We recently sat down with the incomparable, Dr. Facundo Alvarez to discuss the role of cannabis therapeutics in global healthcare.
As I continue to work with more medical professionals throughout Latin America and in the autism community, I always seem to become a magnet for other heroes championing the same mission. It’s an honor to highlight Dr. Alvarez's work in the study of cannabis therapeutics.
His dissertation contribution in 2018 starts with, "Health, A Fundamental Right," which focused on scientific research and therapeutic uses of cannabis at the Tucumán National University in Argentina. His studies also focused on the endocannabinoid system and pharmacology at the Natural Science School in Tucumán National University Argentina.
In 2019, he continued his dissertation with, "The role of cannabis in modern medicine" and presented his findings at the first Latin American Meeting of experts in phytocannabinoids at the medical school in Lima Perú.
What is your personal story and mission that inspired you to work with cannabis?
My personal story with cannabis begins during my time in medical school. After reading about Charlotte Figi and her use of cannabis to treat symptoms of Dravet syndrome I was touched by her courageous journey. From that moment on I began to learn all about the characteristics of the cannabis plant and its therapeutic benefits. When I finished my medical degree, I began using forms of cannabis to treat a multitude of patients from different backgrounds and health conditions.
After seeing dramatic improvements in my patients' symptoms I decided to dedicate myself exclusively to cannabis therapeutics, focusing on clinical care, research, education and work based on drug policies aimed at promoting public health plans and access to medical marijuana.
Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals and healthcare providers is lacking?
I believe that it is absolutely necessary for more education about the therapeutic benefits of the medical cannabis. It should be promoted at the university level and available to all health professionals. Because of the already existing scientific evidence about the endocannabinoid system, its components, and its importance in people's health, it is difficult to believe that this topic is not included in the university curriculum and that many physicians do not know about the benefits of this therapy. In recent years, there has been a more concerted effort for professional development aimed at health professionals. It's important to me that education plans continue to be promoted. When society's demand for information reaches a tipping point, as health workers it is important to listen to the patient, and be up to date on the latest health and scientific research. Cannabis has so many benefits that still need clinical trials to further promote it's health benefits.