January began with the celebration of a historic and unique event in Lima, the First American Meeting of Professionals in Phytocannabinoids. One of the main objectives was to sign the Lima Declaration on Cannabis for Medicinal Use, an agreement that demands governments and the UN to carry out the necessary political measures to implement the medicinal use of the plant and to make a statement about regulations.
Scientists, medical specialists and experts in the medicinal use of cannabis from North and South America met at the Medical College of Peru on January 10th and 11th to update the status of the use of the plant in the Americas and sign a statement that encourages the authorities of all regions of the continent to ensure safe and quality access to the plant.
"The access of our patients to cannabis sativa in the countries of the region is a priority that today compels us to meet in the beautiful city of Lima, to show the state of the art clinical, scientific and regulatory developments, and thus help to improve the health of our populations, because it is this level of development we should be aiming for: there are hundreds of thousands of patients who are using cannabis prescribed by a doctor in American"
Universal access to cannabis
The conveners were medical organizations dedicated to the use of cannabis therapies in Peru, Chile and Argentina. They invited health professionals from all over the American continent to create specialized, professional science-based information capable of urging governments to regulate access to this plant in order to allow safer and more standardized use. Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico and Canada were all represented by specialist physicians.
"It is the first attempt to gather experiences, standardize procedures and bring together health professionals who live and work in America with medical cannabis, in order to constitute a block of expert, serious, professional and scientific knowledge", they stated on the website of Latin America Reforma, one of the organizers.
Change traditional medicine
Although there may be many different opinions about this new type of medicine, the meeting expressed that it is necessary to try to understand it. And, although opinions differ on the matter, they agreed that discussion is important, not only among doctors, but also among professionals from different areas and the users themselves. Since, they insisted, they are all trying to define or standardize procedures, to see how to include these type of treatments into the paradigm of traditional medicine.
"By way of conclusion, it was recognized that there will be a big change in the way of practising medicine and this instance is an invitation to schools to open chairs that contribute in expanding the only evidence-based look, seeking to contact more with the way patients choose for themselves as an alternative treatment that relieves their pathologies and that by dogmas or false myths, are being hindered by prohibitionist doctors", Mariela Hernández, of Reforma Latin America, said in a press release.
The Declaration of Lima
"The governments of our countries are urged to regulate access to the Cannabis plant and its derivatives based on the Single Convention of 1961, which allows use medicinally and for scientific research of all species listed", we can read in the Declaration of Lima.
"The General Assembly of the United Nations is requested to facilitate access to cannabis for those who need it under medical criteria. It is suggested that the Governments of the American continent update their national legislations based on purely scientific criteria, to facilitate the regulation of the exchange of cannabis for medicinal or scientific research purposes. "
But the petitions do not stop here, since they also call on the health and scientific authorities to stay informed in order to make decisions based on scientific evidence, without fear of repression from others. Health professionals are asked to contribute with informed access to patients who require cannabis-based therapy, and those patients who continue to defend their use to effective access to consumption and possession for medicinal purposes and to receive therapy based on cannabis.
Both health professionals and patients are asked in this document to participate actively and have a vigilant attitude in the political processes of their countries. During two professional days throughout the Americas, they shared scientific updates on cannabis medicine. From Canada, the Medical Director of Canopy Growth Corporation, Dr. Mark Ware, commented on the findings and challenges of cannabis and its derivatives in clinical research.
A global trend
More and more doctors are seeking more depth information about this subject. Despite the prohibitions and restrictions, there are many professionals who recommend cannabis as a treatment. Of course It helps that many patients find relief from pain and disease through treatment with the plant. These type of events show that this trend has only just beginning.
Now the ball is in the court of local governments, which need to advance in regulatory processes to prevent thousands of users from being treated as criminals or traffickers, when in reality they are only trying to improve their quality of life when they try to access treatment that is legally indicated by a licensed physician.
For this reason, the participants have decided to continue with these meetings and create an international association, bringing together health professionals who prescribe their patients cannabis for medicinal purposes. This way, they will be able to advance in the regulation, to control the quality of the products, to develop research and knowledge, as well as to strengthen ties to face the prejudices and to debate the prohibitionist foundations with scientific arguments.
This convention will reconvene in 2020 in Chile. The first was produced by the Latin American Reforma organizations in Chile; Medical Society of Cannabis of Peru and Anandamed, of Argentina; and invited organizations, Sciences for Cannabis and Medical Society of Entheogens and Cannabis, of Chile; United Mexico Against Delinquency, and the Uruguayan Endocannabinology Society.