Your experienced guide in the dynamic world of medicinal cannabis

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Welcome to my personal website

On these pages I will inform you about what I do, and share reliable information on medicinal cannabis with a wide audience.

To introduce myself: My name is Arno Hazekamp, PhD. I am a full time cannabis researcher with a deep understanding of biochemistry, a wide overview of the cannabis industry, and a long track record.

Since 2001, I have been a key researcher within the Dutch medicinal cannabis program, one of the first legal programs in the world. As a trained biochemist specialized in medicinal plants, my main understanding of the cannabis plant is from a perspective of its chemistry. I ask questions like: what active compounds are present in different cannabis varieties, and how can they be developed into safe and useful products that comply with the standards of modern medicine, while also addressing the needs and preferences of patients.

I may describe myself as a cannabis “mythbuster”, helping to separate fact from fiction about cannabis through research. I clearly rec­ognize the promising medical potential of the plant, but do not see it as a miracle cure for all. As a scientist, educator and consultant, you frequently hear me raise questions about things like scientific proof, safety, and quality. My goal is to learn when cannabis medicine really works, and when it is smarter to choose other treatments, so that cannabis can find its proper place among other medicines.

These topics get me most excited about medicinal cannabis research!

Patient-inspired research

I strongly believe in patient-inspired research: How we do studies is a job for trained scientists, but what we study can and should be inspired by what actual patients care about. The topics that I choose to research are often inspired by practical problems experienced by cannabis patients. Extensive clinical trials with cannabis and cannabinoids are definitely necessary, but this will take time. Meanwhile, there is much we can learn from current users of cannabis products. I therefore find well-designed surveys just as important as chemical tests done in a laboratory. My studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals so they contribute to a more science-based discussion on the uses of the cannabis plant

Standardization

For scientific studies to be meaningful, we need to estab­lish commonly agreed measurements and standards – and these are virtually absent at present. Detailed chemi­cal profiling of cannabis strains is necessary, along with a standard classification system, the accurate labelling of products such as cannabis oil, and a uniform system for capturing and analyzing patients’ views and experiences. This cannot happen so long as individual laboratories and scientists, within individual territories, continue to work in isolation from one another, each hoping to achieve a great breakthrough. Standardization in scientific meth­ods is a crucial condition for medicinal cannabis to suc­ceed and collaboration with knowledgeable partners is the way to get there.

Product development

Throughout my career, I have been involved in the development and validation of many different cannabis products, including the Volcano Medic (Storz & Bickel), cannabinoid tablets (Echo Pharmaceuticals), placebo cannabis (Proxy labs), cannabis chewing gum (Axim Biotechnologies), cannabis oil (Transvaal Pharmacy, the Netherlands) and analytical cannabinoid standards. New cannabis products and administration forms are desperately needed, but any new product should at least go through a minimum of testing for safety and efficacy. Although standards like ISO, GMP and GLP are important aspects of safety and quality, I also believe the cannabis industry should not be overregulated.

Education

Over the years, education has become my main passion: A complex topic like cannabis can only become more accepted when people receive information they understand and believe in. I find education of patients and activists just as important as presenting to physicians and regulators. We all have a stake in this topic. I present my work at all major cannabis conferences (e.g. IACM, ICRS) and give courses and presentations in many settings. My main event each year is the Masterclass Medicinal Cannabis, where students from around the world come together for a whole week to learn from the teachers as well as from each other.

My mission statement

To build a bridge between the needs of patients and the demands of modern medicine through research and education on medicinal cannabis.

Short CV

  • A trusted name in cannabis research since 2001
  • Long experience with several National cannabis programs
  • A trained PhD with a wide overview of the fast growing cannabis industry
  • Worked with business, policymakers, scientists, physicians and patients
  • Published multiple leading papers in the scientific literature on cannabis
  • Helped to develop various well-known companies and products
  • No-nonsense approach and clear communication
  • International educator since 2011

Main focus
cannabis quality control, product development, involving patients in development project, clinical studies, international development, build collaborative networks.

Personal characteristics
academic researcher, honest and direct, entrepreneur, analytic and critical thinker, goal-oriented.

Dr. Arno Hazekamp (1976) is an internationally acclaimed cannabis researcher, and former Head of Research and Education at Bedrocan BV – the official grower of medicinal cannabis in the Netherlands. Arno earned his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology, followed by an MSc degree in Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Leiden University, the Netherlands. His PhD thesis (2007) was focused on the medicinal use of cannabis, and the practical issues that prevent it from becoming part of modern medicine. Since its beginning, Arno has been involved in the Dutch national medicinal cannabis program as a specialist in quality control, product development and clinical trial design. He is an active international lecturer and medicinal cannabis advocate, and creator of the annual Masterclass Medicinal Cannabis (since 2011), a week-long training event that covers all aspects of medicinal cannabis use. Since 2016, Arno works as an independent consultant for regulators, cultivators and product developers in the cannabis industry.

You can download my full CV here.

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“mythbuster”

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