been an increase in the development of pharmaceutical drugs derived from cannabis as well as innovative methods of administration that allow for more effective consumption of the plant as a medicine.

An area of great interest to the audience at the event was the presentation of case studies that explored life as a medical cannabis patient and highlighted the application of medical cannabis to a number of patients, specifically those with advanced cancer and patients with non-cancer pain.

In 2015, chronic pain was the largest application segment of medical cannabis due to a large number of patients, and the growing prevalence of chronic pain has helped to elevate the demand for cannabis as a means of providing relief from symptoms of chronic illnesses through palliative care.

According to a recent report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global medical cannabis market is also expected to reach a value of US$55.8 billion by 2025. One source of revenue for this booming industry is health and wellness tourism. Jamaica's established tourism industry and its wealth of natural resources could mean the possibility of a well-organised industry centred on medical cannabis as a health and wellness tourism product.

The event also featured the official launch of the publication Medical Cannabis: The Way Forward for Health Care Professionals, with Lowe as the leading author. Attendees were given a copy of the book which is considered to be one of the first local medical cannabis handbooks for those in health care.

The book seeks to satisfy the curiosity surrounding medicinal cannabis and help both the medical community and the average person to acquaint themselves with cannabis-related issues. The book will soon be available in stores islandwide.

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