JUN 20, 2018 10:30 AM PDT

A Pharmacogenomic Approach to Medical Cannabis

C.E. CREDITS: P.A.C.E. CE | Florida CE
  • Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Americans For Safe Access
      Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., is currently the Chief Science Officer at Americans for Safe Access (a medical cannabis patient advocacy non-profit) and Director of the Patient Focused Certification program, which is a health and safety oversight program that assesses regulatory compliance at cannabis operations. He is co-founder of the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health and is on the scientific advisory board of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute (Czech Republic).

      He is also co-founder and past-chairman of the CANN subdivision of the Chemical Health and Safety Division (DCHAS) of the American Chemical Society. His is also on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Cannabinoids as Medicine (Germany). He has a background in analytical chemistry and molecular pharmacology, he received his Ph.D. for contributions in characterizing the structure and function of the cannabinoid receptors. He is an author of the American Herbal Pharmacopeia's Cannabis Monograph and serves on multiple expert government, trade association committees, scientific organizations and is a court-qualified synthetic cannabinoid and cannabis expert. He has helped create the first standards for the medical cannabis industry with the American Herbal Products Association, as well as related educational training for clinicians and workers in the industry. He has been invited to speak at many international conferences, universities, hospitals, including the University of Leiden, Temple University School of Medicine, Princeton Hospital, and Yale University. Dr. Marcu is a recipient of the Billy Martin research award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society.


    The therapeutic applications of medical cannabis and cannabinoid drugs is controversial, however the number of medical conditions in which cannabinoids and cannabis have shown promise as therapeutic treatments is expanding. The occurrence of side effects from cannabinoids is still a concern, especially with the wide variability in drug levels and response that has been observed. This is compounded by possible interactions with prescription drugs. Application of pharmacogenomics (PGx) and knowledge of drug-drug interactions could help patients and doctors navigate the complexities of combining prescription drugs and cannabis compounds. Genetic variants in several drug metabolizing enzymes may impact response to cannabinoids, including CYP3A4, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19. Furthermore, drug interactions caused by cannabinoids may also be mediated by drug metabolizing enzymes (e.g. CYP2C9, CYP2D6, CYP2B6, CYP1A1) and possibly drug transporters such as ABCB1. Understanding how commonly prescribed drugs and cannabinoids interact could help reduce risks associated with polydrug regimens. This presentation will discuss PGx testing for cannabis and potential impacts on commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals.

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