Focus on medpot

The Third National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics is taking place at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia from May 20 to May 22.
The Conference was created by long-time medical cannabis advocates Al Byrne and Mary Lynn Mathre, whose organization, Patients Out of Time (POT), is one of the most legitimate and effective pro-marijuana organizations in the US.

Byrne is a retired US Navy commander who became a cannabis activist after returning from Vietnam and seeing how cannabis helped Vietnam vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, injuries, alcoholism and drug addiction.

Mathre is a registered nurse whose efforts to legitimize cannabis medicines include convincing local and national nursing organizations to publicly endorse medical marijuana for the first time.

Byrne and Mathre have a history of putting on professional, innovative medpot conferences. Their first cannabis therapeutics conference took place at the University of Iowa in April, 2000.

That conference was backed by the school’s dean of Nursing, Melanie Dreher, who is herself a cannabis expert. Dreher’s research on the use of ganja in Jamaica is considered among the finest cannabis research ever done.

Two years later, Mathre and Byrne put on another medpot conference. This one was in Portland, Oregon, but it almost didn’t happen, because White House drug czar John Walters tried to intimidate people into not allowing the medpot conference to happen in Portland.

This year’s conference breaks new ground. Although Virginia is a regressive, drug war state, Byrne and Mathre managed to convince the conservative University of Virginia to lend its official imprimatur to the conference. The University’s School of Medicine and School of Law are listed as official presenters of the conference, along with other University departments and the Virginia Nurse’s Association. The high level of official buy-in means the conference qualifies participants for continuing education credits.

A number of highly-regarded cannabis scientists, doctors and other figures are scheduled to appear at the conference.

These include Dr. Dreher, Dr. Ethan Russo, and Dr. Geoffrey Guy, a UK doctor and entrepreneur who has grown 320,000 marijuana plants and extracted their cannabinoids for use as prescription cannabis medicines.

Also in attendance will be Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli cannabis researcher who is credited with discovering many of the previously unknown brain and body systems that allow cannabinoids to affect the body.

Byrne says the conference will be interesting and useful for anyone who cares about cannabis, and especially for those who want to understand the latest research, regulations, product development and laws regarding medical cannabis throughout the world.

POT is a non-profit organization that sponsors medical conferences, does political lobbying, and assists patients. Byrne and Mathre spend their personal money to do the conferences, and are not profiting from POT in any way. They rely on donations and sponsors to help them foot the costs for bringing statured scientists to their conference.

This year, Bryne says, POT is grateful for the sponsorship money provided by the Canadian plant products company, Advanced Nutrients (

For more information about the conference, visit