Ask The Expert- Dr. David Bearman
Dr. David Bearman is a world-renowned expert on the endocannabinoid system. With so many questions surrounding CBD and cannabis, we thought it best to ask the him. He understands how the cannabis plant and its constituents work with your body.
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DL: I’m Dan Larkin and this is “Ask the Expert”. Today we’ll be speaking with Dr. David Bearman. He’s the executive vice president of the AACM, the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine and a certified cannabinoid medicine expert. Dr. Bearman joins us now from his practice in Santa Barbara, California. Doctor, welcome to the program.
DB: It’s a pleasure being with you.
DL: For those who don’t know, can you explain what cannabinoids are and why they’re important to us?
DB: Well cannabinoids are a twenty-one carbon molecule that either blocks or stimulates the body’s CB1 or CB2 receptors. And as humans, we make our own cannabinoids. They’re called endocannabinoids. And the two of them that we’re aware of are called anandamide and 2-AG. The cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system that all humans have is very important for modulation of neurotransmission and for homeostasis. So we’re talking about something here that is quite important.
DL: Doctor we’re hearing a lot about CBD. It almost sounds too good to be true. Can it really live up to its billing?
DL: And why is that?
DB: Well the person who is really responsible for understanding how the endocannabinoid system works and how the cannabinoids in the plant interact with the human body is Raphael Mechoulam who characterized the chemical structure of THC in 1964 and has been involved with researchers from around the world in characterizing the endocannabinoid system.
And he postulated something that he called the entourage effect. And the entourage effect is the totality of the combined effect of all of the therapeutic constituents of the plant.
Now plants are complicated. Coffee, for instance, has eight hundred and eighty molecules. Tomato has 380. Cannabis has 512. Of that, a hundred and thirteen are cannabinoids. THC and CBD are two of the hundred and thirteen cannabinoids. Now, many of the cannabinoids have therapeutic value.
There is a certain amount of overlap but some of them have different kinds of therapeutic value and not only the cannabinoids but the terpenes, which are the compounds that give the plant its unique odor, work together to have the therapeutic effect.
So if you’re using CBD alone you’re missing out on hundreds of other potentially beneficial therapeutic molecules. It’s not that CBD does not have therapeutic value. It’s that the therapeutic value is enhanced by many of the other constituents of the plant.
Ask The Expert transcript continues
DL: So, you’re recommending to patients that when they visit their doctor they should talk to them about CBD and the entourage effect and why they feel it’s important?
DB: Not only should the patient understand the entourage effect but if the doctor that they’re seeing doesn’t understand the entourage effect then they probably should see a certified cannabinoid medicine specialist who does understand the importance of the entourage effect.
DL: Doctor, what kind of progress might we expect in the field of medicine once cannabis is no longer a schedule one drug?
DB: I think that we’re going to see tremendous breakthroughs in autoimmune disease, in neurodegenerative disease, in addition to the benefits that cannabis provides for treatment of pain.
Basically, the cannabis plant is too good to be true. I mean when I give talks to physicians I have a question that says how can anyone substance do all the things that you say that it does. And the reason that it can do all the things that I say that it does is that we have this endocannabinoid system which is the largest neurotransmitter system in the human body.
Also, we have the CB2 receptors which are very important in terms of autoimmune diseases. And there are a number of other properties that the plant has.
DL: What would you tell a mother or father, maybe a family member, or a friend who may be suffering but has never tried cannabis?
DB: What have you got to lose. I mean, the fact of the matter is that in 1988 after a two-year rescheduling hearing, the DEA’s chief administrative law judge not only recommended rescheduling cannabis but said it was one of the safest therapeutic agents known to man.
Also, there is a pharmaceutical company in England or Great Britain called GW Pharmaceuticals and they’ve done numerous amounts of studies that have demonstrated the value of cannabis and treating pain and treating some of the symptoms that come along with multiple sclerosis.
And, I guess I would tell them why don’t you check the internet? Why don’t you check GW Pharmaceuticals? Or, why don’t you check the National Cancer Institute? Why don’t you read my book? There’s an enormous amount of information that’s out there that is very good.
American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine
There is an organization that I’m the executive vice president of called the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine and I would suggest that people check our web site. Or, they also might go to the web site of the California Medical Cannabis Research Center. They issued a report to the state legislature of California and the people of California on 18 FDA approved clinically oriented cannabis studies done at four medical schools here in California.
Also, they touch on some of the areas where cannabis is useful in treating, such as pain, attention deficit disorder, or Tourette’s syndrome. I mean the fact of the matter is, is that cannabis is extremely helpful for many children. Not only the children with ADD that I mentioned and PTSD, but it’s incredibly useful for treating autism spectrum disorder, spectrum disorder conditions including social anxiety and severe autism.
And the parents that I have seen whose kids have benefited from the use of cannabis for autism have been ecstatic at the improvement that they’ve seen. Now, one of the things that I would tell parents is that just because cannabis was illegal for 75 years doesn’t mean that it’s a magic bullet. It cannot do all things for all people in all conditions. But it is one of the safest therapeutic agents out there and it has an enormous range of therapeutic applications.
DL: Dr. David Bearman, thank you for joining us on “Ask the Expert.”
DB: We appreciate that. Thank you very much for coming by.
DL: Dr. David Bearman joined us today from Santa Barbara California where he’s the executive vice president of the American Academy of cannabinoid medicine. We appreciate him on “Ask the Expert”. I hope you’ll keep watching too, for more of these segments at Cannabis In Real Life.