Jun 28 2022 Posted: 08:00 IST

Endocannabinoids - the body’s own cannabinoids, which mimic some of the effects of cannabis-derived or synthetic cannabinoids - to be discussed as a key theme of the 32nd International Cannabinoid Research Society Symposium at NUI Galway.

Endocannabinoids are part of the so-called endocannabinoid system, an important physiological signalling system in the body that plays a key role in health and disease. Over 280 world experts in cannabis and cannabinoid research will converge on NUI Galway from 25-29 June (plus an additional 150 online) to discuss the latest research in this area.

The conference is being organised and hosted by the President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, David Finn, Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway.

Cannabinoids are the biologically active constituents of the cannabis plant, or the synthetic molecules that mimic these.

Professor Finn explains “In recent years there has been substantial interest in cannabinoids for their potential to treat a variety of disorders, including chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and other conditions. The body’s endocannabinoid system regulates multiple processes including pain, mood, appetite, hormones, the immune system and our metabolism.”

“Our Research teams here at NUI Galway, within the disciplines of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Physiology, Galway Neuroscience Centre, the Centre for Pain Research and CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, are working to advance our understanding of the body’s endocannabinoid system in conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, autism and Parkinson’s disease.”

Dr. Michelle Roche, Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research said “Our goal is to develop novel cannabinoid-based therapeutics for these and other disorders. Our research is funded by a variety of sources including Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council and the European Union.

Professor Margaret McCarthy, Director for the Program in Neuroscience and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine will speak about how endocannabinoids sculpt sex differences in social behaviour.  That is, how body’s own cannabis-like molecules influence the different ways in which males and females behave socially.

Professor McCarthy said “Cannabis is a complex compound. It sits at the interface of recreation, medicine, substance abuse, business and criminal justice. The ability to gather in person to discuss all these issues will greatly enhance the exchange of information and foster identification of the most urgent areas for future exploration.”

Further information on the conference can be found at: https://new.icrs.co/ICRS2022/ICRS2022/

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