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Insights Into Cancer – March 12, 2019

Medicinal Cannabis and Cancer: 2019

Jeffrey Chen, MD/MBA with Lee Rosen, MD, FACP for Q&A

About the Lecture

For at least 4,000 years, cannabis has been used for its medical properties by civilizations throughout the world, including the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Indian Hindus, Assyrians, Greeks, Persians, and Romans. For most of history, the effects of cannabis on the human body were not understood. Then, in the 1990’s, scientists discovered endocannabinoids, the natural cannabis-like molecules produced by the human body, and we learned that cannabis exhibited its effects, in part, by mimicking our endocannabinoids. We now know the endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide variety of processes, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and reproductive function. The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids, which have demonstrated a wide spectrum of potential therapeutic use. For example, synthetic THC (Marinol) is FDA approved for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and appetite and weight loss related to HIV/AIDS. In addition, early evidence has shown cannabinoids to have a range of effects that may be therapeutically useful, including antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-tumor, anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and sleep modulating effects.

In this lecture, Dr. Chen will address palliative care pain and symptom management, cannabinoid pharmacology, the short and long-term impacts of cannabis use on cognitive and psychological functioning, and potential impacts on the immune system. Dr. Lee Rosen will join him for the Q&A to answer questions about cannabis use for cancer patients.

About the Speakers

Jeffrey Chen, MD, MBA is the Founder and Director of the UCLA Cannabinoid Affinity Group, comprised of over 40 multidisciplinary UCLA faculty. He is a graduate of the specialized dual degree MD/MBA program at UCLA. He has spent the past four years working at the intersection of academia, industry, nonprofit sector and government to accelerate cannabis research. He has been invited to speak on the topic of cannabis policy, science, and business at institutions ranging from the RAND Corporation to the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine to Senator Feinstein’s Office. Dr. Chen is a David Geffen Fellow, UCLA Wolfen Entrepreneurial Award Recipient, U.S. patent holder, and a published author in cancer research. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornell University.

Lee Rosen, MD, FACP is a Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Director of the Drug Development Program and Co-Director, Outpatient Cancer Center Santa Monica. He created and directed the Cancer Therapy Development Program, designed to coordinate translational/clinical research of new cancer treatments. 

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