My name is Sunil Aggarwal. I am a trainee in the medical scientist program at the University of Washington, 4th year medical student, I hold a PhD in medical geography. Recently I was a medical student delegate to the American Medical Association. Cannabis is a botanical medicine that has an established track record of safety, non-toxicity, for 3 millennia of documented history. And effectiveness that’ been shown in numerous highly randomized control trials, all the way to case reports from numerous cultures around the world. Plus the psychologically activating properties of cannabis, which I thought, were important for stress reduction and quality of life. Plus it’s discovery, it helped caused us to discover a signaling system, in humans and throughout most living organisms, called the cannabinoid signaling system which was fascinating from a neuro-scientific standpoint for me.
I first became familiar with about 10 years ago, when I beginning to explore the area of medical cannabis research, writing up grants, doing interviews with patients and beginning to explore this. I became aware that there was this conference being held at I think at the University of Iowa the first one, I didnt have any funding to get there. So I called them up and I said, is there a video link up, is there some way I can dial into this to watch it from Montreal where I was based. And I was able to speak to McGill, and they lent me a room, a video screen and a projector. And I watched the whole thing sitting a room, there were three or four of us sitting this room and watched the whole congress. I was amazed in the level of science, and the stories, the patient involvement. What I really liked was the patient involvement. And even today when I gave my talk, I ask the room how many people were patients in the room. And over half the room was patients. And most of the talks that I do, the conferences I go are working with the phycisions and scientists. And its really rewarding to speak to patients, meet them afterward and interact and get a sense of from them to see the level of interest they have in getting that knowledge. So I think I like the patients out of time, because of the patients that are in there. I think that is the critical piece for me.