Nutrition is the other important issue that needs to be addressed concurrently. Food is medicine and the opposite is true as well. The gut–brain axis affects everything, so the first rule of thumb is to change nutritional status; people are malnourished and toxic in the gut.36 CBD can restore balance, but only so far; nutrition must change too. Every meal should include whole foods with the colors of the rainbow; processed foods increase inflammation, pain, and trigger many metabolic issues: diabetes, hypertension, insulin resistance, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cannabinoids balance hormonal insulin and leptin, so the body works better to process energy. CB1 activation can reduce body weight, adiposity, and hepatic steatosis, and that improves insulin sensitivity and reverses leptin resistance.37 Mitochondrial dysfunction is aided by a high-fiber diet filled with fruits and vegetables. Other supplements such as CoQ10 may be needed, and CBD might help boost the nutritional repair.
Glial cells are numerous in the gut, proving that it is almost as important as the brain. CBD acts to support balance for CB1 and CB2 in this arena and decreases inflammation of the glial cells.38 More research is being done, but the recent Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine39 conference was stirring with new data by integrative clinicians working on adding CBD to treatment plans. Many of these notes emerge from lectures attended. Supplements and probiotics may also be needed to settle the microbiome and reduce inflammation.40 Cannabis merely helps steer through activation of CB1, CB2, and calming overall stress.
Clients should experiment with an elimination diet when they begin therapy to really discern the source of their disease and commit long-term to learning to eat more anti-inflammatory sources of vegetables, lean proteins, and little starch. Initially remove all dairy, gluten, and sugars to help reset the gut for 2 weeks. Slowly reintroduce one food group back in at a time to see where sensitivity is. This promotes a better glycemic index, which allows the cannabinoids to stabilize the blood glucose. Insulin resistance is reduced with cannabinoids, so adding CBD:THC and an anti-inflammatory diet may be helpful in controlling pain.
Using cannabis tinctures 15 minutes prior to eating is beneficial for two reasons: First, cannabis is lipophilic and absorbs better with food, and second, the food tastes better and supports satiation and mindful eating. What does that mean? Imagine eating a beet salad slowly: the taste, flavor, scent, texture, sound, visuals, and other amazing things from being fully present. If it is difficult to do unaided, try using a 4:1 or 1:1 CBD:THC tincture prior to eating. Sensations will be altered which can enhance appreciation, and this becomes easier the longer a person is exposed to cannabinoids.
Cannabis can open the spirt after it calms the mind and softens the body. Go for a walk and look at the clouds and sky, hear the birds, see the flowers. Once the body and mind feel better and are more relaxed, the spirit begins to open. People begin to feel more alive, happier, and less drugged, because they are. I have had several patients say that it is the first time they have felt their soul in years. A state of presence adds to the work clients do through psychological exploration with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and interventions to adjust emotional states work better. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another area to couple with mild cannabinoids.
Most adults carry hidden trauma; 60% of adults today have experienced adverse childhood events (ACE).41 Cannabinoids can facilitate the release of painful emotions through therapy like EMDR faster since CBD can ease post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), slow painful dreams, and the recall of trauma. Psychoactive effects of cannabis can be used to identify the emotional and physical sources of pain for them to finally be addressed. Cannabinoids are facilitators to bring homeostasis wherever they can. When someone is able to drop an addiction to pain pills, or to reduce antidepressants or any other prescription medication they have struggled with, there is freedom.
Many find a sense of God in whatever that means to the individual. Praying becomes easier because they feel more connected to source energy. They might become more religious or intentional, and gratitude becomes more of a habit. A sense of soul presence is especially crucial at end-of-life care, for example, with palliative and hospice care.
Cannabinoids done right will help remove polypharmacy at the end of life; and honestly some prescription medication is more for the convenience of the staff than for the safety of the resident in a facility. Instead of elders being put on Seroquel, Ambien, Ativan, Haldol, Megace, Zofran, or Norco, they can try a 1:1 CBD:THC tincture 2 to 4 times per day and be present with their family. With proper dosing, pain will lessen, as will anxiety, insomnia, fear, cachexia, digestive issues, agitation, combativeness, and aggression. This can be a game changer in palliative care, especially with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Families have their loved one with them until the end, with less stress. There is potential to change the path of hospice and palliative care industries once this sacred plant is rescheduled away from Schedule I, when many millions can safely have access to it.