DR. MIKE MORENO: Welcome back to Wellness, Inc. I’m Dr. Mike Moreno, taking a deep dive into all thing’s wellness after over twenty five years of practicing medicine. I’m fascinated with anything and everything that can help you feel better, live healthier and become the best you possible. I’ll be interviewing the most cutting edge experts in the field of wellness and exploring new innovative technologies to help you live your best life. At the end of each episode, I’ll give you my weekly RX. My top tips for you to use right away. Remember to subscribe for free, rate and review my podcast on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen.
Today you can find CBD in everything from beauty products, edibles, beverages, capsules, creams, lotions, potions, you name it. A majority of the US now has legal access to cannabis and we’re looking at greater market stability for CBD in the future to come. However, of course, there’s a but to this. Despite conclusive research documenting its benefits, many people still have a misunderstanding about cannabis. So we have a guest and he’s going to share all the research and science behind the plant and help us know what we should look out for, how to determine facts from fiction to help you make the most informed choices.
Dr. Jeff Chen is a man on a mission, to say the least, to discover the scientific truth and medicinal value of cannabis. He’s a scientist and impact entrepreneur who has spent the last seven years’ operating at the intersection of cannabis policy, science, and business to accelerate cannabis research. Dr. Chen was the founder and former executive director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, one of the first university programs in the world dedicated to cannabis. At only twenty nine when he founded the research program, he was one of the youngest directors of a major university research initiative in America. His new tech company, Radicle Science, is accelerating clinical trials on natural medicines. Welcome to the show, Dr. Chen. Thank you for being here.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Thanks for having me, Mike, it’s a pleasure.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Listen, this is awesome, because I’m going to start out by saying I’m a fan. I’ve been practicing, I’m fifty-three now, so I’ve been practicing for a bit and I will tell you that I think that this plant has, has really gotten a bad beat. I’m glad it’s making its appearance and kind of coming to light as, as a very helpful tool in, in treating or I shouldn’t say treating and helping manage so many conditions. So let’s go first of all, talk a little bit about the use of Cannabis Research Initiative and what your focus was there.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah, sure, so cannabis, despite having been around for thousands of years, used medically by societies from the Egyptians to the Greeks, the Romans to the ancient Chinese, and even here in America where physicians were allowed to prescribe it and you could walk into a pharmacy and get cannabis up until like 90 years ago is when that all stopped with prohibition. So one thing that happened with the prohibition of cannabis, not alcohol, was that research came to a grinding halt and research on cannabis is virtually unfunded.
Also, it’s incredibly difficult to do research on cannabis. That’s arguably one of the most difficult things to actually study in this country. It’s a schedule one drug to this day which lumped that together with things like heroin, it’s crazy.
DR. MIKE MORENO: You know, when people, so for those of you listening, we have this sort of scheduling one, two, three, 4th sort of thing and when you think about lumping cannabis with heroin, I always kind of think to myself, really? So you talk about prohibition and then you talk about the difficulty in doing research. Is, is it all a money thing, do you think? Is that what it comes down to?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: It’s a, it’s a great question and, you know, I think people have different theories, but I’ll say it’s probably a combination of a money thing, but it’s also politics. When Cannabis First was banned, two things were kind of happening. First off, the reason we even called it marijuana, right? Cannabis was a legal name. That’s what we called it. Even in this country up until nine years ago.
The reason we started labeling marijuana was that when the push came to try to get it prohibited, they decided to call it marijuana because that’s what the Mexican immigrants called it. So they wanted cannabis to sound dirty. So they said marijuana is this thing that’s coming into our country. It’s making people crazy and the prohibitionists who are pushing against marijuana. They said some pretty outlandish things like marijuana makes black folk think they’re as good as white men. You know, smoke a joint you’re likely to go crazy and kill people. It makes black men want to be with white women. Crazy nonsense that [00:05:00] they were saying. So clearly there was a lot of racism against black and brown folks and one of the main drivers of cannabis prohibition, but also that era during cannabis prohibition was also the rise of pharmaceuticals. The rise of these synthetic patented drugs. So, there was a general pushback not, not against cannabis individually, but as a whole.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Natural medicines plant medicines were pushed away when you had this influx of kind of synthetic, patentable pharmaceutical products that could go through like an FDA process. So those are probably the two reasons that that kind of drove it into prohibition.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, Big Pharma, I think, of Big Pharma, so don’t get me wrong, listen, I’m practicing family medicine. There is a definite need for thousands of medications, no doubt about it. Right? They’ve changed our lives. They extended our lives, but you always hear that term Big Pharma. I think of Kool-Aid busting through a wall like, oh yeah, watch, watch out for Big Pharma because, you know, you kind of get, you start thinking, is this money driven? You mentioned politics, which are two words that dirty up a lot of science and really kind of slow progression of things that save lives or improve outcomes or whatever you want to say.
So let’s talk a little bit about CBD. How does it work and let’s talk a little bit about the ECS system in our bodies?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: That’s such a great point, Mike. So it’s a great place to start with the ECS, the endocannabinoid system. So if you were like me in medical school, we never learned about the ECS.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Nope.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: And the reason we didn’t learn about it, because in medical school, you only generally learn about systems where we have drugs and treatments to target. We have no pharmaceutical drugs that target the endocannabinoid system. Cannabis and cannabinoids target it, but they’re not really approved much as pharmaceutical drugs.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Gotcha, gotcha.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: So if you look at the name of Endocannabinoid. Endo meaning internal, cannabinoids being cannabis like. So it’s our kind of internal system of cannabis like molecules and receptors in our body. We didn’t discover this till about twenty-five years ago. We finally realized, oh my gosh, the reason we react to THC, which is the main psychoactive, intoxicating compound in cannabis, the reason we react to THC is because our bodies manufacture things that look very similar to THC. So our bodies think it’s our own cannabinoids that it’s reacting to.
One more thing, interesting thing about the cannabinoid. It’s not just humans, it’s humans, dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles. It’s a very preserved system that evolved several hundred million years ago. So, it’s kind of a fundamental part of physiology, of higher order life and it’s distributed throughout your body. It’s everywhere.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, you know, it’s funny because you’re right. We never talked about that, and of course, what we knew, at least when I was going through school, even high school for that matter, it was like marijuana, right? It was like, you know, and you think about drug cartels and all that other stuff and all the, it had a dirty sort of connotation to it, but yeah, we never we never touched on the [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. It wasn’t until several years ago where I learned more about the ECS system. I’m like, wait a minute, man, we’re missing the boat on a lot of this. So I think the important thing for people to recognize, THC and, and CBD are different entities. Is that fair to say?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah, so, so these are both cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are compounds that they only exist in nature in the cannabis plant. So THC and CBD are cannabinoids. There’s actually another hundred cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. We have no idea what they do. We barely understand THC.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right. Exactly.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: So there’s all these other cannabinoids. We’ve no clue what they do. They only pop up in cannabis.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Excellent. So when you talk, so for those of you out there, when you’re thinking, OK, they’re talking about marijuana, no, we’re talking about a cannabis plant which has different types of cannabinoids, I guess we could say, and we can say the, the part that a lot of people think of that gets you high or gives you that euphoria or whatever you want to say is the THC. That is the molecule that creates that euphoria. CBD in and of itself doesn’t do that. It’s, it does, it does a lot of the things that we’re now going to lead into and some of the benefits of this. So now that we’ve separated those, see, how does CBD work?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Sure. Actually, before I jump into CBD, you know THC is responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis, it is responsible for the effects of cannabis for some folks that can become dependent, but THC also has some really interesting medical properties that we can look back on.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Absolutely.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Diving into CBD, so you’re correct. It’s not intoxicating. It’s not, it doesn’t alter your consciousness, doesn’t give you kind of the euphoria of THC. [00:10:00] What we know CBD does in humans from controlled clinical trials is it has interesting antiepileptic properties. You might have seen stories about kids with epilepsy using CBD. It has, interestingly, antipsychotic properties that can help people with certain mental illnesses like schizophrenics.
CBD also appears to possess anti addictive properties. They’ve Done human trials on people who are addicted to, say, certain opioids. They have less cravings when they use CBD and then things like helping reduce anxiety as well. So that’s kind of what we know from human studies, of which there are not a lot like, Mike.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right. Going back to what you were saying. Exactly.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Correct. It’s so difficult to research. Now going down a level to what we see in animal studies, even more interesting things pop up. So you’re seeing lots of anti-inflammatory effects, lots of antioxidant effects, interesting antitumor effects, neuroprotective effects, anti-pain effects, although that’s never been studied in humans. So that’s kind of, oh and also the kind of sleep modulating effects as well of CBD that we see in animals.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right, and, you know, I want to share some because I think it’s important for, you know, I started, I’ve experimented with CBD on a number of things. I really love the topical, but I’ve done oral. I’ve used different things that that are lumped in with, say, melatonin and also sort of things to give you the more relaxing, calming thing to help with sleep, but I will tell you as an anti-inflammatory, I’ve used this myself, not only for some medical issues I’ve had with, with pain and a lot of things.
I mean, I was taken, I was taking so much Motrin, Tylenol for this hip condition I had, and I was miserable, and I was like sick of it. Then, you know, you take one thing, and it leads to another problem. Then you need another pill to solve that problem. I was just done. I found a tremendous amount of relief.
I don’t want people to think this is going to cure all and end everything. No, but, you know, I think what people need to open our minds up to alternative modes of treatment or modalities. Treatment modalities. It’s not going to cure cancer. That’s not what we’re saying, but could aid in sort of the management of cancers? Could it aid in the management of so many things? I think the answer is very clearly, yes, it can, but people are still skeptical. So, you know, how do we get past this? I mean, how do we educate people further?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: It’s a great point, Mike, and I think the reason there is some skepticism around CBD is, number one, the skepticism and sometimes is warranted and that we don’t have lots of good human clinical trials. It’s because academia is super slow. This research is expensive and most of the time it’s still impossible right now to do research on CBD, but you have tens of millions of Americans using it. If you listen to their stories, it’s pretty compelling the benefits people are getting, especially for very common conditions around pain and sleep issues and anxiety that has gone through the roof with the pandemic.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Oh my God, especially now. Exactly,
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Exactly and then there’s another element which is not related to CBD itself, but because the industry exists in this gray area, the big companies aren’t touching it. The big box retail stores still won’t carry it. You know it’s still hard to kind of get a bank account. All this stuff, the companies, unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad actors in the space. They see the opportunity to make a quick buck and they sell products that sometimes have no CBD in it at all, or the dose is wildly off from the label. So there’s another level of skepticism, which is just, that bottle you bought…what’s actually in it?
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right. No, exactly, and, you know, it’s a shame because so I’ve always said to my patients and I, I like to think of myself as liberal to an extent, but you know listen, when we’re in medical school, you know, this do no harm, right? That’s the oath we take, and I tell my patients, listen, I always want to know what you’re taking, where you got it, and just show me the bottle. If you’ve got it online or on Amazon or wherever you got. I just want to know. I want to know it doesn’t interact with your medications. I want to know it’s not going to harm you, but if I know something is not going to harm you and I know that you’re benefiting from it and I know it’s not going to take your kids college fund away from you because it’s so expensive and someone says to me, hey, I feel better than what is the harm. Right?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Right, yeah.
DR. MIKE MORENO: And I think people and, you know, we talk about the ECS system. Is it fair to say that the ECS system is more or less active in some individuals than others? Like why does it work on some people and not others?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Such a great question. I talked about the ECS system. I really want to talk about what it’s there for. So [00:15:00] if you had to describe these. Yes, in one word, that word is homeostasis. Maintaining a state of equilibrium. Trying to bring the system back to normal when it’s disturbed. So here’s an example, your neurons, right? So let’s say you have a pain nerve that’s firing when your body releases endocannabinoids. In response to that, the amount of firing that pain nerve goes through slows down and your pain signal decreases. When there’s excessive inflammation, your body releases endocannabinoids and that quiets down your immune cells that are that are precipitating that inflammation.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Gotcha.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: If someone say is having a seizure, their neurons are firing too much, they’re having a seizure. You release endocannabinoids, it brings that firing back to normal and this hasn’t been proven, but there are theories that people have deficiencies in endocannabinoid production. In fact, there’s a theory that things like fibromyalgia are actually functional endocannabinoid deficiency syndromes and that’s why they seem to respond really well when you give them something like THC. People with fibromyalgia, and if you think about the ECS, it’s involved in digestion, it’s involved in sleep, it’s involved in mood, it’s involved in pain. So these fibromyalgia patients, some that your giving cannabis, suddenly, all of these unrelated organ systems and conditions improve.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, and I think, so you bring up an interesting condition, because fibromyalgia has been one of these things out there that it’s so difficult to diagnose, right. It’s a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning we’ve ruled out everything else, so this must be what you have. Like, that’s kind of um, non, it’s not really the most satisfying thing you want to hear from your physician, but listen, you know, we’re, we’re not perfect. We’re doing our best and, you know, you leave no stone unturned, but it’s hard to sometimes tell people, look, this is what we’ve come up with and they’re like, what?
Because it’s a debilitating, such a huge cost in this country, and we can’t just do a simple blood test and go, oh, positive, you have this. So, we’re left to say, all right, we’ve ruled out serious things. We’ve ruled out things that are potentially really going to kill you, harmful cancers, and nasty stuff like that, but, you know, yeah, you’re going to be in pain, and this is just how it’s going to be. That sucks. That’s a kind of a B.S. answer to give someone.
So I love to hear that you say this, and we can kind of use this to go right into something you mentioned earlier, too, which is the opioid epidemic. I mean, people are, thousands of people die a day. You know, we want to talk about this ridiculous, horrific pandemic that has really changed all of our lives, but it’s just, you look at the opioid crisis and how many people die every minute.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Right.
DR. MIKE MORENO: And, and, you know, I think we underutilized. It’s not to say that CBD is going to help everybody, but what are your thoughts? Because I’ll tell you right now, I would much rather have my patients taking less opioids and having the use of CBD. Good, solid, well-known CBD that we know is, you know, a solid source and taking less opioids. Like how could anybody argue that that’s not a good idea?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah. No, again, it’s such a good point, and in terms of the opioid, cannabis kind of understanding of where that interplay is, most of our data right now is actually on cannabis, THC. What we see is that as states legalize cannabis and it’s more and more people with pain use cannabis, you actually see drops in opioid prescribing from doctors as well as opioid overdoses from patients versus states that never legalized cannabis. People don’t use cannabis a lot. So, I mean, we have definitive data that THC can help with pain. Clearly, without the overdose potential of opioids, you cannot, you cannot die from ingesting too much THC.
CBD is an interesting molecule, and that we don’t have a ton of good data, that it necessarily produces the sensation of pain, but it could be that the way that CBD could be helping is by, again, modulating how, again it has these anti addictive properties that have been shown in humans, specifically for opioids, but it’s also possibly this anti-inflammatory effect. Maybe it’s treating the source of the pain by reducing inflammation or and a lot of times these addictive disorders, there’s also a lot of brain inflammation going on and that’s what’s causing a lot of the dependency and causing this kind of vicious cycle. So by reducing potentially inflammation in the brain as well, maybe resetting the system.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right, and when you think about serotonin and Gabba and all these other neurotransmitters. We have antidepressants and all of these things, there’s got to be some interaction there. There has to be and like you said, it’s unfortunate that the research is so difficult to attain because of this negative sort of thing that it carries [00:20:00] around with it, but I think, I’m hopeful, let me say that. That we’re headed in the right direction. I mean, what are your thoughts on that?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah, no, we are. Look, the new administration came in and they were pretty gung-ho that there needs to be some massive reform around cannabis ASAP. The laws on cannabis have been unchanged for 50 years. Nixon took office and basically made it, yeah, Nixon took office and made it a schedule one drug. That’s basically what happened. So, I would hope that the law is going to be changing very soon in the next year or two. Some form of massive federal reform and then the research gates will open, but it’s still going to be years after the research gates open for those study results to come out, because that’s the current pace of how clinical trials are done in academia. It’s just really slow, really expensive.
DR. MIKE MORENO: So now, you know, for my audience out there, they’re getting a sense and an understanding that we all have this ECS system in some of us, some of us more active than others, more sensitive. We know the safety. We know the potential effects of it. More to come probably in the future years as more research develops. Now, I’m someone who’s listening to you and I have this conversation and I say, OK, I want to try this. How do you get someone or how do you guide them down the good pathway of getting a good product that you know is good? That’s redundant.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Great question.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Did you get all that?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah. So yeah, so if you live in one of the 30 something states that has legalized cannabis, when you go to a dispensary in that state, that cannabis product, when I say cannabis, I mean, like a thing from THC cannabis, that cannabis product is more regulated than the organic produce you buy at Whole Foods. Right.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: The states are treating it like a dangerous drug. There’s so many fail safes and checks and testing and quality assurances OK. Now, contrast that with CBD from hemp that you can just buy online. Very little to no government oversight at the state or federal level.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Gotha.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: So when you’re buying THC cannabis from a dispensary in in a state that is legal cannabis, you can pretty you can rest assured that what the bottle says on it is true, and there’s no, like poisons in there and get you sick. When you’re ordering CBD, it’s really, you really got to be buyer beware.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Like, look into the brand. Find a brand that, like, lists the team on there. It’s got their faces. You know, it’s like I know I could find these people’s addresses if I really need to, you know. I know where these people live.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: You know, look for look for brands that that that highlight the third party testing. They’ll put the test results on their website and again, generally, the longer the brand has been around, the longer the company has been around, the more likelihood that they’re not one of these kinds of pop-up, fly by night operations that’s trying to make a quick buck and then leave.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Yes, and I think an important thing, too, because there’s a lot of discussion of polypharmacy, right? So polypharmacy people on a number of drugs and when you’re talking about pain and treating pain, that’s a very common issue that we see. So, a lot of drug screenings, urine, drug screenings or what have you take place by your providers to say, hey, ok, you’re taking your opioid for chronic pain, whatever it may be. We’re always trying to get them to take less. We’re always trying to keep them in a safe sort of realm.
As far as taking those things. It’s, and correct me if I’m wrong, it’s less than point three percent that is the threshold for being detected or not. For those of you who are out there listening, if you get regular opioids, your doctor has to check your urine to make sure that number one, you have it in your system and you’re not selling them, but also to make sure that maybe there is not a polypharmacy thing going on here where you’re taking other stuff. So they’ll, THC is one of the things they check for. So, go int that just for a second so people are pretty clear.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah, so I mean, look, if you’re in a in a situation where if you test positive for THC, you might lose your employee benefits, or if you’re a veteran, you’re worried about how that might affect your VA benefits the, yes, like any cannabis product with THC, that’s going to, highly, highly likelihood show up on a drug screen. CBD from hemp, the reason CBD from hemp can kind of be sold online and shipped over state lines is because by definition it should have less than point three percent THC.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Gotcha.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: By weight. So very, very tiny amounts of THC. Is it theoretically possible you could test positive for THC from this taking a hemp derived CBD product? It’s possible, but I would say the odds are pretty low. So, but if you’re in a very sensitive situation where you might get kicked out military or lose your job, you might even just want to avoid the hemp derived CBD products unless the brand is very clear that they use zero point zero- it’s basically they take extra caution. They actively remove that little bit of THC out of the product.
DR. MIKE MORENO: So even below that point, three percent, it’s like-
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Some companies will do that. They’ll actively say we [00:25:00] are a zero product and actually if some companies like to tout the fact that they are full spectrum. Full spectrum, meaning they are the whole essence of the implant, including that little bit of THC. So full spectrum stay away from it. If they’re worried about testing positive for THC.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Well, OK, now let’s get to you, because the stuff you’re doing with Alzheimer’s and cancer stuff that are just I mean, my mother had Alzheimer’s and it was just a terrible thing to go through. I have patients over the years and obviously with cancers. Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing with cannabis or the studies you’re doing and Alzheimer’s or perhaps dementia of all types. What’s going on with you there?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Sure, yeah, I mean, it’s a, it’s a really strong research interest of mine, while I was at UCLA, I was trying to get studies up and running on these topics, but it was just so difficult. The government grants that we got were for things that were not necessarily related to cancer or Alzheimer’s, but I can speak about why I’m so interested in this. It’s pretty fascinating stuff.
So let’s start with, say, cancer. So believe it or not, cannabinoids, both THC and CBD exhibit anti-tumor effects. They actively, they can trigger the cancer cells to self-destruct. They can prevent blood vessels from feeding the cancer cell. So really interesting, as well as having kind of a direct anti-tumor effect. Fascinating stuff and it’s been demonstrated for brain cancer and breast cancer and these other types of cancers.
Again, hasn’t really been studied in humans. So please don’t go out and try to cure yourself with, but what’s beautiful about cannabis as an anti-tumor agent, it does not have any detrimental effects on healthy cells. Whereas a lot of our chemo drugs kill anything that’s growing fast.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: With cancer cells and your own cell. That’s why the lining of your intestines will be killed. Your hair will be killed off all this stuff. So the cancer piece is fascinating for that reason. Very low side effects, potential for anti-tumor effects. On the Alzheimer’s front, again, not a lot of human data. What we see in the animal studies is that it can reduce the buildup of amyloid plaque, which we think is implicated.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: It’s this toxic protein that builds up, but also because cannabis is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. In general, we think Alzheimer’s has decades of inflammation, we’re pretty sure increases your odds of Alzheimer’s also, if you think about someone who has Alzheimer’s or even cancer and think about the symptoms that they go through.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Right. Disturbances with mood, disturbances with sleep. So if you can make them more comfortable by helping them sleep better, treating their pain or reducing their anxiousness, that’s going to help the condition itself as well, help them live with the condition, how their caregivers manage them.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, and I think you made an important point, which deserves reiteration, which is we’re not saying, hey, CBD will treat cancers, and that’s not what we’re saying. When you look at disease burden, whether it’s Alzheimer’s, cancer, whatever it may be, anxiety, depression, insomnia, all of these things, the approach to managing these things should be a, a bigger approach. It’s not one size fits all and it’s not one thing, and I think you said this perfectly, which is it’s, it’s about not necessarily saying, OK, if you have cancer, you take CBD, and it makes the tumor shrink. That’s not what we’re saying at all.
Of course, there are roles for, for oncology and radiation and chemo. There are a number of things, but God, if you can help someone live with the condition and give them more quality of life without harming the progress or the treatment modality, why wouldn’t people do that?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Exactly, yeah, that’s exactly it. You hit the nail right on the head, Mike.
DR. MIKE MORENO: So I want to know, where do you think this is going, because CBD basically shook the world in the last probably five to 10 years. It really woke up; the sleeping giant is now awake. Is there hope? What direction are we headed? Do you think policy? What do people have to look forward to? Or do we?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah, well, yes, I guess maybe we can break it down into, like what, what might happen with the policy, what might happen to business, what might have the science. On the policy front, it’s simple. There’s going to be more and more regulation. Good for consumers, right, ultimately.
So, for instance, CBD, I suspect in the next year or two will be, finally have some semblance of regulation from the FDA so when you buy a product and you go to CVS and by a CBD product, you can rest assure that a lot of these public health issues have been thought about.
Cannabis, once legalized, the products will eventually get better and better and better. On the science side, again, the science is starting to trickle in. That’s unfortunately still going to take years for us to get more definitive [00:30:00] answers, especially around these things like cancer and Alzheimer’s, where we only have animal studies.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: It’s going to take years before we get any definitive answers, but one thing that’s interesting from the, now shifting over to the business side, one thing that happened was this company called GW Pharma got acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals last week and GW Pharma is really the only pharma company in the world developing cannabinoids into FDA approved drugs and when Jazz acquired them, everyone saw that as validation that Big Pharma is finally like, oh, my gosh these things are real. So that was kind of something that that definitely shook up the field.
One other interesting thing is that we’ve been talking about THC and CBD, again they’re two of over one hundred cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that have never really been fully explored, never been fully researched, have barely even been tested chemically just because serious scientists wouldn’t touch cannabis for so long. What else do those other things do? Man, if THC [UNINTELLIGIBLE] have a laundry list of things they do, what else is hiding in that plant?
DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, I mean, there’s so much and, you know, I’ve seen several stories on very solid programs, television, the 60 Minutes’, the Dateline’s of the world where they talk about these seizure disorders and they talk about treatment with these things. I mean, I think it’s quality of life. I think that hopefully we sort of just open our eyes a little bit and maybe just listen to what people are saying.
Like I said, I have countless examples in my practice of people who went from, I don’t know, taking eight pills a day to two a day by the addition of a known product, a good product, a CBD product that we, as we discuss how to find something. I mean, no one’s going to argue that the reduction in opioid use is, is a bad thing. You just can’t. So, it sounds like there’s more to come and it sounds like you’re optimistic and hopeful. Is that fair to say?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: I am and if anything, what’s really interesting is that CBD and cannabis almost represent the, the first, the very first bit of a wave that’s going to happen with a lot of these alternative therapies, right? What’s amazing about cannabis and CBD, if you think about it, 20 percent of Americans are using cannabis or CBD, despite the fact that it’s not a day approved, barely researched. Your doctor can prescribe it. You can’t pick it up at CVS.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yet 20 percent of Americans adopted it. You’re kind of learning in this decentralized, democratized fashion. The company is making the products of learning on the fly. Consumers are learning on the fly by self-experimenting. Talking to one another. It’s all happening outside of the bounds of government and scientific institutions and health care establishment. What other ways can you see this kind of decentralized bubbling up of knowledge? Whether it’s psychedelic movement, other herbs, light therapy, sound therapy, all these things that traditionally have been under researched and marginalized because there’s not a good way to patent them and monopolize them and take them through an FDA pathway. That’s why dollars don’t flow there.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Right, it’s like so many things. Listen, I got to tell you, I’m happy that there are young, active, intelligent, aggressive people like you doing this work because you’re the guy, my friend, that’s going to open the doors that need to be opened. You’re the guy that’s going to keep knocking on these doors until people finally start to listen. I appreciate that you are doing this and you’re utilizing your knowledge, your wisdom, and your education to, to rattle some cages, because this is something that people need to listen to.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Yeah, thank you for that and that’s why that’s why I started Radicle Science. The ideas that we’re building all these technologies and methods with which you can, in a decentralized, democratized fashion, kind of run crowdsourced clinical trials on all these natural medicines and alternative therapies outside of the bounds of academics, hospitals, all these things that have marginalized these treatments, so we hope that we can do that. We can accelerate the knowledge base.
DR. MIKE MORENO: I’m sure we can. So where can people find you, tell us where people can look more into your company and the research you’re doing? Let us know so we can knock on your door for a change.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Sure, I mean, we’re still we’re still really early, we have a splash page up and you can go, it’s www.radiclescience.com and Radicle is spelled like particle. R-A-D-I-C-L-E. It means the root of a plant. So radiclescience.com. You can just pop your email in there and stay updated as we kind of get off the ground over the next several months.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Awesome. Any other social media, other ways for people to reach out to you that just want to pick your brain?
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Oh, sure, yeah, my, my social media handle is Dr. Jeff Chen. You can reach out across a variety [00:35:00] of platforms, social media platforms.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Awesome, Dr. Chen, thank you so much. Really, really appreciate your efforts and listen, keep up the good work, my friend.
DR. JEFFREY CHEN: Thank you, Mike. It is my pleasure.
DR. MIKE MORENO: Well, that’s it. Man, great stuff. I think, you know, there’s just so much to be learned about science and so many things that, that we have yet to uncover and, you know, it’s people like Dr. Chen that are paving that way for us.
So now it’s time for Weekly RX. I think a few key points that I really, really grasped on to. Number one is knowing the difference between CBD and THC. Understand that there is a difference.
I think the other thing Dr. Chen pointed out, do your homework before you go out and try things. You know, know the reputable source, know that it’s a good source. Know you’re getting what you’re getting, and he commented on that. It’s important to let your doctor know what you’re taking. Whether you got it online or you bought it at the store wherever.
Always keep your doctor informed of what it is you’re taking. Everything. It’s so important to know about drug interactions and just to know that what you’re doing isn’t harmful and lastly, I think a, a large approach to management of, of illness and disease burden is a way to go. Do no harm is something that we as physicians take as an oath and doing no harm is, above all, the most important thing, but I think there are a lot of other things that we can do out there that can really improve the lives of individuals. So keep those things in mind.
That’s it for today. Don’t forget to subscribe for free. Download and listen to Wellness Inc. with me, Dr. Mike Moreno on Apple podcast, or wherever you listen. Follow me on social media at the 17 Day Diet. The wellness link with Dr. Mike Moreno podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a replacement or substitution for any professional, medical, financial, legal, or other advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This podcast does not constitute the practice of medicine or any other professional service. The use of any information provided during this podcast is at the listener’s own risk. For medical or other advice appropriate to your specific situation, please consult a physician or other trained professional. Thank you.
About This Episode:
In this informative episode of “Wellness Inc.” Dr. Mike gets to the truth about CBD extracts with cannabis expert Dr. Jeff Chen, the founder and former executive director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative.
You’ll learn what CBDs are and how they help with managing pain, anxiety, depression and certain addictions, why the industry is growing so fast, why there is so much skepticism around CBDs, how to spot fake CBDs, and the future of CBD treatments for cancer, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s.
You’ll find out why it’s been so hard to do research and what beneficial applications are coming in the future. Listen in and learn the truth about CBD, a legal substance that’s been used medicinally around the globe for over five thousand years.
About Dr. Jeff Chen:
Dr. Jeff Chen is a man on a mission to discover the scientific truth and medicinal value of cannabis. Dr. Chen is a physician, researcher, and social entrepreneur pioneering cannabis research. He is a thought leader on cannabis policy, science, and business, and has spent the last 5+ years operating at the intersection of cannabis policy, science, and business to accelerate cannabis research.
Dr. Chen is also the Founder and former Executive Director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, one of the first university programs in the world dedicated to cannabis. Only 29 when he founded the research program, Jeff was one of the youngest directors of a major university research initiative in America. His new tech company Radicle Science is accelerating clinical trials on natural medicines.
Connect with Dr. Jeff Chen: