Just as you have a digestive system, an endocrine system, and more, you also have an ancient endocannabinoid system. Its role is to bring balance to your tissues, including your heart, digestive, endocrine, immune, nervous, and reproductive systems. And, with cannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies, it makes sense that we are built to make use of the cannabis plant if needed.
As you know, I don’t like using drugs when there are other options for healing. My primary reason for this is, in western medicine, which I practiced for decades, many drugs are used to cover up symptoms, not to heal the problem at its source. In addition, even “safe” drugs can cause unwanted effects in your body.
So, of course, I have seriously questioned the use and reported benefits of cannabis, or medical marijuana — especially because of the psychoactive properties of tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. THC is the cannabinoid, or compound, in Cannabis, that makes you feel high.
Regardless of whether or not you support cannabis use, there’s no ignoring the fact that it has made its way onto the medical scene so it’s good to be informed. As it turns out, Cannabis can be extremely beneficial for some people, and there are ways to use cannabis therapeutically without the side effect of being stoned!
How Does Cannabis Work?
In the early 1990s, scientists discovered that humans (and other mammals) have an endocannabinoid (internal, biological) system. The human endocannabinoid system releases cannabinoids that interact with receptors found in virtually all of the tissues in our bodies.
With this endocannabinoid system in place, it makes sense that biologically we are designed to make use of the cannabis plant. In fact, this ancient biological system responds to more than 60 cannabinoids in different ways. Some cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptor cells. THC makes you high by binding to the CB1 Receptor. However, other cannabinoids work indirectly. For example, one way Cannabidiol (CBD) works is by suppressing the enzyme Fatty Acid Amide Hydroxylase (FAAH). FAAH is an enzyme that breaks down Anandamide, an important endocannabinoid associated with eating and sleeping patterns, pain relief, ovulation, and even inhibiting breast cancer cell proliferation.
Today cannabis is being used to help many people who don’t have safe treatment options for serious conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, psychosis, seizures, nausea caused by chemotherapy, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. In states where cannabis is legal, the number of Medicare prescriptions used to treat these conditions has declined. This includes the use of opiates. In fact, cannabis is being used successfully to help opiate addicts recover.
There are many more conditions that cannabis has been shown to help including reducing the frequency and severity of migraines by one half, and also reducing pain associated with Crohn’s disease. Cannabis is also being used as an appetite stimulant, and to treat certain brain disorders, such as schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome. There are many additional therapeutic uses and studies.
In 2013, CNN reported on the story of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte was 3-years-old at the time and suffering from Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare form of intractable epilepsy, which caused her to have up to 300 seizures every week from the time she was just a month old. There were no conventional therapies that could stop the child’s seizures. Charlotte’s parents heard about a California boy with Dravet’s who responded well to treatment with CBD-rich cannabis oil. (CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid.) They began treating Charlotte with CBD oil. This resulted in Charlotte’s seizures being reduced to only two to three seizures per month.
How To Avoid Getting High from Therapeutic Cannabis
If you want to experiement with cannabis therapy, but you don’t want get high, there is hope. CBD and THC are the two cannabinoids that seem to have the most therapeutic effect, and there is research that suggests they work best together. While most cannabis experts believe a whole-plant approach is necessary because of the synergy between more than 85 cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant, research and anecdotal evidence shows that single cannabinoids, especially CBD, may be effective in treating certain conditions.
In addition, even if THC is necessary in order to maximize the therapeutic potential of CBD for some people, there are ways to take a whole-plant approach and not feel the psychoactive effects of THC.
It’s all about using the correct ratio of THC to CBD.
Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer with Americans for Safe Access who is known for his contributions to the study of the structure and function of the CB1 receptor, has said that a 1:1 ratio between TCH and CBD gives the benefit of whole-plant cannabis without the high.
Note that different cannabis strains exhibit different THC-CBD ratios. You can learn more about these different strains and their uses in treating different conditions and symptoms at the United Patients Group and Project CBD.
Another important thing to remember if you don’t want to get high is that cannabis can have a build-up effect. So, if you are using cannabis that contains any amount of THC, it can accumulate in your body and have the unwanted effect of making you high, or even triggering anxiety long after the original dose. The good news is, the effects are short-lived: when you reduce your dose or frequency of use, the psychoactive effect will diminish. In addition, unlike opiates, cannabis use is somewhat self-regulating in that people typically don’t feel the need to use more and more to get the same relief. And, there is no fatally toxic level for cannabis as there is with opiates.
6 Ways To Use Cannabis Therapeutically
If you plan to use cannabis to treat a serious medical condition, you will need to work closely with your health care provider to determine what’s best for you, particularly when it comes to dosing. That said, here are some of the most popular ways to use medical cannabis:
Smoke a pipe or joint. When you smoke cannabis the compounds are absorbed by your lungs, into your bloodstream, and across your blood-brain barrier. You get the most immediate effect from smoking, so this method is best for treating symptoms that need to be resolved quickly, such as nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. The downside to smoking cannabis is that the effects can wear off quickly, so you may end up needing to smoke quite often. And, don’t forget, smoking is harmful to lung tissue.
Use a vape pen. Vape pens offer a healthier alternative to smoking because they heat cannabis without burning it. You inhale the vapor of the cannabis oil (or flower) without inhaling any smoke. The effects from cannabis vapor are as immediate as smoking.
Try a topical. Cannabinoid-infused oils, creams, gels, sprays and patches are becoming more readily available. They are typically used for relieving muscle soreness and inflammation, and for healing minor skin irritation. Some beauty creams are even including cannabinoids as anti-aging ingredients. Topical cannabis is non-psychoactive even if it contains THC because the cannabinoids bind to the CB2 receptors in squamous cells. Most topical products are combined with other pain relief and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as essential oils. So read the labels if you choose this option.
Ingest it. Some chronic pain patients choose to ingest foods and beverages containing cannabis — called edibles — as a discreet alternative to smoking or vaping.
However, you need to be cautious when ingesting edibles, especially if they contain THC. When you eat foods containing THC, your liver converts it to 11-hydroxy-THC, a very active metabolite that crosses the blood-brain barrier and can result in an intense, long-lasting high. Depending on your metabolism, it can take up to 2 hours to feel the effect of edible cannabis, so there is the danger of eating too much in an effort to get relief, and then paying for it later with an intense high.
So, if you choose edibles, be sure you understand the potency and dosing information on the labels. A single dose, or serving, typically contains around 10 milligrams of THC and this serving size will usually be marked on the labeling. Bear in mind: like a single serving of alcohol, this dose can affect everyone differently. To avoid the potential high, you can buy CBD-infused edibles without the THC. Or, you can purchase CBD oil and infuse your own recipes with it.
Take a supplement. Therapeutic cannabinoid supplements typically contain CBD, but no THC. Like most supplements, they are created to address certain wellness concerns. CBD supplements come in different forms, including sublingual sprays, capsules, lozenges, and powders that you can mix with water. Be sure to read all of the ingredients, and follow dosing instructions on the label.
Drink Tea. Most prepared herbal teas with cannabis are not psychoactive. They are typically prepared using the raw forms of CBD and THC known as CBDA and THCA respectively. CBDA and THCA do not bind to the cannabinoid receptors in your body, and they cannot be converted to CBD and THC through steeping. Though there is little research, CBDA and THCA may have therapeutic properties and, in tea form, could help relieve stress and ease nausea. You can also make your own cannabis tea using the whole plant. To make your own tea, you need to include some type of fat (such as butter, milk or oil) in order to separate the cannabinoid compounds from the leaves. While cannabis tea containing THC is usually milder than other edibles, you need to be careful with dosing so as not to experience unpleasant effects.
6 Safety Tips for Using Cannabis Responsibly
Whether or not you choose to use cannabis is a personal (and legal) decision. If you and your health care provider think cannabis is right for you, here are some guidelines you may want to follow:
Check the laws in your state. Cannabis use is governed by state law. Even CBD-rich products which do not contain THC can fall under these laws. The National Conference of State Legislators is a good place to start for up-to-date information on state medical marijuana laws.
Get a card. Even in states where cannabis is legal, there are ever-changing laws around its therapeutic use. So it’s best to get a prescription and fill out all of the necessary paper work. Once you have done this, you can purchase a marijuana card that, along with a valid identification card and your prescription, allows you to purchase cannabis products from dispensaries.
Buy from a reputable source. Some state laws require that you buy cannabis from an approved source. Weedmaps is a community of patients who are connected with dispensaries. The website and mobile app provide resources to members. Leafly.com also has a search feature that allows you to find reputable dispensaries in your area.
Understand labels. Just like reading a nutrition label, you want to be sure you understand cannabis labels so you know what you are buying. Each state has its own labeling laws, but generally labels should tell you the strain and class of cannabis, the date it was tested and the testing lab name, and information regarding state compliance. You should also be able to see the total THC and CBD in percentages (or in milligrams for edibles), as well as the amount of THCA and CBDA. You may also want to consider buying only brands that display pesticide and mold exposure information on the the label. Finally, avoid products with toxic chemical byproducts such as propane or hydrocarbons.
Be wary of hemp. Hemp is different from cannabis. While it contains low levels of cannabinoids, hemp is a known bioaccumulator, and can contain high levels of toxins from soil. In addition, CBD oil from hemp does not have the beneficial compounds, known as terpenes, found in cannabis oil. Finally, CBD from hemp often contains hexane, a solvent frequently used to extract CBD oil from hemp. Hexane is a neurotoxin that can cause numbness, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache and fatigue. (Note: Hexane is also used to extract cooking oils such as canola and soy oils!)
Start slowly. As with any medication, it’s always best to begin at the lowest effective dose. Spread your use throughout the day (i.e. don’t eat an entire edible at once) until you know how your body will react. Take notes of how you feel and any unwanted side effects after using cannabis products. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider as needed.
Remember, not every treatment is right for everyone. But, it is good to be informed about different therapies and how they work. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.
Do you or someone you know use cannabis for therapeutic reasons? I would love to hear your stories.
Wow. An “ancient” part of the brain that wasn’t discovered until 1990? Sounds more like like an excuse to get loaded than science.
Just don’t get high and drive into someone’s family! How irresponsible.
the helix and double helix of a DNA system was only defined in the 1990s too? Do you want to question science or the timeline of discovery? The moon was only landed on by Humans 51 years ago. Its been out there millions of years!
CBD oil is also an antioxident. The research is there, just no human clinical studies.
Does anyone know what strains work best for Er+ Pr+ and Her2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (late stage and very aggressive). Any help of any kind would be greatly appreciated Thank you
So sorry to hear that you are dealing with this.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of research myself and encourage you to look into the endocannabinoid system effects on the endocrine system, including estrogen and all hormones. Also, there are significant CBD -drug interactions (CYP2D6 inhibition, esp) which, hopefully, your oncologist will be aware of.
I’m far from an expert, but wanted to share.
I hope all goes as well as possible. ❤️
The concerns over getting high, by people who are fine with alcohol, is most curious.
Your view on Hemp derived CBD couldn’t be further from the truth. Industrial Hemp is coming online so hard and fast because it doesn’t get you high and contains more CBD than most any MJ strains out there.
MJ growers have focused on the THC NOT the CBD.
Many of the MJ companies are now going to blends using hemp as the CBD builder to homogenize the flower for high CBD and lower THC. This is also because industrial hemp is continuously being modified to increase CBD levels and keep THC as low as possible and in every state .39% and below. Under the Industrial Hemp Act all “legal” hemp growing for cultivation is .3%. some states have stayed at .3 and others interprete .3 as .39% still meeting that requirement.
There are in fact strains of Hemp from europe that are fiber based contain little CBD and terpene profiles are awful, however, this is simply no longer the case when it comes to farmers focused on Industrial Hemp grown specifically for maximum CBD.
It is also untrue about soils and metals in the material the plant can bring out of those soils. Industrial Hemp and MJ are both of the Cannabis family- the difference? The amount of THC. Its that simple so its where the plant is growing not the type of cannabis strain that is growing they both can and will do this.
When all of this is put through extraction its all the same exact process for extraction. Hexane, Butane, Propane, CO2 and Ethanol. Anyone who thinks CO2 is cleaner and is more organic is wrong as Propane and butane are organic compounds as well. Ethanol I am not a fan but it does accomplish things and can be completely solvent free. Any and all “good” material is solvent free and noone out there is buying oil without a solvency test with the COA.
There are many people out there extracting or buying extracted material that is mediocre at best and they are price shopping, buying inferior material and then taking that material and putting it on the market. Has it been tested for pesticides, heavy metals, solvents and was it grown organically by a USDA certified organic farm.
Words like Natural are used to fool consumers into thinking its Organic. Food companies use it non stop as it is an ambiguous term not held to any one standard.
Bottom line for MJ or Hemp- know your source, make sure if you can go organic do it and make sure it is truly USDA certified organic. This is important because while most growers I know do their best to use OMNI certified materials for their grows but that alone does not make them Organic. Organic certification is something we worked hard to achieve on our farm to ensure it has the certification and gives us the ability to legally use the term Organic.
As its been said CBD is CBD and you can reduce or increase THC after distallation and introduce or remove terpenes as you please. Its all chemistry, its all how you want to reblend and MOST importantly you can get and use CBD that is THC free. For anyone who doesnt know for ure you can get the benefits of CBD without it contaiing THC.
You can have a reblended oil which can still have a great terpene profile in place if the distillation process and formulator have done their job from extraction, to distillation back to reblending.
The other CBD route is isolate which can be shipped throughout the world totally legal and is a completely isolated CBD. Its a white powder and anyone who buys that actually cares, which many don’t and thats why you need to know your source, is 99.4+% pure CBD Isolate.
The bad isolate is coming in from China and Eastern and central Europe that has not undergone the scrutiny of what the typical American farmers are doing on their own. COA’s (Certificate of Authenticity) every step of the chain. Farmer sells flower- COA- Buyer gets his own COA to match to farmers COA- Buyer makes oil- gets COA, sells oil and the buyer of the oil checks and verifies his/her own COA- Distillation- same, Isolate same.
That’s a fact, its why labs are doing so well and often times big buyers will send two samples to two different labs as they like two completely objective COAs not one and they send multiple sample batches. It’s very involved and tedious because it has value and holds all in the chain accountable for where they break in the chain occurred if there is one.
There is a lot of junk out there both MJ and Industrial Hemp but CBD is just that CBD and THC no doubt helps in the delivery of the CBD but the .3% standard used by states is more than adequate for the THC being the delivery vehicle…this however is not to say CBD products that are free of THC cannot or do not work its just that it has been scientifically proven the THC helps deliver but its a very minimal amount needed.
I was at the State Capital in CO and I found it interesting that the MJ industry had a lobbyist there to try and ensure the level allowed for differentiating Industrial Hemp from MJ “NOT” be moved to .99% from .3% crazy as you have to have at least 1% THC to sell in a dispensary (unless this law changed recently which I am not aware that is has) in CO. What’s that mean? 98% of our population don’t want to be high, paranoid, etc they want high CBD with low THC and the higher the CBD the longer you stay high if you in fact want the psychotropic effect of THC. Industrial hemp is challenging the MJ industry as the MJ industry knows that not only is the market already over supplied they also know the want and need for high CBD and lower or very low THC is coming on super strong. They have been spending their time and genetic research/R&D on increasing THC not increasing or caring about CBD. This may be challenged by some growers who are in fact trying to accomplish this but I am talking about the big boys in the industry not the boutique, awesome growers who are the ones ultimately responsible for great strains and gave the hemp industry its genetics to work with in the first place.
I mean no disrespect to any MJ growers and some terms and what I say is more about the industrialization of this industry both HEMP and MJ.
I enjoy both industries, I think they both serve their purpose and like the DEA announced in Sept- We would like to see the level of Industrial hemp moved to .99% so there is a clear and defined delineation between MJ and Industrial Hemp. This being 0-.99%= Industrial Hemp and 1%+is MJ. They asked the FDA to approve this and I assume it will be written into the new Farm Bill we will see passed in short order on Industrial Hemp.
You article was very good on many points but couldn’t be further from the truth when it came to Industrial Hemp.
I hope this information is useful for those still trying to understand the differences in between the two industries and how and what CBD is and can do and how THC inter acts and plays a part in all this.
Hi, The information you have given about hemp derived CBD isn’t quite correct. Hemp is a type of cannabis species. CBD is a natural compound found in both hemp and marijuana, which are both cannabis plants. Hemp actually has high amounts of CBD and little to no THC (which is the psychoactive compound that gives the high). There are organic forms of hemp CBD oil available that have no GMO’s or pesticides, also hemp CBD oil does contain terpenes and full spectrum plant extracts, you just have to find the right quality. The advantage of hemp-derived CBD is that its legal in most places and there is no high, and the CBD compound is the same. CBD is CBD, regardless of whether it comes from hemp or marijuana. Poor quality can be found in both types, so finding good quality is the key.
I have started using CBD oil with very very tiny amounts of THC (just the .o1-.03 THC). At 14, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, later Hashimoto’s, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PTSD, anxiety (with panic attacks), depression, post-partum depression with suicidal thoughts, etc. I am just over 40 😉 now and I have been in pain throughout my entire body from waking to sleeping. I literally never smoked pot and was very biased against the advent of cannibis as a health tool. I have been completely wrong. THIS IS FOR REAL. It is incredible and is absolutely changing my life. I am very thankful for it and the relief it is bringing from all of these challenges. It has been kind of a long *** road and it has taken a lot of energy and determination to keep functional over the years. And I mean the beginning to the menopause thing was kicking my butt even with mood changes (so sudden) alone. Start slow. Be careful to see what is going on when you don’t need to drive, or at least be aware. I have used Plus CBD and CW. Dr. Northrup, you are a gift to us all. Thanks for doing what you do and sharing this vital info. I have friends who have benefited a ton per cancer. There is so much healing opportunity here, I assume the backlash will continue because of the money being made the way diseases are currently treated, so, again, THANK YOU for helping to get the word out. I am hopeful again and finally able to have a break from all of the pain!
Can Cbd oil in capsule form , from AnandaHemp 15 mg 1 twice daily be my reason for belly fat weight gain.. ?I am on Hrt and take progesterone nightly and estrogen patch 75 mg twice weekly. I
Notice that even while eliminating sugar, dairy, eggs, corn, gluten, peanuts,( I started this regime 10days ago)
I am blotted and feeling uncomfortable. Can the cbd interfere with my hormones? I am tall 5’9 and normally weigh 155 and am now 167lbs .. I gained weight this winter and and started to lose and have stalled,this is the most I’ve ever weighed in my 77 years. I am a yoga instructor and this is not my personal image I also never had a hard fat belly up to my rib cage ever !,
Have you been checked for ovarian or peritoneal cancer?
Hello dr Northrup . Ever since trying the medications risperdal , which left me unable to feel the effects of cannabis , and later Wellbutrin , which has since left me feeling the affects in an adversive and incredibly uncomfortable manner , my endocannabinoid system has been completely out of balance and I am not sure how to fix and fully reset it . I feel the receptors in my hpa axis in particular have been altered and I am desperate fir answers . Please contact me with any advice if possible , thankyou so much
Wondering if cannabis in suppository form helps with hashimotos, and hyprothyroidism. Concerned about the idea of weight gain too. Is weight gain a given?
I am a menopausal woman age 52, and I have suffered from severe hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia since 2012. I have gone to the doctor and have tried several anti-anxiety meds, but they made me sick and quite frankly, I am not depressed. I am in a high risk group for HRT, so I have tried all of the herbal remedies and I eliminated sugar eat healthy, exercise. The only relief I have ever found is marijuana, but I don’t want the high and I don’t want to be a criminal. Do you know of a specific CBD oil for menopause? Do you know where I can sign up to be part of a study group? Thank you for this feed.
Sorry, high risk group for breast cancer, so HRT is not an option I’m willing to take.
First, I feel your pain. Been there, done that – where you are. medically induced menopause (FAE) and resulted in severe menopause symptoms that were uncontrollable. I tried everything so I feel your pain. BUT there is so much incorrect information out there about CBD. And yes, I know where you can get it for menopause symptoms. With that said, please understand that CBD does not have THC in it. This is a big misconception out there on this information. THC is the ‘high’ generating factor and the CPD I use has not THC. So you can get the healing effects (lessening or no hot flashes, better sleep, etc.) without the high. Reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk so I can provide you the information you need. I feel your pain. I used to have about 15 severe, intense hot flashes a day. Count’ function. Now relief. Not a sales pitch. Just providing information.
Kim – I would like to know of a specific CBD oil for severe menopause symptoms too!
Hi Kim, I too have done extensive research on the effectiveness of CBD oil on menopause symptoms and recommend Hempworx. It is 100% organic, non-gmo and is a full spectrum oil with CBD,CBC, CBG & CBN giving the body a full entourage effect on the endocannabinoid Susy ten when invested. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at http://www.HempWorx.com/HempAly.
I thought Dr Northrup said to beware of hemp?
Agreed. Exactly what i thought. I wish we could flag the posts that are obvious sales pitches. Just not helpful to the discussion.
HEMP is a “bio-accumulator” which means it takes up any and all toxins within the soil it’s grown in, along with normal nutrients. At first i thought it would be a good, CHEAP alternative for those wishing to avoid THC. Since learning of the toxin angle, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole! Part of the problem is, in California anyway, they regulate the marijuana growers to the point they have to be Certified Organic Farmers. Which is fine with me, even if it is more expensive. (Just like Organic tomatoes at the grocery store) Eventually it will level out due to competition, i hope.
Hemp isn’t regulated for fitness for consumption. HEMP MAKES GREAT ROPE!! I would prefer organic hemp for clothes, fabric, baby diapers, etc. Also it is being used to purify soil where a children’s playground will be installed. Supposedly it can clear away industrial junk in soil, like oil and lead? It just makes me uncomfortable to think of injesting it, let alone having it in a topical. That can’t be good!
Hemp is NOT bad!!! Especially since industrial hemp is what’s providing those of that don’t live in a medical marijuana state with CBD! Reputable CBD sellers have their products 3rd party tested and provide those lab results PROVING that they aren’t testing positive for contaminants. Please do your research, because people like me who use full spectrum, whole plant, Industrial Hemp extracts (CBD) depend on its benefits for relief of so many ailments. I suffer(ED) from debilitating Fibromyalgia, pain that would leave me vomiting & bedridden for days, PTSD, anxiety, and so much more. Industrial Hemp CBD is what’s being sold in all 50 states without backlash, unlike Cannabis Oil which contains THC. Homework people, do it and don’t just listen to 1 person. Hemp isn’t the enemy! When grown under strict supervision and thoroughly tested before/during/after, THAT Hemp is what’s helping heal this planet. I’m beyond blessed to get to work with many CBD brands and I share/promote their products. Want to know what CBD Products are good & what may work? email@example.com Email me. And before anyone says it’s for the money, I do it for FREE because I genuinely care about people, their well-being, and their happiness. Point is, don’t down something unless you know for a fact, and the truth is that HEMP IS AMAZING!!
Kim, I too suffer and I have found amazing results from CBD. I’m so convinced that this is a life saver for me that I am now selling it myself. Check this out and let me know what you think. http://skivin.myctfocbd.com/
I have followed your work for years. I think we may have met once at a birth conference. I’d like to know if CBD with minute trace of THC is safe during pregnancy and with breastfeedi? Are there any valid studies on this yet? I would think it would be better than the pharmaceuticals. Thank you for your response.
I was surprised to read your warning on Hemp.
Are we talking all hemp including organically grown?
I thought hemp was a good alternative for those wanting to use CBD without high levels of THC.
I’ve always been impressed by the information you provide, so will have to dig deeper into this subject.
I love to see Dr. Northrup posting this wonderful information! Maybe I can help answer your question.
Hemp is cannabis. You want to make sure you are using full-sepctrum hemp oil. Different companies extract the oil in different ways. You want organic oil obtained using liquid CO2 extraction. Some people say organic hemp is better than industrial hemp but there is also an issue of legality. In many states we can only buy hemp oil from plants grown in Europe and that is (mainly?) industrial hemp – but it can still be organic. I’d pay more attention to lab results and extraction method unless you live in California or Colorado – more options out there!
I am a holistic cannabis educator. Feel free to contact me with questions: http://www.staybalancedllc.com
Dr Northrup- thank you for your courage in posting this. I have been a champion of The Sacred Plant since medical school. As a Board Certified Ob Gyn, I am grateful to practice like you for over 30 years…However, I would add that Hemp bioaccumulates in the root, so can be carefully grown on organic soil. In fact, many small organic farmers in the US are now providing organic, metal- free, mold free product for Prime My Body Hemp Oil, which I proudly share in my office. Many Thanks for your Wisdom and Courage. Jade McGaff, MD
Unless hemp is grown inside, how can it truly be without toxins? The world is being sprayed with toxic chemicals such as aluminum and from geoengeering, which has changed the pH levels in our soil. This has been proven by scientists.
You want to make sure you are buying products in which the distributer lists their lab results on their websites. Feel free to contact me for recommendations on companies that test for highest purity. http://www.staybalancedllc.com
Hi Christiane, Thanks for this great info!
I’m looking for pure organic CBD oil gels to shrink a tumor in my bile duct. Do you or anyone know where to look for pure CBD oil?
And do you recommend anything else to shrink a tumor in the bile duct?
Kannaway sells a pure CBD oil and capsules. We have athletes, military members, cops, ect that use these products and pass their drug screens. My website is
Please get ahold of me if you have any questions.
I have been using CBD tincture for 9 mo. At first I did feel high but I was taking too much. So now I micro dose. 2-3 drops 2-3 Xs per day. It helps with PTSD and chronic pain. Although the pain doesn’t go away the emotional entrapment distances itself. For years I judged it as bad to use but then learned to accept it as a healing tool. The treatment had been great with no side effects. Thank you for sharing this info!
I make my own high-CBD tincture and a few drops is all it takes before bed for me to sleep well and not wake up with anxiety (due to an upcoming cross country move). Before I made the tincture, I used to steep leaves and drink it as a tea (with coconut or almond milk) and it had the same effect. I did notice if it was too strong I woke up a little high in the middle of the night and sometimes it caused hot flashes.
I have been using co for a few months and have been administring it with home made suppositories in gel caps.( Thc mixed with coconut oil) to avoid being high. I am doing this because i have lungcancer.
Lately i have read a few articles saying that
With suppositories one hardly gets anything in the body. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this.
I have had glaucoma surgery in right eye (several years ago) and continue using latanaprost in my left eye to keep pressure down. About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with AMD in my left eye, had injections for about 9 months, then did not require them for well over a year. Then about 3 months ago, AMD showed up in my right eye as well and have had two injections in it. I have heard about medical marijuana helping eye problems so very interested in your very informative report. Also recently was found to have degenerated meniscus of right knee and having considerable pain with it. What type of mm would help me with either of these two issues?
Just so you know they can extract CBD from hemp with water distilled process–what makes you think that when you use CBD/THC products from Marijuana it has not been extracted with the solvent also because they do. I grow food and fiber Hemp and there are three ways to extract two with solvents and one with water that is for hemp and marijuana..Just saying you better check your sources!
Thank you for mentioning my company United Patients Group.
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Corinne, that is fabulous news about your father! I hope he is continuing to do well. What form and how much of CBD di you treat him with?
I have partial seizure epilepsy that I’ve had since 20 (grand mal at 13-puberty and then nothing till age 20). The “episodes” which are daydream like most often, have changed over the years, I believe, due to hormone changes. I’m 57 and post menopause 7 years. I have taken many different meds and currently take Keppra generic, and have for years. I don’t usually have “episodes” unless experiencing great stress, like lately. However, these episodes have left me feeling pretty sick and with anxiety that I hadn’t experienced before. I’ve been trying minuscule amounts of CBD serum, but I’m getting strong anxiety and paranoia from it.
I need help finding a balance of CBD and THC, lessening my seizures so maybe I can try to get off meds, as well as allows me to go to work. Any ideas? I will also check if my Naturopathic Doctor knows anything about this. I’m also being referred to a neurologist, being new to the area I’m living in now. I’m having more episodes and more headaches. I enjoy smoking marijuana for relaxation, but I know smoking isn’t good for the lungs.
Is Dr. N reading these? I don’t see any replies to the comments. This is a VERY important subject I’d love to see more on from Dr. N. I’m thrilled you’ve addressed it here!
Hi Robin, Check Corinne’s post above. I’m sure she can steer you in the right direction. But may I also suggest bioidentical progresterone. The work of Andrew Herzog, MD in Boston has shown how beneficial this can be for seizures such as yours. Progesterone binds to the GABA receptors in the brain– same as valium and ativan. But without any of the addictive side effects. And very often, seizure activity lessens. You can start with over the counter Progest cream. 1/4-1/2 tsp anywhere on your skin. Including sole of the feet. Give it a whirl. And thanks for your comment.
I am 33 and i felt you was telling mine story
I have recently tried low doses of cbd oil by vape pen. It has helped relieve joint discomfort & improves my sleep. I first started researching the medicinal effects of cbd after watching the documentaries with Dr Sanjay Gupta on utube. I then found a local meetup group in my area & talked to people who were using it successfully for many different reasons, like anxiety, depression, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, arthritis, colon issues, cancer. Finding reputable sources is very important to research & learn about their product & where & how it is grown & processed. I have tried the disposable vape pen from CharolettesWeb cbd healthy hemp and sublingual liquid cbd from Texas Wellness Center green lotus. It is a little pricey, but very worth it for the relief. My advice is, do lots of research & talk with informed sources before trying. Best wishes.
I so agree with this advice. Thanks so much.
After being diagnosed with MS 17 years ago, and finding every Pharma med prescribed horribly toxic to my system, I gave up and followed Dr. Andrew Weil’s protocol for MS. Then, six years ago, we voted Medical Marijuana legal in Colorado. I am so lucky to live in this progressive-minded state. I registered immediately and cannot shout out the benefits loud enough. Even my Neurologist supports my use. It took a little time to learn my proper dose but hey, education is a good thing! And, I enjoy the freedom I have in taking control of my own health. So, welcome aboard, Dr. Northrup, and kudos to you for broadening your thinking!
Nice summary, Doctor. We are using cannabis in a variety of forms for different needs for my wife. One cannabis product that doesn’t get enough attention that you may want to highlight in the future is full-extract cannabis oil. This potent oil has successfully treated many types of cancer at different stages, as well as many other awful diseases. And if made with Indica it acts as a powerful anti-depressant. Oh, and another is CBN, the non psychoactive resultant of THC breaking down. It has anti-anxiety and muscle relaxing properties. One doesn’t see it very often commercially but it can be made cheaply with only a little weed and some coconut oil.
Hi George. Thanks for the reminder that people can always experiment with homegrown remedies.
I used Medical Marijuana in the form of a tincture under the tongue to treat a sarcoma on my thigh. It was the only pain medication I used for the surgery and it worked very well. I had no pain. I have continued to take it in place of radiation therapy because radiation causes cancer. Medical Marijuana, as shown by Rick Simpson on the internet cures cancer. I will continue taking the Medical MJ until I reach the equivalent of 60 grams of Rick Simpson oil about 20 grams per month. This amount is one bottle of the tincture per day (in NY State). I also treat myself holistically with juices, organic food, black seed oil and other supplements that boost the immune system and block cancer stem cells and make potassium broth for alkalinity. My surgery was 10 weeks ago and I am recovering well with physical therapy for my leg, walking without a limp and getting stronger everyday.
This is incredible!! Thanks so much for this information.
Florence, may I ask how do you prepare your potassium broth?
I am 60 years old and have suffered with migraines since puberty. The frequency increased over the years until they reached a chronic state. About eight years ago, when my children turned 18, I finally approached my neurologist and requested a recommendation for medical marijuana. I also purchased a medical marijuana card from the county where I live. I wanted to be “legal” when imbibing or traveling with marijuana. I am not implying that medical marijuana has cured my migraines. Unfortunately, it hasn’t. But, along with Botox treatments in my neck and shoulders every 12 weeks, the frequency and severity have definitely lessened. And so has my use of prescription drugs to abort so many migraines. Not to mention the decrease in use of pain meds.
I use many forms of the medicine, including smoke, coconut oil, tincture, and edibles. I haven’t tried to vape yet, but after reading this informative article, I think I’ll give it a try. I have also used CBD though it is more expensive. The coconut oil is fabulous and can be used in cooking or on your skin, which is how I use it most of the time. It helps to lessen my muscle tension and has been great at relieving pain in other situations as well (post-foot surgery, arthritis in hands and hip, etc.).
Be aware that the edibles can be tricky to dose. I don’t purchase small items that have a large dose because it’s too difficult to get a predictable dose. Bhang chocolate bars are perfect for me because I can break off a piece and know the dose.
Thanks for being a respectable & trusted source who is open & honest & has done her research & is not in the back pocket of pharmaceutical companies who just want to prescribe what makes them $
Oh I have been out of that pocket since BEFORE I went to medical school. Thanks for this comment.
I live in Colorado and my 12 year old golden retriever started having seizures and trouble walking “hips pain” 12/16. His doggie neurologist put him on Keppra and with his vets okay I started him on CBD. I’ve been able to lower his Keppra to 1/2 the original dosage and he has had ZERO seizures since 1/17. He jumps on around like a puppy again and so very healthy and seems to be pain free. He can even jump up into my SUV by himself. He hasn’t done that for years. I also added coconut oil and glucosamine/condroitin supplement to his food. I believe it’s the CBD twice a day added to his food. I honestly didn’t think he was going to make it past 2016 and now he’s happy, healthy and pain free. I know this is a “dog” story but I wouldn’t hesitate to use it myself now from what I’ve seen with him.
Hi Amy, thank you so much for your post. I have a terrier mix who has tremors and seizures. Can you tell me where you got the cannabis information and product(s) to treat your dog? I would very much appreciate it. I’ve been interested in this and I’d like to try it with my dog, but don’t know where to start. You can contact me at Lisa@teamshep.com. Thank you! Lisa
Hi, Lisa. Did you find a source? I had a foster dog and treated him with high-quality cbd oil from Rachel at http://www.serenitycbd.org. Jackson had inflammation in his back hip (looked like he had been kicked and the leg never properly healed.) What looked to be a crippled 10-year old dog is happily romping around chasing ducks again. Good luck with your baby.
I’m thrilled to hear this worked for your dog! I hope something like this works for me and my epilepsy!
Sometimes I think that we humans would do FAR better being treated the way animals are than by standard western medicine. SO– thanks for this comment. Just about all of us on this page love animals.
The hemp oil is being pushed as a great alternative to marijuana, harmless and no card needed! The word among veterans is “Don’t tell your VA doctor about this! The Feds are linked up with big pharma!” Abuses all over eBay. I brought down one vendor selling hemp oil with CBD, but his picture showed a jar of almond butter! For $31! I have met a cute young Marine vet who was made to carry ridiculous packs on long marches just to make sure he was tough — not in a war situation! Now he has “the spine of an 80-year-old man”! A huge fear among younger people is that veteran or employer drug tests will show these CBD treatments. I am older than you, Christiane, suffering crashing headaches for over a year. Arachnoiditis. Various chiropractors fooling around. I have the hemp oil on order, but they messed up the $8 shipping, so I have to wait a bit longer. I know that an “itis” condition is inflammation, is anger. I’ve had dental problems also, so look forward to a great old age free of this pain and anger. The situation calls for so much study and finding one’s own path.
Mimi Routh to help with your anger issues – “Change your thoughts change your life.” – Dr Dyer.
Anger and stress
Fear, anxiety, & suffering
Bless you, Bless you
I have searched the internet…have not found the clarity I found in this article.
My grandson…my heart… is 23, has lived with me from the beginning. He had 13 dental fillings, silver, when he was 15. He started having seizures soon after. He had one gran mal every year until age 18 they increased he had a second concussion at age 19. Seizure activity increased. We found an epilepoligist and started Keppra. He has been on it since. O have not permitted cross medication . He has aura for 4 days every month. He also has scolosis. As you can imagine his life is crap. I am interested in the.cbd.so I appreciate your info.
Look up Medium Medium on google. He has a recipe for a smoothie for metal detox. Sounds like what your Grandson has.
Sanoviv Institute in Rosarita , Mexico has an incredible dental program for removing mercury dental fillings. Far cheaper than in the US. http://www.sanoviv.com Anthony William , the medical medium, also recommends Hawaiian spirulina for heavy metal detox. You can get it on Amazon. May your grandson find what he needs.
QuickSilver Scientific does heavy metal testing and have quality heavy metal detox protocols. I’m doing this with our son.
I started using cannabis two years ago for the treatment of panic attacks and anxiety, along with clean eating and exercise and it has made a huge difference. I was taking Paxil for a number of years which had brutal side effects. I don’t take the paxil anymore and use the cannabis oil in the evening or I have a snack that is infused with the cannabis and it’s been a game changer for me! I take small doses of cbd throughout the day and in the evening, I have the thc/cbd blend and it works amazing. It will be a great day when the nasty stigma about cannabis has finally lifted and people can hear the truth about this amazing plant.
would you tell me what percentage your thc/cbd is? mine is 1mg thc:20mg cbd. I had hoped for more pain relief and also anti anxiety/depression and don’t feel it is helping after 3 months; I have been using it twice daily at a dosage of 3ml daily.
Hi! I am so happy that more doctors are starting to recognize the multiple medical benefits of this plant!! I have been using it for years for chronic pain, and was able to go from 14 opioids a day to only 4 a day!! I was also diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and I don’t think I could have made it through the chemotherapy without it! It has also worked wonderfully for my anxiety. It makes sense that if our bodies have the receptors, it is for a reason. I truly believe that God gave us this plant to help us all. Good informative article! Thank you for explaining it so that people can understand it better.
What an interesting article. I don’t use cannabis in any form but it is something I may research further. I don’t use medications so I am always looking for natural alternatives to manage pain joint pain and inflammation. I have used a whole food based supplement called Juice Plus+, along with eating more raw foods containing anti-inflammatories, that has helped me put RA into remission, but I still have the downstream pain and inflammation due to the damage that was done when it was active. So after reading this article, I am considering adding cannabis on the days that symptoms occur. Thank you for the good information.
Wow!! thank you so much for this super informative post. I had no idea as to why THC and CBD were different and how and whys they are so theraputic.
Thank you for sharing this valuable information. I do wish that you would have included more information, or at least more specific information on the access to CBD oil sourced from Hemp. While I appreciate your warnings about chemically processed hemp and hemp grown in contaminated soil, there is access to CBD from ‘clean’ hemp (verified by independent 3rd parties). I work as a wellness consultant and have had a large number of customers gain enormous pain relief with the use of Hemp Derived CBD. As with any herbal (or other nutrient supplement) , the customer must be very careful about the quality, sourcing and content….there are surely ‘scams’ out there when it comes to natural nutrition and wellness…but I do think that people could benefit from having some additional information regarding CBD derived from Hemp. Thank you.
thanks Kate. I will look into this. It’s a new area for me. And I surely appreciate all the wisdom in these comments.
theroc.us Realm of Caring, amazing organization for knowledge on this subject
I have suffered migraines for almost 15 years. This year has been especially difficult for me. Migraines are not just headaches, and besides the unbearable pain, depression is scary. I have just started to use medical marijuana. I’ve never smoked, so the easiest for me is the tea. I make my own using coconut oil. Because my migraines are joined with my monthly cycle, I dread that time of the month, but I am prepared to make my tea again. It’s definitely relaxing. I only use it when I’m not well. It is not addicting.
I too had classical migraines– but managed to stop them while in college. My story is in the movie You Can Heal Your Life– which you can see on the Hay House website. Most migraine sufferers need more magnesium. ( google ReMag and ReMyte by Dr. Caroline Dean– a world expert on magnesium) Progesterone premenstually also helps a great deal. You can start with non- prescription Progest cream available on line. 1/4-1/2 tsp twice per day on skin– anywhere. Even soles of feet.
Love the article! The article references getting a prescription, but since the plant is still federally illegal, doctors do not “prescribe” but “recommend” cannabis. Thank you for always being on the cutting edge, Dr. Northrup!
Good point. Thanks!
Holy Wow! I have been a “follower” or yours for close 25 years. Probably after watching a PBS special. Have all you books, seriously. And was a Usana distributor, Dr Deb Kern is in my upline. I was on one of your calls years ago and you asked me to mute (my rookie mistake). And I enrolled in B School last year knowing how much it had helped Kate.
I recently joined Kannaway. The direct sales protion of Medical Marijuana Inc. a publicly traded company. They extract using Co2 and grow their own hemp in Europe and import CBD oils into the US. A couple of facts to address some of your concerns in your blog. https://kannaway.com/?4760975 is my website if your are curious about the company.
So you can imagine my enthusiasm reading your email. this morning. I will be sharing your blog with my downline and potential prospects and clients. I am a Massage Therapist and Esthetician.
Thank your for all your knowledge, inspiration and loveliness all these years.
Thanks you for being so straightforward about a controversial subject. I do believe marijuana has it’s place as a valuable medicinal product; if you can go natural it is always best (same with food!) I have a brother with rheumatoid arthritis who has tried CBD oil, briefly. He feels that he got some relief but really needs to sign up and get on a program. Intriguing where you say the effects are cumulative, that could help. Traditional pharmaceuticals help take away some of his pain but really leave him feeling awful and the cumulative side effects are potentially severe. I am going to send him this blog to add to his information. Thank you so much!
The human endocannabinoid system releases cannabinoids that interact with receptors found in virtually all of the tissues in our bodies.
You say this and it sounds like the body releases these cannabinoids by itself without external ingestion. So why do we need to take them from external sources? If so, then can we help the body produce more without having to take cannabinoids? I will be looking up the system you are talking about, but thought you could clarify as well. Thanks!
What is so fascinating to me about this system is that it would appear that our bodies have natural receptors for cannabinoids– but I have yet to hear about endogenous cannabinoids. Such a great question. I know that we have receptors on many cells for all the neurotransmitters like beta endorphin– which is a morphine like chemical that the body can produce. My friend Dr. Candace Pert discovered these “molecules of emotion. She has died– too soon. Otherwise, I would ask her!!! Thanks for this question. ( Which I realize I have NOT answered directly).
The running shamanic narrative is that we have co-evolved with these plants. Natural selection seems to demonstrate that it’s beneficial for us to receive cannabinoids. Since our brains naturally produce minute amounts of DMT, the psychoactive compound in ayahuasca, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that cannabinoids could be endogenous too!
I have Vertigo Migraines and traditional preventive medicines have harsh side effects. Would appreciate your feedback on how to treat migraines with cannibus.
Thank you, Susan
Start with magnesium and natural progesterone before going to cannabis. See answers above.
I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, and have found cannabis to be very helpful in managing my pain. I vape a low thc/high cbd oil, so I do get a mildly stoned feeling. But that seems to be more helpful with the pain vs. the thc free oil. I am just cautious to not drive when I vape.
I appreciate you covering this topic. I have chronic pain conditions and have been curious about this. Thank you for your insight.
I just wanted to share my story about my decision to use cannabis to improve my health.
I’ve had high anxiety most of my life and as an adolescent I smoked street weed to help me cope. I quite smoking around he age of 20 due to the high the levels of THC and questionable street weed that was often cut with other drugs.
I started a business 6 years ago and my anxiety worsend and even though I practice yoga and meditation over the last 10 years, my anxiety has caused other related health issues with how I tried to cope, such as gaining weight and over eating and more.
Back in Dec. 2016 my little sister told me about high CBD cannabis, which I didn’t know anything about. I did a lot of research and decided it was worth a try to see how this plant could help me. I chose to go with high CBD oil and dried flowers to see how they would fit into my lifestyle and what type of effects I would get.
After using this medicine for a month, I noticed a significant decline in my stress levels. I am less reactive, slower thought process, which I need because I have a very fast and active mind and makes my a little “crazy” so to speak. Also it helped me make better decisions and not feeling over whelmed with fear and other emotions.
I have now been using for about 3 months and now I have been able to loose some body fat, because I am it over eating and of course with low cortisol levels my body does feel the need to store fat anymore. I do believe that cannabis has significantly helped me move past the place of which I was stuck, but I also had to do the work of delighting at work and doing what is best for my heath. I just know that in a way, right now, cannabis is my ally and has support me along the way.
BEautiful and balanced story. Thank you.
I have always heard that cannabis is good for reducing eye pressure. Recently I have read it isn’t a good thing for the optic nerve. I am a glaucoma patient and have been considering trying canabus but now I’m just not sure. Would appreciate your feedback.
Thank you! Pat
Funny but true story. We were heading out to a party one night and I thought I would try to smoke a little weed just to relax. My husband has never done this before however I talked him into trying it. I continued getting ready to go out and I heard him yell out, “oh my god”, and I thought oh what have I done, he’s had a reaction. When I came down the stairs, he was watching tv and he said I can see the tv and read everything without my glasses… it’s a miracle!! Well, I laughed and laughed and did a little research and yes, it does reduce eye pressure… proven point in our home.
ps … my brother has MS and helps tremendously with his pain. I had him taken off all pain relievers and now he just has a MJ prescription spray called Sativex. He would rather smoke it however he is now in a nursing home, unfortunately, and has to abide by the rules. It has saved his life as far as I am concerned.
Thank you for this great article. If you would have asked me 10 years ago to use cannabis for chronic pain management I would have told you that you were nuts. I am not saying that anymore because after much debate on how to get help with my chronic pain I did my research and opened my mind to trying it. I educated myself and then took the plunge. I tried it. The results were amazing. I finally found relief without all the other side effects that the opioids caused me in the past. It really does work for pain management.
We’re all evolving together! thanks for this comment.
Louise do you take only CBD or also together with THC?