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About Dr. Francisco Alvarez Divo
Dr. Francisco Alvarez Divo was born and raised in Venezuela, both his parents and grandfathers were Physicians as well, so since his early years he knew what his purpose in life was. He attended medical school at Universidad de Carabobo and obtained his Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree in 2009. After that he moved to the Caribbean to work with the rural and underserved population of Margarita Island, this is the place he likes to call home is a famous windsurfing and kitesurfing destination worldwide; it was here where his passion for this sports and lifestyle medicine started.
After finishing his community work in the Caribbean he moved to California in 2011 to obtain his M.D. certification in the USA through the Educational Commision for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) then he worked at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as a postdoctoral research fellow in minimally surgery and Immediately after completed an internship in general surgery. Here he had the opportunity to work with patients using medical cannabis as part of their treatment regime for the first time; he saw amazing results and improvement of their overall well being which only increased his fascination and passion about the medicinal properties of the plant.
After November 2016, medicinal cannabis was legalized in a lot more states in the USA, he was invited to a course in Puerto Rico to get certified as a Medical Cannabis Doctor and Master Budtender. After this course, Dr. Alvarez Divo was not only completely convinced, but also had more scientific evidence and skills to treat and provide patients the necessary resources to get them started on their healing journey with medical cannabis. Here he also had the opportunity to work closely with Master Farmers from CANNASSEUR in a very large indoor medical cannabis growing facility increasing, even more, his expertise and knowledge in the area.
Since he first started his journey he hasn’t stopped researching, traveling, and working hard to offer his patients more information and high-quality recommendations on this amazing plant. If you were to ask him about his passions he will probably answer: “to promote and improve wellness through healthy lifestyle & cannabis medicine”. Outside of the office, he is unlike your average Physician, you can find him at the local surf, kiteboarding spot, yoga studio, gym or at a health foods store; as he definitely practices what he preaches because he believes it’s the secret of longevity and a healthy and happy life.
Through his work he has had the opportunity to live, experience and teach about medical cannabis in many different cities where is legal like San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Amsterdam, Puerto Rico, Medellin, Costa Rica, Barcelona, Berlin, Lisboa and many others which has expanded his experience in the field exponentially allowing him to provide care to a huge spectrum of patients from all races, cultures, religion and socioeconomic status. Dr. Alvarez Divo speaks English and Spanish fluently and is able to provide medical advice in both languages and cross-culturally. If you like to learn more about medical cannabis do not hesitate to reach out to us or schedule a consultation with him.
What is your personal story and mission that motivated you to work with cannabis?
I was born and raised in Venezuela and grew passionate about the healing properties of cannabis. I moved to Southern California for my postgraduate training where I had the opportunity to treat patients using medical cannabis as part of their treatment regime. After seeing first-hand the results and overall improvement to their emotional and physical wellbeing, it further increased my fascination and passion for the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant. After medicinal cannabis was legalized across more of the U.S. in November 2016, I was invited by Cannasseur to complete my certification as a Cannabis Doctor in Puerto Rico and become part of a vertically integrated medical cannabis project. Through this experience and training, I was not only completely convinced of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, but I also had additional scientific evidence and skills to treat patients and help them start on their healing journey with medical cannabis.
Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals and healthcare providers is lacking?
Yes, definitely. It’s hard to find high quality educational programs that can teach and guide healthcare providers in how to properly treat patients using medical cannabis. I constantly receive messages from other practitioners asking for guidance, making it clear that more education for the masses is needed. I am trying to help raise awareness by teaching educational programs and speaking at conferences around the world about my experience treating patients with cannabis.
I also think the endocannabinoid system and the medical uses of cannabis need to be more prevalent in the curriculum of medical and health programs. Ideally, I would love to see top universities offering certification courses for professionals to learn about the medicinal benefits of cannabis and how to use it to treat a variety of ailments in patients.
What kind of cannabis research is needed that hasn’t been covered yet?
The future of cannabis research needs a greater focus on clinical trials, ideally with large samples of participants as well as highly qualified researchers backed by well-recognized research centers. It would also be really interesting to see research using whole plant/full spectrum preparations and high quality cannabis flowers rather than isolated molecules and synthetic cannabinoids. In my personal opinion the wisdom and knowledge that cannabis farmers have is often underestimated. It will be exciting to see them included in medical cannabis research.
Where do you see medicinal cannabis in 5 years?
I like to think of cannabis as a snowball that’s constantly growing. I would love to see medical cannabis in the near future as a standardized natural medicine that is also affordable and easy to access for patients around the world. I also hope for legalization and decriminalization of medical cannabis completely around the globe. As we continue to raise awareness through education and advocacy I would also hope for less stigmas around this natural medicine.
What is the best advice you can give to a first-time cannabis user?
Always get advice and guidance from a certified professional, ideally a Physician who is experienced in medicinal cannabis and how it is used to treat a range of health conditions. It’s also important to make sure you are using a product that is standardized, certified and tested by a third party laboratory to ensure the purity and ingredients. Following up with your healthcare provider is essential for the success of the treatment, especially since dosing adjustments are often needed. As general guidelines I always suggest to use full spectrum or at least whole plant extracts over isolates. Also remember to start at a low dose and build from there to find what works best for your specific needs. Above all, talk to your Physician about cannabis and learn about the potential benefits it can have on your health and well being.