EPISODE #32 [PART 2 of 2] Western Medicine vs Medical Cannabis with Gregor Zorn - Medical Cannabis Educator and Cannabinoid Therapy Consultant

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We’re back this week with Part 2 of our conversation with Gregor Zorn - medical cannabis educator and co-founder of the European Cannabinoid Therapy Association.

In this podcast, we continue the conversation, investigating how we can produce specific cannabis compounds for the treatment of disease, the challenges medical professionals face when prescribing medical cannabis, and the most therapeutic ways of consuming this incredible plant. 

We really enjoyed this fascinating discussion with Gregor. If you’d like to find out more about him, and for resources mentioned within the show, click through to our show notes here.

P.S Don’t forget to catch up with Part 1 where we explore the challenges of trying to fit medical cannabis into the standard western medical system, the endocannabinoid system and how it interacts with the rest of the body, and the ways in which cannabis can be integrated into western healthcare.



Episode Summary

  • The active compounds found in cannabis are extremely complex and are incredibly difficult to make in a synthetic way. 

  • We are still learning which compounds are suitable and beneficial for certain indications. One we have found evidence to suggest certain compounds have a therapeutic effect for a specific ailment, we can then start to change the way in which we grow these plants, tailoring their growth to suit the ways in which they will be used to heal.

  • Finding active compounds which can specifically aid certain ailments means mixing and matching a combination of over 144 plant cannabinoids, 200 terpenes and many more flavonoids to find the right formula. This is a very complex task and will take many years of research.

  • Gregor states that ‘the majority of medical professionals do not trust cannabis’ as do not know much about it, mainly because they have never studied it. 

  • Many ancient cultures used cannabis for its therapeutic uses, but in recent years it has been demonised and made illegal in many parts of the world, making it hard for medical professionals and members of the public to embrace.

  • Many professionals are unwilling to prescribe cannabis because it is hard to do so, you have to jump through many hoops, make sure you are compliant and are legal  - where is the incentive? At the moment, It is much easier to prescribe prescription drugs.

  • Patients are really driving the cannabis revolution, not the doctors. Patients are the ones who are going to their doctors curious, asking questions and campaigning for access. 

  • If doctors can differentiate street opioids such as heroin from opiate based prescription painkillers, why can’t they distinguish high potency street skunk from many of cannabis’s other therapeutic preparations?

  • 5-7% of people are estimated to be highly sensitive to THC, so may feel therapeutic effects even at low doses. Some people are on the other end of the scale, although most of us are in the middle.

  • It is always good to take CBD and THC together as they ‘complete each other’ in a sense. They are both anti-inflammatory and analgesic, although they act through different mechanisms to achieve these goals. CBD can also reduce the potential unwanted side effects of THC, without reducing the therapeutic effects.

  • Using a vaporiser is the best way of consuming cannabis, if you smoke it you will be inhaling toxins which are a byproduct of combustion. Combustion can ‘kill off’ some of the cannabinoids, produce carcinogenic compounds, and irritate the lungs. 

  • Inhalation is much different than taking cannabinoids orally. Inhalation allows a very quick uptake of cannabinoids into the bloodstream through the lungs, and then onto the brain. You can feel the effects within seconds to minutes. 

  • When you ingest cannabinoids, they have to go through the digestive system, through the stomach, gut, then onto the liver which then metabolises the cannabinoids. With inhalation, you feel the effects very quickly, lasting for 2-4 hours, whereas if you take cannabis orally this can last up to 8 hours.



Quotables

  • ‘The majority of medical professionals do not trust cannabis, and do not know anything about it’ 05:58

  • ‘The younger generations are becoming more curious towards cannabis and want to learn more about it as they can see how this plant has a great potential in the future and will become a part of medicine in general’ 10:10

  • ‘Smoking is not a therapeutic way of taking cannabis’ 21:15





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/