Higher Profile: Dr. Rebecca Siegel, Author, The Brain on Cannabis

Dr. Rebecca Siegel’s book admits that as a teenager in the 1980s, she grew up with the “marijuana” stereotype. They believed that marijuana was only used by unproductive, low-performing “potheads.”

A brilliant doctor, after hearing a patient’s success story, said he had to be beaten in the head with a frying pan to learn of the benefits of cannabis, prompting him to write his first book. cannabis brain.

“One of my patients, I call her Patient 0, changed my life during my private practice.” I became more inclined to listen to other patients who had success with

As detailed in her foreword, insomnia, depression, ADD, PTSD, and adjunctive symptoms from cancer treatment have been helped by her patients using cannabis through smoking and/or ingesting concentrates. These were just a few of the disorders and symptoms experienced.

And while Dr. Siegel must stick to the unknown, especially to address the causes and consequences of today’s high-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cultivars, she enlightens plants as superfoods. can treat a wide range of diseases and disorders.

“We still don’t know enough about the effects of long-term recreational THC use on the brain,” she began, setting the tone for the interview and the book. I listen to and observe my patients and delve as deep into research as I can understand. My work has become an evolving education about this plant.”

road to enlightenment

Growing up in what she calls a New York suburb in New Jersey, Dr. Siegel’s father was a doctor and she always dreamed of becoming a doctor herself. It wasn’t until she had a family of her own at the age of 29 that she returned to school to learn

Today, Dr. Siegel is certified as a diplomat by both the American Psychiatric Association and Board of Neurology and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In 2004, she received the Women’s Psychiatry Award from Mount Her Sinai Department of Psychiatry.

She focuses on adult and child psychiatry and is currently on staff at the Amen Clinic in New York City. The Amen Clinic is a group of mental and physical health clinics dedicated to treating mood and behavioral disorders, founded in 1989 by self-help guru and psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen.

Dr. Siegel became a licensed prescriber of medical cannabis in New York State. She has a particular interest in research on the therapeutic effects, risks and benefits of cannabis treatment as a whole.

“My therapeutic focus is adolescent and adult women,” she said. “I believe in treating the whole person with different treatment techniques and approaches. If one of my patients is successfully using cannabis to treat a particular disorder, it will I want to know how and why it works for them.”

Real-time myths and facts

Countless healing stories of successful cannabis use around the world until the U.S. federal government addressed the medicinal use of cannabis and removed it from schedule 1 of health services, demonstrating its lack of medicinal value. is called “Anecdote”.

As noted, Dr. Siegel listened to her patient’s healing story with an open mind and encouraged her to write cannabis brainBut the restrictions, along with the plant’s decades of negative stigma, have prevented doctors like Siegel from fully accepting the plant as 100% beneficial, leaving more questions than answers. increase.

Because of the postulated damage to the frontal lobes during development, as is common in cannabis research, attention is often focused on use in adolescents and teenagers in laboratory rats and It comes from a narrowly conducted study using high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) preparations in mice. No real-time, long-term use with real children or adults has ever been done.

very controversial Patent number 6630507 The U.S. Patent Office naming cannabinoids as neuroprotective agents makes it difficult for those in the cannabis care community to take seriously conflicting studies that cite damage to the frontal lobe, especially in children. Many of us have smoked marijuana consistently for 30 to 40 years, many of which begin in adolescence and teenage years, with few signs of neurosis or psychosis.

The dilemma of THC

The plant wasn’t high in THC to begin with. In fact, the original Godplant (the plant said to have been included in the holy anointing concoctions of the Bible) was registered with less than 5% of his THC.

We, as a species, have sparked the high THC strain controversy. Hybridization raised THC levels to today’s highs, but now we have to figure out how to protect this compound and dosing it properly and effectively. must be educated.

Consuming non-therapeutic doses of high-THC varieties, either through smoking or ingestion, will undoubtedly cause unpleasant reactions. itself is controversial.

Courtesy of Sharon Letts

Got a study?

When it comes to cannabis, taking research findings at face value doesn’t always work. Questions to be asked are: who funded the study, what results they were looking for, what was the scope of the study, e.g., what formulation/strength and dosage How long has it been in use?

For decades, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has funded research outside the United States looking for negative results on cannabis abuse. Finding and defining abuse was the goal.

One such NIDA-funded study in Jamaica in the 1970s observed that: pregnant women and their children Drinking cannabis tea was supposed to last 20 years. But NIDA stopped it when both the pregnancy stages and follow-up of her 5-year-old child showed positive results.

Five-year-olds who drank cannabis tea every morning showed no signs of psychosis, neurosis, or other mental disorders. On the contrary, they were far more alert and had stronger immune systems than their fellow students. There was not.

use Granny Storm Crow list As a reference tool (see Higher Profile: Granny Storm Crow), the delivery methods and formulations used in many studies, and the duration and scope of studies on cannabis and the brain, vary widely.

Laboratory rats injected directly into the frontal cortex with high-THC formulations are mentioned in one such study showing surprisingly negative consequences of severe psychosis.

When medicating my dogs, I am keenly aware of their size in correlation to my dogs and dose accordingly by weight. Do you show the results? Would the above research roundup make a good headline for NIDA and reinforce the myth of cannabis use-induced neurosis and psychosis?

The bigger question is what came first with the administration of THC far beyond psychotic disorders or therapeutic levels? Cannabis is an enhancer and has the ability to enhance or exacerbate existing disorders. Many young people are not diagnosed with a mental disorder until they are in their early twenties, so it is a wild assumption to think that plants are the cause of the disorder.

Our cannabis care community has witnessed more success stories than children on the autism spectrum, or children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. And they keep using it because it works.

anecdotal open-minded

As Dr. Siegel continues his personal and professional journey of hearing his patients’ successes and failures using the plant, as many of us do, Dr. Siegel I keep learning that the more I know, the more I don’t know. —or we should know more.

This book is an excellent introduction to some of the effects cannabis has on the brain. The fact that Dr. Siegel had the courage and means to write such a work in the first place is commendable.

Medical school isn’t taught about how plants interact with us biologically, so historically, the way most medical professionals find out about cannabis and plant-based medicine in general is the way doctors dare. It was to listen to the patient with a heart.

Dr. Siegel’s willingness to listen and learn is immeasurably appreciated. Her first effort is a good one. She can’t wait to see what she does next.

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