Category: General

November 6, 2020 by Dr. Bridget Williams 0 Comments

Dropping The Medications

Dropping the Medications

 

I know few people that actually like taking medications. Most worry about the taste, the timing, the idea of putting a little pill in your body and not quite sure what it may or may not do.  To be compliant, you have to stay on a schedule with your medications and of course most worry about the SIDE EFFECTS!  

 

Whether it is somnolence or flatulence, the unpredictable nature of medications can be unnerving.  According to the National Institutes of Health, ⅓ of Americans seek alternative forms of medical treatment. This includes anything from fish oil, chiropractors, melatonin to cannabis. Is the goal to abandon pharmaceutical medications all together?  For some yes. For others they simply want options. I have never seen patients more angry when another doctor has told them they will be on certain medications for the rest of their lives. 

 

Options and alternatives do exist in some cases. Fish oil is the most common natural product taken by children and adults. 7.8% used it in 2012 that is up from 4.8% in 2007.  Many do so to avoid cholesterol medications.  In a study conducted by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, 42% of CBD users said they stopped using traditional medications like Tylenol pain relievers or prescription drugs like Vicodin and had switched to cannabis instead.  These are only two examples of how consumers are switching to alternative treatments. I hear it every day in my family medicine and cannabis offices.  But doing it safely is key.

 

When choosing to switch from pharmaceutical medications to alternative options there are a few things to consider:

1- Stopping medications to an alternative option still means you have to engage in that alternative option regularly.  Many patients are disappointed when they choose cannabis over traditional medications and they think they can use the cannabis as needed. If you are choosing an alternative treatment it has to be a regular part of your daily schedule just like a pharmaceutical drug.  Irregular or haphazard treatment of your condition can not only be irresponsible, but dangerous. 

 

2- When stopping a pharmaceutical and starting an alternative treatment, reduce medications gradually.  It takes time for CBD or cannabis to get a therapeutic level that you can depend on.  Do not stop your traditional medicine cold turkey.  As you reach your therapeutic goal with CBD, slowly wean off your prescribed medications under the guidance of your physician. 

 

3- All medicines are a tool to help you reach your goals, utilize multiple tools to be successful. CBD or cannabis is a tool, not a cure. With any treatment you should engage other healthy tools to find balance.  Consider healthy eating, exercise, reiki, massage or restorative practices like yoga.  One of these is great but together they work synergistically to help you soar!

 

4- Most importantly, stopping medications can be dangerous.  Only change your medication regimen under the guidance of a physician. Explain your goals and dedication to a healthier and more natural lifestyle. Not all medications can be replaced with alternative options, so keep an open mind to the right treatment that keeps you safe and alive, no matter what the source may be.  

 

Have questions or would like to suggest a subject for my next column? Please email me at  DrBridget@greenharvest.health

Dr. Williams is a Board-certified family physician, cannabinoid physician and life coach. She is the owner of Green Harvest Health Clinics and GHH CBD Medicinals. Learn more at www.greenharvest.health.

August 5, 2019 by admin 0 Comments

3 Tips to Determine if CBD is Right for You

CBD is everywhere and found in countless products. You can easily find tinctures, creams and gummies, but now look for CBD toothpicks, CBD infused activewear (yes clothing), and CBD Hair Pomade. I am often asked, “Is CBD right for me?”, “Should I try it?” And to be honest, everyone is different.

First it’s important to understand what CBD is and what it is not. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non psychoactive component found in the Hemp plant. It’s being researched for many possible medical benefits. It is essential to our natural Endocannabinoid System for repairing the receptors, keeping our natural endocannabinoid neurotransmitters active longer and binding with receptors with other systems in our body to create balance. Even after assuring that the patient has a quality product, some patients do better than others and here is the criteria I use to determine how successful a patient will be with CBD treatment.

1- Are you paying attention? Regardless of the condition, you must be

 
focused on the results. Patients often ask what does CBD feel like? It feels like the absence of stress, fogginess, and discomfort… CBD feels like balance. Initially, it is not always easily detectable so journaling and monitoring is important.
 

2- Are you patient? Take your time and find the right dose. CBD does not always work immediately. It may take 3-10 days to start working. An awakening of your Endocannabinoid system is often needed and a build up of CBD in your fat. Starting low and gradually increasing your dose while staying vigilant of side effects like GI symptoms, drowsiness or change in appetite is important. Also do not assume if a little is good then a lot is better. CBD dosing is biphasic. Too little will not be effective and often too much will lead to side effects and a return of the original symptoms. Be patient and find that right dose for you.

3- Are you open-minded? Although CBD is available in capsules, many patients are taking CBD in a form they have never taken a medication. CBD can be administered as a tincture (liquid that is placed under the tongue to be absorbed), gummies, vaporizer form, bath salts and many more. Some patients find it difficult to change the method of administration to a form they may not be as familiar with to obtain better results.

Working with a Cannabinoid Physician or consultant can help guide your experience to a place of wellness. Do not assume that just because you may be having difficulty that the entire industry is a sham. Work with dedicated professionals that care about your success! 

Have questions or would like to suggest a subject for my next column? Please email me at DrBridget@greenharvest.health

Dr. Williams is a Board-certified family physician, cannabinoid physician and life coach. She is the owner of Green Harvest Health Clinics and GHH CBD Medicinals. Learn more at www.greenharvest.health. 

August 5, 2019 by admin 0 Comments

Doing a Little Self-Assessment…

As resilient as we are, this is a difficult and confusing time. Everyday is filled with questions about what will happen next. We not only have to decipher what is going on in the world and our country but in our own home. When my overly optimistic, giggly, joyful 13 year old daughter asked, “Mom is my anxiety normal?” I was shook. She is incredibly mature and level headed. However, the ongoing insecurity of the world has started to pay its toll.

If we are honest with ourselves I think it is starting to pay its toll on everyone. I see it in my patients, my life coaching clients and now my own family. As caregivers of all types, we must realize we are no good to anyone else if we can not take care of ourselves. I had to check in and do my own self assessment which I encourage you to do the same.

How would you grade yourself in regards to: handling stress? obtaining adequate sleep? finding time for exercise? seeking a balanced and nutritional diet? prioritizing self care? If you are a C- or below in any of these areas it is time to make yourself your next project! This is the perfect time to start a yoga practice and/or a meditation regimen. Take the time and do a spa treatment or simply take a walk. Do whatever it is that will slow your mind and body down enough to rejuvenate. It is also a great time to look at CBD as an option for stress. CBD not only works with our Endocannabinoid System to make it more efficient, but also binds to the receptors that help CBD mimic serotonin and activate your body’s 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. These are the same receptors that are activated when you are prescribed anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications.You don’t have to have clinical anxiety to try CBD, I often recommend it simply to handle excessive stress. A full spectrum CBD with secondary cannabinoids can even help balance sleep.

We can not depend on any one tool to cure everything, but taking some time and doing regular self assessments can help us discover where we need more balance in our lives. Help your family do the same! Try to engage two or more restorative practices, Yoga, journaling, CBD and a healthy diet or just a few. Prioritizing balance will allow you to tackle daily stress a little better and be more present for your family!

Have questions or would like to suggest a subject for my next column? Please email me at DrBridget@greenharvest.health

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August 5, 2019 by admin 0 Comments

Medical Cannabis and CBD: An Old Medicinal Option is New Again

Never did I think that weed would become a medical option in America. Probably because I grew up unaware of the benefits of what we now call cannabis. Like many of you I was a Nancy Reagan kid, “Say No To Drugs”. I clearly remember listening to Nancy clad in her red dresses making speeches across America deterring “drug” use and I took heed. I remember the 1980 commercials with the visual of the egg frying in the pan warning me that “This is your brain on drugs”. I also grew up during the height of the drug wars in Detroit and watched the daily cover on the evening news. Yes, I was terrified of “drugs” and marijuana was included in this fear.

Fast forward 20 plus years and I am now a Family Physician at the Cleveland Clinic. I was frustrated with the cycle of pill prescribing for every patient for every problem. As doctors we suggested, but rarely focused on lifestyle change or self-discovery. One of these patients mentioned marijuana as a medical option and I was honestly startled by the idea. But I respected her questions and I did my research. I was blown away by the possibility of cannabis and the potential of CBD.

Fast forward again another 10 plus years and I am now a cannabinoid physician and life coach in Columbus, Ohio. I realized that there is much research still to be done in medical cannabis but we have a great deal of work under our belt with over 10,000 human studies that have been reviewed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Nearly 40% of adults in the U.S. use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. The majority of those surveyed were in search of something new to incorporate into their medical care. I believe patients want to feel empowered again and alternative medicine options put the ball back into the patients “court”. Cannabis is a medical option that has been used for over 5,000 years. So what holds us back from considering it as a medical option now? The stigma. But yet we use narcotics, an addictive, euphoric and life threatening drug because our society has deemed it as acceptable. I challenge everyone to determine what is best for their own health and their families health beyond the stigma. There are two things I know for sure, one: cannabis is not a gateway drug, alcohol is and two: cannabis won’t kill you, narcotics can. Here in Ohio we are at the dawn of an old medical option being made new again. It was a part of the US pharmacopeia from 1850-1942 and it has returned as a medical option with greater research and methods of administration. Whether it is CBD, CBG or Medical Cannabis with THC, you have a new option in your care. This is progress. 

August 5, 2019 by admin 0 Comments

Breathing Freely…

My desire to be a physician is rooted in wanting to help patients feel empowered in their healthcare. Seeing my father suffer with cancer in my youth, I saw him being treated as a disease, not a person with a disease. I wanted him and all patients to feel human. This intention is also what is needed in our society. Black Americans want to be given the simple respect of being treated as equal humans with purpose and worth. In light of the recent events with George Floyd, and all the meaningless loss of life of Black Americans always returns to being viewed as inhuman and disposable. Nothing will ever change until racism and inequality are embraced not as a Black problem but as an American tragedy that we all need to voice as intolerable, unacceptable and un-American.

No matter where African Americans grow up in the United States, there comes a time where the happy, unstoppable and charismatic kid realizes that the world thinks less of them because of the color of their skin. It does not matter what our diverse cultural backgrounds may be, socio-economics, education, or opportunities. That child will learn many times

I remember very clearly one of the many times it happened to me. I was 9 years old growing up in Detroit, Michigan. A white friend invited me to her community pool. Before walking in she whispered, “When someone asks, tell them that you are anything but black, they might not let you in.” She was embarrassed by our friendship and I feared what might happen if I said “I. Am. Black.” I remember being stunned, frozen. I went home that day embarrassed of who I was and unwilling to share this incident with my family. I never told anyone. Despite having many opportunities as an adult physician, I have avoided some experiences, although I had earned the right to be there, the fear of whether I would be accepted never left. There are numerous impactful, overt and microaggressive experiences throughout my life I could share. Every black person has a mental catalog of them. Change can only happen if we all speak out, if we share our stories and diversify our friend groups. Change happens if you are willing to have uncomfortable conversations and become a genuine friend. Not just an ally but an “adversity partner”. Are you willing to take the journey during difficult times? We need White Americans to see us beyond color and culture but at the same time never dismissing it or ignoring it. I am sure that sounds daunting for many, but I have some amazing “adversity partners” that never dismiss my blackness and always see me for me. They are just as willing to have the hard conversations as they are willing to laugh and be silly and share. My story is not unique but my request for change does take heart.

Talking about racism and adversity is difficult for me. The emotions are never far away. I funnel my passion into helping my patients and also giving back to the community. Last year I founded a civic organization called ‘Cannabis Can!’. Our purpose is to bring the cannabis industry and supporting businesses together to support the communities that support us. Last year we collected a half ton of food across Ohio and donated them to Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Mid-Ohio Foodbank and Freestore Food Bank of Cincinnati. Currently we have a virtual monetary campaign for the same food banks to fund 12,000 meals across Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please learn more at CannabisCanOhio.org to learn how to support and donate to Ohio families.