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Insights Into Cancer – January 13, 2015

Medicinal Marijuana and Cancer: An Expert Panel

Presented by Thomas Strouse, MD; Garth Terry, MD, PhD; Mark Kleiman, PhD

About the Lecture

Many patients with cancer choose to use or try medicinal marijuana based on their own inclinations or through the urging of family friends, or even by way of what they see on TV. What do we know about this plant and its pharmacology? An expert panel is assembled for this presentation and Q & A, to explore the topic of symptom management with medical marijuana for cancer patients, and the history, research, science and policies that surround the potential benefits and risks of short term and long term use. Three experts in symptom management and cancer also known as palliative care, psychiatry and public policy, share their perspectives in an effort to help inform patients and family members about the status of medicinal marijuana usage in cancer. The areas included within this panel discussion are palliative care and what options are available to patients for pain and symptom management, cannabinoid pharmacology and what we know about how it may affect the brain, the impacts of long term cannabis use on cognitive and psychological functioning and the utilization of neuroimaging to explore how cannabis influences the brain and immune system. A final area of focus includes a better understanding of public policy and regulation at the state and federal level and the current state of oversight on the risks and benefits for patients. Additionally, ideas will be presented about how to navigate through the myriad of marijuana dispensary websites and potential ways to assess what they might offer. The goal of this presentation is to educate patients and families about the risks, benefits, options, and current knowledge within this field, with the hope that patients will be able to make informed personal decisions.

About the Speakers

StrouseDr. Thomas Strouse, MD is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and Medical Director of the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital. He has worked with medically ill adults throughout his career, and for the last 15 years has focused clinically on psychosocial oncology and cancer pain and symptom management. He has published extensively in this area, and has worked at a national level teaching health professionals about psychosocial oncology and palliative care.

TerryDr. Garth Terry, MD, PhD is currently the Chief Resident of Psychiatry at UCLA and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He completed his medical degree at George Washington University and his PhD at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. His research has included the development of an imaging method to map cannabinoid receptors in human brain, and he continues his interest in novel brain imaging techniques and cannabinoid pharmacology. He is currently involved as a resident study physician at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program, a member of the Clinical Trials Network associated with the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). He has received several awards, including the NIMH 2013 Outstanding Resident Award, and American Association of Directors of Psychiatry Residency Training 2014 BRAIN Scholar.

KleimanDr. Mark A.R. Kleiman, PhD is professor of public policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He teaches courses on methods of policy analysis, on imperfectly rational decision-making at the individual and social level, and on drug abuse and crime control policy. His current focus is on the dynamics of deterrent threats, and on the prospect of reducing crime and incarceration by substituting swiftness and predictability for severity in the criminal justice system generally and in community-corrections institutions specifically. Dr. Kleiman is the author of Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control; Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results; and When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment, listed by The Economist as one of the “Books of the Year” for 2009. Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (co-authored with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) was published by Oxford University Press in July 2011, and Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know (Caulkins, Hawken, Kilmer, and Kleiman) in June 2012. He edits the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Kleiman provides advice to local, state, and national governments on crime control and drug policy. Before coming to UCLA in 1995, he taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at the University of Rochester. Before he began to teach, Mr. Kleiman worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as director of policy and management analysis for the Criminal Division. He graduated magna cum laude in political science, philosophy, and economics from Haverford College and did his graduate work (M.P.P. and Ph.D.) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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