“This one was found unresponsive in their car.”
Several years have passed, but that cold week in January is still a bad memory to this day. Strapped to the gurney was a pasty, pale – even bluish – human, barely breathing and bearing the signs of an overdose.
Immediately my team and I began to give supplemental oxygen. We established an additional IV. We sedated, paralyzed and then intubated him. We did this to control his respirations and prevent him from drowning in his own body fluids.
Once stable, the victim was sent to the ICU. Often they would simply sleep it off overnight.
But this week was different. We had way too many of these cases. They filled the ICU. Some didn’t even make it to the ER alive… they were taken straight to the morgue.
By Thursday I had had enough.
I called the state medical board in the middle of my shift. I pleaded with them to do something.
The “pill mills” were killing far too many individuals.
Heartbreaking stories fill my mind from decades of seeing this escalating blight.
Here’s a tragic statistic: There were 49,000 deaths from narcotic overdoses in 2017 alone. The number of American soldiers killed in the nearly 20-year war in Vietnam? 58,200.
Until very recently, I considered marijuana a gateway drug. Although I’ve never smoked it, I saw how it affected many close friends. It frightened me.
My concern was cemented during my stint in the military, when I moonlighted as a physician in a drug rehab facility. Histories and physicals for most new admissions told similar, sad stories.
Those stories began with marijuana.
Now let me share with you the 180-degree change in my understanding of cannabis over the past year.
A Miraculous Plant
What if a miraculous plant could offer the ability to dramatically help or even cure acne, ADD, ADHD, addiction, AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, anorexia, anxiety, asthma, arthritis, atherosclerosis, autism, bipolar disorder, cancer, depression, diabetes, obesity, psoriasis, IBS, chronic pain, PTSD and many more diseases?
These are some of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, and more specifically, cannabidiol (CBD).
Here’s what I’ve learned…
Cannabis has been grown for thousands of years. There are two primary types: cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. This distinction is crucial and is what led to my change in thinking. I had been fixated on the plants from the sativa strain, while not having any real knowledge of the indica strain.
Cannabis sativa is the plant most closely associated with marijuana. It has long, leafy blades and reaches up to 20 feet in height.
The cannabis indica plant has wider, denser leaves borne and reaches 4 to 6 feet in height.
In the 1960s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified the two main cannabinoids found in cannabis: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD.
Understand this: THC is notorious for its hallucinogenic, euphoric properties, but CBD is not hallucinogenic at all and has numerous healthful properties.
The indica plant is higher in CBD, and the sativa plant is higher in THC. Therefore, many CBD products are made from the indica variety. Hemp – a strain of the sativa plant – also has higher levels of CBD than it does THC. Many hybrid strains of cannabinoids have resulted by crossbreeding indica and sativa.
Cannabis research has been ongoing since the 1820s in the U.S. Anywhere from 90 to 140 different cannabinoids are being feverously studied right now to see if they can help people. More than 3,000 human studies are currently active.
Researchers have already found multiple ways CBD helps with the serious conditions I mentioned above. In fact, there’s a new CBD prescription drug – approved by the FDA just this year – to treat children suffering from severe seizures.
I was biased after my decades in the ER, witnessing addictive tragedies from alcohol and prescription and illegal medications. I was ignorant to the benefits CBD could offer.
I just did not know what I did not know. Now that I understand the many beneficial qualities CBD has to offer – while having no addictive properties – I totally embrace the use of CBD products. These plant compounds are safe, work and will dramatically improve the lives of millions.
The good news is CBD (not THC) will be legal across the entire U.S. when the farm bill is passed. It is scheduled for a vote in the House on October 30, after having overwhelmingly passed the Senate 86-11.
CBD legalization will be a watershed event for the health of all Americans.
I’ll spend a few more essays on this life-changing compound. And as we get closer to legalization, I’m sure many of you will have questions. Send them to email@example.com.
To optimal aging,
Dr. Phil Roberts