Post-pandemic reunion in Ireland

It was a wonderful experience to be a part of the first ICRS in-person meeting since 2019! After a two-year pause in travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were finally able to meet at the 32nd Annual International Cannabinoid Research Society Symposium on the Cannabinoids!

This year’s meeting was held in Galway, Ireland, which was supposed to host us in the fateful year of 2020. Galway welcomed us with chilly air and transient rains, however, interesting data on cannabinoids, impressive lectures from the world’s top scientists working with cannabinoids, excitingly research behind as well as unique possibility to discuss the latest data on the endocannabinoid system with leaders and experts in the field significantly warmed the atmosphere. 

This year’s meeting had a hybrid format, allowing even those for whom it proved impossible to come to Galway this year to participate online. We’d like to congratulate David Finn, this year’s ICRS President, organizing the first in-person conference after a two-year break raised considerable expectations, it was a big challenge but Dave his associates dealt with it outstanding. Finn’s team faced the task brilliantly and set the standard high for his successors, both in terms of content and atmosphere!

The lectures and presentations shown by the scientists discussed the latest research in the field of cannabinoids and gave us all motivation to conduct more research in this field. We were impressed with a wonderful lecture on the microbiota-gut-brain axis in stress, pain and mental health was given by John Cryan. Margaret McCarthy spoke about the endocannabinoids sculpting sex differences in the developing social behavior network at the Presidential Plenary Lecture. It’s hard not to mention Irene Tracey presenting a Kang Tsou Memorial Lecture on adventures understanding pain, analgesia and anaesthesia-induced altered states of consciousness through human neuroimaging. In turn, Robert Laprairie Young Investigator Awardee gave a lecture on allosteric pharmacology at the cannabinoid receptors. These are just some of the topics covered at this year’s ICRS, and there were many more.

The icing on the cake and a very touching moment was a short hybrid participation of an extraordinary professor Rapahel Mechoulam, who can’t wait to see our papers published. Raphi also asked an intriguing question about what we, today’s young doctors, are going to talk about in fifty years from now.

Marta and Kuba were busy during poster session at day 2 ICRS. Marta (P2-26) presented results obtained in collaboration with Sabatino Maione’s group on the therapeutic potential of CBD in neuropathic pain, while Kuba (P2-41) reported the behavioral and biochemical network analysis of anandamide in osteoarthritis and depression. Kasia, in addition to chairing the Data Blitz session, had the opportunity to share her scientific experience and career advices with young scientists during the NIDA Networking Lunch and Learn Event.  Vibrant two rounds of highly interesting experience exchanges and building the mentor-mentee relation in SULT, College Bar. Congratulations to Magda Kostrzewa, Trainee Representative (and a former PainLab member) for organizing this event. This session was hold both online and in person creating an even greater challenge, Magda did a great job and the Networking Event was a truly profitable experience!

We also had the opportunity to see Connemara, a place of contrasts, colours, wilderness and warm welcomes on the west coast of Ireland. Despite the wind, the weather allowed us to see the beautiful cliffs in the sunshine. During the closing banquet, we not only had the opportunity to watch a performance of traditional Irish dancing, but even tried to dance! This year’s ICRS was a wonderful experience. We are looking forward to meeting next year in Toronto!