Publication Adds Medical Cannabis Experts Dr. Uma Dhanabalan & Scott Rudder


WOODLAND PARK, NJ — The American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine (AJEM), the only printed, peer-reviewed journal in North America that focuses specifically on therapeutic means for engaging the endocannabinoid system (ECS), has returned after a COVID-19 hiatus. The new edition of AJEM, which will be distributed to over 46,000 physicians, includes peer reviewed articles on the impact of cannabis on COVID-19, how cannabidiol can help people get through opioid withdrawal and the impacts of cannabidiol on children with intellectual disabilities and behavioral issues.


AJEM also announced today that it is expanding its roster of experts and key contributors, including the addition of Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, one of the world’s foremost experts on medical cannabis, as Medical Director, and Scott Rudder, a former elected official and cannabis policy subject matter expert who founded New Jersey’s premiere cannabis trade industry organization, the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, as Chief Strategy Officer.


AJEM’s editors and contributors represent some of the country’s foremost experts on the effects of medical cannabis and the ECS in general. Currently, nearly 70% of the U.S. population live in states with legalized programs whose restrictions do not actively impede access to medical cannabis. Yet there are countless doctors who will not prescribe medical cannabis, even more who will not study its effects and millions of patients who cannot access it or are not willing to use it as medicine. AJEM aims to inform, educate and encourage doctors to better understand and better utilize ways and means to heal the endocannabinoid system.


The latest edition of AJEM features 60-pages of informative and thought-provoking articles on the ECS. These include:


“The Complicated Relationship Between COVID-19 and Cannabis: A Year in Review” which examines how those who use medical cannabis may be at a higher risk of COVID-19 complications, while at the same time, medical cannabis shows some potential benefits to those exposed at certain stages of the virus. More research must and is being done.


“Case Report: Cannabidiol in the Management of Acute Opioid Withdrawal” which shows that a 10-day regimen of high-dose, highly purified CBD successfully managed opioid withdrawal symptoms during the necessary wash-out period prior to the introduction of naltrexone for going abstinence maintenance therapy.


“Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Behavioral Issues in Pediatric Patients With Intellectual Disabilities” which provides a review by Dr. Eric Exelbert of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital of a recent study on whether “cannabidiol reduce severe behavioral problems in children with intellectual disability”.


Copies of all three articles are attached. A full version of the latest edition of AJEM can be found at:


AJEM officially launched in the fall of 2019 at a Columbia University conference that focused on the science of the endocannabinoid system. Like many businesses and publications, however, AJEM was greatly impacted by COVID-19. AJEM was temporarily put on hold, after the publication of their second edition in 2020, as AJEM and its contributors adjusted to the pandemic. During that time, AJEM added Dr. Uma and Rudder. Dr. Jahan Marcu, who has over 15 years of experience in cannabinoid research, policy, and operations and has been a passionate advocate focused on consumer safety and the medical benefits of cannabis, remains editor-in-chief and Ken Watkins remains publisher.


“Fortunately, with medical access and state legalization, patients have more access to medical cannabis than ever,” said Dr. Uma. “Many of these patients are helping to educate their doctors. But we need doctors to be willing to learn about the endocannabinoid system and how it can benefit patient outcomes. This is an opportunity to improve doctor-patient relationships: to create opportunities to educate both doctors and patients. While more research is needed of course, we have enough data to show that medical cannabis is a safe alternative that can help with critical medical issues such as the opioid epidemic.”


“Real world evidence is crucial for supporting medical professionals,” said Dr. Marcu. “AJEM’s mission is about providing data that helps inform clinical decision making and research. AJEM will always strive to provide content that is evidence-based and fact checked, at a time when the threshold has never been so low to share cannabis and hemp-related information.”


AJEM is also in the process of going International, with efforts and events to push for greater understanding of medical cannabis in the United Kingdom to be announced shortly. Utilizing this new expertise from Dr. Uma and Rudder – coupled with already existing subject matter experts and a new lay out – AJEM is relaunching with the goal of informing, educating and enthusing doctors to better understand medical cannabis and other organic and synthetic agents that engage with the ECS. AJEM will be released both online and in print in six editions throughout the year along with supplemental additions that will cover issues of the day on ECS research and updates.




Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, Medical Director


Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, Medical Director of AJEM, is a highly respected physician trained in Family Medicine, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, specialized in heavy metals, a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a Cannabinoid Medicine Specialist and Medical Review Officer. She completed a Family Practice Residency at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, South Carolina and her Master’s in Public Health and Occupational & Environmental Medicine Residency and Fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. She is also Certified by the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine and by the Medical Review Officer Certification Council. She has received awards from the 7th World Ayurveda Conference & Arogya Expo for her presentation “Cannabis & The Therapeutic Uses” and the Educational Achievement Award presented by Clover Leaf at Cannabis Business Award 2017.


Dr. Uma created the TotalHealthCareTHC model where she “Educates Embraces Empowers” patients and promotes cannabis as a treatment option at Uplifting Health and Wellness, in Natick, Massachusetts. She is an advocate, activist and educator and speaks globally about cannabis as a plant medicine. Her mission is to change the Stigma regarding cannabis and for the world to know about the ECS through education. Here is Dr. Dhanabalan speaking at Fran Drescher’s Health Summit in 2017, appearing on Drescher’s CancerSchmancer “Corona Care 4 You” series and a video that provides additional information on her career and portions of her testimony before the United States Senate in 2017.


Dr. Jahan Marcu, Editor-in-Chief


Dr. Jahan Marcu, Editor-In-Chief of AJEM, has over 15 years of experience in cannabinoid research, policy and operations and has been a passionate advocate focused on consumer safety and the medical benefits of cannabis. He is also among a select group of professionals globally that has earned a PhD. focused on the endocannabinoid system (with research on the structure and function of cannabinoid receptors, molecular pharmacology of the endocannabinoid system, and the role of the ECS in bone). His dedication to consumer safety is evident in his work to co-develop a biotech application to predict drug-drug interactions between cannabis and commonly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. Additionally, Dr. Marcu published one of the first product safety study on CBD products.


He is the co-founder and former Chief Science Officer for the International Research Center on Cannabis and Health (aka Institute of Cannabis Research). He is also founder and past-chair of the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest and oldest professional scientific society. Dr. Marcu is a recipient of the Mahmoud Elsohly award for excellence in cannabis chemistry and the Billy Martin research achievement award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society for his work on THC and CBD synergy in aggressive brain cancers. Dr. Marcu’s work has been published and covered in publications such as Science, Nature, JAMA, the Washington Post, and CNN. Some of his media appearances can also be viewed here and here.


Ken Watkins, Publisher 


Ken Watkins, Publisher of AJEM, has a long, well-established history in medical publishing. After two years of detailing cardiologists on antiarrhythmic drugs for Berlex Laboratories, Ken started his publishing career at Cliggott Publishing, working on the primary care journal, Consultant. Ken went on to represent a number of different specialty and primary care journals before starting his first business, Watkins Representation Group (WRG). Their first publication was the internationally respected British Medical Journal. WRG went on to work with Medimedia, the American College of Physicians and many, smaller medical content firms. Ken then started Soken Communications in order to give life to custom publishing ideas he envisioned for individual products and stand-alone disease states. Soken Communications has gone on to produce print, digital and video programs for many different pharmaceutical companies.


Scott Rudder, Chief Strategy Officer


Scott Rudder, Chief Strategy Officer of AJEM, is a former New Jersey State Legislator and mayor with Fortune 100 corporate experience. Prior to joining AJEM, Scott founded the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, New Jersey’s first and largest cannabis industry group, serving as its president for four years. Under Scott’s leadership, NJCBA led cannabis reform efforts to increase patient access to cannabis as a medicine as well as promotions to end outdated stigmas and stereotypes associated with cannabis prohibition. In addition, Scott helped lead efforts to pass New Jersey’s cannabis reform efforts via referendum in 2020. His leadership helped put an end to cannabis prohibition and create a path for expungement for those who were previously arrested for simple cannabis possession.


In addition to his 16 years in elected office, which included serving as a member of New Jersey’s General Assembly, Scott worked in senior staff positions in multiple government organizations including a Member of Congress, Governor of New Jersey, Speaker of the General Assembly and served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for New Jersey Transit. Rudder, who is a veteran of the New Jersey Army National Guard, also spent 13 years as a Business Development executive with Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest defense contractor. At Lockheed Martin, Scott led domestic and international business development campaigns that included missile defense, Special Forces technologies and energy programs.

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