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CannX: Medicinal Cannabis joins Orders of Doctors, Pharmacists, Infarmed and SICAD

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The Medical Cannabis Conference CannX Lisbon, which took place at FIL yesterday and today, achieved the feat of bringing together in the same opening session the president of Infarmed, Rui Santos Ivo, the chairman of the Ordem dos Médicos, Miguel Guimarães, the chairman of the Ordem dos Farmacêuticos, Ana Paula Martins, and the director of SICAD (Service for Intervention in Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies), João Goulão.

The event was organized by the Israeli company cann10 and had as President of the Scientific Council Raquel Peyraube, a doctor from Uruguay specializing in medical cannabis, and as local counselor Eurico Castro Alves, physician and former president of Infarmed.

From left to right: Raquel Peyraube, Eurico Castro Alves, Miguel Guimarães, Ana Paula Martins, Rui Santos Ivo and João Goulão

In the opening session, the current president of Infarmed, Rui Santos Ivo, praised the presence of the chairpersons of the Orders of Doctors and Pharmacists at the event, as the law and regulations only work with doctors prescribing and pharmacists ensuring that Medications are dispensed under appropriate conditions to patients. “This is essential for patient protection, which is our responsibility as a regulator. The regulation is intended to develop the best perspective to protect the public interest and the patient,” he said. Rui Ivo also said that Infarmed is working with all institutions in the area to clarify the uses of cannabis for purposes other than medicinal: “Since the legislation came out, there are some products that can no longer be used. We are very focused on patient safety, but there are other uses outside the scope of medical use that need to be clarified. We created a multidisciplinary group with João Goulão, the ministers of agriculture, the economy, ASAE and the police, which will clarify the other uses that are not medical”, he said, referring to the use for industrial purposes.

Ana Paula Martins, chairman of the Order of Pharmacists

For her part, Ana Paula Martins, chairman of the Ordem dos Farmacêuticos (OF), began by saying that when Parliament questioned the use of medical cannabis, pharmacists were very conservative, because everything needs scientific evidence, but she confessed that the Order has changed your view of things. “After a lot of research, documents, after listening to patients and doctors' needs, the OF is really interested in knowing how this field is developing in Portugal,” she said. “You have to ensure access to cannabis, but at the same time be cautious about safety and effectiveness. This is what we do with all products and formulations, but we need more evidence.” Ana Paula Martins also said that there has been a great demand for professionals in the pharmaceutical industry, specialized in production and quality control, by medical cannabis companies.

Miguel Guimarães, chairman of the Ordem dos Médicos (OM), began by saying that medical cannabis is not a new subject and that there is even a lot of literature on the subject, but now that many countries have made legislative changes related to medical cannabis, there is a reason to encourage more information to be collected and analysed.

“We have seen a resurgence of interest from patients in using cannabis and cannabinoids to treat a variety of conditions and symptoms. This trend has been accompanied by renewed scientific interest in the medical use of substances present in the cannabis plant,” he said.

Miguel Guimarães, Chairman of the Order of Physicians

“Our position is very clear: we asked our experts, based on the best available evidence on this subject, including the diseases that may benefit from this treatment, but also on the possible adverse effects. We know a lot about the risks associated with short-term medical cannabis use and that adverse effects are rare, but there is less evidence about the risks of long-term use of cannabinoids. We need more investigation, to draw conclusions based on evidence,” he continued. Saluting the organization of the conference, the chairman ended his speech by saying that “we all have to contribute to better public health. Medicine has never turned a blind eye to evolution, but it will never turn its back on scientific evidence. This is the only way we can protect our patients.”

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