I’m Ethan Russo, a neurologist and authority on medical cannabis. Ask me anything!
My short bio: Hi everyone! My name is Ethan Russo, and I’m here to answer your questions about cannabis (AKA marijuana) as it relates to chronic pain.
I’m a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and Medical Director of PHYTECS, a biotechnology company researching and developing approaches targeting the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a homeostatic regulator of physiology. That is to say, it helps keep bodily functions in balance, which is frequently the case in situations of chronic pain.
I was a clinical neurologist in Missoula, Montana for 20 years in a practice with a strong chronic pain component. In 1995, I pursued a 3-month sabbatical doing ethnobotanical research with the Machiguenga people in Parque Nacional del Manu, Peru. I came back from that experience with a much greater appreciation of the integral role that plant medicine should play in modern therapeutics, and incorporated herbs and cannabis into my practice. In the subsequent 20 years, I have pursued research in these areas.
In the course of this work, I became President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, and Chairman of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. I currently serve on the Scientific Advisory Board for the American Botanical Council.
I’m author of Handbook of Psychotropic Herbs, co-editor of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Potential, and author of The Last Sorcerer: Echoes of the Rainforest.
I’m also the founding editor of Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, selections of which were published as books: Cannabis Therapeutics in HIV/AIDS, Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology, Cannabis: From Pariah to Prescription, and Handbook of Cannabis Therapeutics: From Bench to Bedside.
I’m here on behalf of Pain BC, a collaborative non-profit organization made up of people in pain, healthcare providers, and leaders from universities, government, business and the non-profit sector. Pain BC strives to improve the lives of people in pain through education, empowerment and innovation.
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Edit: Thank you so much for your questions everybody--I hope I was able to provide some helpful answers. I have to run now, but I'll try and check back in the next week or so to answer the remaining questions.