Wes: Welcome to the Lifelong Wellness Podcast, where we talk to wellness professionals from around the world to gain their insights into healthier living. I’m your host Wes Malik. Our guest today is an expert on Nutritional and Holistic Intervention for Brain Health – in particular, the use of Omega 3 fatty acids for prevention, management, and rehabilitation of concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Our guest today is Dr. Michael D. Lewis, who has had a fantastic career as an MD, MPH, MBA, FACPM, and FACN. He’s also a graduate of the US Military Academy at WestPoint and Tulane University School of Medicine. He was in the Army and retired as a Colonel several years ago. Dr. Lewis founded the Brain Health Education Research Institute in late 2011 after a distinguished 31-year career in the US Army. We have lots of questions for Dr. Lewis today, so let’s welcome him to the show. Dr. Lewis, welcome to the Lifelong Wellness Podcast. How are you doing today?
Dr. Michael: I’m doing great! It’s a pleasure to be with you.
Wes: Fantastic! You have a lot of experience around brain health and wellness. We should just dig right in, because I think we have a lot to talk about and I have a lot of questions for you. When it comes to overall well-being and health and wellness as a medical practitioner, what does this mean to you? How do you describe or define that?
Dr. Michael: Well, some people look at health and wellness as the absence of disease, but I think that’s a pretty narrow, pretty lame view (laughs).
Wes: Sure, Okay.
Dr. Michael: It’s not just the absence of disease, but how are you feeling? Are you feeling like you can take on the world and life is good? Are you mentally, physically, and emotionally at the top of your game. That’s what we should all be striving for.
Wes: Do you think that most of the population is succeeding at that? Or do they need a little help?
Dr. Michael: I think everybody can use a little help. Somebody tells you that they’re a 100% on all of these… I wonder with all of that.
Dr. Michael: I got to worry (laughs) at their mental health actually. It’s a constant struggle, I mean it’s just kind of part of our humanness and certainly, in today’s world, it’s become even more of a challenge. Here in the United States, we just got through a fairly contentious election. But the world is suffering through this whole Covid crisis and businesses are shutting down. There’s a lot of stress out in the world. Not just here in the United States, and I know a lot of that bleeds over into Canada, but it’s really around the world.
Wes: I need to ask you about that then. If we are concerned during this pandemic, our wellness and our health are taking center stage and is what we are all talking about. It’s a life and death situation as well for some. For a very high percentage of the population in fact, although the numbers look very low, one, two, three, four percent, that’s very high and I’m sure you will agree because you’re a medical practitioner. So physically, how should we be able to fight Covid-19 or Coronavirus? What steps should we take to be healthy in order to… if we get exposed to the virus to tackle it?
Dr. Michael: Well, getting back to the basics of just health and wellness.
Dr. Michael: That’s where we should really be focusing. I think that we’ve done ourselves and the world a disservice by being so narrowly focused on just one virus.
Dr. Michael: I don’t want to sound callous, but it’s just one virus. There’s plenty of viruses out there, influenza being the obvious one, and everything is being looked at through the lens of Covid. When we get back to the basics of just wellness, are you exercising on a daily basis? Are you eating healthy? Have you decreased or eliminated simple sugars and decreased the number of carbohydrates? Are you eating good fats instead of bad fats? How’s your weight? If you're 30-40 pounds over-weight, that’s a risk factor for anything, certainly cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You're more at risk of having a problem if you happen to be exposed or get Covid. So underlying a lot of these things is inflammation, and that’s where really the heart of things gets. Are we eating an anti-inflammatory diet or are we living an anti-inflammatory type of lifestyle, and if we do those and you double down and re-focus on it because you’re not able to go into the office or you can’t go out and do the things that you want to do. Instead of sitting there on the couch and eating potato chips all day watching the latest
Dr. Michael: Binge on Netflix.
Dr. Michael: What about eating healthy and exercising. Double down on getting healthy again and I think that’s the message that the public health leaders should be putting out there.
Wes: I think that’s a great message right there – very strong, very potent, and very ‘getting back to the basics' as you said in the beginning. I’d to say, Dr. Lewis, that after, this is our 59th Episode of the Lifelong Wellness Podcast and after talking to so many wonderful medical practitioners from all over the world, I’ve started doing everything you just said. Everything on that list, I can take off everything, so I’m pretty proud of that but it took me 59 episodes. So maybe there are people out there who will have to go to about 100 episodes to convince them to do that. You mentioned inflammation. What causes inflammation? What foods cause inflammation?
Dr. Michael: Well the biggest thing is sugars and artificial things. Processed foods, sugar, the concept of getting into good fats versus bad fats. If I’m going to run down a list, I would start with sugar. Simple sugars, and then I look at processed foods, things high in omega 6’s which feed into inflammation. But artificial flavorings, colorings, and sweeteners. Talk about sodas for example, “it’s okay cause I drink diet whatever”. Well, yes but think about all the artificial sweeteners and flavorings and colorings in that.
Dr. Michael: So these things are all basically throwing gasoline on the fire of inflammation.
Wes: What does inflammation cause. How do we react to it or what happens to our bodies?
Dr. Michael: We need inflammation. We always make sure we don’t make inflammation out to be the bad guy. Whether you have a slip and fall on the ice, for example, land on your shoulder or hopefully not your head. But you get a bruise or a bump, some kind of damage to your body. You need inflammation to repair the body. So that’s really important, but it’s not just that. It’s not just getting hit or taking a fall or whatever. We're exposed to things all day long, whether it’s just natural radiation from the sun and from the earth. That’s why we need sleep, that’s why we need 8 hours or so of sleep to allow our bodies the opportunity to heal, and part of that healing process is the inflammation to be able to fix and repair, get the right cells and the right nutrients and the right things into the areas that need to be repaired. But here’s the problem, if we're just feeding that inflammation but we're not resolving it. That’s where the problems become, and then a little bit of inflammation becomes chronic inflammation and can get out of control or it can just stay at this chronic level and if we don’t get that under control, we're setting ourselves up for all the things we’ve already talked about; obesity, diabetes, other things like rheumatoid arthritis, cancers. These types of things really are a result of inflammation that gets out of control. I always like to point out because I deal with a lot of head injuries. Muhammad Ali took a lot of hits to the head as a young man and eventually died decades later of Parkinson’s Disease. In many ways, that we're just a result of the inflammation that never got resolved, never helped. It helps repair the body but if never resolved, it actually starts to damage the body as well, so you got to get that inflammation under control.
Wes: Now you are the expert when it comes to brain health and you’re the author of When Brains Collide. You’ve also founded a non-profit, Brain Health Education Research Institute, and you have helped patients with traumatic brain injuries recover. How do you do that? Do you, are you focusing on cutting edge technology and medicines? Or do you take a different approach?
Dr. Michael: I actually take a very different approach. I take a very holistic approach. I say I've got sort of a 4 Pillars or a 4 pronged approach. Again, first two are… I’m awfully familiar and redundant here, diet and exercise.
Wes: Right, Okay (laughs)
Dr. Michael: We talked about diet. But the only diet plan, if you will, that’s always a little double edge sword to call a diet. But the only nutritional plan that we should really be focused on is a Mediterranean Style Diet. It’s the only one that’s ever been shown to be good for cognition.
Dr. Michael: For our brain health.
Dr. Michael: No other diets have ever been able to show that on a scientific basis. I really focus on getting people to decrease the sugars and the artificial things, but really start to refocus on more what nature gives us, particularly that Mediterranean Style Diet, and then we’ll talk about head injury. Exercise is really important. A huge part of what we know about exercise and head injures have come out of Toronto and Buffalo. Those are sort of two places that really the University of Buffalo, University of Toronto are really progressive about it.
Dr. Michael: They’ve been able to show that exercise is really important after a head injury. Not getting somebody back into the game where they might get another head injury. But I’m talking about safe aerobic exercise, whether it's walking or jogging on a treadmill or on an exercise bike. To get that blood flow going to the brain and I mean, like right away the day after a concussion for example.
Dr. Michael: It’s not too soon to start, even if you have symptoms, but you need to get that heart rate up so the blood flows to the brain. Then numbers 3 and 4, I used what I call Targeted Nutritional Therapy, or Nutritional Supplements.
Dr. Michael: The first one is, I look at the pituitary glands. Blood draws and I’m looking at different bio markers in the blood. The Pituitary gland controls all of our hormones and I’ll give you an example. I just saw a 19-year old kid, a motor cross accident and he had the testosterone probably of an 80-year old.
Dr. Michael: He’s going to feel good when I get that corrected.
Dr. Michael: We've got to really look at the endocrine disruption that happens after a head injury as well.
Wes: So we need to be worried about our brain health, even if we don’t have any injuries and concussions?
Dr. Michael: Well, I think we’re underestimating how many head injuries we really have. There’s a particular roller coaster at a particular well-known amusement park in Florida that I would say, I love roller coasters but this one, I absolutely hate because I felt like it just literally gives me whip splash when I’m on that roller coaster.
Dr. Michael: And that has been shown to be a form of head injury. But there are other things of course. Look at chemotherapy for cancer treatment. That’s a form of chemical insult to the brain.
Dr. Michael: Just aging, as we get older, everything doesn’t work quite as well. We certainly get more forgetful and that’s maybe an accumulation of exposure over time. But there are so many different sources of head injuries. It's not just sports concussions or getting blown up in Iraq or Afghanistan. Those are important, but those are just part of the problem. It’s slipping on the ice, it’s a car accident.
Dr. Michael: It’s kids playing on the playground and slipping off the monkey bars. Looking at the other end, it’s the older person who has really wasted muscles because they’re not lifting weights.
Dr. Michael: They slip and fall and break their hip. The two most vulnerable populations are young because they’re daredevils and they should be outside playing, they should be doing these things experiencing life. But our elderly, our older population is also the second group of people that are at major risk of head injury, slipping, and falling.
Wes: Now, if I have had a very set interior lifestyle until the age of 30 or 40 and then I change my diet to what you’re saying is more natural, more Mediterranean, cutting out sugars, cutting out gluten, carbs all these things. Will that have an impact on my life when it comes to my health, the health of my brain, and will it reduce the chances of any kind of disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s?
Dr. Michael: Absolutely! That’s part of the scientific studies. That’s why I say the Mediterranean style of eating is a much healthier way.
Dr. Michael: Those studies have actually been done and typically they’re done in a little bit older population to see what’s the effect on their cognition.
Dr. Michael: And it’s not always to make your cognition to be so much greater, it's whether or not we can keep from losing it as we get older and so that becomes just as important.
Wes: So the maintenance. Just maintaining it at a consistent level is important.
Dr. Michael: Right! But patient after patient and you hear stories about this all the time, is that you’d be surprised when somebody would really focus on changing their diet. How life-changing that actually can be?
Wes: It’s true! It’s very life-changing. I’ve experienced it and I can testify them to that. It could very well affect so many aspects of your life, even your career, even your image, your self-positivity that you have and you exude confidence even. It goes further from physical to your personality. I wanted to talk specifically now about concussions because that’s your area of expertise, helping patients with traumatic brain injuries. Now, when I was a kid my mom wanted me to be very healthy, and I don’t know, she had this bottle of very vile fish oil something or something like that.
Dr. Michael: Probably Cod Liver Oil.
Wes: Cod Liver Oil! There you go. I knew it was Cod Liver Oil, but I wasn’t sure if it was. I would never impose that on my children. That was a very terrible affair but, you mentioned that omega 3 essential fatty acids and fish oil are effective in treating concussions. Who came to that conclusion? How is that related to concussions and brain injuries?
Dr. Michael: Well the brain is made of fat and about 30% of the weight of the brain is these omega 3 types of fats, particularly one we call Docosahexaenoic Acid or DHA for short, and 30% of the brain. DHA, it’s in every cell membrane throughout our body but most concentrated in the brain and the eyes.
Dr. Michael: It’s really important. So, I was in the army for a career.
Dr. Michael: And I had come back from overseas and I was stationed at the Walter Reed National Medical Center outside Washington DC, and you’re around wounded warriors now all of the sudden. When I went overseas, I was a peacetime army and I came back and we were at war, right?
Dr. Michael: So the visible ones, soldiers missing their arms or legs…
Dr. Michael: You could see that. But it was just starting, It was early on in Iraq and Afghanistan where we started the concept of this Invisible wound, this traumatic brain injury that you can’t see.
Dr. Michael: You can’t look at somebody and tell “Oh! they have traumatic brain injury” unless it’s clearly pretty severe. So I started to think, what is it that I can do to help my fellow soldiers? About that time, there was an accident in West Virginia, there was a coal mine accident, the Sago Mine. I forgot the exact number, 23 guys were trapped a mile underground. When they finally got to them 41 hours later, only one guy was barely alive.
Dr. Michael: Everybody else already succumbed, and he was an inch away from death kind of thing. They did all the things you do for carbon monoxide poisoning and methane gas poisoning because that was going on and that's what kills you in a situation like that. They did hyperbaric oxygen and they did a number of other therapies for the carbon monoxide that you do, but they were still left with this guy, this young guy 23-year-old that was pretty much brain dead at that point.
Wes: Oh wow!
Dr. Michael: And out of desperation they started to give him high doses of fish oil as an anti-inflammatory, hoping that it might do some other things that we talked about.
Dr. Michael: And the short of the story is he walked out of the hospital a couple of months later and has gone on to live a relatively normal life.
Wes: That’s incredible!
Dr. Michael: I looked and said “Would that apply to Traumatic Brain Injury, not just carbon monoxide poisoning”? I started asking around and nobody knows, nobody had ever looked at that before.
Dr. Michael: So the military basically said “start a research program on that”. It’s a career change for me and sure enough the more people I dealt with and the broader my expanse got, the more experience I found that, not everybody but given people optimal doses, I’m not talking about like in a coma, although that certainly has the potential, but walking, talking then somebody gets a concussion on a soccer field.
Dr. Michael: Or football or ice hockey, and just started seeing the positive benefits that I was having in people with the protocols. But then, there was this one case, really kind of made the biggest difference of all and it was in an 18-year-old kid in a bad car accident. He was in a coma, the parents were told “pull the plug he’s never going to survive, not even a weekend”. I found out about it through family friends and convinced the neurosurgeon, “You've got nothing to lose. You said he didn’t have a chance to survive. Just pull the plug. Why not try some hydra special, like used for the Sago Mine guy”?
Dr. Michael: Same story – the kid walked out of the hospital.
Dr. Michael: A couple of months later.
Wes: Incredible! What a miracle. That is fantastic! How long did you study Fish Oil and the effects it has on the brain?
Dr. Michael: Well, I’ve never stopped! (Both laughs)
Wes: Okay! (laughing)
Dr. Michael: That really started at my original idea that popped into my head about 12-13 years ago now. I just never stopped, even after I got out and retired from the military. I continued that work through imparting to my small non-profit Brain Health Education and Research Institute. Lots of great information at brainhealtheducation.org.
Dr. Michael: Where I try to educate both providers, parents and people, and athletes about these things. As well as it gets me involved, keeps me involved in research projects around the world.
Wes: Would you rather inform the general public of the advantages of this or the medical community? Like doctors such as yourself.
Dr. Michael: You need to do both, because doctors can be very narrow-minded, if you will.
Dr. Michael: We're stubborn, well it depends on how you look at it. Where you like to show me the science, show me in the scientific literature was this the big drug trial that proved that it works? Well, it’s not a drug we're talking about – food. So that’s really a hard concept for doctors to understand. Nutritional supplements and truly they’d be like “Ah! how can nutrition work”? Well, there’s a time before we had antibiotics and all these high-tech things. Nutrition is all we had and it worked. That’s why your mother gave you Cod liver oil.
Wes: Yes she did! (laughs)
Dr. Michael: So doctors are a tough crowd to please because they think they know everything. But you still, I say you've got to take the top-down approach, you've got to do the science, you've got to continue to try to push into the scientific literature. The problem is, nobody wants to fund it because no drug company wants it, because it’s not a billion-dollar drug, because you can buy fish oil anywhere or you could just eat more fish. So I also look at sort of the mothers against drunk driving approach. The bottom-up approach, the grassroots approach. So in a way, I'd rather deal with moms and wives, because I think moms can change the world, but somewhere in there they’ll meet in the middle. The top-down approach to science and the bottom-up approach through moms, and the grassroots approach and hopefully, they’ll meet in the middle somewhere.
Wes: I’ve been told by our family. My family is from Asia and if you break a bone or… Turmeric is applied outside and you can ingest it as well like with milk or food or water or something, and that helps your bone. I don’t know if there’s any medical science to prove that or back that up but I did it anyway. Maybe it was a placebo effect or not. I’ve broken a couple of bones in my body but this kind of seems very similar, that there’s food out there that can actually heal you and I’m glad.
Dr. Michael: Absolutely! Every major culture in history of mankind has used foods, particularly plants.
Dr. Michael: Medicinal for thousands of thousands of years. Turmeric is a great example. It’s well known, actually, and well-studied as an anti-inflammatory.
Dr. Michael: But one of the problems of Turmeric supplements is there’s a lot of varying quality out there, and it’s hard to know what’s what.
Dr. Michael: I mean as far as good quality. But brings up another plant that’s certainly as well-known and has literally been used for 4-5000 years as far as we know.
Dr. Michael: Every major culture, and that’s the cannabis plant.
Wes: My grandmother told me a story once and it was quite a story. This is about the sub-continent. Cannabis, marijuana, the plant would be ground up and mixed with ground almonds and milk and maybe sugar and a little bit of butter, unpurified butter, and consumed if you were ill. Somewhere along the line, that became, I don’t know how it became unacceptable. But maybe 80 years ago or 100 years ago, it was very common in the sub-continent to consume cannabis, marijuana for medical reasons and then for a long time, human beings were told it was wrong and now we see for the last 20 years at least I have, that slowly people are using it for health reasons, as medicine. You’ve begun to administer CBD Oil as an additional nutritional tool as well. Tell me about that?
Dr. Michael: I focused more on the hemp side of things rather than the marijuana side of things. I’m not a big fan of THC.
Wes: What’s the difference?
Dr. Michael: THC is what gives you that high. That’s why people smoke marijuana for example, because it’s like alcohol in some ways, it’s a little bit of escape, recreational drug side of things. You don’t just smoke THC, you smoke marijuana and you get all the different cannabinoids and such. But THC is the one that gets you high.
Dr. Michael: CBD has a balance to that, it actually counteracts THC but it’s also what people consider. Those are the two that are studied the most, the THC and CDB components of a cannabis plant, and CBD is often considered the more medicinal part of the plant.
Dr. Michael: Not to say that THC doesn’t have some medicinal properties, it absolutely does. But other people don’t like that feeling.
Dr. Michael: The euphoria that THC can give you and so at least in the United States, the Federal government has come up with very specific guidelines, and it’s pretty worldwide accepted WHO and so on. That the difference between marijuana and hemp is the content of THC.
Dr. Michael: So to be considered hemp, it has to have 0.3% THC or less, basically all the way through the process, and the plant all the way through a product that gets on the shelf. So that’s really the difference.
Wes: Is hemp just THC removed and then it just becomes hemp and then CBD?
Dr. Michael: No! It’s just different cultivars.
Wes: They’re different plants?
Dr. Michael: They’re like really close first cousins.
Dr. Michael: Or maybe twin siblings. Genetically, there’s minor differences genetically but also how it is grown.
Dr. Michael: Hemp is an agricultural crop.
Dr. Michael: It’s grown like corn or wheat. It’s not grown and groomed for the flowers and the buds like marijuana. Historically, it’s been grown in many ways for the stock and the fiber.
Dr. Michael: The fiber – that’s made fabric. It’s made sails and rope that allow the British Navy, the British empire, to conquer the world because the ropes of the ships and the sails were made out of hemp. In fact, medicinally, interestingly enough we bring up “Why has it become an evil thing”?
Dr. Michael: And that was really a lot of that reactions to the roaring 20’s and after World War I.
Wes: I see.
Dr. Michael: And it was unfortunately led by the United States and the prohibition of alcohol.
Dr. Michael: Basically marijuana, that’s run under the bus with alcohol
Wes: I see.
Dr. Michael: Prior to that, literally from the 1850’s I think, all the way up to 1945 I believe that was.
Dr. Michael: That cannabis extracts were considered pharmaceutical drugs and included in the US Pharmacopeia.
Dr. Michael: The compendium that lists all the drugs in the United States.
Wes: I see.
Dr. Michael: And every major manufacturer a hundred years ago, every major manufacturer pharmaceutical company had cannabis extract as a major pharmaceutical drug. I've got pictures of bottles from, everything from Merck-Shire-Dome to Eli Lily.
Dr. Michael: In fact, one of my favorite pictures is the picture of a label, that it’s a cannabis extract for infants to help with the palette.
Dr. Michael: So that’s how safe it was.
Dr. Michael: And known to be. It’s just unfortunate politics got in the way and marijuana got thrown under the bus with alcohol back in the ’30s.
Wes: So there was something to what my grandmother’s story, like the 1920s and 1930s. Where my grandmother grew up, the hemp or that strain or that kind of marijuana grows as rampant as weeds.
Dr. Michael: Oh yes! Absolutely.
Wes: It’s terrible, not weed as in the sense that we’d like to smoke some weed, it’s like a garden weed. It just grows..
Dr. Michael: Yeah like bamboo. Bamboo is basically, we got some bamboo started. If you don’t put that under control it will keep on growing and growing.
Wes: That’s exactly how it is in these countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, India, Nepal, even some parts of China… it just grows, they don’t even do anything about it either, because nobody cares about it. It’s just garbage there. So I digress (laughs)
Dr. Michael: But the interesting thing is it has so many agricultural potentials.
Wes: It does.
Dr. Michael: Again, some politics got in the way. It used to be paper was made from hemp.
Wes: Rope, paper you mentioned sails.
Dr. Michael: I mean I say a lot of ways. It was this synthetic nylon is what kind of killed the hemp industry.
Dr. Michael: Finally.
Dr. Michael: Because now ropes are made from nylon, which is the off-shoot of the petroleum industry of course.
Wes: Yes! I was at Walmart yesterday.
Dr. Michael: Where this switch from logging and wood-derived paper.
Dr. Michael: A hundred or so years ago, we kind of started the switch from a lot of hemp-based to wood-based paper.
Wes: I didn’t know that they made paper out of it.
Dr. Michael: Even though I’ve heard, I've got no way to prove it, that at least one copy of the Constitution or The Declaration of Independence, I forgot which, is actually printed on hemp paper.
Wes: We’re talking about the 17 or early 1800’s late 1700’s now. Okay, let’s get back to medicinal side (both laughs).
Dr. Michael: Let me carry this for a second.
Dr. Michael: So here’s an interesting thing. I got introduced to hemp as a hemp extract for, and it’s really looking at this for anxiety. My head injury patients almost all have anxiety as a result of a concussion.
Wes: I see.
Dr. Michael: And I’m certifying that hemp-derived CBA, which say its CBD oil but really what we’re talking about is more of a whole-plant hemp extract.
Dr. Michael: CBD is one of the major components. But for sure we often called it as CBD oil but it’s really, we’re talking about hemp oil. But as I started to dig into the science, it turns out that there’s this amazing connection between the Omegas. Omega 6, Omega 3 and these cannabinoid receptors in our body, where we have cannabinoid receptors throughout our body in our brain, in our immune system and Omega 3 does not only interact with that, but CBD interacts with Omega 3’s.
Dr. Michael: Actually, in short it keeps them around longer than do their jobs better.
Dr. Michael: So using CBD and Omega 3 together has been a real relief and my ability to help patients.
Wes: And these are patients who have brain trauma, concussions, injuries to the head.
Dr. Michael: Correct!
Wes: Wow! That is fantastic! Are you the only medical practitioner who’s come to this conclusion? Have you published papers or research on this?
Dr. Michael: I used to publish a lot more. I just got busy in so many other different directions. What I really focus more on sort of radio and podcast.
Dr. Michael: And try to get the knowledge out. As we talk about the grass-root approach.
Dr. Michael: The problem is research often takes money.
Dr. Michael: And nobody wants to fund this kind of research because who’s going to benefit? If you’re a pharmaceutical company, you’re not going to benefit from it because you go down the street and get hemp or omega 3’s.
Wes: Right. Maybe it’s a good idea to start a kickstart campaign or something like that if you can’t get funding from (both laughing) your research, ask the people. Alright! Tell us more a little bit about the hemp-derived CBD. I was at Walmart just yesterday; my wife was buying some shampoo or conditioner. She got some Argan oils from Morocco, it’s really good supposedly for the hair. Right beside it there was like a hemp shampoo or conditioner and I was like, “wait a minute, what’s this”? Is hemp-derived CBD available at stores or what is it? Is it a pill? Is it a liquid? Is it an injection? Where do you get it from? Do you need a doctor’s note for it?
Dr. Michael: Well it kind of all of the above. Which is one of the problems, we have something that's so ubiquitous both in the US and Canada, and worse than that is you start to get all these, if you want to make a name for yourself.
Dr. Michael: By selling some CBD, you've got to start making, unfortunately maybe some outrageous medical claims and that’s never a good thing.
Dr. Michael: and so we’re hearing everything from, I used it clinically and I find great success with patients with anxiety. That’s probably my biggest reason why I see it that it works. But that’s my clinical experience. If I have a CBD company, I can’t make that kind of claim without the science behind it. When you start to hear that it can cure cancer and it can.
Wes: Maybe that’s stretching it.
Dr. Michael: Help anxiety and PTSD and all these different things, well how can some, one substance do all these different things? And that almost in many ways hurts the credibility of it because we’re so used to that pharmaceutical model now right? You got one symptom, you take one drug and the symptoms go away. Well this is really different, this works at a much more holistic way.
Dr. Michael: It’s got so many different mechanisms of action that it’s even harder to just wrap the head around, and so that’s one of the things that in some ways hurts its credibility, because you've got these hucksters if you will. Snake oil salesmen out there making all these ridiculous claims that aren’t justified and aren’t scientifically proven and it hurts the industry.
Wes: Right! Those guys will promise you “Oh! It will grow hair where you never seen before and make your skin shiny and do everything”, Right?
Dr. Michael: Yes, I mean.
Wes: It gives you potency..
Dr. Michael: Why is there hemp there, why is there CBD in shampoo? I haven’t had the slightest idea.
Wes: (Laughs) I was quite perplexed when I saw it on. I literally thought I was like, “Wow! Will this shampoo make me high or something”? although I have limited knowledge I did not know it was THC and CDB, I learned something today, but that what’s crossed my mind yesterday I was like “Hmm, shampoo going to make me high baby”, maybe (both laughs).
Dr. Michael: It’s all marketing right?
Wes: Probably (laughs) just by putting that label on it, will probably sell it. But it’s a serious tool that you use and a nutrition-based tool that you used for brain trauma victims and people with a concussion and it helps you patients and it helps other patients. Again I’m a little confused on what it is, could you break it down to novice layman like me. Does it come in a packet? Is it a bottle?
Dr. Michael: CBD, more specifically full spectrum or broad spectrum of hemp, with CBD.
Dr. Michael: You can buy typically I’m pretty sure in Canada, but in United States, you can buy it over the counter everything from your local gas station to Walmart to online.
Wes: Really? Okay.
Dr. Michael: But you've got to be careful about what your buying, right?
Dr. Michael: If you find CBD in a gas station, you might have a little concern.
Dr. Michael: And if it’s cheap. Good quality hemp CBD is not cheap. Though you think you’re getting a good deal, you're probably not. You’ve definitely got to pay for the quality.
Dr. Michael: There’s only a handful of companies out there that I would even trust. But there are thousands of companies and thousands of products out there on the market, a lot are just complete and utter crap.
Wes: So this is nothing for self-medication. This is not like buying a bottle of aspirin. This is something that we should be talking to a medical practitioner about in case we have an injury or anything.
Dr. Michael: Preferably. But you know if it’s over the counter and you could walk into a good health food store or hopefully talk to somebody who’s knowledgeable and can guide you to one of those. Who were the 5 leading brands out there? And why are they deleting brands? Because they’ve been around a little bit longer and they stood a little bit test of time. They’re not going to be the cheapest, but you can buy them on the counter.
Wes: Can you name those brands?
Dr. Michael: I can, well depends on which. The largest selling brand in the United States is CW Hemp which originally was Charlotte’s Web. They’re the biggest brand. The biggest retailer like on the store shelf brand is CV Sciences and the Plus CBD Oil line of products.
Dr. Michael: And I’m actually a consultant to CV Sciences and Plus CBD Oil because I know the people, I know their quality, I know their products and I’m a huge fan. One of the things that I really like about the Plus CBD line of products is that, a lot of their sort of 3 lines of products are raw product, and literally it’s the raw oil extracted out of the plant and they've got the whole plant complex that been heat activated.
Dr. Michael: Along those lines and they've got concentrated products that have more CBD in it but the thing is, about all three products, you can get them in drops and things like that. But I’m really a huge fan of their soft gels.
Dr. Michael: I know exactly how much a patient is going to consume because I know exactly how much CBD is in each in every soft gel.
Wes: Oh fantastic!
Dr. Michael: I’m not a big fan of the liquid and the drops because one drop is never the same size as the other drop and stuff.
Dr. Michael: So CW Hemps is the biggest one out there. CV Sciences and Plus CBD the biggest retailers on the store shelf.
Dr. Michael: Elixinol is another brand that would be out there that I would trust and I think it’s a Blue Bonnet or Blue Bird? I’m just trying to blank on it, because I don’t typically buy anywhere past CV Sciences and CW Hemp (laughs) and that’s on the American side. And now in Canada, it’s totally different because it’s like this mysterious border that just can’t seem to cross with these things. So it is illegal for hemp products to go to Canada and for hemp products to come into the United States.
Dr. Michael: Even though it’s the same thing and both countries sell it.
Wes: It’s kind of the same situation with beer I think.
Dr. Michael: Yes, could be.
Wes: Molson Canadian right? Love that (laughs).
Dr. Michael: Right.
Wes: Two quick questions… we spoke to a brain professional several months ago and we talked about marijuana, the effects of marijuana on the brain and I believed It could be related to THC rather than the CBD, and that medical professional mentioned that it’s stops blood flow to the brain and that’s why marijuana is not recommended and that’s why you get that high. Is that’s the difference?
Dr. Michael: I’ve never heard that that is an interesting concept or theory or whatever. That is not how THC works, it’s not how it works at all.
Dr. Michael: We have to back up a little bit. So there is an early researcher and his name is Raphael Mechoulam, and back in the 60’s he wanted to figure out why marijuana made you high and so figured out okay what’s the THC, which we knew about THC, we knew about CBD. But he figured out what the chemical structure of THC was, but then he is like “how does it interact with the brain to make you high?” and that led to 1993. He discovered that we have these receptors in our brains that interact with and he called them cannabinoid receptors or endogenous cannabinoid receptors.
Dr. Michael: In the brain and then ultimately a second one was discovered that’s more associated with our immune system. So they basically are now called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors or cannabinoid type 1 or cannabinoid type 2 receptors.
Dr. Michael: And so it turned out THC interacts with CB1 receptors and that what causes us to get high. Well, he didn’t stop there, he’s like “wait a minute, nature would not put these receptors here for a plant”.
Dr. Michael: What’s happening in the body that causes it? And what he discovered was we make our own endogenous cannabinoids to interact with these receptors and also the first one was discovered is called Arachidonoyl Ethanolamide or he nicknamed anandamide for short, Ananda means bliss in Sanskrit so that’s the bliss molecule. So we now know and this was not even discovered until the ’90s.
Dr. Michael: We now know that our body is in our brain and make anandamide to interacts with these receptors. It’s a very short half like very fine-tuned kind of system and it’s what we now know actually causes that runner’s high that really good rush.
Dr. Michael: That good feeling.
Dr. Michael: We used to call that endorphins.
Dr. Michael: Now we know they’re actually not endorphins. There are endorphins, but that runner’s high that cause by anandamide. These endogenous cannabinoids made to fit with these CB1 receptors. Well THC also fits with those receptors to make us high as well, but it’s not the same molecule, it’s not the same shape so it’s not a perfect fit. The reason why CBD can help counteract that is CBD kind of hit the side of receptors and because the THC is not such a great fit, its knocks THC off the receptors. So the antidote if you will for THC high is actually CBD. Hope I made that all good sense and there’s been subsequent endogenous cannabinoids that has been discovered and as well all these cannabinoids, marijuana, or cannabis plant have potentially been hundreds of cannabinoids, some never been heard of. So you start getting not just THC and THCA but CBD, CBDA, CBDG, CBGV, I mean all is different initials and stuff. Hundred plus cannabinoids that most people have never even heard of and most lots of them have not been studied.
Wes: Wow! That is a lot to take in (both laughs) I was taking notes and now I have to re-study on my own (laughing) but it has added to my knowledge though.
Dr. Michael: Because we couldn’t study this for decades and decades because of the illegality of it. It’s almost like new sciences, we are not applying modern methods to this ancient plant.
Dr. Michael: To understand it better.
Wes: Just like many societies are known about that example they give before, it’s the same with this. The last question was if we want more information about all the things that all you talked about, you write about, your blogs, your podcast, your radio shows however you get information out. How can we reach you? You mentioned a website before is that the same website that we should be reaching you at?
Dr. Michael: It’s probably the best that has a lot, it’s really out there for information, you can sign up for a newsletter that I’m intermittently good about getting out.
Dr. Michael: I did have a college student acting as an intern, she’s kind of got tied up with her studies.
Dr. Michael: She was really good in getting the newsletters out for a while, and now she’s busy with her studies, It’s not getting out so often because it’s back on my shoulders.
Dr. Michael: So brainhealtheducation.org is the website for the non-profit – lots of information, kind of go under the latest news section that’s where you can really dig up stuff. I try to update on a somewhat regular basis so www.brainhealtheducation.org, I do see patients principally people who were struggling to recover from concussion months or years later, after they’ve been abused by the medical system, and I get them better. So the website for my clinical practice is the Brain Care Center, not braincare.com but the Brain Care Center.
Dr. Michael: And the sources, whether you’re in Canada and US, go to amazon and order the book When Brains Collide. When Brains collide is available on Amazon around the world.
Dr. Michael: Last time I see more people into the YouTube video education kind of thing.
Dr. Michael: And CV Sciences has a great YouTube channel that’s really good. You want to know about the science of CBD and Cannabis, go to the YouTube channel CV Sciences YouTube channel, C as in Charlie, V as in Victor. CV Sciences YouTube channel.
Dr. Michael: Look at the minutes for Miles. He’s good fun.
Dr. Michael: One of their education guys talks about the cannabinoids and receptors and stuff like that and I've got a few of my videos are up there as well.
Wes: Wonderful! That’s fantastic – three places where we can find more information about what we talked about. Dr. Lewis, you have been fantastic today. We had a very impactful and very informative show today. Thank you so much for taking out the time to talk to us.
Dr. Michael: Absolutely! My pleasure. They said my mission is to get the word out. There are things out there that holistically can help us in many different ways. But really focus on the concept of making us happy and healthy and having good brain health.
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