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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Changing Perceptions

EBR: In the past, cannabis-based drugs have been rather ‘controversial’, both for doctors to prescribe and for patients to take. Do you believe this is still the case today?

Aras Azadian: I believe the stigma around cannabis is fading away rapidly as patients and physicians have started to see that the benefits of cannabis generally outweigh the negative risks. The increase of clinical data from randomised clinical trials, as well as real world evidence studies from patients that are benefitting from cannabinoid use to treat a range of medical indications and comorbidities, is also supporting the reduction of this stigma. Furthermore, the emergence of FDAapproved cannabis-based drugs that have shown significant improvements in patients’ health will also increase the comfort level of doctors prescribing them to their patients.

Have the regulations around cannabinoids changed to reflect changing attitudes towards them in recent years? If so, how?

We are seeing that, globally, more countries are establishing legislation to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. This trend has been consistently positive over the past few years, and many countries are still looking at Canada as the leader in this regard. Canada was the first of the G7 countries to legalise cannabis, and has implemented standards and legislation for adult use of medical cannabis that other countries are adapting. Furthermore, we have seen that patient advocacy groups in several countries have provided substantial support to changing attitudes, impacting regulations and increasing access to medical cannabis for patients.

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Utilising his extensive senior management experience in both financial and biotechnology sectors, Aras Azadian co-founded Avicanna with the vision of establishing a biopharmaceutical company with a strict focus on medical and pharmaceutical applications of cannabinoids. His expertise in corporate development coupled with his executive experience in the oncology industry have been integral to Avicanna’s thought leadership pertaining to R&D and clinical development. Since 2016, Aras has successfully led a team of executives, scientists, and medical professionals across several countries with the vision of vertical integration and a strong company focus on quality control, scientific vigour, and competitive advantages. Aras holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from York University, UK, and an International Masters in Management degree from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
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