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The Uses and Risks of Medical Cannabis: Is It Right For You?

Medical cannabis comes from the cannabis sativa plant. You can use it medically for different symptoms and conditions. The cannabis sativa plant comes in two main varieties: hemp and marijuana. The hemp plant is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations. THC is compound that gives the “high” when the substance is consumed. Marijuana, on the other hand is high in THC and low in CBD. Generally, hemp has less than 0.3% THC, and CBD is legal to consume in the US.

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In most US states, as well as most countries around the world, cannabis is only used under strict regulation. Cannabis sativa and its derivatives, except CBD, are controlled substances in the US. That means there are prohibition laws around how and when they are used, if at all.

Although both CBD and THC can both be used medically for different purposes, different states have varying laws for the use of cannabis, especially the type that contains higher THC levels. These laws are expanding as new research emerges about the benefits and risks of using medical marijuana.

In this article, we will focus on the current state of medical cannabis use as well as some of the possible risks and benefits you might want to be aware of in case you’re considering trying it out. This also goes for if you’re considering using CBD for your kids. We’ll also discuss how it might affect those with adrenal fatigue and chronic stress.

What Conditions Is Medical Cannabis Used For?

Legally, there are certain “qualifying conditions” that you are allowed to use medical cannabis for. Those include the following:

But even if you have one or more of these conditions, you don’t automatically qualify for a prescription. It depends on your state’s laws as well as the severity of your symptoms. But you can always check with your doctor regarding these issues and whether it would be a good idea to give cannabis a try. Just be aware that even if it is legal in your state, not every doctor is willing to prescribe it.

Some people use cannabis for conditions that may not yet be considered qualifying, such as anxiety, but we do not recommend that you try any substances, natural or not, without approval from your doctor or health professional first.

Types of Medical Cannabis

Cannabis can be either administered as it is in plant form or as one of its derivative substances. Used in its natural plant form, its dry leaves and buds can be smoked. Derivative substances include topical solutions you can rub onto your skin, oral solutions, oil that you can use for vaporizing, edibles like brownies or cookies, and in pill form. Some prescription medications use CBD or cannabis-related substances, such as nabilone and dronabinol.

If you’re prescribed cannabis, you will also be told how and when to use it, as well as how much to use. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and also the type of cannabis you’re using, you will need to adjust accordingly. For example, vaporization has the fastest effects, while CBD is slow but doesn’t create a high. It’s important to work with your healthcare professional to find the most suitable form for your specific condition and needs.

Many people also find cannabis is a good alternative when other medications are causing side effects. However, substituting medications can have a big impact on your condition as well, so it’s important to talk to your doctor first.

How Cannabis Works In the Body

The human body produces cannabinoids endogenously, meaning it naturally makes substances very similar to compounds found in cannabis sativa plants. These endogenous cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, are part of your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Along with these substances, your ECS also has cannabinoid receptors and the enzymes that synthesize and then degrade endocannabinoids, whether endogenous or exogenous.

The ECS is named as such because it’s a system that was discovered when researchers were exploring what cannabis does to the nervous system. Since then, it’s been found to play important roles in the development of the central nervous system (CNS) as well as in synaptic plasticity. Plasticity is a term that describes how your CNS changes on structural and functional levels in response to what you experience.

But it’s not just limited to your CNS. The ECS can be found in different cells and tissues throughout your body. It is involved in many functions, including metabolism, immunity, body temperature, sleep, appetite, and the stress response. It’s needed for proper repair and for reaching and maintaining homeostasis. And, if you’ve ever used marijuana, you know how it can affect such functions, sometimes negatively and sometimes positively.

The most well-studied endocannabinoids till now are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and the most abundant cannabinoid receptors found in the body are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are more involved with your CNS, and CB2 receptors are more involved with your peripheral nervous system (PNS). Other receptors include the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, and the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs). These endocannabinoid receptors are what enable your body to receive and react to cannabis. THC can bind directly to CB1 and CB2, while CBD indirectly modulates them.

Risk and Safety Concerns

This natural system is why exogenous cannabinoids work on your body. But just because cannabis is a natural substance, and just because you have an endogenous system that works with it, doesn’t mean it is always appropriate or safe. Any substance, natural or not, that has medicinal properties, will have risks as well. In this section, we will outline some of the risks that are specific to marijuana.

The first and most obvious issue here is that it can affect your coordination and your judgment. This means that you should not be driving or operating dangerous machinery. You are more prone to accidents and other injuries if you do not use it in a controlled environment.

Cannabis use can also lead to fatigue, bloodshot eyes, faster heart rate, dizziness, and low blood pressure. If you overdo it, you could end up with overdose symptoms, such as hallucinating or feeling faint. Used for long periods of time, there is a risk it could contribute to depression.

Smoking marijuana also carries certain health and safety concerns. For example, some people mix the dry leaves or buds with tobacco to make it burn more smoothly. This tobacco content is harmful to your lungs and may lead to lung conditions, including cancer. But even if you use it without combining it with tobacco, there’s some speculation that it can still be harmful to your lungs.

What About Addiction?

The other risk, which is still debated, is dependency. Dependency means that when and if you decide to stop using medical cannabis, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. If you overuse it for a long period of time, it’s possible you may be at risk of addiction, where even if you want to stop using it you are unable to without intervention.

Because of the possible risk of addiction, the National Institute on Drug Abuse considers marijuana a “gateway drug” that can lead users to other, more dangerous drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. This label is controversial, and so far there’s not much evidence to support the theory. But the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still currently categorizes it as a Schedule I drug, in the same class as heroin.

Cannabis is also not a prescription drug, except for the three medications mentioned earlier, so the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t oversee the different cannabis products for sale on the market. This is another area of concern, as you can get products with different ingredients and different concentrations of active components. Some companies producing them are also not very careful with labeling their products, with some having very different ingredients than what they claim.

If you are considering using cannabis medically, you need to take all of these risks into consideration. This is especially true if you plan on using it for a medical purpose, as you may end up aggravating or complicating your condition further. Still, you may look into all of this and still come to the conclusion that it’s worthwhile. The most important thing is that you do so with the guidance of an experienced health professional.

Cannabis and Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a huge problem in modern life. The fast pace, fast food, and convenience products of the 21 st century may be allowing us to juggle all the different roles we need to play, but they come with a price. They can overload our system with stressors that you don’t even know are there.

Chronic stress can be physical or psychological. And it can include things like a bad diet, overconsumption of sugar and simple carbs, exposure to toxins, unaddressed food sensitivities, smoking, leading a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, chronic inflammation, digestive issues, financial pressure, overworking, toxic relationships, and bad sleep, to name a few.

And although cannabis use is not a direct stressor per se, using it in order to suppress the stress doesn’t actually help. The stressors that created the problem are still there, and you might keep putting off dealing with them if you are using cannabis to cope. Inappropriate use of cannabis, like overuse, can become a direct stressor as well. It could cause lung problems, interfer with sleep and appetite, or contribute to mood, financial, or relationship problems.

What chronic stress does is overwork your NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, which is your body’s global response to stress. Your NEM is composed of six circuits of organs and systems that work together to fight stress. Your adrenal glands are part of the NEM’s Hormone Circuit, and they are your first responders to stress. They produce your body’s most important anti-stress hormone, cortisol. Cannabis affects this circuit as well as the Neuroaffect Circuit the most.

Medical Cannabis for Adrenal Fatigue

So, let’s say you’re eating fast food all the time because you have a lot of work pressure and don’t have time to cook. You also don’t sleep well from the anxiety you feel, and you have to take painkillers frequently to fight off your tension headaches. And you use cannabis to get you through the day. The problem with these stressors is not that they cause acute stress, which your NEM is well-equipped to handle. The problem with them is that they are recurring – they are chronic.

That means that your adrenals are constantly working hard to produce more and more cortisol. Yet you’re not aware of what’s happening so you continue your lifestyle as is. At some point, your adrenals will get so exhausted that their cortisol output will drop completely. These are the early stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), and when your adrenals are weak, the rest of your NEM will follow suit.

Symptoms of AFS include fatigue, weight gain, sleep problems, brain fog, anxiety, mild depression, low libido, heart palpitations, inflammation, aches and pains, and frequent colds and flu.

And although cannabis that you use according to your doctor’s guidance can help with some of these symptoms, like anxiety, pain, and inflammation, it won’t fix the root of the problem. AFS and NEM dysregulation require that you tackle the stressors directly, by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. In that sense, cannabis should only be used as an adjunct to a core recovery program.

Cannabis Side Effects and AFS Recovery

Like any drug, whether natural or synthetic, cannabis’s benefits and risks are related to how and why you use it. In the case of adrenal fatigue recovery, some of its usually unwanted side effects may actually be useful, while some of its intended benefits may not. The following are two examples of this.

Fatigue and Sleep

Most people feel more lethargic and tired after using marijuana. So deciding to include it as part of your adrenal fatigue recovery plan has specific caveats. The most prominent feature of AFS is fatigue, and medical cannabis might end up aggravating this symptom in the short term. If this added fatigue causes more stress or gets in the way of sticking with your recovery plan, then it may not be worth the benefits.

However, AFS recovery also requires a lot of rest and sleep. In that way, if cannabis will help you relax and get more sleep, the relaxation and lethargy it can induce may not be such a big issue after all.

Appetite and Weight

Another prominent symptom in AFS is easily gaining weight and having difficulty losing it. One of the reasons HIV/AIDs and cancer patients take medical cannabis is to stimulate their appetite. This may be a problem if you have AFS. Although we do not advocate for calorie restriction in AFS recovery or under most circumstances, weight gain beyond a certain point becomes a stressor in its own right.

But if you are following the adrenal fatigue diet, which is the cornerstone of AFS recovery, then you won’t be too at risk of overeating or consuming empty calories.

Other important components of adrenal fatigue recovery include a supplements protocol, stress management, sleep hygiene practices, gentle forms of exercise, and possibly some forms of herbal remedies and natural hormone therapies. If you would like to know more about AFS and NEM recovery protocols, you can get in touch with our coaching team with any questions.

CBD Oil for Children

Generally speaking, we’ve been looking at medical cannabis, mainly the marijuana variety, for helping relieve symptoms of chronic conditions for adults. But CBD oil and medications made from CBD have been used for conditions that affect children as well.

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The most striking of these is severe seizure disorders. Epidiolex is a drug made from CBD. And the FDA approved it for treating people, including children, who suffer from drug-resistant seizures. It seems to be quite effective from what studies have found.

Some parents also swear by CBD’s effectiveness in relieving symptoms of ADHD and anxiety in their kids. Of course, if you are a parent and are thinking about CBD oil for your child, you should talk to your pediatrician first.

What to Ask Your Doctor About Medical Cannabis

If you do decide to try cannabis, you should talk to your doctor first. Here is a short list of things to discuss with your doctor:

  • Some research suggests that it’s not just one component of the cannabis plant that delivers its benefits, but the combination of all the different compounds. Is that important in your case?
  • Do you mind the “high” you get from marijuana? If so, should you consider using CBD instead?
  • Weighing the benefits and risks, does it make sense for you to take on some of these risks?
  • Do you have a personal or family history of drug dependence or addiction?
  • Does your healthcare team have enough experience with its side effects? Do they deal with AFS patients? Do they know how to handle the two together?

If you suspect you have AFS and NEM dysregulation, you can get in touch with us to ask about whether your use of cannabis, recreationally or medically, is helpful or not.

In Conclusion

Medical cannabis is fast becoming more available in the US. States are expanding their laws as more research comes out about its benefits and relative safety. Yet there is still a lot to learn about using it for therapeutic purposes. The government heavily regulates its use, while at the same time doesn’t regulate the quality of the products on the market. This means you are at risk of breaking the law or using products that are not suitable for you if you don’t really know what you’re doing.

In order to get medical marijuana, you need to go to your doctor, and you need to have one of the conditions that would qualify you for a legal prescription in your state. The most common uses are for pain, nausea, and appetite loss due to a chronic illness.

However, even though cannabis is natural and your own body has cannabinoid receptors, there are still risks involved in using it. Those include fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, and even hallucinations. In some cases, you may also be at risk of developing a dependency on the drug.

CBD on the other hand is legal in the entire US and has certain medicinal uses as well. It can help with anxiety, for example, as well as certain seizure disorders. Some people even give it to children with these conditions, although this should only be done under strict medical supervision.

If you have adrenal fatigue or NEM dysregulation, medical cannabis may be useful for certain symptoms. But we don’t advise using it to cope with the stress that is causing the issues. You should deal with that stress directly with the ultimate aim of eliminating it. You can incorporate cannabis into your overall AFS recovery program, but only if it makes sense to do so.

If you’d like more information on how cannabis might help with your AFS recovery, or about AFS recovery in general, we’d be happy to help. You can talk to our team for a FREE** health consultation.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

What Are The Benefits Of Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is now legal in many states for certain conditions. Especially those that cause pain, nausea, and weight loss. And it can really help offset the side-effects of certain treatments too, like chemotherapy. It also has other benefits, as well as risks.

Health Impact and Usage Guide: Medical Cannabis, THC, Cannabidiol, and Hemp

Medical cannabis, which is also referred to as medical marijuana, pot, or weed, is undoubtedly becoming more commonplace in the United States. Medical cannabis simply represents the utilization of the entire marijuana or cannabis plant and all the extracts as natural medicine to remedy unpleasant symptoms or improve a condition. This plant must be classified as medical grade and produced without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, which may contain toxins.

The healing component of medical cannabis comes from its concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) and specific flavonoid and terpene content. Another part of the cannabis plant that is well-known for its psychotropic effect on the brain is tetrahydrocannabinol, which is usually referred to as THC. Those seeking marijuana for recreational purposes are drawn to higher THC levels, whereas medical cannabis has lower levels of THC but a high CBD content.

Until 1942, marijuana was classified as a medicinal plant. Around 50% of Americans have tried it. There are about 200 medical conditions that have been noted to improve by the use of cannabis.

History of Medical Cannabis

Since medical marijuana has become more widespread, it’s sometimes believed to be a recent trend. This notion that medical cannabis is relatively novel is inaccurate, however, as its use can be dated back to at least 5,000 years ago.

Cannabis is a type of hemp plant that is used to make fiber, food, oil, paper, biofuel, clothing, and medicine. A spiritual instructor called Zoroaster wrote a book that covered almost 10,000 plants around 2,700 years ago. This author considered hemp to be one of the more valuable plants in his collection. A famous Greek physician named Hippocrates, one of the architects of western medicine even endorsed extracts from the cannabis plant.

Even the physician who served Queen Victoria offered medical cannabis for her majesty’s menstrual cramps. This physician, Russell Reynolds, was a leader in the medical field and boasted that, when it comes to medicine, cannabis was one of the most beneficial. During this same era, cannabis was effectively used by other well-known doctors for the correction of depression and migraines, things that it is still widely used for today.

Soldiers of the American Revolutionary War were given compensation via cannabis. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington even urged farmers to produce more hemp for goods such as ship sails, paper, and more. Hemp is also a useful alternative to plastic and is better for the environment.

How Medical Cannabis Works and What It Can Help With

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve cannabis, but a growing number of physicians are in favor of this drug for its value and benefit to health.

Cannabis is made up of many compounds. Two of these, CBD and THC, are referred to as cannabinoids. There have been approximately 80 of these cannabinoids identified, and they represent almost half of the plant.

Most of these cannabinoids work in the body by binding to cannabinoid receptors that exist in the body naturally. Cannabinoid receptors can be found in the kidneys, liver, immune system, lungs, and brain. Researchers now consider cannabinoid receptors to be the most extensive receptor system in the body.

Cannabinoid receptors are involved in how the body addresses pain, immune function, regulation of metabolism, food cravings, bone growth, and anxiety. The endocannabinoid system is believed to play a role in almost all physiological activities. It helps to ensure homeostasis, and it supports energy storage and intake, cell communication, emotional balance, memory, sleep, reproduction, and more. The body produces natural cannabinoids that play a role in operating signals that mimic serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.

Cancer patients that use medical cannabis see a decrease in nausea, insomnia, and pain that are side effects of chemotherapy. There’s also a possibility that cannabis can function as a natural form of chemotherapy in two ways. First, it can trigger suicide of cancer cells, and unlike traditional chemotherapy, it allows healthy cells to remain intact. Second, cannabis has been shown to possess anti-angiogenic properties, which restrict blood supply to cancer tumors.

Medical cannabis has also been used in the correction of mental and mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions, obesity, seizure disorders, heart conditions, degenerative types of neurological disorders, and Parkinson’s disease.

Methods for Using Medical Cannabis

The following list explains some of the many different methods of administration:

Smoking – Cannabis can be smoked using a joint, pipe, or water bong (pipe). This method could cause some of the drug to be lost since it can burn with a marijuana cigarette or joint. Utilizing a water pipe (bong) can prevent some of the airway irritation that can be caused by using a pipe or joint as well.

Vaporization – When medical cannabis is heated to a designated temperature, the medication will be released into vapors that can then be breathed.

Oromucosal or sublingual – Cannabis can be produced in a form that can be placed in the mouth or under the tongue to deliver immediate relief. This is an attractive option for those who do not wish to smoke.

Edibles – Cannabis can be found in pre-made cookies, brownies, or teas that are designed to be eaten. While there could be complications with absorption due to cannabinoids affinity for fat, this is another option for non-smokers.

Topical products – Cannabis comes in many topical forms, such as lotion and ointment to help with muscle pain, inflammation of the skin, and arthritis.

Cannabis can be used to help remedy a wide variety of conditions. Although administration methods vary with this drug, it’s critical that medical grade cannabis is utilized, that it lacks any type of pesticides or synthetic chemicals.

But even if you get medical grade cannabis, the dosage, frequency, and mode of use will make a difference. What works best for one person may not be right for you. That’s why we use, with all of our clients, a wholistic approach that takes into account their physical and mental wellbeing as well as their current lifestyle and needs.


The part of the plant that proves therapeutic stems from the cannabidiol (CBD) content. CBD works in the human body by serving as an agonist of the 5-HT1A receptor, which is responsible for neuromodulation. Neuromodulation on this receptor is involved in dilating vessels to in turn decrease heart rate and blood pressure. This type of receptor agonist also functions as an antidepressant that provides anti-anxiety properties.

The American Stroke Association has found that CBD offers neuroprotective benefits. CBD is also classified as an allosteric modulator of receptors of opioid, and it allows for pain reduction and decreases the effects of chronic inflammation on the body.

CBD functions as a powerful antioxidant. CBD was found to decrease inflammation in the intestine. It has also been proven to decrease barrier disruption and inflammation in endothelial cells as a result of high glucose, which is important to diabetes research.

Medical cannabis typically has low levels of THC and high levels of CBD. This is achieved by allowing male cannabis plants to pollinate the female plants. When the two are separated and female plants are not pollinated, the concentration of THC increases dramatically. In order to obtain high levels of CBD, it is also possible to extract it from the cannabis plants and take it as a singular ingredient.

THC, in contrast to CBD, has been suspected of being a potentially addictive component in the marijuana plant. THC binds mostly to receptors called CB1, which simply stands for cannabinoid receptor type 1. CB1 receptors can be found mainly in the peripheral and central nervous system. These systems include the brain (minus the brainstem), liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, and pancreas.

CBD can help to dispel some of the psychoactive symptoms of THC and helps prevent the memory loss that can be associated with using the drug. It also has a very low toxicity level. No one has ever died while using CBD, which is in stark contrast to drugs such as aspirin or alcohol; responsible for 1,000 and 110,000 deaths every year respectively.

It is important to note that medical marijuana still contains both CBD and THC. CBD that is extracted and isolated does not contain any THC. However, while medical cannabis is grown to ensure maximum CBD levels, THC levels can sometimes meet this level and their concentration can vary. Medical cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance that is only available with a doctor’s prescription, and it is legal only in specific states. CBD that is produced from hemp oil, however, unlike CBD produced from medical marijuana, is perfectly legal for purchase without a prescription and is widely available.

Difference between CBD from Cannabis and Hemp Oil

CBD can be made from either medically produced cannabis plants, or industrially produced hemp plants. Hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, whereas CBD is made from the leaves, flowers, or stems of the plant. CBD produced from the cannabis plant, on the other hand, can contain high levels of THC, which can help a number of conditions but does have drawbacks with regard to psychotropic side effects or feelings of anxiety. Hemp CBD is safe for all ages due to its insignificant levels of THC. Hemp has a THC concentration of less than 1 percent, lacks flavonoids and terpenes used in healing, and has a CBD concentration of around 4 percent. This means that CBD from hemp is safer to use for certain medical ailments.

Cannabis’ Cousin: Hemp

Similar to Medical Cannabis, hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is low in THC and contains CBD. Both marijuana and hemp stem from the same cannabis origin and share a scientific classification of Cannabis sativa. Hemp can be thought of as a so-called “cousin” to the marijuana plant, as they are actually two different types of cannabis plants. However, hemp is low in THC, and there is very little possibility of it producing THC after pollination.

Production of hemp seeds has more than tripled around the world since the 1990s. Because the United States specifically has grouped hemp into the same category as pot since the ‘70s with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act, it can be confusing to understand that it is not dangerous. In fact, hemp is one of the most holistic products available today and throughout history. Because of this law, the U.S. does not cultivate or grow hemp. However, that does not mean it is not used or sold here; the U.S. actually is the leading consumer of products made from hemp. Hemp has recently been allowed to be grown in certain states for the sake of research, and more than 25 states are interested in pursuing production of hemp. Thirty-nine states have introduced hemp-supporting bills into their state legislature.

Hemp can be used to produce oil and hemp seeds for consumption, CBD, and to create fiber to be used for items such as wood, cotton, and plastic alternative.

In ancient China, hemp seeds were given to the poor to be used for growing and food. Hemp seeds provide numerous minerals, unsaturated fats, and protein. When the seeds are shelled, soft and nutritious hemp hearts are exposed. Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fats like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical to sustaining health. Nutrition & Metabolism published research that stated hemp seeds contains an ideal proportion of linoleic acid (omega-6s or LA) and a-linolenic acid (omega-3s or ALA) for a wholesome diet.

Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is also prevalent in hemp seeds, which supports healthy organs, nerves, muscles, cell function and growth. GLA offsets some of the side effects of the prolactin hormone, which can worsen the unpleasant side effects of PMS and menopause. The only raw food source of GLA is hemp.

It is important to note that these unsaturated fatty acids do not provide a source of energy to the body, but rather are the building blocks for cells and biosynthesis. Skin conditions may arise when the body has inadequate levels of fatty acids. Because of the fatty acid concentration in hemp products, it can prevent things like eczema and inflammation. Hemp seeds contain about 30 percent healthy and essential fats, in addition to protein and other nutrients.

Hemp seeds are also a fantastic source of protein, comparable to beef. This can be especially important in a diet that lacks meat from animal sources, such as for vegetarians and vegans. For every couple of tablespoons of this nutritious food, it supplies around 10 grams of protein. The amino acid composition of hemp is similar to egg whites and soy. Hemp is also easily digested, which is rare for a high-protein plant food.

Hemp seeds support a healthy heart by way of the amino acid L-arginine, which gives way to nitric oxide, and increases the flow of blood and supports healthy blood pressure. The nitric oxide element is important because it assists in the dilation of blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily through the body and heart. Risk for coronary artery conditions rises when nitric oxide levels are low or insufficient. Hemp seeds have been found to decrease blood pressure and blood clot risk, and improve the recovery of the heart after a heart attack according to research.

Fiber is extremely important to overall digestive, skin, and heart health. Some research even shows that fiber may play a role in weight regulation and the management of blood sugar. Intact hemp seeds provide a high concentration of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber breaks down in the intestines, slowing digestion and allowing the body to go longer periods without food. This is beneficial for weight management. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve as readily in the tract, allowing for optimal digestive movement and elimination. A diet high in fiber can also lower cholesterol.

Additionally, the dietary consumption of hemp seeds and oil have anti-inflammatory properties and increase brain function, improve energy levels, and decrease stroke risk. Research has shown that hemp consumption can help with vomiting and nausea, cancer cells and tumors, degenerative neurological disorders, seizures, psychotic disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Cannabis: The Pros and Cons

Medical cannabis has been found to be an effective medicine for many health problems and symptoms, and it does so in a more natural and less hazardous way, compared to pharmaceutics. States that have approved the use of medical marijuana have seen a 25% drop in overdoses due to prescription pain medicine. Marijuana also boasts extremely low toxicity levels and can be an alternative to prescription drugs taken for similar nagging symptoms. Medical cannabis used for chemotherapy, instead of traditional methods, is much less toxic and may produce better results.

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Dangers of Cannabis

However, there can also be negative side effects while using this drug. When marijuana is discontinued abruptly, withdrawal can manifest as symptoms similar to nicotine withdrawal, depression, insomnia, and more. The use of medical cannabis can lead to memory problems, coordination and balance issues, a weakened immune system, abnormal hormone levels and reproductive function, an increased risk of heart conditions, adrenal fatigue, irregular or rapid heartbeat and increased risk of heart attack, higher risk for cancer of the lung, cough, and more. Research has shown that regular use of marijuana leads to reduced cognitive abilities as well.

THC in medical cannabis also increases cortisol levels, which is critical knowledge to those suffering from adrenal fatigue. Cadmium found in the leaves of marijuana can actually accumulate in the body, which could lead to increased blood pressure, illness, and breakdown of the kidneys.

Because of such risks, which can be difficult to spot, we recommend that you don’t take up any new remedy or supplement without first consulting with a healthcare professional. You need to speak with someone who has experience dealing with adrenal fatigue in its different stages. Different stages of AFS can produce different reactions. For example, you could end up with a paradoxical reaction where cannabis increases anxiety instead of relieves it. Or you can end up with an adrenal crash if you use too much cannabis or at the wrong AFS stage.

If you have questions or concerns about your recovery, you can call us for a free initial consultation to see what your best next step is.

Marijuana addiction is a gray area due to the classification of dependence versus addiction. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about 30% of people who use cannabis show some level of marijuana use disorder. This disorder is associated with withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not used, such as headaches, changes in mood, sleep, and appetite. Those who use cannabis before they are 18 years old are more likely (by 4 to 7 times) to acquire a marijuana use disorder than adults. NIDA claims that around nine percent of medical cannabis users will become addicted.

How Medical Cannabis, THC, and CBD Affect the Body

Cannabis, THC, and CBD affect many areas of the body in important ways. Here is some of the current research:

Hormones – THC raises cortisol levels, and in rat studies, it reduced levels of thyroxine (thyroid hormone) by 90% in some subjects. However, CBD was found to reduce levels of cortisol. THC also lowers prolactin, which is made in the pituitary gland and manages the development of breasts and breast milk.

Central nervous system – THC promotes a large release of dopamine, which represents the feeling of “high.” Judgment and memory can become impaired with THC use. THC negatively affects basal ganglia and the cerebellum, which function in coordination, reflexes, and balance. THC can also promote hallucinations and could lead to schizophrenic episodes for those who are predisposed to this condition. Medical cannabis can function to eliminate pain, inflammation, and seizures. Fetal brain development is highly affected when the mother uses this drug during pregnancy, which can put them at risk for problems with concentration, memory, and problem-solving. THC is still being assessed for its ability to correct glaucoma, as it can decrease pressure in the eyes.

Endocrine system – CBD can shield against excess stress since it can prevent activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. THC delays male puberty, inhibits the release of eggs from ovaries, disrupts menstrual cycles, and negatively affects sperm.

Liver – CBD and THC reduce levels of fat in the liver. Cannabis was once believed to cause cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver, but this was later found to be inaccurate. However, plant material and possible toxins could cause damage to this organ.

Metabolism – THC can increase blood sugar, while CBD can decrease insulin levels. Medical cannabis users have fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and obesity than those who do not use the drug. CBD and THC increase metabolism and decrease cholesterol in the blood. These two components of cannabis were also found to increase insulin sensitivity, protect insulin-producing cells, boost metabolic rate, and cause appetite suppression in rodents.

Inflammation – CBD is proven to lessen acute as well as chronic inflammation, surpassing other well-known inflammation fighters like antioxidants and vitamin C. Gut, colon, and joint inflammation are some examples of conditions CBD can help with.

Sleep – The CBD in cannabis can fight insomnia and improve sleep. Although cannabis has been found to prevent sleep with dreams (REM sleep), it improves deep and overall sleep. People who discontinue cannabis use report problems with disruption of sleep.

Anxiety – Cannabis high in THC and low in CBD can actually increase stress and anxiety. A well-balanced type or types high in CBD, on the other hand, lower stress levels and anxiety.

Medical Cannabis and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: Pros and Cons

The use of medical cannabis, as with any drug, stimulates the adrenal glands because it interrupts homeostasis. The cannabis creates an environment where the liver detects toxins, which also involves energy expenditure from the adrenal glands. The more often cannabis is used, the more the adrenals are activated, which can lead to their decreased function or eventual exhaustion. This can worsen adrenal gland fatigue if it is already present.

Using this drug can cause a short-lived feeling of energy and the absence of anxiety, pain, etc. THC, compared to other stimulants that are commonly used such as nicotine and caffeine, may actually cause less stress on the adrenals. As cannabis is used continually over a long time period, however, it can cause the user to become tired due to the strain put on adrenals. This restarts the cycle of drug-use to alter energy level or feelings.

In earlier stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), high cortisol is common as the body tries to fight stress. Since cortisol is made by adrenal glands, cannabis with high amounts of THC could cause increase already high cortisol levels, causing additional stress on the overworked adrenals of those affected by AFS. In adrenal fatigue, this internal cortisol can cause multiple organ resistance, which can include issues such as ovary and thyroid imbalance (by way of an ovarian-adrenal-thyroid (OAT) imbalance in females or adrenal-thyroid axis imbalance in males).

This thyroid piece of adrenal fatigue is also important to cannabis use, as research has shown that cannabis can decrease thyroid function in rat studies, some by 90%. Hypothyroidism, whether or not it is detected, is common in AFS, which could be made worse by high THC intake.

On the other hand, CBD has been found to have the opposite effect of THC on cortisol levels. CBD, higher in medical cannabis, can actually lower cortisol levels. Since the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal HPA axis modulates cortisol levels in response to the body’s need for the hormone, CBD proves beneficial to this system as well. In decreasing cortisol levels, CBD could, in turn, benefit insulin sensitivity, the immune system, bone strength and mineralization, fat loss, and more.

In the early stages of AFS, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia are all common. The use of medical cannabis has been proven to be effective in reversing all of these symptoms. The removal of stressors and increasing sleep are two of the most important steps to take when trying to reverse AFS. Cannabis could provide temporary relief to some emotional stressors that take time to solve, such as problems with family, finances, relationships, or marriage. Medical cannabis could assist in falling asleep faster and providing a deeper, albeit dreamless, rest which could help with AFS recovery.

Medical cannabis can greatly affect metabolism because cortisol is tied to insulin function in the body. When adrenals are overworked, blood sugar levels can drop, leading to lightheadedness and dizziness. In this way, CBD could help those suffering from AFS by decreasing insulin levels. Insulin drives glucose from the blood into the cells. Decreasing insulin can help sustain a balanced blood sugar level and even out the absorption of glucose into the cells. High THC consumption, on the other hand, could lead to blood sugar spikes.

Cannabis could negatively affect heart function, as it can cause symptoms like heart palpitations and blood pressure changes, some of the same symptoms that are associated with adrenal fatigue. Changes in heart rate and rhythm are more likely associated with THC.

The use of cannabis on a long-term basis has been associated with adrenal fatigue and damage to the endocrine system. Cannabinoid receptors are abundant in the body, including in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands contain CB1 receptors, which is what THC binds with that causes cortisol and adrenaline release. Chronic or excessive stress, a central cause of AFS, may even result in a semi-permanent state of hypoglycemia and can cause adverse reactions to marijuana since problems with the control of cortisol and adrenaline are associated with this syndrome. Blood sugar levels should be monitored for those with AFS if cannabis is to be used.

In later stages of AFS, anti-inflammation mechanisms are lacking in the body due to the decreased output of cortisol by adrenals. Cannabis has effectively balanced all different kinds of body inflammation and could help fulfill this function.

Immune system function is suppressed with high levels of cortisol as the body tries to protect itself. The use of cannabis has been known to have a similar effect, which could lead to a weakened state and increase the likelihood of infection. This adds to stress on the body and causes more fatigue.

Cannabis use could combat excess weight gain and inability to lose weight, which is common when the body is stressed and in AFS.

In the beginning phases of AFS, cannabis use could also help with offsetting high blood pressure. As AFS progresses, blood pressure drops and could be made worse with the use of cannabis.

Overall, medical cannabis with a high content of CBD and a lower level of THC would cause less physical stress and more benefit to someone suffering from AFS. Because CBD uses completely different receptors than THC, it can cause beneficial effects on anxiety, stress, and depression, which are some of the major causes of AFS and therefore play a huge role in recovery. CBD in cannabis is safer and does not possess the same addictive potential that THC does. CBD also works to balance hormones in the body. Since the adrenal glands are responsible for the production of over 50 hormones, this could be a major benefit to people with adrenal problems.

Because cannabis is a natural drug, it could also be a safer alternative for remedying AFS than pharmaceuticals. However, the use of cannabis, especially long term, could lead to dependency or recovery failure if not first evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Cannabis and the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response

The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response is made up of a neuroendocrine unit comprised of the heart, adrenals, thyroid, brain, autonomic nervous system, and gut or GI tract. The metabolic unit of the NEM is made up of the immune system, microbiome, pancreas, liver, and extra-cellular matrix.

When stress is experienced in the body, the NEM will use its arsenal of defenses to maintain homeostasis. However, prolonged stress disrupts the web of systems and organs, and sends a cascade of responses in motion from both neuroendocrine and metabolic units. These responses can be hormonal, cardionomic, neuroaffective, metabolic, detoxification, and inflammatory, among others.

Cannabis is a powerful drug in the sense that it affects nearly all organ systems in the body. Cannabis can cause a disruption in the entire endocrine system. The use of cannabis affects several glandular hormones, as discussed above. These include the adrenal glands and the production of cortisol, and the OAT axis in women and the adrenal-thyroid hormonal axis in men.

A reduction in thyroid function can change body temperature and determine the rate at which it can respond to stress. This decrease ultimately results in fatigue. This type of hormonal imbalance leads to adverse effects on the other systems and can result in exercise intolerance, infertility, loss of hair, afternoon slump, low libido, and more.

The thyroid, pancreas, and liver are all key components in this snowball response, the metabolic component of the NEM. The effects of cannabis on the thyroid are interconnected, as a decrease in thyroid function will decelerate metabolic pathways. The pancreas produces insulin, which regulates our body’s energy source, glucose. The liver clears all toxins from our body.

Disruption of the metabolic response presents early warning signals like craving sugar, central obesity, and dyslipidemia, common in stages 1 and 2 of adrenal fatigue. More advanced disruption symptoms can include weight gain and hypoglycemia.

Cannabis can disrupt thyroid function with chronic use. Increased metabolism, lower blood cholesterol, increased insulin sensitivity, improved metabolic rate, and decreased issues with type 2 diabetes and obesity levels are all seen among cannabis users as well.

As both hormonal and metabolic components of the NEM become involved in addressing stress, the central nervous system joins in, and symptoms like depression, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, and brain fog begin to appear. This neuro-affect response is maintained by the brain, gut, and autonomic nervous system.

Medical cannabis, specifically THC, alters dopamine levels in the brain, which is associated with feeling good and “high.” Although users can experience relief from neuroaffective responses like depression or anxiety, brain structure could change as a result of using marijuana. This, in turn, could cause temporary or permanent changes to homeostasis. Cannabis is simultaneously effective in correcting neurological disorders and symptoms, as well as inflammation.

The body and NEM respond to interrupted homeostasis with inflammation. The immune system and cells, gut, and microbiome become involved in this response.

For example, the risk for candida, a type of yeast that is the most common culprit for fungal infections, increases with cannabis use. The immune system is a major player in this response, and it employs macrophages (a Greek word meaning ‘big eaters’) to assist in cleaning up after infection by swallowing any type of unwanted or damaging cell in the body. These macrophages are not equipped to fight candida well, and THC promotes the growth of this yeast throughout certain areas of the body (such as the vagina and oral cavity). The body reacts with inflammation to these toxic types of cells, thus causing an even more intense reaction from the body. However, CBD was found to be especially effective in correcting candida infections. It was also effective against gut and colon inflammation, which play a large role in depression, leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and pain throughout the body. Thus, it could act to protect the immune system in regard to inflammation.

The ability of the body to detox is essential for homeostasis, and being unable to do so can lead to congestion in the extracellular matrix. Cannabis has been found to be potentially detrimental to the liver, responsible for detoxifying the body. In those with a compromised liver, such as hepatitis C patients, cannabis was found to worsen fibrosis of the liver. Oftentimes in adrenal fatigue, the liver is found to be functioning below optimal levels. Therefore, it would be prudent to approach cannabis with caution if you are displaying signs of a congested liver and body. These signs can include, brain fog, generalized muscle aches or pains, and chemical sensitivities.

When cannabis utilizes the receptor sites that are designed for cell signaling and the transport of messages between cells, congestion can occur. This can result in the cells becoming overloaded. When detoxification is not able to occur, the immune system becomes compromised and can lead to premature cell death. This can cause symptoms of hypersensitivity, intolerance of medications and supplements, sensitivities to chemicals, and a number of paradoxical reactions that can be extremely difficult to normalize.

However, because the cannabinoid system is involved in so many other systems, there is a huge potential for cannabis to be used as a healing agent as well. If cannabinoids like THC and CBD can offer improvement in autoimmune conditions, obesity, neurological degenerative conditions, PTSD, obesity, mental and mood disorders, as well as many others, then perhaps the body is actually wired to accept cannabis as a medicine.

Research is still limited, as cannabis is not approved for medical use at the federal level, which is where most of the funding for studies is sourced. It appears that although cannabis could cause a disruption in the body, it also provides a plethora of holistic benefits. Compared to other types of medications, medical cannabis could prove to be one of the healthier options.


CBD oil is legal and easy to find all over the country. And many States in the US are beginning to legalize medical cannabis for different conditions. If you qualify for one of these conditions, you may be wondering whether it’s even a good idea to try it. Although it’s generally safe, in our opinion, it depends on your specific situation and needs. We advise the same approach with any natural as well as synthetic remedies: a personalized one.

Most people use cannabis and its derivatives for pain and nausea relief, as well as for increasing appetite. Those are complications of certain conditions rather than the root cause. So with any chronic condition, the more important thing to do is to address the causal issue. And that largely depends on the condition, your medical history, and your current diet and lifestyle.

For example, with NEM dysregulation and AFS, you could use cannabis for symptoms like anxiety and sleep disturbance, but you still need to balance your stress response in order to actually get better. And, in some cases, cannabis may actually make your symptoms worse. That’s why it’s always necessary to get expert guidance on any recovery journey, even if you’ll only be using natural remedies.

If you would like to get more targeted advice on recovery and whether medical cannabis is right for you, start with a free consultation with one of our coaches. We have guided hundreds of people with all kinds of conditions through the ups and downs of recovery. And we’d be happy to see if working together may be ideal for you.

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