Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and Medical Director of PHYTECS, a biotechnology company researching and developing innovative approaches targeting the human endocannabinoid system (“E CS”). The PHYTECS team pioneered scientific understanding of how the ECS regulates physiological functions including immunity, pain, inflammation, mood, emotion, learning, memory, metabolism, appetite, weight, sleep, embryo development, neuroprotection and stress responses.
Previously, from 2003-2014, he served as Senior Medical Advisor and study physician to GW Pharmaceuticals for three Phase III clinical trials of Sativex® for alleviation of cancer pain unresponsive to optimized opioid treatment and initial studies of Epidiolex® for intractable epilepsy.
He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (Psychology) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, before residencies in Pediatrics in Phoenix, Arizona and in Child and Adult Neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was a clinical neurologist in Missoula, Montana for 20 years in a practice with a strong chronic pain component. In 1995, he pursued a 3-month sabbatical doing ethnobotanical research with the Machiguenga people in Parque Nacional del Manu, Peru. He joined GW as a full-time consultant in 2003. He has held faculty appointments in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Montana, in Medicine at the University of Washington, and as visiting professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He is currently Past-President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, and is former Chairman of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the American Botanical Council. He is author of Handbook of Psychotropic Herbs, co-editor of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Potential, and author of The Last Sorcerer: Echoes of the Rainforest. He was founding editor of Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, selections of which were published as books: Cannabis Therapeutics in HIV/AIDS, Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology, Cannabis: From Pariah to Prescription, and Handbook of Cannabis Therapeutics: From Bench to Bedside. He has also published numerous book chapters, and over thirty articles in neurology, pain management, cannabis, and ethnobotany. His research interests have included correlations of historical uses of cannabis to modern pharmacological mechanisms, phytopharmaceutical treatment of migraine and chronic pain, and phytocannabinoid/ terpenoid, /serotonergic and /vanilloid interactions.