Dr. David Hepburn: Change how family doctors view medical cannabis

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Dr. David Hepburn has given talks and conferences throughout Canada and the world, trying to educate his colleagues and the audience about the use and prescription of medicinal cannabis. For several years Dr. Hepburn has been striving to change the resistance that exists in the field of medicine unto this plant and thereby promote its use for various diseases.

In this post we present the first part of an interview that Dr. David Hepburn granted a couple of years ago. In this interview Dr. David Hepburn tries to describe his effort to change how many Canadian doctors view the drug.

The interview

Why did you first become involved in prescribing cannabis about a decade ago?

I was in the group that wanted nothing to do with cannabis, and it actually came from a physician [friend] in Ontario whose mother had cancer. He phoned me up and said, 'My mom is in Victoria, she is an octogenarian, cancer-stricken and her doctor won't help her. My mom would never miss a tax date or jaywalk, and yet the one thing that's helped her with both her pain and her chemo-related symptoms is cannabis.' And would I help her out? Finally I capitulated and said, 'Okay, I will help her apply for the [federal medical marijuana] program.'
I began to explore more into that and I watched this sort of explosion I guess the same way [American neurosurgeon and media personality] Sanjay Gupta would have.
He's made a 180 and I have too.

Why are Canadian doctors are so reluctant to prescribe?
They don't want to be recommending something that we've all been taught is bad for you. The reticence is legitimate, I think that it's normal. 'Hey, listen, I don't know anything about it, I'm not keen on prescribing it.' The standard things that I would hear is, 'We want to see more research into it, etc. etc.' That's a vicious circle – there isn't the research being done because of the fact that the government has made it unreachable.
So you recommend cannabis for conditions and symptoms without the clinical trials that back up such prescriptions?
There remains a lot of good studies to be done. But because it is safe and tolerable and we know it works for a lot of people for conditions in which the research is lacking, that doesn't mean we necessarily rob the person of the opportunity to use it now. We sit in our office day after day and year after year and we hear patients who sit down and say, 'Doc, the thing that really works for me, to be honest with you, is cannabis.' We trust these patients and we know them not to be jaywalkers. When you hear it long enough, you begin to realize that it's something that is working for these people…
Here ends the first part of the interview in our next post we can read the rest of the interview, we invite you to read the next part because we can see how Dr. David Hepburn mentions very interesting things about the uses of medicinal cannabis

If you want to know more about Dr David Frederick Hepburn work visit his websites:

Conditions Cannabis is prescribed for - By Dr. David Hepburn (Second Part)

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

In a previous post Dr. David Hepburn en listed 5 of the 10 most common diseases for which cannabis has been prescribed by doctors. In this post we bring you the remaining 5 mentioned by Dr. David Frederick Hepburn:

Particularly nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. A recent survey of US oncologists reveal that 46% of them discussed using cannabis with the patients. Cannabis is as or more effective than most drugs used for this. Actually, it has allowed patients who were unable to tolerate taking chemo, to be able to do so.

Neuropathic pain
Any pain involving nerves, ie diabetes, MS, peripheral neuropathy is an excellent target for cannabinoid therapy. The pain pathways are covered with cannabinoid receptors (CB1R and CB2R). When cannabis binds to these receptors, the flow of pain signals is mitigated, inhibited and controlled. More of a dimmer switch than a circuit breaker, our cannabinoid system responds by governing neurotransmitter flow, a good thing when it comes to pain signals.

Cancer related symptoms
A recent study indicated that patients with terminal cancer who took cannabis were much more likely to die at home than in hospice. While this may seem a pyrrhic victory, cannabis addresses some of the common symptoms for which cancer patients go to hospice, including pain, anorexia, fear, nausea and anxiety. Being sick is one thing, being sick with a smile is another.

Post Traumatic Stress is a debilitating condition that symptoms ranging from fear to insomnia and nightmares to anxiety and depression, that cannabis has been shown to address. The purpose of our ECS has been described as one meant to help us “eat, sleep, relax forget and protect.” Not being able to forget and reliving the emotions surrounding very traumatic events, has led to some significant pathology in many victims, including many returning soldiers. Cannabis has become an area of increasing interest and global research for the treatment of PTSD patients.

Those with fibromyalgia will recognize these symptoms and, for at least one licensed producer of medical cannabis, was the number one reason that cannabis was purchased by patients –

3 Myths about medical cannabis by Dr. David Hepburn.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Dr. David Hepburn states that the rapid expansion of global interest in medical cannabis also means a rapid expansion of myth information. In this post we will describe three of the five common myths regarding the medical cannabis.

1. The first myth mentioned by Dr. David Hepburn:

“I have to get high to get help.” No nada nyet nein. Of the many cannabinoids available only a small few cause the “stoned” effect, THC being the most common one. However the vast majority, including the medically beneficial CBD, CBG and CBC will not cause that same psychoactive effect.

2. As the second myth Dr. David Frederick Hepburn explains:

“I don’t want to have to smoke medicine.” Few doctors are comfortable with
writing a prescription of “Smoke two of these and call me in the morning.” We don’t want you to smoke anything other than a salmon for the doctor. The advent of oil extraction, and the ability to provide those oils in capsules, has led to this option becoming the most sought after delivery mechanism. Many children with conditions ranging from epilepsy to autism are treated successfully with medical cannabis and none are smoking. However, Dr. David Hepburn clarifies that there are situations/ conditions where inhalation is the best delivery method, such as migraines, nausea and some types of spasms and pain. The medical means of inhalation is vaporization, not smoking. Vaporization is no more smoking than a flying squirrel is a kangaroo. There is a vast difference in vaporizing dried product and smoking dried product. Smoking means 900 degrees C at the tip and combustion of everything which is then inhaled. Vaporization is only heated to the necessary level to release the cannabinoids, around the 200 degrees C level and is not combusted.

3. Finally Dr. Hepburn points out the third common myth:

 “It will make you psychotic.” That was a slogan of the reefer madness campaign and, in some who have yet to be educated on the matter, it still rattles around the stigma section of their frontal lobe right beside beliefs of a horned Satan and Donald Trump (my apology for the ....redundancy). Dr. David Hepburn is emphatic in emphasizing that Cannabis has not been shown to cause schizophrenia. In fact, countries where cannabis use is prevalent have the same incidence of schizophrenia as countries where cannabis is nowhere to be found. While it can most likely exacerbate and initiate first break psychosis in those who are genetically predisposed (ie. those who have the AKT1 genotype), using cannabis is akin to pouring gasoline on a pile of sticks. If there are no underlying embers, it will cause no reaction at all.
In the next post we will describe the two remaining myths mentioned by Dr. David Hepburn

If you are interested In Dr. David Hepburn's next conferences related to medical cannabis please visit:
https://doctordavidhepburn.blogspot.com  or

Stay tuned for our following posts

Medical History of Cannabis Dr. David Hepburn

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Traditional Cannabis has been known in North America as the stoner-hippie drug known for psychedelic properties, however the history and usage of medical Cannabis dates back much further.

Historical use and significance of the Cannabis plant has been noted in a wide variety of written works, with origins tracing back to the ancient world. The first record of Cannabis’ use in medicine comes from the Pen’ts’aoching, the world’s first pharmacopeia, compiled by oral traditions during the time of China’s Emperor Shen-Nung in 2700 BC. Uses for medical Cannabis in this time included rheumatic pain, gout and malaria.

The use of medical Cannabis then began its’ long history in India, becoming a strong part of both Indian legend and religion. Mentioned in The Vedas, sacred Hindu text, Cannabis was referred to as a source of happiness, joy-giver, liberator that was compassionately given to humans to help us attain delight and lose fear[1]. A large-scale study was commissioned by the British in the late 1890s over concern of the widespread use of Cannabis in Colonial India[2]. They were particularly concerned about the potential psychoses of the drug, and the risk it posed to the health of the natives. In the end, it was decided that its use was ancient, had religious sanction among Hindus, and was ultimately harmless in moderation. Cannabis was generally used in India as an anticonvulsant, analgesic, anesthetic, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.[3]

Therapeutic uses of Cannabis were first introduced to Western medicine in 1839 by Irish physician William O’Shaughnessy when he published ‘On the preparations of Indian hemp or gunjah’3. O’Shaughnessy tested the toxicity of Cannabis on animals, and once determined the product was safe, provided extracts to patients, discovering it’s analgesic and sedative properties. In the end, he came to realize the efficacy of Cannabis in treating muscle spasms caused by tetanus and rabies.[4] Upon the results of O’Shaughnessy’s trials, as with those of other physicians at the time, the use of Cannabis began to spread rapidly through the world of Western medicine in both Europe and North America.

The rise of vaccines for diseases previously treated by cannabis ultimately resulted in a decline of cannabis use during the 1900’s compounded by the development of many synthetic analgesics that rendered cannabis use at the time obsolete3. The American Medical Assocation advised that Cannabis remained a medical agent, however ultimately in 1941 Cannabis was removed entirely from the American Pharmacopeia.

After the removal of Cannabis from the American Pharmacopeia, the use of Cannabis for medical purposes was nearly non-existent, until it’s revival for recreational purposes in the 1970’s. Studies began to advance, identifying the cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, alluding to the possible source of Cannabis’ analgesic, sedative and immunoregulatory properties.[5]

Fast-forwarding to today, research into the potential uses of Cannabis for medical purposes are continuously expanding into areas not explored previously. This includes isolation of specific compounds for treatment diseases such as Epilepsy, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, as well as the potential to use it in place of common every day drugs for sleep aid and chronic pain. As we go forward, it is becoming abundantly clear that the possibilities for medical Cannabis are endless.


[1]Abel, E.L. (1980). The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: McGraw Hill.
[2]Iverson, L.L. (2008). The Science of Marijuana. New York: Oxford University Press.
[3]Zuardi AW. History of cannabis as a medicine: a review. Rev Bras Psiquiatr 2006;28:153-7. 
[4]Mikuriya TH. Marijuana in medicine: past, present and future. Calif Med 1969;110:34-40. 
[5]Lee MA. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system. The Prop 215 Era 2012.
  URL: http://www.beyondthc .com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/eCBSystemLee.pdf

Conditions Cannabis is prescribed for - By Dr. David Hepburn

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

In listing ten common conditions that doctors use cannabis to treat, it is important to appreciate that some conditions respond better to different types or different combinations of cannabinoids. For example, migraines, will respond to THC dominant medications. Joint inflammation conditions prefer CBD dominant strains while others still, like chronic pain, usually settle on a 1:1 CBD:THC combination. Not only are the type and ratio of cannabinoids used important, but so is the dose. For example, a low dose of THC (micro-dosing) can help with anxiety and some types of pain. A higher dose of THC can do the exact opposite and actually exacerbate anxiety and worsen pain. While cannabis is being used for treatment in dozens of conditions ranging from Acne to Tourette’s to Asthma (yes that asthma), here are some of the more common conditions where cannabinoid medicine plays a role. 


For those with either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, their joints are just smoking, which is why many turn to smoking joints. However the ingested route of medical oils are more effective for longer periods of time compared to the relatively quick but short acting relief of an inhalation method such as a vaporizing (always preferred over smoking). Much safer than most medications used to treat arthritis, cannabis has no risk of causing stomach bleeds, constipation and even death that opiates or anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) could cause. In fact, NOBODY dies of cannabis.....ever. This is because, unlike opiates that claim numerous lives every day, there are no cannabinoid receptors in the brainstem, that vital part of the brain that controls our respiratory and cardiovascular systems. 
Cannabis acts to harness our own endocannabinoid system (ECS), which includes our naturally produced cannabinoids, anandamide and 2AG. These endocannabinoids are made throughout our body and are made in response to imbalances in multiple systems, usually involving hormones and neurotransmitters. When we make too much cortisol, the stress hormone, our ECS kicks in and we make anandamide that works to shut down cortisol production. When our own natural cannabinoids aren’t enough, then the addition of plant cannabinoids can be very helpful.
It has become headline news, of late, that CBD dominant cannabis can significantly reduce seizures in many children (and adults) in some of the more difficult type of seizure disorders. Noting the powerful effect cannabinoids have on children with terrible seizures, many key opinion leaders in the worlds of medicine and government have changed their minds about cannabis. Some families will even relocate to places where there is a more compassionate government that allows children to be treated for seizures with cannabis oil.

William Osler, the founder of modern medicine, stated that “cannabis is the single best treatment for migraines.” This is one of the few conditions where vaporized cannabis is more effective than ingested, as those who get struck by a migraine (often with nausea) don’t want to wait an hour before the ingested oils kick in.
Twitchiness involving nerves and spasm are areas where cannabinoids tend to excel in. This also defines the cause of IBS, a very common condition that may be fraught with constipation, diarrhea or both. The bowel has many cannabinoid receptors (CB2R) that, when activated by cannabis medicine, can reduce gut spasm and cramping.

In the next post we will see another five conditionswhich cannabis can help

  • Conditions Cannabis is prescribed for – Dr. David Hepburn. for https://plena-global.com/news-desk/conditions-cannabis-is-prescribed-for/

  • http://davidfrederickhepburn.com/

  • https://doctordavidhepburn.blogspot.com/