Myths about medical cannabis (Second part) - Dr. David Frederick Hepburn

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

In a previous post we talked about 3 common myths on medical cannabis. Now Dr. David Hepburn is going to explain 2 other common myths.

4. “CBD, non psychoactive, medical, oil, good - THC, psychoactive, recreational, smoke, bad.”

Thinking that the CBD is good and the THC is bad, is a myth that does not benefit at all the uses of medical cannabis. This common myth mentioned by Dr. David Hepburn leads to the question “Is medical cannabis the same as recreational cannabis?” The answer is yes....and no. THC is used for one purpose in recreational users, to get high. But the same THC is also needed to treat various medical conditions that respond better to THC dominant strains, (e.g migraines).

Furthermore THC can make CBD work better and vice versa. However the THC is usually quite a bit lower than recreational users prefer. So the difference is in the intent and content. Recreational users dub CBD “hippie’s disappointment” and have no use for it. However CBD is a vital part of most medical uses.

THC is also medically beneficial in many conditions including: migraines, spasms, Tourette’s, nausea, some types of pain etc. Some states have believed the “THC is bad” myth and have limited it’s use or dosage, thinking that only CBD is medically useful. Big mistake. They are only cheating patients out of the benefit of THC dominant or THC:CBD combination treatments, vital for many conditions. In fact, CBD by itself is much less effective than CBD with either THC or other cannabinoids used inconjunction.

Furthermore, THC can actually have it’s psycho-activite effect mitigated by simply adding CBD. CBD serves (as a negative allosteric modulator) to change the psycho-activity while not changing the medical benefits of THC. The plant is brilliant. And should there, heaven forbid, be a little euphoria due to THC as part of terminal cancer treatment, is it terribly bad to be sick....with a smile?

5. “Cannabis is safe for youth.”

The last myth by Dr. David Hepburn:

The adolescent brain is not like a normal human brain. Prior to neuromaturation (age 25ish unless you happen to be a son of mine), the young brain is being actively pruned and connections created. During adolescence there is an explosion in development and creation of our natural cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), enzymes (FAAH and MAGL) and actual cannabinoids (anandamide and 2 AG).

These three components comprise the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is essential to be aware of in order to understand how and why cannabis can be used as medicine. Adding plant (exogenous) cannabinoids to a teen brain, that is busy trying to determine it’s own system, may not only have a deleterious effect in the production of a normally developing system, but may also have an effect on some types of memory, learning and emotions that are not beneficial and may persist for many years, even after neuromaturation.

In fact, the prefrontal cortex, replete with ECS components, is the last part of the brain to mature. This area of the brain is responsible for executive control and, should it not be allowed to develop properly, issues ranging from decision making to impulse control can be thrown for a loop. Cannabis is a drug and needs to be respected as such. Too many youth currently think that cannabis is harmless. They are... mistaken.

To learn more about Dr. David Frederick Hepburn's work on medical cannabis visit:

Dr. David Hepburn: Change how family doctors view medical cannabis (second part)

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Continuing with our previous post, here you can find the rest of the interview to Dr. David Hepburn. In this part, Dr. Hepburn will talk about the different methods to consume cannabis, the ethical dilemmas about medical cannabis etc.

Interview (part two)

Is it right for commercial cannabis growers to pay for educating doctors who are the gatekeepers to the clients that buy their products?

That goes on all the time with Big Pharma, they're the ones who sponsor all the big events. This is virtually how we do 90 percent of our education. Routinely on a week-to-week basis, we probably get invitations through the week to two, three, four dinners put on by a specialist and sponsored by a drug company. It's nothing untoward, so to speak. There are other avenues for education – reading journals – but the journals are all supported by pharmaceutical companies, right?

What do you think about clinics specializing in pot prescriptions which say they are charging patients fees because they are helping them navigate the confusing federal medical marijuana regulations?

It's all smoke and mirrors, jiggery- pokery is being done. Personally I think it's unethical, so I charge patients nothing. What I do is I give them the options. I say, 'Here's the list of Health Canada's licensed producers, you can select one based on anything you find interesting on their Web page. Be it the fact that some of [them] offer certain deals with respect to a vaporizer and some require less amount purchased at one time.' Different LPs have different advantages and that is what the patients like.

Are cannabis oils more dangerous than vaporizing the drug?

There are those advantages to it, you can encapsulate them, however there are some disadvantages to them as well. And this is where it's very important to caution people to the appropriate uses of oral or edible or ingestible cannabinoids, and that there is a high variability to absorption rates. 

One of the things I heard down in Colorado is people were coming in and they were taking more and more derivatives of one sort or another. Next thing you know it all kicks in because it can take an hour or two to really take effect. People ask me the dose and I say, 'Just a little bit. Start low and go slow.'

There has been a lot of talk recently about the dangers of 'edibles.' What happens when someone is sent to hospital with an overdose?

They might give them IV, saline, tell them to go home and they'd be fine. It's not toxic. In fact, it's incredibly nontoxic, however it gives them an unpleasant experience that may sabotage the use of it. I probably would never start people on an oil, but what I like about the vaporizers is that you can titrate the dosage easily. You know in 95 seconds if it's going to work and it doesn't last very long.

You know the actual best form of cannabinoids to me is, believe it or not, suppositories? They are far and away the best delivery mechanism over all.


They go through a different absorption system, you know within 15 minutes you have it absorbed in there and it's actually done through the intestinal mucosa. You get a longer lasting effect than you would get for the vaporizer, but you also get a quicker response than you would get from the ingestible.

In sum up as we can see Dr. David Frederick Hepburn keeps trying to educate the medical sector about the use of medical cannabis.

You can be following his work in the following links:

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.

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.

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:  or 

Stay tuned for our following posts

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