Cannabis Health Summit Recap
This past weekend (Jan 23-24) marked the world’s first virtual Cannabis Health Summit, presented by Green Flower Media and co-sponsored by Kiva Confections. Over 28,000 people tuned in online to learn about cannabis from the world's top experts, who gave TED-style presentations highlighting the latest breakthroughs, science, and stories about using cannabis for wellness and transformation.
There were so many incredible takeaways that we created a blog post to share some of our favorite highlights. We hope you enjoy!
Dr. Sunil Aggarwal kicked off the summit by giving us a short history of the cannabis plant and how it evolved 37 million years ago in Southeast Asia and was domesticated over 18,000 years ago. He said that 111 cannabinoids have been discovered so far and that cannabinoids and terpenes together form a powerful union called “The Entourage Effect.”
The Entourage Effect was discussed by many of the speakers- who informed us that the synergy of compounds in cannabis increases tolerability by the body, as well as the effects of the plant than when they are administered in isolation.
The Endocannabinoid System was another much-discussed subject. Dr. Aggarwal likened the system to a “symphony conductor helping to maintain equilibrium” in the body. Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center said, “Every life system of the human body is affected by this system.”
Dr. Dustin Sulak (Healer.com) has been focusing on cannabinoid medicine for six years and has worked with over 18,000 patients. He reminded us that less is often more when it comes to cannabis, and said he has seen incredibly low doses be remarkably effective for some patients. He also told us about cannabis’ “biphasic dose response.” What this means is that cannabis brings more therapeutic effects as the dose goes up- until a patient’s optimal dose is reached, then effects diminish and side effects emerge. Finding optimal dosage is crucial for patients because “cannabis can’t be dosed like a pharmaceutical. This is a unique medicine that treats each individual as unique. No physician can tell you your perfect dose- but you can find it for yourself.”
According to Dr. Gregory Smith, the way to determine your dose is to glow slow and watch for RES: Response, Efficacy and Side Effects. For chronic inflammation Dr. Smith recommended starting with “2.5 mg of CBD and 2.5 mg of THC once a day- then increase.”
Dale Sky Jones (Oaksterdam University) spoke about "being brave and sharing your story" as a means of advocating for the plant. The importance of advocacy, especially in this election year, could not be stressed enough by many of the speakers. Sky Jones also dispelled myths around the plant by citing statistics that DUIs are down 24%, heroin deaths are down 24% and domestic violence reports are down since medical marijuana use became possible in California. “Cannabis is not the gateway, it is the exit strategy," she stated.
Steve DeAngelo was one speaker who veered from the medical uses of cannabis to put focus on its spiritual role. He reminded us of “the power of cannabis to spark creativity, extend patience, and wake up your sense of play and openness to spirit. (It can) enhance the flavor of a meal or touch of a lover’s skin, open your mind, catalyze laughter and bridge human differences…
Still, Steve admitted that there is potential for abuse of this medicine- though not as frequent or damaging as that of pharmaceutical drugs.
Here is Steve’s 3 step method to determine cannabis mis-use:
Step 1 - Ask yourself: What’s the specific effect I’m looking for from cannabis at this time?
Step 2 - How is that effect going to benefit me at the present time?
Step 3 - Is this going to negatively impact anyone else?
Joel Stanley of CW Botanicals and Mara Gordon from Aunt Zelda’s focused on the importance of lab results. Gordon said, “If you have lab results, you have everything. You have all the tools in your hand. It’s possible to dose correctly and consistently over time. Always insist you have the lab test from a respectable lab.” Stanley agreed. “You don’t want to play roulette when you’re going to a dispensary.” Gordon also gave the most sobering statistic of the weekend and emphasized why the stakes are so high for legalization right now. “1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. We need greater access now. We don’t have time.”
Fred Gardner, of Project CBD, spoke of CBD’s “tremendous therapeutic potential” and how this cannabinoid is “analgesic, anti-convulsive, anti-psychotic, and exhibits anti-tumoral effects.” Echoing other speakers’ comments on The Entourage Effect and the importance of our medicine containing a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, Gardener said “single-molecule CBD is not the same as whole plant CBD. CBD and THC are the power couple of cannabis therapeutics- they belong together and work best together.”
Dr. Gregory Smith underscored this statement and told us that “to understand what a great medicine cannabis is, you need to know about the blood-brain layer. All FDA-approved medications are dramatically reduced by this barrier- only 1% of the capsule you take gets through it. THC and CBD have a natural transport mechanism in the blood-brain barrier. There is no other medicine like that.”
Dr. Deborah Malka echoed Gardner’s sentiments during one of the panel talks, who theorized that the “efficacy numbers of CBD hemp oil are completely different than CBD whole extract - by tenfold… (so) if 10 mg (of whole plant CBD) works for you, you’d need 100 mg of CBD hemp oil.” Fourteen states currently have CBD-only approved legislation, versus the 27 who have approved full cannabis. So what is a patient with limited access to do? “If you can’t get the whole plant, take the CBD hemp extract and add some of the essential plant extract that is missing, such as hops essential oil, and add 3 drops to your CBD oil dose. You’re recreating a cannabis medicinal product.” This advice is un-substantiated by research evidence, but a very interesting perspective nonetheless!
As you can tell, it was a jam-packed weekend full of enlightening information for patients, industry workers and those just beginning to discover how safe, effective, and powerful this medicine truly is. If you missed the Cannabis Health Summit, there’s good news- you can own all the weekend’s videos by visiting:
We would like to leave you with one of our favorite quotes from the weekend, from none other than Steve De Angelo:
“Access to cannabis isn’t a privilege, it is a human right.”
We couldn’t agree more :)