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May 2016 : Dr. Dan Werb - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

 Dan Werb, PhD, is an epidemiologist and policy analyst with expertise working in the fields of HIV, addictions, and drug policy. Dr. Werb defended his PhD at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Dr. Werb is an inaugural recipient of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Avenir Award, which funds highly innovative and potentially high impact research projects at the nexus of HIV and drug use. Dr. Werb’s Avenir Award funds the PRIMER project (PReventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses), a multi-site, international study seeking to test the potential impact of existing structural interventions on reducing the risk that people who inject drugs initiate others into injecting.

Dr. Werb is also the Director of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, a Toronto-based research institute focused on systematic assessments of the evidence on the effectiveness of illicit drug policy. His research interests are wide ranging and include preventing injection drug use, the effect of drug law enforcement on public health, global drug supply reduction, discretionary policing, identifying determinants of illicit drug market participation, and drug market violence. He is a researcher with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and a Visiting Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Dr. Werb is a 2012 Trudeau Foundation Scholar, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellow, and the recipient of a 2014 National Magazine Award in Canada for his general interest science journalism.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: click here to download the pdf

Apr 2016 : Steph Sherer - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Steph Sherer is founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

Her direct experience with the medical benefits of cannabis and her political organizing background led Steph to form ASA in 2002 with the purpose of building a strong grassroots movement to protect patients and their rights. As a powerful advocate, a skilled spokesperson, and an energetic initiator of campaigns, Steph has trained over 100,000 individuals across the country on civic engagement.

Steph has become the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy and, alongside American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), has created the first industry standards in the areas of Distribution, Cultivation, Analytics, and Manufacturing, Packaging and Labeling.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: click here to download the pdf

Dec 2015 : Dr. Ruth Ross - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Ruth Ross obtained a PhD in Pharmacology from The University of Edinburgh in 1990. She has held research positions in Discovery Biology at Pfizer Inc. and Allergan Inc. In 2008 she became Chair in Molecular Pharmacology at The University of Aberdeen. From 2010-2012 she was Director of the Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics, which focusses on the translation of biology innovation into novel drug discovery strategies. Ruth also served as Director of Translational Biology for the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance. In 2013 she relocated to The University of Toronto to take up the position of Chair of the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Director of the Centre for Collaborative Drug Research (CCDR). Her own research focusses on the molecular pharmacology of the endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids (cannabis) and novel small molecules targeting the cannabinoid system.


Oct 2015 : Dr. Lynda Balneaves - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Lynda G. Balneaves, RN (BC), PhD Dr. Lynda Balneaves is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy in the University of Toronto and inaugural Director of the Centre of Integrative Medicine, a collaboration of the Faculty of Medicine and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, as well as The Scarborough Hospital. She also holds the Kwok Yuen and Betty Ho Chair in Integrative Medicine at the University of Toronto and is a Scientist in the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Balneaves has focused her research on supporting informed treatment decisions in people interested in using complementary therapies. Since 2007, Dr. Balneaves has been the Principal Investigator of the Complementary Medicine Education and Outcomes (CAMEO) research program, which has developed and evaluated a variety of education and decision support interventions aimed at helping cancer patients and health professionals make evidence-based decisions about complementary therapies.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: click here to download the pdf

Sept 2015 : Dr. Jonathan Page - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Jon has spent his career deciphering the genetic and biochemical secrets of medicinal plants, including the production of THC and other cannabinoids in cannabis. He received his PhD from the University of British Columbia (1998), undertook postdoctoral training in Munich and Halle, Germany (1998-2003) and directed a lab at the National Research Council’s Plant Biotechnology Institute from 2003-2013. Jon co-led the Canadian team that reported the first sequence of the cannabis genome and his work has helped elucidate the biochemical pathway leading to the major cannabinoids. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Botany Department at UBC and founder of a Vancouver-based plant biotechnology company, Anandia Labs, which focuses on plant breeding and the development of new cannabis-based medicines.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: click here to download the pdf


June 2015 : Dr. Matthew Hill - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Matthew Hill is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Cell Biology and Anatomy and Psychiatry at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary (Canada). He was trained in Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychoneuroendocrinology at the University of British Columbia and did postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce McEwen at the Rockefeller University. Dr. Hill’s research has helped to reveal the critical role, and neural circuits through which, endocannabinoid signaling regulates acute responsiveness and adaptation of the stress response, both at the neuroendocrine and behavioral level. Further, his research has demonstrated how chronic stress can compromise endocannabinoid function, identifying this system as target for both the pathophysiology and treatment of stress-related mood and anxiety disorders.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: click here to download the pdf


May 2015 : Dr. Donald Abrams - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Donald I. Abrams, MD. is chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He has an Integrative Oncology consultation practice at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Brown University in 1972 and graduated from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1977. After completing an Internal Medicine residency at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco, he became a fellow in Hematology/Oncology at the Cancer Research Institute of the University of California, San Francisco in 1980. He was one the original clinician/investigators to recognize and define many early AIDS-related conditions. He has long been interested in clinical trials of complementary and alternative medicine interventions for HIV/AIDS and cancer, including evaluations of medicinal marijuana. In 1997 he received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct clinical trials of the short-term safety of cannabinoids in HIV infection. Subsequently he was granted funds by the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to continue studies of the effectiveness of cannabis in a number of clinical conditions. He completed a placebo-controlled study of smoked cannabis in patients with painful HIV-related peripheral neuropathy as well as a study evaluating vaporization as a smokeless delivery system for medicinal. His last NIDA-funded trial investigated the possible pharmacokinetic interaction between vaporized cannabis and opioid analgesics in patients with chronic pain. He is now conducting an NIH-funded trial investigating vaporized cannabis in patients with Sickle Cell disease. He co-authored the chapter on “Cannabinoids and Cancer” in the Oxford University Press Integrative Oncology text that he co-edited with Andrew Weil. He co-edits the NCI PDQ CAM Cannabinoids and Cancer website.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: click here to download the pdf


April 2015 : Prof. Keith Sharkey - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Dr. Keith Sharkey is Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology and Deputy Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. He also holds the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (CCC) Chair in inflammatory bowel disease research.

Keith Sharkey was educated at the University of London (B.Sc. Hons., Nutrition) and the University of Liverpool (Ph.D., GI Physiology). After postdoctoral training in Hungary, the UK and Canada, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary (1990), and has remained there for his academic career.

Dr. Sharkey’s research is focused on understanding the role of the endocannabinoid system in the physiology and pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal tract and brain-gut interactions in health and disease. He has published over 200 original peer-reviewed research articles. His work is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, CCC and Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: download the pdf


March 2015 : Prof. Raphael Mechoulam - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Prof. Mechoulam received his Masters Degree in Biochemistry from the Hebrew University in 1952 and his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute in 1958 where he studied under Professor F. Sondheimer. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller Institute.

Dr. Mechoulam is currently with the Institute for Drug Research at the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is former Rector of the University and is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Mechoulam has received many honours, including honorary doctorates from Spain and USA, the Israel Prize in 2000 and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2012, he received the Rothschild Prize.

His research interests are in the field of the chemistry and biological activity of natural products and medicinal agents. His main contributions are in the field of the constituents of cannabis and the endogenous cannabinoids found in the brain and the periphery.

He has published extensively on their pharmacological activities.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: download the pdf


February 2015 : Dr. Stephen Alexander - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

SPHA got a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bath, despite spending most of his undergraduate period playing sport and going to gigs & clubs. A short move up the A4 allowed him to study for a PhD in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Bristol, looking at acid phosphatases in the spinal sensory system (and playing sport and going to gigs & clubs). A postdoc in Munich allowed him to learn Bay’risch, study adenosine receptor pharmacology (and play sport and go to gigs & clubs). Returning to the UK and two postdocs at the University of Nottingham, led to a lectureship at Nottingham, looking at adenosine receptors in the CNS, and then metabotropic glutamate receptors, and then cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoid-metabolising enzymes, and then P2 receptors, and then PPARS and hydrogen sulphide and all sorts of other stuff. And playing sport, but less time going to gigs and clubs :¬( In other news, SPHA is an editor (since 1997) of pharmacological nomenclature guides (such as the Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY), a Senior Editor of the British Journal of Pharmacology, a member of the Nomenclature Committee of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (NC-IUPHAR) and now President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). And a rugby coach. And has 50 days of continuous music on his iPod.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: download the pdf.


January 2015 : Dr. Igor Grant - Interview by Dr. Mark A. Ware

Igor Grant, M.D., is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He directs the UCSD HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program, a multidisciplinary and interdepartmental program that focuses on the effects of HIV on the brain and behavior. As Director of the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, Dr. Grant oversees clinical trials exploring the possible utility of cannabis compounds in the amelioration of certain severe manifestations of disease. Dr. Grant’s research has been supported by multiple NIH and VA awards, and has resulted in over 700 publications.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: download the pdf



From January - June 2015 the CCIC Podcasts were supported by sponsorship received from CannTrust.

For information on sponsoring the CCIC Podcast please contact info@ccic.net .