Cannabicum 2018 – The Hungarian Medical Cannabis Conference

The historical city of Budapest hosted an important conference in early September of this year. Organized by the Hungarian Medical Cannabis Association (MOKE), Cannabicum took place over 2 days and provided important information about all aspects of medical cannabis. The conference was divided into two days; the first day was dedicated to medical professionals while the second was dedicated to patients.

Day 1

The program of the first day was an introduction to medical cannabis for medical professionals, politicians and other professionals wanting to know about this emerging field. It attracted people form all over Hungary, showing the demand for quality scientific information about medical cannabis.

From left to right: Dr. Pavel Pachta, Dr. Eva Milz and Gregor Zorn

Miki Szelestei, the president of MOKE, launched the conference with his introductory speech followed by Peter Sarosi who presented a historical review of medical cannabis in Hungary. Dr. Pavel Pachta gave us some important information about the legal situation of medical cannabis in the world, the recent Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) special session dedicated to carrying out pre-reviews of cannabis and cannabis-related substances and the potential changes it might have on the global level (you can find out more about the session here). I did a presentation about the endocannabinoid system and its important role health which was a great introduction to Dr. Bilkei-Gorzó András talk about the therapeutic possibilities of cannabis in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

From left to right: Kardos Tamás , Dr. Gil Lewitus and Dr. Bilkei-Gorzó András

After the lunch break, Miki Szelestei talked about the current hurdles of obtaining medical cannabis in Hungary and why it has to change. Dr. Gil Lewitus, a researcher from the Technion in Israel, presented interesting information on the importance of various combinations of various cannabis constituents in the treatment of nervous system disorders and autism.

For the last part of the day, I had a medical cannabis workshop/course for medical professionals, where I presented some important topics about cannabis constituents, methods of intake, dosing, tolerance, drug interactions, synthetic cannabinoids, toxicity, and side effects.


The second day was dedicated to helping patients understand the basics of medical cannabis therapies and giving them a chance to ask specific questions. Dr. Bonni Goldstein had a very insightful presentation about her experience with treating children with epilepsy, autism and ADHD. I then talked about the constituents of cannabis and their potential therapeutic use followed by DR. Eva Miltz who talked about her experience with cannabinoids in psychiatry. Kardos Tamás presented the current situation of medical cannabis programs in Europe.

The last part of the second day was focused on the possibilities of developing a medical cannabis program in Hungary, with talks from Horváth József and dr. Papp Szidónia on their experience with cannabinoid treatments, as well as patients sharing their own personal experiences with CBD preparations. This was especially important, as the audience could ask questions and also share their frustrations, fears and experiences, with the current situation of medical cannabis in their country.


The Cannabicum medical cannabis conference was a success and fulfilled its main objectives in education and informing medical professionals, patients and attendees about medical cannabis and it’s many uses.

The conference was executed very professionally, thanks to the dedication of a small group of very passionate people – Miki, Rita, Richárd, Borbála, Hanna, Timea, Péter and Ábrahám – the members of MOKE. Great job guys!

I would also like to thank all the other people who were crucial in the organisation and technical aspects of the conference and a special shootout goes to the two interpreter ladies, who had a daunting task in translating all the technical stuff, that we cannabis geeks like to talk about.

This is only the first part of this Hungarian story and I am confident the Cannabicum will become a staple in the European medical cannabis conference circuit.

Cannabis Europa – converging science, policy, patients and business

The European medical cannabis market has the potential to become the biggest market in the world. With an estimated value of 35.7 billion euros in the medical cannabis market alone, there is a growing interest for businesses, organizations and governments to be part of this evolution.

Europe has been trying to get aboard the emerging cannabis market, that is happening all over the world, especially in USA, Canada and South America. In the USA , 29 states have a legal medical cannabis market and 9 states also have a legal recreational market. Canada has also a growing medical cannabis market and later this year, it will become the first G7 country with a legal recreational market. This is also reflected in the number of cannabis events that are happening this year all over North America.

In Europe we are also seeing a consistent increase in the number and quality of cannabis related events (conferences, expos, symposiums). One of the most prominent 2018 events, taking place in London on the 21st-22nd of May, will be Cannabis Europa.

Organized by Hanway Associates, Prohibition Partners and the European Cannabinoid Therapy Association, this event will bring together the major EU and global leaders in all the important fields of this emerging market. The invited speakers  are leaders in their fields of business, policy, science and patient advocacy.


In many EU countries we have seen a trend of implementing new medical cannabis laws. It is important to have policy makers, that understand the complexities and the benefits, that good a state implemented medical cannabis program can have on its residents.

Members of UK parliament- Jeff Smith, George Freeman and Crispin Blunt – will join the conversation with the European members of parliament, Estefania Torres (Spain) and Stelios Kouloglou (Greece), and Prof. Guglielmo Trovato from the European Medical Association, in discussing the current situation of medical cannabis policy in the EU.


The European cannabis market is attracting a lot of foreign investors and companies that already have experience in medical cannabis. With an increasing number of EU countries implementing medical cannabis legislation, there is an increasing demand for medical cannabis products.

Tjalling Erkelens, the founder and CEO of Bedrocan International BV, which is currently the only EU licensed producer of medical cannabis, will join with the North American colleagues, Mike Dacks (MedReleaf), Dr. Shane Morris (Aurora cannabis), George Scorsis (Liberty Health Sciences) and Michael Abbott (Columbia Care), in discussing the legislative hurdles and business opportunities of an ever-growing EU cannabis market.


Several countries in the EU have a long history of excellent cannabis scientific research. In Spain the Complutense University of Madrid is one of such research centers, where Dr. Cristina Sanchez has been doing very important research on cannabinoid mechanism of action in cancer, especially focusing on breast cancer.

Other researchers, such as Prof. Mike Barnes form Newcastle University, Dr. Saoirse O’Sullivan from the University of Nottingham, Dr. Lorenzo Calvi form the University of Pavia and Dr. Arno Hazekamp, have all contributed to our better understanding of the importance and potential therapeutic use of medical cannabis.


One of the best ways to learn about the benefits of medical cannabis is trough patients and their personal experiences. Jasmin Thomas, Chelsea Leyland, Jacqueline Poitras and Carola Perez are all avid advocates for the use and implementation of medical cannabis laws and they will share their own personal experiences.

Jacqueline and Carola are also representing their patient organisations; Mamaka (Greece) and OECM (Spain).

Patient organisations have and important role in giving patients the information they are seeking in their native country. They can also have other important roles; as an example, the German Cannabis Association, represented by Florian Rister and Verena Aßmann, is the biggest cannabis legalisation advocacy group in Germany and also the main association for the German cannabis industry.

Cannabis Europa is definitely an event you do not want to miss, if you want to be on top on the latest important updates and meet the global leaders in this new and exciting sector. See you in London!