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26th Year of Cannabinoid Investigation: ICRS in Poland

For over 26 years, the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) has been a leading society dedicated to education and scientific research in all fields of cannabis and endogenous cannabinoid system research.

In 2015 we crossed the ocean to participate in the ICRS Meeting, while this year we hosted all ICRS delegates in our beautiful Tatra Mountains in Poland. This year we also had the opportunity to actively create this awaited event as Kasia and Natalia were part of the Conference Organization Committee.  However, as always in our team it was all hands on deck with  Agnieszka, Kuba and Magda always keen to help and support. The four-day scientific symposium featured 87 oral presentations and a hundred posters covering a wide range of cannabinoid related topics.

During oral sessions we had the opportunity to hear about several reports highlighting the therapeutic potential of CBD as well as medicinal use of cannabis. Furthermore, we participated in numerous interesting lectures about the endocannabinoid system in addition to its metabolism and signaling in several disorders i.e. pain, anxiety, stress, diabetes and cardiac dysfunctions. Dale Deutsch, who first identified FAAH, an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, was the recipient of the ICRS Career Achievement Award. In his lecture he discussed the latest studies on endocannabinoid reuptake and transport as well as the  roles of Fatty Acid Binding Proteins as anandamide carriers. Andrzej Dziembowski from the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics PAS & Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw provided an overview of his recent results describing the role of the nuclear exosome complex in the regulation of transcriptome homeostasis. If you’re interested in the detailed ICRS2016 program please visit http://www.icrs2016.org/.

We all had the chance for an active Symposium participation and opportunity to present the results of our latest research. Natalia gave an excellent talk about local administration of CB2 agonists for prevention of osteoarthritis development and new disease treatment options. Presented results were part of a project funded by Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland where Natalia is a PI. Pain lab was strongly represented during vivid poster sessions. Kuba’s work ”Molecular understandings on the activation of CB1 and blockade of TRPV1 receptors: implications for novel treatment strategy in osteoarthritis” constituted results he’ll include in his Master Thesis supervised by Kasia and carried out thanks to NCN funding (Sonata Bis). Agnieszka’s last year in PainLab was all about becoming an expert in Western Blot and Immunochemistry techniques. Her poster entitled “The role of dorsal root ganglia neurons innervating the rat knee joints during osteoarthritis development: implications for the Endocannabinoid System” served a bunch of results including beautiful DRG- pictures. Magda was pretty excited before the Tuesday poster session as for the first time her research on bone metabolism during OA could see the light of day. Her poster “New approaches to treating osteoarthritis – implications for the Endocannabinoid System in osteoblast metabolism” abounded with fruitful discussions was met with great interest among participants. For those of you who are frequent attendees at ICRS there’s no need to say that all poster sessions were very busy, all presenters received a lot of feedback and attention towards their work.  That’s why we love these meetings so much.

The International Cannabinoid Research Society is not only about the science and research. It’s also about the people who create this network. After long hours of lectures, scientific discussions and poster sessions we spent some time on entertainment and chatting with all the participants. Thankfully the weather was nice so we had the opportunity to walk through the beautiful Chochołowska Valley and eat a Traditional Polish Folk Dinner.  Likewise, Bukovina resorts offered lots of attractions including a thermal spa, snooker and bowling. An elegant, delightful and funny (shooting pictures at the Photo booth was a lot of fun for all!) farewell Banquet was the cherry on the top for the 2016 ICRS meeting. Michelle Glass handed the ICRS presidency to Matt Hill. Mauro Maccarone received the prestigious Mechoulam Award. Pre- and post-doctoral students were awarded for their outstanding presentations. We were happy and extremely proud hearing Steve Alexander, the chairman of the Student Award Committee, reading Natalia’s name as one of the winners.

We could not  have coped with all of the organizing actions, thus we would like to thank VinciTravel Agency and your “Da Vinci ladies”: Kasia, Ania and Aneta for their support, help and devoted work. Last but not least to mention is ICRS Managing Director, Jason B. Schechter!  Everything was rolling smoothly thanks to his amazing skills of foreseeing any possible troubles and suggestions on how to solve them in the  blink of an eye.

Bukovina, you’ve treated us kindly! Beautiful sights, brilliant food and a truly amazing scientific programme.

We’re looking forward for an exciting ICRS in Montréal in 2017!