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OPCM: “It is with the focus on the patient that we organize this conference”



Carla Dias, president of the OPCM. Photo: Laura Ramos | cannareporter

The Portuguese Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis (OPCM) responded this afternoon to questions from Cannareporter, following complaints from patients, nurses and health technicians, who expressed their discontent at being prevented from participating in the 1st Conference National Council on Medicinal Cannabis.

We reproduce below the responses of the OPCM board, chaired by Carla Dias, in full.

As it is a National Conference (and not a Congress or Workshop, which are aimed at specific audiences) and taking into account that nurses or health technicians, for example, are often the first and who have the most contact with patients and their families, why did the OPCM limit access only to doctors and pharmacists?
The CNCM – 1st National Conference on Medicinal Cannabis, organized by the OPCM and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, has a specific training objective. 6 months ago, when the conference began to be organized, it was not possible to guarantee a physical space that could accommodate all health professionals, taking into account the rules imposed at the time by the DGS, in the face of Covid 19. This is why the organizing entities decided that this first conference would be aimed at Doctors and Pharmacists, as they are the main players in the prescription and dispensing of medicines, preparations and substances based on the cannabis plant, which are controlled substances subject to mandatory medical prescription and exclusive sale in pharmacies. As this event was held in partnership with FMUC on the FFUC University Campus, the organizing entities decided to open access to students of medicine and pharmaceutical sciences.

Being the OPCM an association that was created with, among others, the objectives of “Informing, supporting and guiding, at all levels, in the context of its object, patients and users of medicines” and “Allowing the social integration of patients aiming at their dignification and the safeguarding of their interests and rights, as well as support for caregivers or family members” how does the OPCM justify that patients and caregivers are prevented from accessing this conference?
For the reasons already explained in the answer to the previous question. It is with the focus on the patient that we organized this conference in order to provide participants in this conference with more knowledge and information about medical cannabis, enabling them to better respond to the needs of patients who need and deserve it so much.

What concrete actions has the OPCM been supporting patients and caregivers in Portugal? How many associates does the OPCM currently have and how many benefit from these actions?
As an example, on February 26, 2022, we held an online conference open to patients, caregivers, technicians, health professionals from the most varied areas, which had 180 participants. Support, guidance and information for patients, caregivers, (associated or not) of the OPCM, is also done on a daily and direct basis, through the various personal contacts with them. As an example, for the first time, the OPCM, with the representation of some elements of its Scientific Advisory Board, managed, in the space of such an unusual year, to meet with several Portuguese medical societies, governmental entities, national and international companies licensed and or in the process of approving medicinal products, preparations and substances based on the cannabis plant.
The OPCM currently has 122 members.

We were also told that the OPCM is not authorizing public comments on social media, having deleted several over the last few months, some people even speak of “censorship”. Why are you blocking the free participation and opinion of people who seek you on social networks?
The OPCM respects the freedom of expression of all its associates, patients, caregivers and users of social networks, which must naturally be exercised in an orderly and respectful manner. The comment boxes of the posts on our social media pages were being used by SPAM posts, with some comments having an offensive and/or defamatory content. However, all channels of contact with the OPCM are, as they have always been, available to anyone who wants and needs to contact the OPCM.

Mrs. President of the OPCM, Professor Carla Dias, as far as we know an English teacher at a professional school, has publicly presented herself, since 2021, as a “Doctor”. What training did you do to give her a different degree from the one she previously held?
Although the relevance of the question is not understood, which is of the personal scope of the Chairman of the Board and which is in no way related to the subject of the email, we cannot fail to mention that “Dr” or “Drª” is a title used socially to designate who completed a degree; licensed; and for the person who teaches or is a teacher. But that is also treated by Mrs or just by Carla.

What is the reaction of the OPCM and its associates to today's Jornal de Notícias news, “Cannabis exports grow almost 600% in a year”? With a country planting almost exclusively for export, how does the OPCM see this situation? What have you been doing to ensure that patients in Portugal have effective access to cannabis?
The position of the OPCM in relation to the volume of exports is widely known, having been made known several times in the media. For example, Linha da Frente program from RTP1, September 2021. The OPCM has observed national and international government initiatives in order to ensure that the rights of users of medicinal products, preparations and substances based on the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes , are taken care of, intervening with the competent authorities and in this way trying to ensure that patients in Portugal have effective access to medical cannabis in accordance with Portuguese law.

It is public knowledge that Ms. President of OPCM has a daughter with Epilepsy, to whom she gives CBD. What CBD do you give your daughter and where does she get it?
Although the relevance of the question is not understood, which is a personal matter for the Chairman of the Board and is in no way related to the subject of the email, it cannot be overlooked that the answer to the question posed is public knowledge (Vide in Dias , Carla, “A Mother of Fires”).


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