Professor Tamara Lah Turnšek was invited as a speaker at the Europe CBD Expo, where she explained regarding medical cannabis and cancer. She has been the Director and Scientific Councilor of National Institute of Biology (NIB) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She established and is the Programme leader of the Department of Genetic Toxicology and Cancer Biology. Before the event, in an interview with Health Europa, provides an insight into the research landscape and regulations pertaining to medical cannabis in Slovenian perspective. In addition, she explains the increasing demand for cannabinoids in oncology. Recently, the focus of Lah’s research was on glioma, a type of tumor. Also, she has been researching the role of stem cells in cancer progression and therapy.
The regulatory situation in Slovenia is similar to other European countries. In 2014, the government of Slovenia classified Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as an abundant component of cannabis. Therefore, the Ministry of Health and the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices of the Republic of Slovenia (JAZMP) classified cannabis as an illicit drug. Thus, it is considered less dangerous and was rescheduled to Group II from Group I. Despite this, the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine are still under strict control since it is still considered to be a dangerous drug.
According to the Professor, researches to doctors need to be shown which requires evidence from formal drug approval and clinic trials in order to use medical cannabinoids. She believes that these are useful for palliative application as well as anti-tumor treatment. Most importantly, doctors need precise and specific instructions on how to use medical cannabis to treat certain types of cancer. The research on cannabinoid in oncology is supported by MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd. She added that it is necessary for the government of Slovenia, especially the science and health ministers to collaborate and increase funds for medical cannabinoids, owing to the increasing demand for consumption of medical cannabis. According to Lah, the negative attitude pertaining to use of medical cannabis for research and treatment will change on the basis of clinical and scientific evidence and will slowly embrace.