The 33rd Annual ICRS Symposium on the Cannabinoids

On June 24 we were heading for the most awaited and anticipated meeting of the year! The 33rd Annual International Cannabinoid Research Society Symposium on the Cannabinoids (ICRS 2023).
We were curious to discover the latest cutting-edge scientific advances in the field of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids and to connect with long-time-no-see colleagues.

The ICRS Scientific Program Committee has offered more than 75 Oral Presentations, and more than 200 posters with live Q&A. Day 1 was entirely dedicated to the study on phytocannabinoids: routes of administration, pharmacokinetics, interactions and driving, medical use, use patterns, prenatal effects, harms and harm reduction. During the following days we updated our awareness on cannabinoids’ signaling, their role in pain and addiction as well as their interaction with opioids. Subsequently, the role of (endo)cannabinods in various pathologies was discussed (including Fibrosis and Cancer). The impact on behavior, anxiety and CNS was not omitted. Ultimately novel lipid pathways and endocannabinoid profiles together with a translational perspective on the analgesic properties of minor cannabinoids and terpenes were reviewed.

We thank all people who visited Marta Kędziora’s poster on the role of DAG lipase-beta in osteoarthritis-related pain during the ICRS P2 poster session. Many inspiring discussions and valuable suggestions! Thanks to The Kosciuszko Foundation and a great collaboration with prof. Aron Lichtman at VCU Marta investigated the role of DAG lipase-beta in chronic pain and looked for possible options for pain management.
Vibrant trainee mentorship networking lunch during NIDA-Supported Trainee Mentorship Networking Lunch was a great opportunity to spend time together. Congratulations 👏 to Magdalena Kostrzewa, Ph.D. Trainee Representative for organizing it. Your in-person presence was greatly missed.

Excellent plenary lectures were delivered e.g. on understanding the impact of cannabis legalization in Canada (by David Hammond, Ph.D.) and absolutely amazing Keynote talk by Jaideep Bains, Ph.D. on the role of CB1 receptors on astrocytes in the social transmission of stress.
We congratulate Dr. Marilyn Huestis for receiving the 2023 Mechoulam Award! Dr. Huestis recently retired as a tenured senior investigator and Chief, Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section, IRP, NIDA/NIH after 23 years of conducting controlled drug admin studies. She is an amazing scientist that has made such a significant contribution to the field of cannabinoid research and a leading example for WomenInSTEM. She’s an excellent example it’s never too late to pursue what interests you. Dr Huestis revived her PhD at her 40s, and published more than 500 papers. We were also very happy to see our long-standing friend, dr Josee Guindon, receiving an Early Career Award. Sincere congratulations!

A beautiful tribute to the late professor Raphael Mechoulam („Raphi”), a pioneer in the field of cannabis and cannabinoid research was given. All those who presented during Raphi Mechoulam Memorial Symposium chaired by Yossi Tam: Allyn Howlett, Esther Shohami, George Kunos, Linda Parker, Aron Lichtman and Ethan Russo brought back very moving memories and groundbreaking discoveries Raphi pioneered in the field of Cannabis research.

Last but not least, during ICRS Business Meeting, prof. Katarzyna Starowicz, team leader at Pain Lab, has been officially named President-Elect for 2024, and shall serve as President of the ICRS in 2025.

The emotions of the 33rd Annual International Cannabinoid Research Society Symposium on the Cannabinoids that just ended have not subsided yet. We’re proud to share that Matthew Hill and Katarzyna Starowicz have been awarded the inaugural Mid-Career Award from ICRS. This Award is given to an established researcher who has demonstrated a dedication to cannabinoid and endocannabinoid research and has developed a cohesive research program of excellence in the field. Katarzyna and Matthew will deliver a lecture describing their work at the annual ICRS Symposium on the Cannabinoid during the year following receipt of the award.
See you numerous in Salamanca in 2024!