Cannabis Use among Athletes

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) includes cannabis on its list of substances that are considered to improve an athlete’s performance in sports. They explain that while cannabis can cause motor impairment, loss of executive function, and memory loss it can also reduce anxiety, and improve sleep and recovery time. These, along with its illegal status in most countries, were the criteria for Cannabis’ inclusion on the list of Prohibited Substances.

Cannabis, as a simple herb and plant, is very useful as a dietary nutrient in the support the health and well-being of the training and competing athlete. The vitamins, nutrients, and cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are as helpful to the body as water and vitamin C. Cannabis contains vitamins, amino acids and nutrients which nourish the nervous and immune system. These nutrients reduce inflammation throughout the body, decreasing muscle spasms, reducing pain, and improving circulation in even the smallest blood vessels.

Cannabis is very versatile, coming in many usable forms. When raw or unheated, cannabis does not have a psychotropic effect. The primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC, is activated by heat, so no heat, no buzz. This makes it very useful and usable without the fear of negative or adverse effects on the state of mind, thinking or decision making ability.

Cannabis in its topical form, used as a lotion or body oil is completely non-psychotropic. It does not store in the blood or body tissues. It acts locally where it is applied. Topical cannabis reduces inflammation in the joints, and reduces spasms and pain in the muscles. It accomplishes this through the activity of both the cannabinoids CBD, Cannabidiol and THC, ∆⁹ Tetrahydrocannabinol, working together.  MRI evidence shows, it prevents osteophytes, bone spurs and calcium deposits from forming in the joint spaces, thereby preventing the arthritic changes in joints and increasing joint health. Cannabis (THC/A) is now classified as Neurogenative meaning it nourishes nerves and restores nerve function post peripheral neuropathy caused by chemotherapy, diabetes, and mechanical injury.

Cannabis is also being intensively studied for its ability to help heal the brain post head injury. Athletes are prone to concussions and head injuries which over time cause brain damage, depression, and other cognitive deficits. Cannabis in its inhaled, capsule, liquid or edible forms, reduces inflammation in the brain, improves the response of the microglial or immune system cells of the brain to heal an injury, and improves circulation in the brain by reducing constriction in the blood vessels. New evidence is demonstrating that cannabis also prevents plaques from forming within the blood vessels and nerve tissues of the brain. As the research continues, we are finding Cannabis is more of a health food than a health hazard.

Clinical Cannabinoid Medicine in Action

 

Cannabis is an amazing herb. It is an anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and pain. It has antispasmodic and anticonvulsant properties, reducing muscle spasms and seizures. It is antiemetic, preventing nausea and vomiting while simultaneously stimulating the appetite. It also protects nervous system tissue, including the brain, from degeneration and damage due to toxins and plaque buildup. Due to these properties, it has been found to be useful in the treatment of a number of health care conditions, including osteoporosis, cancer, Tourette’s syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.

Cannabis contains multiple types of cannabinoids with over 80 now being clearly identified. Two of the most well-known and researched are Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆⁹-THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabinoids work by acting directly on the multiple cell receptors of the Endocannabinoid System. The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is comprised of multiple cannabinoid receptors, including CB1 and CB2, their endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids) and the proteins and enzymes responsible for their metabolism. The Endocannabinoid System is one of the human body’s most important systems as it supports and regulates a variety of physiological processes essential to well-being, including nociception (pain-sensation), appetite, lipid metabolism, gastrointestinal motility, cardiovascular modulation, motor activity, and memory. The ECS is also strongly associated with human behavior through the modulation of neurotransmitters and the skeletal ECS supports bone health, growth and repair.

The Endocannabinoid System supports stress recovery and homeostasis, continually returning the body to a state of balance. Cannabis affects this system in a biphasic way, meaning small doses of cannabinoids have the opposite effect of large doses. For example, small doses of cannabis can produce an alert feeling in the body (stimulation), where large doses can cause sedation (inhibition). Also, the cannabinoids contained in cannabis have counter balancing effects on the body. For example, ∆⁹-THC is anxiety producing at doses of 2-5 mg and psychosis inducing in doses of 20 -25 mg in people naïve to cannabis use, while CBD induces alertness at 15 mg, sedation at 400mg, and has anti-psychotic effects at doses larger than 400mg. THC is psychotropic, causing an alteration of perception, and CBD is non-psychotropic. Health conditions which reveal an ECS deficiency include anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, migraines and osteoporosis.  Health conditions which indicate an ECS excess include obesity, schizophrenia, metabolic syndrome, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.

Cannabis excess syndromes are an important topic of research as the number of people who use cannabis as medicine is increasing and only recently have appropriate dosage recommendations become available. Cannabis works by stimulating the cannabinoid receptors on cells located in the body in areas of varying density. The areas of the body which contain the most cannabinoid receptors include the brain, spinal cord, spleen, bone marrow, liver, lungs, heart, adrenal glands, reproductive organs, and fat cells. Receptors are also found on muscle tissues and multiple cell lines of the immune system. When endocannabinoid cell receptors are stimulated initially, they up regulate or increase in number and response, especially when this response will create greater homeostasis. When any cell receptor in the body is overstimulated due to excessive or chronic use beyond that which supports homeostasis, it down-regulates by decreasing in number or becoming desensitized. This can occur in chronic excessive users of cannabis. People with desensitized endocannabinoid receptors will notice that it takes larger and larger doses of cannabinoids to achieve a desired effect. Fortunately, the endocannabinoid system can be re-set and re-sensitized to the effects of cannabis medicine in less than a week’s time involving only a 48 hour period of abstinence followed by slow reintroduction at the minimal dose required to achieve the desired effect. This re-sensitization results in a more balanced homeostatic response to the cannabis, achieving better results with less medicine.

Cannabis dosing has been a question for a long time and it is still continuing to be answered. Since each person’s endocannabinoid system is unique, dosing is based on individual need taking into account the health condition being addressed, the age and weight of the person being treated, and their overall state of health at the time treatment is initiated. Recommending a form or specific dose of a cannabinoid medicine based on cannabinoid content alone is only a small piece of the picture. Cannabis also contains terpenoids. Terpenoids are the essential oils present in the cannabis plant that provide its fragrance and flavor. The Cannabis plant expresses over 200 different types of terpenoids. Each strain or cultivar (cultivated variety) of cannabis has a terpenoid content that is genetically determined, making the terpenoid profile or composition one way to identify specific strains or cultivars. While the cannabinoid content provides information regarding the strength, potency, and type of variety, the terpenoid content reveals how a specific cannabis strain or cultivar is meant to be used medicinally. For example, d-limonene found in lemon peels, lemongrass, and other citrus fruits is the second most widely distributed terpenoid found in nature. It is used for the treatment of anxiety and depression, as an anti-fungal due to its ability to increase the permeability of cellular membranes, and as a treatment for gastric reflux and other digestive system conditions. Research has shown it also plays an important part in tumor apoptosis or cell death.

When beginning treatment with cannabis compounds it is best to start with a low dose of a quality medicine. Since smoking cannabis is not always the preferred initial means of use, especially in the pediatric and geriatric populations, a tincture of cannabis infused in olive oil is a good initial introduction. Some individuals are so sensitive to cannabis, they will respond to one drop of oil placed on the wrist. Always test your own medicine at a low dose to determine how you will respond. Since the dosing of cannabinoid medicines and the health care conditions people are treating are usually quite complex, it is best to use cannabinoid medicines with the guidance of a physician trained in their use who can also integrate the cannabinoid medicines with other adjunctive treatments. Sometimes treatment is simple, sometimes complex. Healing takes time and energy. It is always about balance. Be well.

Migraine Meltdown

Do you know someone who suffers with migraines?

Research has found one way to prevent migraines1.  They studied vitamin B2, called riboflavin.  Taking daily riboflavin for 3 months showed favorable results over the placebo group.  They experienced fewer migraines that went away sooner.  While 2 people had diarrhea, there were no serious side effects.   

It’s amazing how simple treatments may have a big impact on health.

Vitamin B2 is found in many foods such as eggs, asparagus, and broccoli.  In order to get a therapeutic dose you would need to supplement vitamin B2.

For long-term use, it’s best to use several B vitamins together instead of a single high-dose vitamin. This is because they all work together.

We can do a micronutrient blood test to measure our patient’s levels of vitamins and other nutrients.  This helps to customize the treatment for better results.  Patients appreciate not wasting money on ineffective supplement treatments.

I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic physician, at www.ChehalisNaturopathic.com.  We’re now scheduling new patients with same week availability.

Reference:

  1. Neurology. 1998 Feb; 50(2):466-70.

Flu season is here. What you can do to prevent getting ill.

It’s that time of year again – the flu season hits the United States between October and April.   

Cooler, drier air makes it easier for the flu virus to spread from person to person.  Research suggests that the flu virus becomes tougher at colder temperatures, making it easier to transmit. So if you are wary of becoming sick in the winter, you may be correct that viruses are more active and resilient at this time.

Plus we tend to spend more time indoors. It’s also likely that when you stay inside in a room with the windows shut and people sniffling, that you are more likely to be exposed to germs. The central heating and dry air dries the nasal passages which increases the risk of infection. With the shorter sunlight hours, we make less vitamin D as well, a strong supporter of our immune system.

Make time to take care of yourself now:

  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Come in and get a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D.  Take a high quality Vitamin D supplement from a naturopathic physician. The right type of vitamin D and the right dose matter.
  • Avoid antibiotics. The flu is caused by a virus so antibiotics won’t be effective.    Antibiotics only kill bacteria. Use natural plants and herbs to boost your immunity instead. Your immune system is your strongest ally.
  • Probiotics, good bacteria, can be helpful and found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt and pickled vegetables.
  • Eat healthy foods to boost your immunity such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, green leafy vegetables and herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano. Add spices to warm up the body and get the circulation going. Fruits also contain antioxidants that will protect against infection.
  • Reduce sugars and refined carbohydrates such as baked goods. Sugars drain your immunity and make you susceptible to infection. Increase healthy fats in your diet such as avocados, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, fish oils and coconut oil.
  • Use stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong and mindfulness to prevent stress from depleting your immunity.

If you’d like to beat the flu, come in and see me. I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic Physician, at www.chehalisnaturopathic.com. We are accepting new patients by appointment at phone 360-996-4761.

Naturopath’s Favorite Wild Seafood Source

As a naturopathic doctor, my patients ask me where I get my own organic seafood.

My wife and I love Vital Choice, right here in Washington State. Organic foods are getting easier to find but not for high quality wild caught seafood shipped to consumer.

Freshness matters for best nutrients and taste. I’m talking about wild caught fish such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.

The best tasting fish I’ve ever had is their Sablefish. Fish has never been among my favorite tasting foods but I can eat their salmon and sablefish every week.

Eating fish in your weekly meals helps you get those healthy fish oils (omega 3 essential fatty acids) that reduce inflammation from aches and pains.

And they’re not only a seafood source. Vital Choice has the most delicious Organic Nuts I’ve ever eaten.

I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman. We’re now accepting new patients at www.chehalisnaturopathic.com.

Check out Vital Choice: http://www.vitalchoice.com/shop/pc/home.asp?idaffiliate=3912

What’s Stealing Your Sleep?

6 to 8 hours of sleep seems impossible for many of my patients. Many have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and have tried over-the-counter or prescription sleeping drugs. They don’t like the way it makes them feel.

Obvious culprits should be addressed as the basics of quality sleep:

• Cut back caffeine consumption. Keep coffee, black and green tea down to 1 to 2 cups a day and only in the mornings and definitely before 4pm.

• Switch off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime. Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Go to bed close to the same time every day of the week.

• Don’t eat in bed, read in bed, or watch television in bed, these are sleep disruptors. Get in bed only when you’re ready to sleep.

• Sleep in absolute darkness. If you can’t get it completely dark then sleep with an eye mask. For some people even the alarm clock light can alter sleep patterns.

• If you live in a noisy area, wear ear plugs. Noise pollution disturbs your nervous system.

• We sleep better in a cooler temperature. Set the thermostat between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimal sleeping temperature.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, there could be a hidden reason. It’s called Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue may be stealing your sleep. The adrenal glands, 2 glands on top of the kidneys, produce adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones. They can disrupt your sleep. For example, adrenaline will wake you up when your blood sugar level gets too low or if you drink coffee after dinner or if you’ve had a stressful day.

I offer labs that will test your adrenal gland function. I use herbal medicines to restore and replenish the adrenal glands. These plant medicines help us to adapt to stress.

It’s time to get a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning refreshed and with energy.

I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic Physician. Now accepting new patients at ChehalisNaturopathic.com, phone (360)-996-4761.

Breast Cancer Screening

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The month is almost over. But getting tested for breast cancer is not something you want to put off any longer.

Breast Cancer is still the most common cancer in women. Men also get breast cancer, about 100 times less often than women.

The National Cancer Institute expects within the next 15 years to have a 50% increase in Americans diagnosed with breast cancer. This is in part because people are living longer combined with a rising population.

Most breast cancers occur in women who don’t have a family history of breast cancer. The mammogram is still an important screening tool to detect breast cancer. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the survival rate.

Breast self-exam is an important part of a breast cancer screening strategy. The best time to do monthly breast self-exam is 3-5 days after your period starts. Breasts are less tender and lumpy at that time during your menstrual cycle.

So talk to your doctor about screening options. Taking action now is empowering.

I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic Physician, atwww.ChehalisNaturopathic.com.

Call us at (360) 996-4761 to schedule your appointment.

Diabetes and Magnesium

People with adult Type 2 Diabetes are often lacking in the mineral magnesium. This is significant because magnesium helps to control blood sugar levels.

Magnesium is so important in our body because it’s necessary in over 300 different metabolic pathways. Strong bones, nerve and muscle function all require magnesium.

Published research on patients with diabetes showed magnesium supplements both helped insulin sensitivity, and lowered fasting glucose levels.1 That’s a double benefit for diabetes!

However, not all magnesium supplements are effective. It’s all about quality and quantity with nutritional supplements. This is for your health so get high quality treatments. The form of magnesium makes a big difference in how well it gets absorbed and used by our body.

I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic Physician, athttp://www.chehalisnaturopathic.com

I invite you to be evaluated and treated by our naturopathic physicians at Chehalis Naturopathic, (360) 996-4761.

Reference:
1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Oral+magnesium+supplementation+improves+insulin+sensitivity+and+metabolic+control+in+type+2+diabetic+subjects

Pre-Diabetes Can Be Reversed

12038526_1633359983589819_6952205240257684588_nAdult type 2 Diabetes, the “sugar” disease, is a rapidly growing health and financial problem.

Diabetes causes a lot of nerve pain and weight problems from out of control blood sugar and inflammation.

It is well worth preventing because diabetes is in the top 10 causes of debilitation and death for Americans.

It’s good news that diabetes is preventable.

Wouldn’t it be better to know if you were heading into diabetes so you can do something about it?

Pre-diabetes is the earlier milder form of Diabetes.

Up to 72 million Americans have pre-diabetes and don’t even know it, according to the American Diabetes Association.

It can be why it’s difficult for you to lose weight.

To be evaluated for pre-diabetes, we use simple blood tests with a naturopathic medical consultation.

There are many natural treatments that can reverse pre-diabetes. We go far beyond basic diet and exercise. We use therapeutic nutrients and plant medicines to control inflammation and blood sugar.

You’d be surprised to know there’s a tasty spice you most likely have in your kitchen that helps sugar cravings and blood sugar problems.

Take action now.

It’s up to you to improve the quality of your health and your wallet.
Get testing and treatment options for Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes:
Call (360) 996-4761 Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic Physicians at Chehalis Naturopathic.

What’s Your Risk for a Heart Attack?

10374905_1631633320429152_8414430899304688222_nHeart disease is still the number one cause of death for Americans. It’s the number one cause of death for men. About 1 in 3 women die from heart disease1. It affects all of us, young and old.

Doctors commonly tell patients their risk factors for heart disease are tobacco use, overweight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Maybe you think your risks of dying from heart disease are low because you are a thin, non-smoker, and have normal cholesterol levels. Or because you are taking cholesterol lowering drugs.
You might think you’re safe but you’re not.

What really causes heart disease? The early stage of heart disease is damage in the lining of your blood vessels. That damage comes from inflammation leading to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of your arteries). Cholesterol deposits and blood clots build up to the point of blocking blood flow.

That’s the start of heart attacks and strokes.

Doesn’t cholesterol cause heart disease? I strongly disagree with the high cholesterol theory causing heart disease. There’s a cbn.com news video about cardiologists making this point. Many people have normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol levels who become heart attack victims.

Cholesterol is needed in every cell in your body. All hormones are made from cholesterol. You need it for memory and sex drive.

Cholesterol is at the scene of the crime but it doesn’t mean it’s the perpetrator of the crime.

A partial cause of the crime is mechanical damage from the force of flowing blood. This requires repairing from nutrients in our food and nutritional supplement choices we make.

The biggest culprit of damaging blood vessels is inflammation.
How can you reduce the risk of heart disease since cholesterol isn’t the problem?

I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic Physician at Chehalis Naturopathic. I help patients with testing and treatment options. I have never prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs because they do harm and have no health benefit.

First get screening tests that look at how much inflammation is going on in your body.There are many natural treatments to lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

I realize many people don’t make the time to exercise. I tell my patients about a kind of High Intensity Interval Training exercise that only takes 15 minutes at a time, every other day. At least, if you have sitting jobs or lifestyles then stand up and take 1 minute breaks.

Simple changes to our food choices will reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. For example, it’s easy to change the type of cooking oil you use.

There are many foods and high quality nutritional supplements that dramatically decrease the inflammation in your body. It’s the choices we make about what we put in our body that makes the difference in how we feel.

For testing and treatment call (360) 996 4761 for an appointment with Dr. Tim Kuhlman, ND at Chehalis Naturopathic.

1
Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/…/data_stat…/fact_sheets/fs_men_heart.htm
2
What Really Causes Heart Disease?,http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2012/oct
ober/cholesterol-myth-what-really-causes-heart-disease/