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:


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