New Medical Uses For Oil From Cannabis Plant

New Medical Uses For Oil From Cannabis Plant

     To fulfill the commitment I have to my patients I believe I must be a student as well as a teacher.  There is more knowledge and more information about the science of medicine than any one person can ever hope to know, so I feel I should always be learning.  My intention is to consistently give my patients the very latest treatment approaches based on the best, evidence-based, cutting edge research.

     I recently attended a conference on Maui for naturopathic physicians.  One important take away from that meeting concerns the ways that cannabidiol (CBD) oil extracted from hemp is proving to be an important medicine. 

     CBD oil extracted from hemp is not a controlled item and may be purchased online legally.  It is classified as a food grade substance rather than as a drug, so one does not need a medical marijuana card to use it.  We see this food grade hemp in hemp milk, breads, and clothing.  CBD oil taken orally is proving to be of benefit for children who are afflicted with seizures or seizure-like symptoms.

     I have recommended oral CBD oil for a number of my patients and have found it helpful.  For children with epilepsy who are not responding to pharmaceutical anti-seizure medications, the frequency and intensity of seizures have decreased, sometimes dramatically.  CBD oil is also helpful for anxiety and for moderating aggressive behavior in children with autism, and seems to have other benefits as well.  One family whose child was not having seizures reported that there was improvement in expressive language.  

     There is also evidence that CBD oil can help reduce neuropathy from chemotherapy (nerve pain and nerve problems).  It seems to help with the nausea associated with chemo as well.  If I determine that a patient would benefit from CBD oil, I can recommend dosages that I have seen be most helpful for that individual’s condition.

Being Uninformed Is Something I Never Want Happening With My Patients

Being Uninformed Is Something I Never Want Happening With My Patients

     “You mean you’re actually going to spend 45 minutes with me in an office visit?”  I hear that a lot from my new patients.  They are comparing what we do to the conventional approach to primary care, which typically consists of 15 minutes with the doctor and a prescription. 

     There is so much more to healing than taking pills that I hardly know where to start.  And that’s why my office visits are so different.  I want my patients to understand what is going on with them.  I can’t do that until I have first taken the time to carefully listen to what is on their mind and to ask them questions about it.  But what about questions that patients should be asking me?

     I am very happy that two cancer specialists have written an article that advises patients on what to ask their doctor(s).  Honestly, when patients ask me questions, it helps me be a more effective physician, because uncertainty about dosage, timing, the meaning of certain symptoms, etc., can interfere with a patient’s ability to comply with my recommendations.

     When it comes to informed patients, I am committed to being a leader in the field.  It is good medicine for patient and doctor alike.  Find the article here.

 

“Ugly” Fruits And Vegetables Are Coming To A Store Near You

“Ugly” Fruits And Vegetables Are Coming To A Store Near You

     I have written in previous posts about the staggering amount of food that is wasted in this country:  upwards of 40% of all the food that is produced goes uneaten, including 56% of the produce.  In a world and nation where millions of people don’t have enough to eat or are lacking in fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables, this situation is heartbreaking.  It is also largely unnecessary.  Thousands of tons of perfectly good food is thrown out by grocers because of appearance.  Yet, nutritional value is not at all dependent on how the papaya or potato looks.

     There are many causes for this problem and many viable solutions up and down the food supply chain.  One of them is overcoming our insistence on “good looking” fruits and vegetables.  I don’t know why we became fixated on appearance when it is what is inside that counts, but it looks like progress is starting to be made in changing our attitudes.

     Walmart, which has become the nation’s largest grocer, with more than 4,000 produce-selling stores, made an important announcement last week.  It is going to start offering “ugly” apples in 300 stores across Florida. This builds on an ugly potato program that Walmart launched in England earlier this year.

     Food is big business for the retail giant, with groceries accounting for 56%  of sales in the company’s U.S. stores for the past three years.  And where Walmart goes, other retailers follow.  Hopefully, American consumers will come to see “ugly” fruits and vegetables as being just as valuable as their picture perfect cousins. 

     Adding thousands of tons of fresh produce to our food supply is good for our wallets, as increased supply can bring down prices.  It also helps the planet by giving us more to eat without any need for more land, more fertilizer, and more pesticides.  Get ready to eat “ugly” fruits and vegetables.  They taste just fine.  Read the article here.

THERE IS A RIGHT WAY TO FALL. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS?

THERE IS A RIGHT WAY TO FALL.  DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS?

     According to people who know what they’re talking about–paratroopers, stunt professionals, physical therapists and martial arts instructors—there really is a right way to fall.  Especially if one is past young adulthood, this is potentially life-saving knowledge.

     Falls are often associated with older people, but they happen at any age and are the most common cause of trips to the ER for injury.  Falling causes more than one-third of injury-related ER visits, nearly 8 million a year.

     According to the experts, the key is to not fight the fall, but just to roll with it, as paratroopers do:  “You should bend your elbows and knees and try to take the hit on the fleshiest parts of your body, like the side of your thigh, buttocks and shoulder….You’re less likely to hurt yourself if you soften up all your muscles and exhale.  Rigidity is your enemy, while pliability is your friend.”

     This is what we see with young children, who are usually the best fallers.  They haven’t yet developed fear or embarrassment, so they just tumble and roll without tensing up and trying to catch themselves.  But since most of us are no longer kids, there are ways to get in better shape and movements we can practice, so if we should happen to trip over the coffee table in the dark, we’re more prepared to fall without doing ourselves real harm.  Read the article here.

How To Stop Snoring

How To Stop Snoring

     While snoring might seem like a humorous topic to some, for those affected by it, it’s no laughing matter.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, 37 million Americans snore on a regular basis.  The annoying noises are the result of the airway narrowing or being partially blocked.  More than a nuisance, snoring can also be an indicator of health conditions that need attention.

      There are some simple lifestyle changes that can sometimes help reduce or eliminate snoring, ranging from nasal strips to sleeping on your side to avoiding alcohol for at least four hours before going to bed.  Alcohol relaxes the airway muscles, which constricts airflow.  Tobacco smoke can irritate throat membranes, so that is yet another reason to quit smoking.  Being over weight often includes excess fat around the neck.  This compresses the upper airway and restricts airflow, so losing weight can often help with snoring issues.

      Snoring occurs when the soft tissue in your throat partially blocks the airway.  Researchers have found that doing some simple mouth and tongue exercises can sometimes work to reduce snoring.  The article describes four of them.  If lifestyle and other techniques don’t help, it could be time to see a sleep specialist. 

When A Child’s Cough Just Won’t Go Away

When A Child’s Cough Just Won’t Go Away

     When children have a persistent cough, one of those stubborn conditions that seem to last forever, it’s only natural for parents to seek an immediate solution.  As a primary care doctor specializing in pediatrics, I understand that parental inclination.  No parent wants to see their child sick or suffering, and there are legitimate concerns about lack of sleep and long term damage.

     Coughing is a natural response to threats or irritation.  It helps get rid of everything from allergens to pollutants to microbes and mucus.  Most children who have coughs that hang on after colds or other viral infections don’t really need any treatment beyond a certain amount of patience.  Studies on OTC cough and cold medications for children show that they have not proven to be any more effective than placebos.  However, there have been many problems with side effects and overdoses.

     When a cough won’t go away, the challenge for a doctor is determining the nature of the condition.  For example, dry coughs are usually less of a concern that a wet cough.  Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing call for a visit to the doctor’s office.  At the same time, there are many times where the best response may be to just wait out the cough until it goes away on its own.

     Fortunately, as a naturopathic doctor, I have many more tools in my kit than conventional medicine provides.  If a child’s cough requires medical treatment, there is a wide assortment of herbs, homeopathics, and other natural formulas that are effective.  If the cough does not need medical treatment, I can give parents other natural remedies that soothe the child while waiting for nature to take its course.  Read the article here or click on the photo.

 

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