The Endocannabinoid System and How to Affect It
In episode 3, we take a look at what research exists on therapeutic cannabis, understand how the endocannabinoid system works, why it’s important, and how you can support your patients’ endocannabinoid systems with and without cannabis.
Kelly Heim, Pharm.D is the Senior Scientific Director of Genomics and Pharmacology for the Healthcare Practitioner Brands of Atrium Innovations. He received his pharmacology degree from Dartmouth Medical School and also has a doctorate in pharmacology. The reason Dr. Heim pursued this field because he wanted to be strategic about developing new medicines and new options to try difficult diseases and improve patient care in a way that is as exact and precise and evidence-based as possible. The Endocannabinoid System is of great interest to Dr. Heim because it allows us to incorporate some of the molecular data that has evolved on cannabinoids and apply them clinically.
After a decades-long drug war, legal cannabis finally appeared on the horizon in the 1990s. By 1996, the State of California introduced medical marijuana cards as a method of legally obtaining therapeutic cannabis in the U.S. These cards were and still are issued to adults with the doctor’s clearance for treatment of 50 different conditions, ranging from AIDS to glaucoma. Yet, is there science to support cannabis treatment for all of these disorders? Is it enough to validate therapeutics? What does the research tell us? To answer these questions and to really understand the scope of cannabis therapeutics, we have to dive deep beyond the prejudice, products, and politics, and into your cells. We have to take a look at a wide-ranging biochemical communication and regulatory system that is primary early bound in the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as in the immune system, a system that was only discovered in the late eighties, the endocannabinoid system.
In late 2021, certain restrictions were lifted. And with that, we expect a flood of new cannabis research to be published in the coming years.
In the meantime, more and more patients are consuming cannabis. I mean, just look at the statistics, either recreationally or to self-medicate. And it falls on healthcare providers to do their best with what information we do have to help patients navigate the world of cannabis safety.
Cannabis and cannabis-derived products are not legal in all states or countries. The views and opinions expressed by guests and hosts appearing on these podcasts are strictly their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Good Medicine On the Go or its sponsors. This podcast is for educational purposes only and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship.