EPISODE #31 [PART 1 of 2] Western Medicine vs Medical Cannabis with Gregor Zorn - Medical Cannabis Educator and Cannabinoid Therapy Consultant

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There was so much to chat about on this week’s episode, that we’ve decided to break into a two-parter. We’re lucky to be joined by Gregor Zorn, a medical cannabis educator and co-founder of the European Cannabinoid Therapy Association. Together, in Part 1, we investigate the challenges of trying to fit medical cannabis into the standard western medical system, explore the endocannabinoid system and how it interacts with the rest of the body, and look into the ways in which this remarkable plant can be integrated into western healthcare.



 

Episode Summary

  • Gregor studied Biology at the Biotechnical University of Ljubljana and specialised in nutrition, as a result of this, he became interested in holistic approaches to health and in turn, discovered cannabis and its therapeutic potential. 

  • Gregor attended a symposium in Ljubljana which was attended by numerous doctors from across the world who spoke about using cannabinoids in order to treat human conditions. 

  • He found the conference incredibly interesting and was inspired to start reading medical journals around the subject. Throughout his research, he realised he was becoming more concerned with its therapeutic uses and started a mission to learn as much as possible around the subject. Once he had become an expert in the subject, he began teaching doctors and patients. 

  • Gregor is the co-founder of the European Cannabinoid Therapy Association, a medical cannabis educator for medical professionals, students, and patients.

  • Western medicine relies heavily on the use of synthetic pharmaceutical drugs and surgery alongside other medical procedures. It is focused mainly on treating the symptoms of a disease rather than looking for the root itself. For example, if you have a headache you may take some paracetamol to stop the pain rather than treating the problem which caused the headache (a headache is a symptom, not a cause).

  • A good treatment outcome comes from taking care of the cause of the symptoms, not the symptoms themselves. 

  • Many pharmaceutical drugs have side effects, which are in turn treated by more drugs which can present more symptoms. The cycle goes on and on. 

  • Pharmaceutical drugs may also have a reduced efficacy over time which means they are less effective the more you use them.

  • Opioids are a good example of this, over time you have to increase the dose to achieve the same effects. This is due to their mechanism of action within the body - over time you become tolerant of them and need more to give you the same effect. 

  • Cannabinoid receptors are not found in the areas of the body which control your breathing, with no receptors, they cannot bind. This can be linked to the fact that you cannot overdose on cannabis or THC. Opioids have receptors in these areas, which allows somebody to be able to overdose. 

  • Different types of cannabis can be grown for different reasons, for example those with tall strong stems are grown for their fibres, those with lots of seeds are grown to make oils, and those with a high number of cannabinoids are grown for therapeutic effects.

  • Trichomes store cannabinoids, terpenes (aromatic smells of cannabis) and terpenoids, which are found on the surface of the plant. The cannabis plant is different to other plants in the way that it produces its active ingredients on its surface unlike other plants who store their active ingredients inside the leaves, stems or flowers.

  • Each of us have an endocannabinoid system, just like we have an immune system. This system generally speaking provides balance of homeostasis to the body, this is a very important system as it helps the body to work at its optimal level. 

  • It is a metasystem which oversees all of the other systems in the body.

  • Plant cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) activate and bind to the same receptors as endocannabinoids (which are found in the human body).

  • There are currently 144 identified cannabinoids.

  • THC is often demonised as it is psychoactive in nature, but in reality it has healing benefits too. It’s psychoactive nature can often evoke feelings of euphoria within both recreational users and patients which can promote relaxation and increase quality of life.

  • Synthetic cannabinoids do not hold the same efficacy as whole plant extracts as there are a lot of compounds missing. 



Quotables

  • Cannabis is the most useful plant or crop that we know today 02:25

  • THC has been shunned as the bad guy and CBD is seen as the good guy. It’s not like that at all - both of them are the good guys. They work best when they are together 28:30




Resources

European Cannabinoid Therapy Association http://www.ect-a.com/

Gregor’s Website http://gregorzorn.com/

Join Gregor in LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregor-zorn/