‘Godfather of Cannabis’ to play role at MedCan 2020

Published: Tue 5 Nov 2019 11:55 AM
MedCan 2020
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
‘The Godfather of Cannabis’, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, will play a key role in New Zealand’s first international medicinal cannabis summit, MedCan 2020 organisers have announced today.
“In the global cannabis industry, Prof Mechoulam is as big as Buzz Aldrin is to spaceflight. Both 20th Century pioneers were born in 1930 and were international trailblazers in the 1960s. Hence, we’re enormously excited to confirm ‘The Godfather of Cannabis’ will be part of MedCan 2020,” says Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ and Spokesperson for MedCan 2020.
Prof Mechoulam PhD is an award-winning Israeli organic chemist who has been studying the chemistry and pharmacology of cannabinoids for over 50 years.
Often credited with advancing medicinal cannabis more than any individual worldwide, the Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Hebrew University of Jerusalem is best known for being the first to isolate the THC compound and distinguish the structure of CBD. He also played a key role in discovering the human body’s powerful endocannabinoid system (ECS).
“It is an exciting time for medicinal cannabis in New Zealand, and I am delighted to be part of MedCan 2020. It’s essential that scientific knowledge on the benefits of medicinal cannabis is disseminated to patients, practitioners, scientists, and the industry,” says Prof Mechoulam, who will be appearing at MedCan 2020 via video link.
Organised by BioTechNZ, MedCan 2020 will take place at SkyCity in Auckland on 18 and 19 March next year.
Other speakers announced include Brent Zettl - a hugely successful cannabis entrepreneur and pioneer of the Canadian medicinal cannabis industry. Two decades ago, he founded CanniMed which was last year acquired by Aurora Cannabis Inc for $1.2 billion. Mr Zettl is now back in business with a new cannabis company, ZYUS Life Sciences Inc, where he’s President and CEO.
MedCan 2020 is also proud to confirm Dr Maria-Fernanda Arboleda as a keynote speaker. Dr Arboleda is a Colombian physician, anesthesiologist, pain and palliative care specialist. She holds senior positions at world leading specialised cannabis clinic, Santeì Cannabis, and at Khiron Life Sciences Corp - Latin America’s number one medical cannabis company.
Dr David Hepburn MD will also present at MedCan 2020. He is Canada’s foremost medical cannabis educator who currently serves as a medical director at international cannabis giant, Plena Global.
“Education, scientific and medical research continue to dispel many of the myths that have been at the core of the cannabis stigma for 70 years. As part of this remarkable global tipping point, I’m delighted New Zealand now fully recognises the need to explore the possibilities, potential and promising role that medical cannabis can have for many in this country,” says Dr Hepburn.
MedCan 2020 also welcomes Dr Kevin Spelman PhD who is an internationally recognised expert on the molecular biology and clinical therapeutics of botanical medicines and new products. The American has worked extensively with cannabis as well as many other medicinal plants and is widely published.
The summit’s recently launched website also lists 13 other expert speakers, with more New Zealand and internationally renowned speakers to be announced soon. MedCan 2020’s two-day programme, now also published, is promoted as ‘connecting medicine, science, industry and technology for a new frontier of care’.
Dr Champion says she’s delighted with the speakers confirmed so far, the programme’s development, and the growing list of event supporters.
New Zealand’s largest medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, was announced in September as MedCan 2020’s foundation sponsor.
Helius Co-Chief Executive Officer, Paul Manning, says: “We’re proud to support such an exciting programme and world-class line-up of speakers. MedCan 2020 will be a truly inspiring and educational event for everyone, and a real catalyst for New Zealand’s burgeoning cannabis industry.”
SETEK Therapeutics has now been announced as a gold sponsor.
SETEK Chief Executive, Mark Mees, says: “MedCan 2020 is a wonderful opportunity to dispel some of the misconceptions that surround medicinal cannabis and showcase just how profoundly it can impact people’s lives.”
Supporters of the two-day summit listed so far include Callaghan Innovation, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Agritech New Zealand, NZTech, Digital Identity, and NZMCC.
With the summit’s venue capacity 500-plus at SkyCity, MedCan 2020 will bring together healthcare professionals, academics, researchers, government officials, business, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, growers, and patients.
“MedCan 2020 will empower the industry’s many and varied stakeholders who seek to unlock the social, economic, and clinical potential of medicinal cannabis. It is a significant national effort, and marks a big opportunity for New Zealand,” says Dr Zahra Champion.
Prospective participants and attendees to MedCan 2020 are encouraged to register their interest via

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