CBD is Changing The Game

CBD is Changing The Game

CBD (cannabinoid) is a natural, safe, and effective. Its affect includes reducing inflammation, pain and seizures.  There is evidence that it may inhibit cancer growth.  It certainly helps with nausea and other side-effects of chemotherapy including loss of appetite.  In my practice I have seen it work on insomnia caused by recalcitrant pain.  I’ve had patients stop opiates and other damaging pain medications after decades of use.

What are the benefits of CBD?

In clinical studies there is evidence that CBD is effective in five areas.

  1. The most established benefit on relieving pain and inflammation. It does this without the serious side effects of opiate drugs and NSAIDS.
  2. Studies have also shown effectiveness with PTSD especially on veterans experiencing social anxiety. Its important to note that in a percent of the population CBD can also increase anxiety.
  3. CBD has successfully treated drug-resistant children who have epilepsy with non of the side-effects of traditional seizure medications. Anti-seizure meds come with the worst side-effects of any drugs.
  4. It works against viruses, fungi, and bacteria as an anti-microbial. Some studies suggest that it may even be effective against superbugs like MRSA and other anti-biotic resistant infections.
  5. CBD is anticarcinogenic. Several studies demonstrate that CBD is antiproliferative and proapoptotic. More research is needed but it may inhibit cancer cell migration and invasion.


How does CBD work?

All mammals have receptors for CBD. This is called the the endocannabinoid system. It regulates a variety of functions including mood, appetite, sleep, hormone production, and immune system response.  For patients with autoimmunity causing pain I’ve seen excellent clinical results.  This may be because of the link between the gut and autoimmune conditions.

Interestingly the gut, which is part of the nervous system, has many endocannabinoid receptors.  This is why CBD can be a game changer for people with IBS, IBD, and other GI issues like nausea.  This may be part of why it is such an effective remedies for insomnia.

What forms is it taken?

CBD is available in several different forms and ratios.  THC is needed to activate the CBD but it can be a minute amount.  The psychoactive component does not appeal to most patients I talk to (if not all).  It can be purchased as capsules, liquid extracts, sprays, vapours and topical salves or creams. CBD taken internally is best for reducing pain and insomnia, whereas a topical is best for treating skin conditions and relieving musculoskeletal pain.

Is it legal?  What other challenges are there?

CBD is generally well tolerated.  There are however a few potential contraindications. Like some other botanicals CBD may interact adversely with pharmaceuticals.  This is because it inhibits cytochrome P450. This enzyme in the liver metabolizes many drugs so it may increase the effects.  A medical herbalist is trained in understanding which drugs are potentially affected and its important to discuss this with your prescribing doctor.

The potential that it may increase anxiety must be taken into account as well.  A major issue right now in Canada, is that it is difficult to get a reliable source with the proper ratios.  Legalization will hopefully lead to more standardization in products.  The right ratio is important depending on what is presenting.  I’ve had some patients respond very well 4:1 whereas others report uncomfortable psychoactive properties. This may be due to product inconsistency or individual response. 20:1 is more difficult to find but this is a much lower dose of THC and is indicated for neurological disorders.

We always start with a low dose and build up slowly.  In the US patients can purchase these products from reputable labs and companies so they know what they are getting.  It is legal in the US without a prescription. Within the next fews years I expect to see reliable sources.




Get Your Appetite Back on Track

Get Your Appetite Back on Track

What makes us hungry?

The neuroregulation of appetite is getting a lot of press these days.  The epidemic of diabetes grows and even young people are suffering the effects of obesity.  Researchers are hell-bent on finding solutions.  Our bodies have a feedback loop that lets us know when we are full or are in need of fuel.  If the mechanism is broken then we don’t know how to turn off.  Like a car without brakes we are headed for disaster.  For some people, anxiety leads to no appetite.  How can we get our brain and gut working together again?  Biochemist and health enthusiast Robb Wolf explains that we are ‘hardwired to eat’.  Let’s reboot our culture and bodies to kickstart these innate processes  which are our genetic foundation.

No Longer About Macronutrients

Low carb and ketosis is the new fad.  For many this is not sustainable and often results in an exacerbation of symptoms.  The last fad of low-fat may have led to this because we were all obsessed with whole grains.  Worldwide we know there are people who thrive on all types of macronutrient ratios.  Traditional Inuit consume very high fat diets and are well adapted to their environment.  We know of cultures that ate honey for two months of the year and high carbs the rest of the time without suffering chronic disease like ours does.

Each person is unique and some tolerate carbs well while others get spikes in their blood glucose levels even when they consume cellular carbs with the fibres intact.  These people require more protein and fat to stabilize their cortisol and bring down inflammation.  Lower carb intake can work well for someone who is insulin resistant and has lower activity levels.  It’s crucial that stress is well-managed to maintain stable blood sugar.

Eat Enough Of the Right Stuff

We know that highly processed carbs are a nightmare for many reasons.  Gluten is part of this and the lack of fibre is the other part.  A variety of fibres feed the gut microbiota, support clearance of excess hormones and is preventative for several diseases.  Knowing what is enough for your body and choosing the right carbs is important.  Another problem with refined carbs and sugars is that they creates an insatiable hunger.  We are less likely to get the relaxed, dopamine rush that comes from a nutrient dense, higher protein meal.

Hyper-Palatable Food

Can you imagine overeating undressed potatoes or yams?  What about if you add a bunch of fat and seasoning? Research around processed foods that are hyper palatable show that the brain is stimulated in ways that create addiction similar to cocaine and nicotine.  When we eat very sweet food its the same and the craving for extreme salt  is the body’s way to regain homeostasis.  You can avoid the craving to overeat simply by staying in the middle ground of flavour sensation.  It becomes really easy once you start reading labels and learning what those flavour additives do to your organs.

Roots and Shoots:  The Real Superfoods

Roots veggies can be the baseline for our carb needs along with some fruit.  Shoots include superfoods like green onions.  The nutrient density and medicinal quality of this simple food is off the charts.  Enjoy green onions over your morning breakfast meal along with some healthy fats.  Make sure you have some protein and sauerkraut to get the lasting feeling of relaxed energy that these foods offer.

Social Contact and Mindfulness

Just a reminder of how crucial social support and contemplative practice are for health.  The medical research on these subjects is overwhelming.  I see this in clinic and when I assist on meditation retreats.  In my own life these are game changers and were more important than what I ate in terms of recovering my vitality.  This is why I teach classes on physiology, nutrition and meditation.







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