Speakers of 2022 Symposium


Igor Grant, MD, FRCP(C)
Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
Director Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research
UC San Diego

Igor Grant, MD, FRCP(C) is Mary Gilman Marston Distinguished Professor of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Since 2000, Dr. Grant has been Director of the State of California funded Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR). He is also the Director of the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program (HNRP), which encompasses a broad range of interdisciplinary HIV studies including the California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network (CNTN), the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC), and the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER). Dr. Grant is the founding Editor of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society and founding co-editor of the journal AIDS and Behavior.

Daniele Piomelli, PhD, MD (hon)
Distinguished Professor
UC Irvine

Dr. Daniele Piomelli studied pharmacology and neuroscience with James Schwartz and Eric Kandel at Columbia University (1983-1988), and with Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University (1988-1990). In 2000, Kandel and Greengard were awarded the Nobel Prize for contributions to physiology and medicine. After working at the INSERM in Paris and at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, with Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman, Daniele joined the University of California, Irvine, where he is now Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences and Distinguished Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology. Daniele is an author of 415 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, PNAS and Nature Neuroscience, three full-length books, and 34 patents. He founded the department of drug discovery and development at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa (Italy), which he directed from 2007 to 2016, and three biopharmaceutical start-ups based on discoveries made in his lab. Since 2018, Daniele serves as Editor-in-Chief of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of cannabis, its derivatives, and their endogenous counterparts in the human body. He directs the NIDA Center of Excellence ICAL (Impact of Cannabinoids Across the Lifespan) and UCI’s Center for the Study of Cannabis.

Donald I. Abrams, MD
Professor Emeritus of Medicine
UC San Francisco

Donald I. Abrams, MD is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Brown University and his MD from the Stanford University School of Medicine. After completing an Internal Medicine residency at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco, he became a fellow in Hematology/Oncology at the University of California San Francisco in 1980 as the AIDS epidemic was emerging. He was one the original clinician/investigators to recognize and define many early AIDS-related conditions at San Francisco General Hospital where he also served as chief of Hematology-Oncology for 14 years. Long interested in clinical trials of complementary and alternative medicine interventions for HIV/AIDS and cancer, he received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct a study of the short-term safety of cannabinoids in HIV infection in 1997. Subsequently he received grants from the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to complete a placebo-controlled trial of cannabis in patients with HIV-related peripheral neuropathy as well as a study evaluating vaporization as a smokeless delivery system. He conducted NIH-funded trials investigating the pharmacokinetic interaction between cannabis and opioid analgesics in chronic pain and cannabis in patients with sickle cell pain. He was a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s committee that published The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research in January 2017.

Raphael Mechoulam (RM), PhD
Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Hebrew University, Medical Faculty, Institute for Drug Research
Ein Kerem campus, Jerusalem

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1930. He went to an American Grade School in Sofia for 4 years until it was closed by the pro-German government. He immigrated to Israel in 1949. He studied biochemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (M.Sc.) and the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot (Ph.D.) He spent a year in New York, at the Rockefeller Institute and returned to the Weizmann Institute in 1960. He worked on the chemistry of various natural products. In 1966 he moved to the Hebrew University, where he became a full professor in 1972. From 1979 to 1982 he was Rector (Academic Head) of the Hebrew University.

His work has been mostly on the chemistry of natural products, the best known being on cannabinoids. In collaboration with numerous colleagues in Israel and abroad he has also published in pharmacology and on clinical trials.

He has published about 470 scientific papers and has received numerous national and international prizes, including the Israel Prize – the most prestigious Israeli Prize – as well as a prize from the US National Institutes of Health. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences.
He married Dalia (born Borovitch) in 1955 and they have 3 children, Roy, a professor of mathematics at the Technion in Haifa, Hadas, an M.D. ophthalmologist and Dafna, an M.D. pediatric neurologist.

Geoffrey Guy, MBBS LRCP MRCS LMSSA Dip Pharm Med BSc DSc

With over 30 years of experience in medical research and global drug development, Dr. Geoffrey Guy is the founder of GW Pharmaceuticals and has served as its Chairman since 1998. Dr Guy holds a BSc. in pharmacology from the University of London, an MBBS at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, an MRCS Eng. and LRCP London, an LMSSA Society of Apothecaries and a Diploma of Pharmaceutical Medicine from the Royal Colleges of Physicians.

Geoffrey founded the drug delivery company Ethical Holdings plc in 1985 (now called Amarin Corporation plc). As Chairman and Chief Executive, he led the company to its NASDAQ listing in 1993. He also founded Phytopharm plc in 1989, of which he was Chairman until 1997.

Geoffrey has been the physician in charge of over 200 clinical studies, including those determining the first dose of clinical trial drugs in man; pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, dose-ranging and controlled clinical trials; and large-scale, multi-centered studies and clinical surveys. He is also an author on numerous scientific publications and has contributed to six books.

Geoffrey was appointed as Visiting Professor in the School of Science and Medicine at the University of Buckingham in July 2011. He received the Deloitte Director of the Year Award in Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare in 2011, was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster in 2016 and was awarded an honorary DSc from the University of Reading in 2016.

Justin Abril
Chief Operating Officer
Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals

Justin Abril is a 10-year veteran of law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels. He started his career in 2009 when he became the youngest Federal Police Officer for the Marine Corps Civilian Law Enforcement Program at Camp Pendleton. During this time, Mr. Abril held positions in both field training and first line supervision, overseeing the day-to-day operations of over 60 military and federal law enforcement personnel. 

Mr. Abril joined Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals in 2019 as Chief Compliance Officer and developed, implemented, and assessed an effective compliance program to ensure all local, state, and federal laws were followed. Mr. Abril is now a Director and Chief Operating Officer for the company.

“My experiences as a first responder to military and civilian populations gives me a clear perspective of the trauma that we all face and the problems that result. I’m excited to work at Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals and confident that our research and development of pharmaceuticals will provide help to veterans and first responders who are experiencing the aftereffects of their exposure to traumatic incidents.”

JH Atkinson, MD
Professor of Psychiatry (Emeritus)
Co-Director, Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research
UC San Diego

JH Atkinson, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry (Emeritus) at the University of California, San Diego. Since 2000 he has been a Co-Director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR). His research interests involving pharmacological and cognitive behavioral treatment of chronic pain, and neuropsychiatry aspects of HIV, have produced over 250 peer-reviewed publications. 



Ajay Bharti, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
UC San Diego

Ajay Bharti, MD, is a board-certified infectious disease specialist who cares for patients with all types of infections or diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

He is part of the COVID-19 Telemedicine Clinic, which offers video visits and telephone consults for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.He also treats people with hepatitis viruses, tuberculosis, influenza, and HIV/AIDS, as well as infections of the sinuses, heart, brain, lungs, gastrointestinal system, urinary tract, pelvic organs and bones. Dr. Bharti also has expertise in tropical infectious diseases.

An associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Bharti instructs medical students, residents and fellows. His research interests include correlates of HIV and malaria co-infection and neurocognitive functioning in HIV-infected individuals.His research projects have received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and NIH/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Currently, Dr. Bharti is leading a NIH/ National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded study examining the impact of HCV therapy on central nervous system outcomes.Dr. Bharti has coauthored many articles and his work has appeared in journals such as Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, among others.

He completed infectious diseases fellowships at University of Texas Medical Branch and UC San Diego School of Medicine and an internal medicine residency at The Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Bharti earned his medical degree from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research in India. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious disease.Dr. Bharti is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, the American College of Physicians, the International Society for Neurovirology, the International AIDS Society and the Medical Council of India.


Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD
VP, Human and Animal Research
Canopy Growth Corporation

Dr. Bonn-Miller earned a BA in psychology and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont. Dr. Bonn-Miller began his career at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he held national positions at the Center of Excellence for Substance Abuse Treatment and Education and National Center for PTSD. After almost a decade within the VA, Dr. Bonn-Miller left to take a position at Zynerba Pharmaceuticals where he served as Director of Cannabinoid Research. After 3 years of work with Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Bonn-Miller joined Canopy Growth Corporation where he currently serves as Vice President, Human and Animal Research.
Widely considered one of the early and leading research pioneers in the field of cannabis and mental health, Dr. Bonn-Miller has conducted seminal work on the interrelations between cannabis and a range of health conditions, including pain, anxiety, HIV, PTSD, and sleep disorders. Dr. Bonn-Miller brings a unique and diverse perspective to cannabinoid therapeutics, having worked within medical center and academic settings for over a decade and with industry for the past 6 years. He serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, has published over 150 peer-reviewed empirical publications on cannabis.

José Alexandre S. Crippa, MD, PhD
University of São Paulo (USP), Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil

Prof. Dr. José A Crippa is currently a Full Professor and was the Head (2017-2019) of the Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo (USP), Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. He is also a Cannabinoid Pharma Consultant with Global Experience in Pharmaceutical Drug Development. Dr Crippa was a Honorary Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK (2009-2012). He is now the Co-Director of the Brazilian Cannabinoid Research Center. He is co-inventor of licensed patents and has served as a consultant to several large corporate and academic research programs internationally. He is a member and one of the founders of the National Institute for Translational Medicine (NITM) consortium. He was also invited by Uruguay’s Presidential Office to join an international committee for the evaluation of documents regulating their legalization of marijuana and is currently a member of the international advisory board of The Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE). I've been recognized by ExpertScape as the 1st top-rated expert in Cannabidiol in the world during the years 2011-2021. Dr Crippa accepted the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicines' (IACM) award for major contributions to cannabinoid clinical research in Berlin 2019.

Deepak D’Souza, MD
Yale University School of Medicine

Deepak Cyril D’Souza, MD is a Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine and a staff psychiatrist at VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS). Born in MHOW, India, he lived all over India. He received his medical degree from John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India in 1986 and completed his psychiatric residency at State University of New York Downstate in 1992 followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Psychopharmacology and Neurosciences at Yale University School of Medicine. He then joined the faculty in the Dept. of Psychiatry at Yale and VA Connecticut Healthcare System. He is an active clinician, teacher and researcher, with almost 25 years of experience.

He directs the Neuropsychiatry Program at VA Connecticut, the clinical service that cares for veterans with serious mental illnesses. He is actively involved in teaching residents. In recognition of his contributions as a teacher, he received the Yale Psychiatry resident’s teaching award in 2008. He also directs the VA Schizophrenia Research Fellowship program which has contributed to the development of several promising researchers.

He directs the Schizophrenia Neuropharmacology Research Group at Yale (SNRGY). His research includes three approaches. First, he has been using psychopharmacological probes such as ketamine, amphetamine, THC to evaluate the contributions of various neurotransmitter systems to the pathophysiology of psychosis, cognitive deficits, and reward processing. Second, he conducts clinical phase 1 to phase 4 trials in schizophrenia, MDD and cannabis dependence to develop new treatments. Finally, he is using neuroreceptor imaging (PET and previously SPECT) to study schizophrenia and cannabis dependence. His research is funded by the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, VA R&D and several foundations. His work has been published in the highest impact Psychiatry journals including Molecular Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry and Neuropsychopharmacology. He is recognized as a leading expert on the relationship between cannabinoids and psychosis.

Giordano de Guglielmo, PharmD, PhD
Assistant Professor
UC San Diego

Dr. de Guglielmo has been working in the field of drug addiction for 15 years. He has contributed to the development of unique experimental methodologies to investigate the neurobiological basis of drug dependence and identify novel effective pharmacotherapies for alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and opioid addiction. Recently he has identified and characterized a neuronal ensemble in the brain that controls alcohol drinking in dependent subjects. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD. His present scientific work is focused on interactions between neurocircuits that modulate pain and addiction. In 2019, Dr. de Guglielmo has received a CMCR Pilot Grant to investigate the effects of CBD treatment on alcohol dependence. Dr. de Guglielmo has published over 50 research papers in high-quality journals, including Nature Communications, PNAS, Biological Psychiatry, Neuropsychopharmacology, and Journal of Neuroscience.


Mahmoud A. ElSohly, PhD
Research Professor, National Center for Natural Products Research
Professor of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi (UM)
Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Marijuana Project

Dr. ElSohly has been at UM since 1975 and in 1985 he started a private laboratory ElSohly Labs, Inc. (ELI) in Oxford, MS, which is an analytical laboratory specializing in providing drug testing services to the industry and also a product development laboratory with a successful SBIR and STTR funding.  In 2002 ELI received the National Tibbetts Award for outstanding contributions to the SBIR Program.

Dr. ElSohly is board certified by the American Board of Forensic Examiners and the American Board of Forensic Medicine, and ELI is certified by (DHHS) and the College of American Pathologists since 1988.

Dr. ElSohly has been active in NIH funding over the years with over 1.5 million dollars/year.  He authored or coauthored over 400 peer-reviewed publications and over 30 patents.

In 2011 Dr. ElSohly received the University of Pittsburgh’s Legacy Laureate Award, in 2013 the UM Research and Creative Achievement Award and the (ICRS), Life time Achievement Award, and in 2016 the Alexander O. Gettler Award from the (AAFS).


David J. Grelotti, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Medical Director, Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research

Dr. Grelotti is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Medical Director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the University of California San Diego. An adult and child psychiatrist, he graduated from medical school at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed residency and fellowship training at Harvard Medical School. With colleagues at the CMCR, he is conducting studies of cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system in a variety of health conditions and on driving.



Steve Groff, MD

Founder, Chief Medical Officer
Groff North America, LLC

Dr. Groff served his community for nearly 20 years as an Orthopedic Surgeon. During his career in medicine, he served as President of KDV Orthopedics and led a large multi-organization merger to form OSS, a vital healthcare entity in South Central Pennsylvania. He served three terms as President of OSS Health System and was founding Chairman of the ambulatory surgical center. Following a successful career in medicine, Steve founded Wyndridge Farm in 2014 which serves as a restaurant, wedding and corporate event venue, and beverage manufacturer in York County, PA. Since Q4 2018, Steve has founded three new companies: Groff North America, Groff Health, and Groff NA Hemplex. “Groff North America serves as a comprehensive hemp-cannabis refinery, extraction, purification, and formulation facility. Our diverse team of experts leads the way in research and production of raw materials from all aspects of the cannabis plant.” – Steve Groff, M.D.


Steve Gust, PhD
Advisor to Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research

Dr. Gust is currently an advisor to CMCR.  He has recently retired from the National Institute on Drug Abuse where he had over 30 years of experience developing and managing research programs on drug abuse and addiction, including over 20 years of managing the USG cannabis research and production programs.   He has developed an extensive knowledge of the regulatory requirements for conducting research on cannabis and its constituents, including experience with the DEA and FDA.  He also chaired the NIDA Cannabis Science Interest group and represented the Institute to many governmental and non-governmental organizations.


George Hodgin, MBA
CEO and Founder
Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC)

George Hodgin is the Founder and CEO of Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC), a US-based specialty pharmaceutical cannabis company. BRC does not violate federal law and is licensed by the US DEA to produce, research, analyze, import and distribute cannabis products. BRC is one of the first federally licensed cannabis companies working within the US DEA and FDA frameworks for pharmaceutical drug development. He is a former Navy SEAL officer and alumnus of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He was commissioned as an officer in the Navy in 2009, after earning a BA in Economics and Mandarin from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain scholar. George led SEALs in combat in counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. His hobbies include fly-fishing and hiking with his family and dog. He and his wife and two sons live in Carmel Valley, California.


Josh Hoerner, PhD
General Manager of Purisys LLC, Vice President and Head of Noramco R&D
Purisys LLC, Noramco LLC

Dr. Hoerner is the General Manager of Purisys, LLC (a subsidiary of Noramco LLC) and heads all operations for the business unit. Josh also serves as the Vice President and Head of Noramco R&D. During his tenure at Noramco over the last 9 years, Josh has held a variety of technical and business roles, significantly expanding Noramco’s product portfolio and modernizing its key manufacturing technologies. Josh co-led the formation of Purisys LLC, which is a market leader in small volume customer synthesis as well as being a specialized pharmaceutical cannabinoid and psychedelic manufacturer. Prior to working at Noramco, Josh served as a Principal Scientist at Merck & Co., where he was responsible for integrated product development and lifecycle management strategy of Boceprevir, Zontivity, and Liptruzet. Josh holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Hobart College and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Trelaine Ito, MS 
Deputy Appropriations Director and Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Trelaine Ito is the Deputy Appropriations Director and Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). He is the policy lead on judiciary issues, focusing on drug reform, criminal justice and prison reform, and civil rights.  Senator Schatz has been a champion of streamlining the research approval process for marijuana research, as well as ensuring access to medical marijuana for veterans in states where it is legal.  Trelaine is also the policy lead on the education and census portfolios.  He received his master’s in Justice, Law and Society with a concentration in Social Thought and Jurisprudence from American University; and his bachelor’s in Ethics, Society, and Law, and Politics and Government from Pacific University.  Trelaine currently serves as the co-chair of GLASS, the Senate LGBTQ+ staff association.

Richard (Rik) Kline, PhD

Chief, Chemistry and Pharmaceutics Branch, NIDA
Role of the NIDA Drug Supply Program in providing cannabis products for research





Tom Marcotte, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry
Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, UC San Diego

Dr. Marcotte is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and Co-Director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UC San Diego (www.cmcr.ucsd.edu), which has conducted clinical trials of cannabis for almost 20 years, and has an active, ongoing portfolio exploring the effects of cannabinoids (plant-based, synthetic) in various medical/psychiatric conditions. He is the principal investigator (PI) on studies of the effects of acute cannabis use, and cannabis and alcohol use, on driving performance, and has also been the PI on numerous HIV studies evaluating the impact of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders on real-world functioning, including driving. He serves on a number of impaired-driving task forces, and previously was on the editorial boards of Neuropsychology and the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. He is currently the PI on a study addressing cannabis for the treatment of pain, and has previously been co-investigator on cannabis studies examining pain, and spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

Leah Mayo, PhD
Assistant Professor
Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience, Linköping University

Leah Mayo received her PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Chicago in 2015. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience at Linköping University in Sweden, where she then established her independent research group in 2020. A primary focus of her work has been exploring the role of the endocannabinoid system in stress- and fear-related behaviors in humans, in an effort to identify novel pharmacotherapeutic strategies for stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. She has recently received early career awards from the European Behavioral Pharmacology Society and the Society Social for Social Neuroscience, as well as recognition from the Society for Biological Psychiatry (Somerfeld-Ziskind Research Award) and the Brain and Behavior Foundation (NARSAD Young Investigator Award). Her research is currently funded by an establishment grant from the Swedish Research Council.

Arpi Minassian, PhD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Chief, Psychiatry Embedded Services

Dr. Minassian’s research program is focused upon understanding the relationship between biology and behavior in mental illness, medical illness, and substance abuse. Much of her research has implemented physiological and cognitive paradigms to understand brain dysfunction in psychiatric populations such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and substance addiction as well as neuromedical conditions such as HIV. The methodologies she has helped develop and implement can be translated to animals, an application which accelerates our understanding of biological mechanisms. She serves as Principal Investigator on an NIH-funded R01 grant where she and her colleagues are studying the effects of cannabis use on cognition and endocannabinoids in people with HIV.   She is also a co-investigator on a number of NIH-funded studies of cognitive deficits in bipolar disorder, HIV, and substance use. Dr. Minassian is a clinical psychologist and an attending clinician in the UC San Diego Health System. Her clinical area of expertise is consultation-liaison and she oversees psychological services at the Burn Center, the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, and others. She is co-Chair of the department’s Diversity Committee and also serves on university- and hospital-wide diversity focus groups.

Christine A. Rabinak, PhD
Associate Professor
Wayne State University

Dr. Rabinak is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Pharmacy Practice, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Translational Neuroscience Program, and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute and the Director of the Translational Neuropsychopharmacology Lab (www.tnp2lab.org) at Wayne State University. My research objectives are built on the state-of-the-science formulation that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is driven partly by ineffective fear extinction, and that treatments can be more effective if fear extinction and/or its retention are facilitated. We are currently investigating the endocannabinoid system in the brain as a potential pharmacological target for improving the learning that goes on in therapy and perhaps increasing efficacy and durability of exposure therapy in treating PTSD (e.g. shortening treatment while strengthening and prolonging gains).

Michelle Sexton, ND
Medical Staff Professional, Center for Integrative Medicine
UC San Diego

Dr. Sexton is a Naturopathic Doctor, graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She completed pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Washington, formally studying the endocannabinoid system. Her NIH-funded pre-doctoral and postdoctoral research investigated cannabis use and cannabinoid impact on neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. She has continued research into health effects of cannabis at UCSD as Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. She is currently affiliated with the UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Sexton’s clinical practice, research and teaching focus on the endocannabinoid system and roles in integrative medicine across the lifespan. Dr. Sexton has presented her research internationally and published 24 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicine the California Naturopathic Doctors Association, and the American Association of Naturopathic Doctors. She maintains a private medical practice in San Diego, CA. When not caring for patients or pursuing research activities, you can find her in the garden, paying music, playing with grandchildren, swimming or riding her bike to the beach for a surf session!

David Shurtleff, PhD
National Center on Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), NIH
Cannabis and cannabinoid research at NIH
David Shurtleff, PhD, is Deputy Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the leading Federal agency for research on integrative and complementary health practices. Dr. Shurtleff is also the Acting Scientific Director and Acting Chief for both the Clinical Investigations Branch and the Pain and Integrative Neuroscience Branch, Division of Intramural Research. He served as Acting Director of NCCIH from October 2017 to November 2018.

Sue Sisley, MD
President of Scottsdale Research Institute/Field to Healed Foundation

Dr. Sisley is President of Scottsdale Research Institute & best know serving as Principal Investigator for the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial in the world examining safety/efficacy of smoked marijuana flower in combat veterans with severe post traumatic stress disorder PTSD. Sue is striving to put crucial medically-active plants thru entire FDA drug development process to eventually be on the market to treat chronic pain, opioid dependence and PTSD as a safer alternative to synthetic pharmaceuticals.

Scottsdale Research Institute in conjunction with their 501(c)(3) arm Field to Healed Foundation is already hard at work on implementing their next FDA approved controlled trials which now include PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOMS, and partnering with farmers to source natural plants/fungi from their fields and learn how to harness their potential as therapeutic tools.


Cassandra Taylor, PhD
Chemist, Botanical Review Team
Office of Pharmaceutical Quality, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA

Cassandra Taylor, PhD is a Chemist at U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and is a member of the Botanical Review Team (BRT) residing within the Office of Pharmaceutical Quality (OPQ) and serves as an expert resource on all botanical issues. Dr. Taylor received her B.S. in Chemistry from St. Francis University (2005), and her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Maryland (2014). Dr. Taylor has evaluated over 100 botanical drug submissions across CDER’s clinical divisions, with a focus on reviewing cannabis submissions. She serves as a cannabis subject matter expert (SME) for CDER and across FDA, concentrating on the botanical and quality aspects of cannabis. Dr. Taylor is the technical lead on the draft FDA guidance for industry titled “Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds: Quality Considerations for Clinical Research.” She leads and coordinates the internal CDER Cannabis working group and leads many cannabis initiatives within CDER and FDA. Dr. Taylor is an active SME in the FDA cross-agency cannabis working group, Cannabis Products Committee (CPC). She collaborates with colleagues across FDA to help close substantial knowledge gaps about the science, safety, and quality of cannabis and cannabis-derived products.

Mark A Ware, BA, MBBS, MRCP, MSc, ICD.D
Chief Medical Officer
Canopy Growth Corporation

Since joining Canopy Growth in July 2018, Dr. Ware has advised the company on scientific and ethical aspects of Canopy Growth's global research efforts and is responsible for the Company's product safety program encompassing all R&D and commercial activities.

Before joining Canopy Growth, Dr. Ware was a tenured associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. He obtained his medical degree at the University of the West Indies and secured his MSc in Epidemiology. He began evaluating the role of cannabis in pain management at McGill University in 1999.

He was a co-founder of the non-profit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids and served as Executive Director from 2007 to 2018. He has advised the Canadian federal government on cannabis policy since 2001. In 2016, he served as the Federal Task Force's vice-chair on the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada. In 2021, Dr. Ware completed the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program (DEP), given to business leaders committed to the highest standard of directorship, while contributing to best-in-class governance education, thought leadership, and peer-to-peer networking.