My journey into medical Cannabis and CBD is like most medical professionals – it is our patients that bring us to the table. After studying human Physiology for 6 years with obtaining a Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Physiology and going through a joint Master’s Degree program in Public Health and Physician Assistant Studies, you would’ve thought the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) would have been mentioned once. If for nothing else except for the drastic importance the ECS plays in maintaining homeostasis for our entire body.
After graduating from PA school, I practiced family medicine under my mentor and close friend, Dr. Patel who instilled in me very early on in my career to look at the patient as a whole and to think outside the box. I then moved to practice pain management as I was looking for more procedures and something that aligned with my sports background. Pain management is a mixture of “normal” medicine and physical therapy and anatomy to help pinpoint a patient’s pain and get them directed into a good treatment plan.
In 2017 I started to notice an increase in patients coming in asking about CBD and or using CBD. At first, I dismissed these patients as just wanting to get high, showing my complete lack of knowledge and respect for Cannabis and CBD. Patients would bring in bottles of, “something my aunt said would cure my pain” and would ask me to look at it.
The bottle would talk about full and broad spectrum, and list very high concentrations of milligrams – all of which was very foreign to me. A 3000mg CBD tincture means the entire bottle has 3000mg of total Cannabinoids, but we don’t label “normal” medicine like that. That would be equivalent to us labeling a bottle of 30 tablets of Extra Strength Tylenol (650mg) with 19,500mg- which is confusing. But this is the standard of the CBD and Cannabis industry.
I would tell my patients that I honestly have no idea about any of this and if it helps they can keep taking it, as long as there was no THC, which I disagree with because there has never been an overdose death of THC. But, as medical providers, our ability to prescribe controlled medications is governed by a federal entity, DEA, and currently Cannabis is a schedule 1 narcotic- meaning it has no medicinal benefit and has a high risk of abuse.
It was frustrating in the beginning
Patients with pain contracts at a pain clinic must abstain from using THC due to the above indications. I started to notice patients who were using medical CBD products becoming positive on their urine tests for THC. I would have them bring in their bottles and noticed a lot of them said THC free on the bottles. I would instruct the patients to stop the CBD immediately if they wanted to continue with their opioids. It was very frustrating because this could be a violation of her contract and ground for discharge from the practice and these patients were taking products that both of us thought were ok. This left a bad taste in my mouth about this whole industry and just chalked it up to people hiding THC in products to get high.
It wasn’t until I noticed a few patients coming back with their CBD bottles and half a full bottle of their pain meds to show me how much fewer pain meds they were taking. I had chronic pain patients who had been on opioids for many years weaning themselves off opioids- which is astonishing. I understand this isn’t the case for everyone taking CBD, but I saw enough to alert my interest.
It wasn’t until one of my patients who was a very sweet lady who would come in with her husband/caretaker who had a stroke and had central pain syndrome and extreme deficits in communication had life-changing results did I take Cannabis and CBD seriously. Over the course of a month or so she went from staring off into space and bare interacting with me, to having full conversations and remembering when I went on a vacation and my birthday.
I asked them what they were doing, and they said they had started a CBD tincture that they got from a local doctor. I asked my patient how she felt, and she looked me in the eyes and said she knew something had changed and that she was feeling much better. That was enough for me to take this seriously and that night I went home and searched PubMed for Cannabis and CBD and to my astonishment, there were thousands of peer-reviewed articles. How had I never heard of any of this?
My mission is to help my patients with Restorative CBD
I made it my mission to learn as much as I could, and I would read published articles while eating breakfast and dinner and listen to any podcasts I could get my hands on. I found some medical Cannabis training companies and took their courses to further my knowledge and now I try my best to keep up on the latest research.
When I first started Restorative CBD, I thought I was just starting a simple CBD company to help offer quality products. It has turned into a crusade of some sort to not only offer quality products at an affordable price but also to be an advocate for patients and the industry. As medical professionals, we have a duty to do no harm, but we are harming our patients by not learning about CBD and Cannabis and just brushing it off. Even if you don’t believe in or want to “recommend” it to your patients, you still have a duty to understand it at a basic level, even knowing drug-drug interactions are a start. Just because you don’t believe in it, doesn’t mean patients won’t be seeking it out and using it.
We need to show compassion to our patients who sometimes are left helpless and are left searching for something to help them. We should encourage patients to take their own health into their own hands instead of always waiting for us to cure them and the Cannabis and CBD world is a beautiful example of this paradigm shift. Cannabis and CBD dosage and usage are as personal as your fingerprint, not everyone is going to experience the same results with the same dosage or delivery- there is a lot of trial and error involved in finding your correct dose.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to my email or office phone number. I would love to work with any medical professional to help them feel comfortable and therefore I created a short online course to help them understand the basics. I look forward to moving this industry forward and getting more clinical trials and data to support the anecdotal evidence that is experienced every day.