Dr. Alex Capano has become the first person to receive a Ph.D. in cannabinoid studies.
“I observed patients, and I was reading case studies highlighting the potential therapeutic aspects of cannabis — mostly CBD — and it was very obvious that there was a major knowledge gap with clinicians and also a stigma,” Dr. Capano said and NBC News reported. “I thought I could close that gap and hopefully help patients gain access to this if it was helpful for them.”
Dr. Capano attended Thomas Jefferson University’s Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, a comprehensive medical school for cannabis studies.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” she said. “They (TJU) happened to be opening the center when I asked. It was serendipitous. I had no idea if they were going to hand me a drug screen and tell me to go pee in a cup. But it went completely the opposite way.”
Dr. Capano is working to get cannabis recognized as a medicine. So far, the FDA has only approved Epidiolex, a synthetic CBD pharmaceutical drug, for rare cases of epilepsy like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Dr. Capano is hoping to bring real answers and confirmation to federal agencies regarding the efficacy of cannabis as medicine.
“We’re getting there,” she said. “It’s so large what the FDA has to look at because they don’t just have to look at regulations for products, but also employee drug testing policies. They’re busy. It’s going to take a while.”
Dr. Capano, 34, is currently employed as a chief science officer at a hemp industry company.
Photo: courtesy of Dr. Alex Capano/NBCNews