Dr. Michele Ross, Cannabis Health Coach, International Speaker, Author

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Dr. Michele Ross, Cannabis Health Coach, International Speaker, Author

Dr. Michele Ross is a leading psychedelic researcher and educator as well as fibromyalgia patient. She founded the first 501c3 nonprofit on cannabis for women’s health in 2013, and is now CEO of Infused Health, an online platform for cannabis health coaching.

Dr. Ross is the author of “Vitamin Weed: A 4-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Endocannabinoid Deficiency” and has a Doctorate in Neuroscience. Dr. Ross’s most recent project is an initiative attempting to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in Denver in May 2019.



[00:00:01] You're listening to Thinking Outside the Bud where we speak with entrepreneurs investors thought leaders researchers advocates and policymakers who are finding new and exciting ways for cannabis to positively impact business society and culture. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.

[00:00:30] Welcome everyone. This is Thinking Outside the Bud. I'm Bruce Eckfeldtl. I'm your host and our guest today is Dr. Michele Ross. And Michele is founder and CEO of infused health. She is also author of a book called vitamin weed. And we're going to talk to her a little bit about cannabis about science about impact of the plant on the brain and probably a whole bunch of other things. Michele is going to quite a varied background and a fascinating background so I'm excited about this. Michele welcome to the program.

[00:00:57] Well thank you so much for having me. I love to talk science so let's throw it out.

[00:01:02] I love it. So before we before we dig into what you're doing right now with cannabis. Give us a little bit of sense of your background. You know I know that you've been a researcher you've been a scientist. How how did that play out. How did you get into cannabis. Give us the backstory.

[00:01:17] Sure. So I actually published my first paper as a neuroscientist in 2006 on how cannabis and other synthetic cannabinoids can grow or kill brain cells.

[00:01:29] So that was sort of an interesting thing I never thought I would actually be studying cannabis at all. I grew up in New Jersey and felt very strongly against people using drugs and cannabis was one of them. I didn't use until much later in life. So here it was you know being in a molecular psychiatry department learning about all these different legal and illegal drugs studying cocaine heroin MDMA cannabis all these different things. And you know you shift to I I moved to California to work at Caltech after I got my PGD. And you know you're surrounded by the cannabis culture. You meet people in the industry and all sorts of things happened. And one thing led to another and I got introduced to the industry and really was told your expertise and your passion for helping people really would be better served if you weren't in the ivory tower of academia you know studying you know whatever the man. Okay our government really wants us to study right. They wanted us to study all those fun fun things like how cannabis is so addictive and no one should use it in a better way driving one joint or something you know a day. And I really wanted to study it for its full potential for mental health women sound like there's so many things I literally was like Look at all the different things that cannabis do in all the medications it could be replacing and we're not doing anything with this like that's the exciting part for me was the opportunity. So I sort of went down this path where I took the knowledge that I had I took my passion for solving big public health challenges and I said you know I left behind what was a very reasonable and a very very successful trajectory as a drug addiction neuroscientist.

[00:03:06] Like I was at the best universities in the world and instead I ended up founding my own nonprofit on Cannabis Education back in 2000. I founded a nonprofit called the endo cannabinoid Deficiency Foundation. That's a mouthful a powerful gas but really was based on the premise that you know Dr. Ethan Russo had a theory that you know people can be deficient in and cannabinoids which is your natural marijuana like compounds in your brain and body. And so just like we're deficient in vitamin D we might not have enough Ananda might or we might not have enough receptors in an area and that's what's causing a lot of our illness. So I actually wrote a lot of the first articles on the Internet. This is crazy because like now you see like there's eight billion cannabis websites. But if you were looking at some of these things like cannabis for an autoimmune disorder or cannabis for pelvic pain any of the women issues. There was nothing. There was literally nothing on the Internet you're like I want to research it.

[00:04:01] Why was that. What do you what's what's the explanation. Is this where the money was going. Is this you know where were the powers that be you were focusing research. I mean what. Why not. And why was there no information.

[00:04:13] Ok.

[00:04:14] So there was there wasn't a lot of research you know on some of these topics like for example if you had Lyme disease but you had heard that somebody was using CBD oil or cannabis oil Rick Simpson oil for it it was very much an underground thing like. OK. Well the scientists are studying it but this one guy gave a syringe to somebody and now they don't have Lyme disease. And it was there wasn't anything to write articles on. Right. There wasn't anything about the science. And so a lot of people were doing actually interesting work anecdotally. Right. Caregivers were doing good work. They were dispensary owners and even brands that were doing some good work with patients. But nobody was the scientist so he couldn't explain why they were seeing some of these results. And so as a scientist I had access to all the different papers out there and I can read a really really hard paper and say OK like this is the mechanism of how THC is activated or deactivating immune cells or you know different types of brain cells for example. And so I took my science knowledge talked to some of the best people out there and was able to create some of these articles and like how to like cannabis and lupus cannabis and Lyme disease and then those articles then got paraphrased translated in different languages and now it formed the basis of like what you see out there which is now there's a ton of articles on a ton of conditions it was really crazy to be like There's nothing out there. And so we started that we started just working with patients.

[00:05:35] And then I actually shifted my non-profit to Denver because they had legalized Colorado had legalized cannabis first. It was the safest place to operate when you're still at a very loud mouth advocate doing some of the things that are in that gray area you're like you know when you're saying bad things about the federal government for suppressing research and not helping new patients and then also fighting for rights for patients in every single state you know you have to sort of also realize that you could be under attack right. I'm also a cannabis user. So it wasn't like I was this like safe person where I'm just talking about cannabis only I don't consume or anything. I'm a cannabis user. I have many different illnesses. And for me I can't live without my cannabis oil and regimen and everything for many reasons. And so I always have cannabis on my person. So I have to be in in a safer area. Like I can't live in you know in a place where cannabis is illegal or things like that. So even when I'm traveling it's actually an issue. But you know for me it was it just made sense to move to Denver and there was so many opportunities there where the recreational market to like that was exciting. You know that's a go for him. You have to have a medical marijuana card to have this conversation to saying anyone can use this for any purpose. It's not recreational per say. Right. Like I don't it just means that anyone can access it. Does that mean that you're getting high.

[00:06:53] Yeah exactly.

[00:06:54] So I'm curious you know part of your story you had in there was you know earlier in life having a certain view or perspective of cannabis and this kind of putting it into a category of a type of drug that you know typically abuse. And you know I guess I'll say a negative connotation to kind of you know opening it up to learning more about it or seeing well maybe maybe there's a different angle. Often I find with folks that kind of go through their process there is kind of an impact in terms of family and social and friends and things like that. I mean what was your experience of you know having this transition or or changing your view on this. How did it impact and did it. I guess in terms of you know family friends things like that or grieving you know colleagues and stuff like that in the science community. What was your experience on that.

[00:07:41] Oh goodness. So I've always been the black sheep. So I was the first person in my family even to go to college and graduate from college. So everyone you know was like blue collar you know a lot of them were like U.P.S. drivers and everything and I like I love them great people but like no one was like I want to be a rocket scientist or anything. So no one ready understood. Mike my why I wanted to go see people they understood even Doctor they're like you know doctor is a big reach why don't you go be a nurse and I'm like Guys I'm number one I'm like my high school class I skipped like five years like I'm the smartest person and like my entire like status something like it was really like I'm like I know I'm not going to play small.

[00:08:17] And so that was part of the reason why I left I went to Boston College you got out of my little town in New Jersey but most of my family when they found out that I was studying drug addiction and I like a molecular psychiatry like I was trying to explain what I do and I was like I was looking primarily in animals and like taking the models because I wasn't a neurologist. So I had a focus on animals so I was doing these experiments where I'm giving drugs to rats and boxes that are pressing for like rewards and things like that and taking those drugs away to model drug addicts and basically most of my family members just did not understand that I was studying drugs they were like What do you mean the government gives you drugs you're taking drugs you're in rehab that's why I went away and I'm not a drug dealer I'm also not a drug addict I'm helping people with drug addiction. And so when I transitioned to like OK I'm studying cannabis to help people with pain and drug addiction and everything else like that. That was the same conversation whatever Michele you're a drug dealer that you use cannabis. So you're definitely a drug guy. You would rather have me in a wheelchair. I'm like 10 pharmaceuticals and using cannabis. But their view was just that this is a drug and for some people you know we've been able to show this politically right now. You you're never gonna be able to take a Republican and turn them into a Democrat or vice versa. There's only those like 5 percent of people you can really radically swing their political views. And I think sometimes cannabis is in that bucket and it's really only until they need that for whatever it is you know whatever condition that they have that they suddenly switch their view.

[00:09:46] I think it's 10 it tends to be they have a personal experience either themselves or someone close to them someone they love you know and they end up seeing the benefit or the potential positive application of it and then they start to open up their mind. But if it doesn't touch them personally they tend to hold onto that view I find.

[00:10:01] Yeah and it's sort of funny because every single person can benefit from CBT or cannabis in some kind of for me you know that antioxidant it helps with mood helps with aches and pains which you know everyone has some back pain at some point everyone's going to get into a car accident something is going to happen you have headaches like whatever it is there's some benefit for you and there's definitely benefits over taking a natural plant medicine over pharmaceuticals and yet there's still so much stigma and so even my family at home it's sort of funny even my extended family. It wasn't really you know gung ho about what I did until actually I published the vitamin wheat book which was funny because that was a book that was like about five years in the making but once I published that they're like wow you're a published author and I was like Guys I wrote another book before that actually my second book.

[00:10:47] Ok. Clearly I came from way too small but it was like Oh this is my fifth book guy's leg. But because the cannabis squeeze he's going to like no one. Everyone it seems like my family is so proud of me and I'm just like they're not my chair.

[00:11:01] It's a mixed bag. You know when it comes down to scientists I was actually a little shocked about some of the responses that I received. So a lot of my colleagues were addictions like psychiatrist and psychiatrists are the least supportive of cannabis medicine partly because they think that you know people with mental health issues shouldn't be taking cannabis Ray. They think about it in terms of you know it causes psychosis and some of the old research that's been disproven. But you know it's I can't teach an old dog new tricks. So a lot of people were thinking that it was actually just swapping one drug addiction for another. You know oh you're helping heroin addicts get off a heroin by giving them cannabis. Shame on you. You know we we follow the abstinence motto so for a long time my colleagues didn't really want anything to do with me. And I had to seek out cannabis friendly scientists and there you know there are associations and everything for us. But we really felt like a marginalized group where you're like I don't understand this is the endo cannabinoid system is the largest neurotransmitter system in the body if you're neuroscientists you should be not only know about it but be excited about it. You know just like the same way where I was where I was like Why would I want to study anything else it seems like the biggest market for opportunity and I would never say is that something that somebody wants to study is something bad. It's just be a different approach or something. But there was literally like you know you all are drug addicts you know we study heroin we're not doing hair. And I was like it's a very different thing.

[00:12:21] So you know you can't can't everyone it seems like it's always a challenge to kind of you know remove bias and remove kind of personal values or or you know historical thinking from from these situations. But yeah I think it's it comes up again and again I mean it comes up you know on the science level it comes up on the regulatory level and also even on the business level I mean I work with investors and entrepreneurs and stuff in the space and you know part of this is you need to be. You need to be in a friendly group you know and there are some some folks that just either don't get it or don't want to get it or don't want to touch it for reasons that have nothing to do with valid business concerns. It's just a personal opinion and personal stigma that they have.

[00:12:55] Yes. So I wanted to add here so you know the investment world. So I'm a CEO and I'm a woman founder I like women led company women advice company because we really see the ability for cannabis to solve some of the challenges women have you know from not getting diagnosed from their diseases sometimes it takes 10 years to get a diagnosis for some of their health issues. You know their doctor doesn't take them seriously doesn't prescribe them strong enough medicine once they are diagnosed like there's a lot of challenges and we think that cannabis cuts out this gatekeeper and really helps people you know be able to heal themselves which is amazing and also solves a lot of you know years of pain years of suffering and lowers cost scenario thing.

[00:13:32] But when we talk to investors it's sort of funny because you know there's still a lot of investors that see this with stigma or bias or you know it's not really medicine in your life. Is this a joke like you're just messing with me right. No it's not really medicine. Why did we even have this meet. Like sometimes they think that I'm an anti cannabis researcher or something and I got them to say. Really interesting.

[00:13:53] Yeah I'm just like I'm not studying it to like disprove that cannabis works and I'm like I guess there are people out there that do that. But it's it's been funny. So I went to a meeting yesterday where I went to a women I guess like a B.S. fund so they invest in women in health care and some of the same verticals that I'm in. And I was like yes I should be targeting the women because women are more likely to invest in women led companies. And I asked them OK. Well I talked to women and because they are so family focused health care focus some of them are still very averse to Carnival so like no I wouldn't want my husband smoking pot you know and that's all they think about their kids smoking pot. You're like it's cancer medicine right. And the CEO of the venture actually says we don't have any negative perceptions of cannabis. However we won't invest in any cannabis portfolios. And here's why because we still receive federal funding like other investors that would pull out of our investment fund portfolio. Yeah and you're like really. So here we have very few funds that are focused on helping women you know led startups and then all of them seem to have it as the bias or like until we raise you know 100 million like we're not going to go there. And so it really narrows down the pool of what you can actually accomplish. And so we all thought you know there's been this exciting time in investment right now where women are just getting all the dollars from these angel investors that are women that are popping up and it's not like that for cannabis. In fact the room that I was in that she said that it was in Los Angeles and there was about 10 other female cannabis tech CEOs in the room and we're all like really good with our mouth open right. Yet another room that's telling us like we're here for you is it for you guys you can leave.

[00:15:34] So it's been super challenging. And it really shouldn't be. You know when you have the signs and you've been working in this field for like 10 years do you like sometimes you're like Jesus.

[00:15:43] But you know we're persistent in knowing that you know the services that we provide and the way that we're going to move from just knowing about some of these cannabinoids knowing how to treat patients correctly to actually being able to you know target a much bigger market. Look I think that there's not enough people that know about cannabis still which sounds silly right. But we're in the low cannabis bubble. We don't talk to you say disease groups for example fibromyalgia. That's a condition I have for the longest time these nonprofits didn't even acknowledge that cannabis was a actual real valid medicine. And it was only until maybe the last year that they would say OK maybe CBD oil like let's talk about that. Right. And so you had millions of members that were being told by their leadership that this wasn't a valid medicine. So they weren't asking their doctors about it. Now they're having these conversations but they still don't know they're still going to doctors that are you know paid off by pharma or whatever like that and they're still not getting access to the men you know getting access to the treatments that they need. And so I think that there's still a lot of education that needs to be deployed you know throughout the United States and throughout all the countries that are coming on board with cannabis it's not just the United States.

[00:16:50] Well that's it. Interesting market is international right now. Yes. So you know it's fascinating that that you know I think a lot of people's perception is that you know if you've got a cannabis business you know people are throwing money at you and that's that's really not the case. I think it's still it's still tough and you still have to navigate a lot of these factors and I think a lot of investors kind of come into it thinking that they're going to you know put this money in they're going to they're going to make it rich in a matter of a year. And as they get into it they realize that a a it's just like any other business you still need to do your due diligence you need to do your risk assessment. You know there's still a fairly extended time for a return on most of these businesses. But it has these other complications that start to come up in terms of you if you have other portfolio businesses or you are have relationships and things like that that can get tainted because of the federal laws around this. It gets complicated and I think as entrepreneurs as as founders as CEOs it's a little tough to navigate. And certainly it sounds frustrating but it sounds like it's. It's tough to get into these rooms and be told that. Well we would but for the fact that we have this issue.

[00:17:52] Well the other thing too is milestones and so if you're dealing with investors that are friendly right they're really like Oh yeah. You see me do. I'm all for it. And then they put you on the same metrics as a traditional business and they don't even realize the number of challenges you've had to overcome as a cannabis related business. Like we don't even touch the plant or anything we don't deliver my medical marijuana cards. We're just delivering education and coaching support it'll help. And we've had issues like for example stripe you can't do credit card processing for recurring subscriptions you like you're literally like we've gone through hundreds of back and you know pieces to say OK well they didn't kick us off yet. Like let's cross our fingers for five months until we have to find a new like back end for our patient notes or this notes and everyone else is just like yeah it's super easy just connect this to this and you make money and it grows on trees and you're like No guys it's not like that and then we're like literally praying we're like if we made too much money then they'll shut us down like you do successful.

[00:18:49] Then you get attention.

[00:18:50] Exactly. And so you know we've navigated a lot of things. I'm super resourceful as a scientist with a business background and also I do do some coding and things like that I've worked for some really big businesses like the people that built MySpace. Right now people don't even know like that aspect like I've done a lot of different things because I knew what I wanted to do with this. Right. So when you have the foresight to say you're like I want to be able to change the direction of medicine through cannabis and so I picked up all these interesting skills and mentors along the way. So I've had a very non-traditional career and I've been really excited to put all those things together but it's still like it's taken so much more time and it would have been a lot easier trajectory if somebody was like Here's your bag of cash you know the things that I.

[00:19:34] So far has both really been me like I work like nonstop but it's been you know it is productive knowing that other people haven't solved these challenges. So if I don't do it it may not get done for a while. And you know a lot of the male run businesses don't care so much about the women's health issues and sort of funny because you actually even see it like there's this you know you see women CEOs running like companies that are focused on cannabis for women's health things and it's sort of like it's like we have man cannibalism I mean it is it is there some facet that there is something about this industry that is that there is a lot of gender discussion a lot of racial discussion and I think it's what makes it so interesting.

[00:20:11] But it's yeah it's a it's a it's an interesting kind of dynamic and facet of cannabis market these days is is those those factors.

[00:20:20] I mean it touches on social and cultural kind of nerves and I think it's it's it's also has a lot of opportunity for were both people of color women you know to actually you know be involved in a way that it's probably not like other industries because of the nature of its growth how dynamic it is.

[00:20:38] Yes. I wanted to touch on is kind of funny because I came from this actually from a women standpoint. So I founded your endo cannabinoid Deficiency Foundation turned into impact network partly because I said cannabis in there and I wasn't getting any bacon. You really had to choose a name but we we decided to focus in the last three years on cannabis and Women's Health Research Advocacy etc..

[00:21:00] So we were like serving women only and no it was right before like that big surge and growth was like elemental and when we grow and like all these women groups were there and then older than they were. So I realized that my Venecia I'd carved out like my nonprofit that had sort of served its purpose which was to spark the fire and the revolution of cannabis and women.

[00:21:21] So I ended up closing that nonprofit in founding infused health and people a lot of people ask me they're like still why don't you just focus on serving women. And one of the things as you know a researcher and a patient advocate and somebody with chronic illness I felt really bad for the men that were using this medically rather than recreationally because they were getting left out. There's all these support groups out there for women that are looking for you know help them my great help with her. Like all these different things and then a man's like but I have M.S. And I want to talk to somebody. There's no like men groups out there for the medical things. And it really didn't need to be segmented like that. So I wanted to provide the same access whether you're a woman or a man no matter where you are in the world so that you can get the support and help you need because it shouldn't be that.

[00:22:04] Yes you're a sick man. So we forget about you. Mean there is right now like you know it is very gender fied. And I think that that's really not helpful for people that are struggling with mental or physical health issues.

[00:22:17] So let's talk about the business a little bit and I think as we do that I think we probably need to kind of educate people up a little bit on kind of the dynamics of our natural internal cannabinoid systems and how the plant products you know THC CBD or all the other things going on and derivatives of the plant.

[00:22:38] We have natural receptors in our inside of our bodies at various points interact with these chemicals. Can you give people a sense of how that system works and why that you know why this is important to understand or how the chemicals how the hell the plant products impacts our bodies and helps us in different ways.

[00:22:55] Sure. So I could go into this probably for like three hours straight. But if you want a really in-depth explanation for this you can always read vitamin weed. It actually goes into every single endo cannabinoid the ones that you don't even know about every single type of receptors. So you'll just have your mind blown. I was actually lucky enough to study with some neuroscientists that had studied the endo cannabinoid system receptors before we even know they were there and the cannabinoid receptors like for example there was a one called troop V that people didn't know what they were there like who knows what this receptor binds to. And it turned out to be endocrine at all. So it's like interesting.

[00:23:29] So when do I get winded when did the model when did the understanding of this first happened like how long ago was it what are we talking about.

[00:23:35] Yeah. So we're looking at the early 60s like late 50s. So there is what we call the godfather of cannabis medicine is Dr. Rafael Meshal in Israel he is amazing he actually got a form of cannabis called hash and isolated THC from there. So literally got like hash from the cops took it to his lab because there's no legal source of cannabis to study and isolated THC. His team also isolated CBD found the cannabinoid receptors most of the work that we know is due to his work and he even received federal funding from the United States for his cannabis work because the work he was doing would be illegal in the United States. So it's sort of funny. So that's why Israel is a lot farther along than we are in in the United States. But I actually meet the scientists that you know discovered all things. So it's that that was really meaningful you know time to meet those researchers in person that you've been like you know you can google you can read their work and then you meet them you're just like thank you for doing this valuable work so they end up cannabinoid system is the largest neurotransmitter system in your body. And when a neurotransmitter system is it's actually how two brain cells talk to each other. So they sound like little signals to each other so they send basically neurotransmitters which can be dopamine can be serotonin.

[00:24:54] It can be an end cannabinoid like Ananda might. There's all these different chemical signals that they can release from one brain cell to the other to send a message like move your arm or think this thought. Things like that. So it's really important how much of these neurotransmitters are transmitted between one neuron and the other. So if for example if you have a brain cell that controls your mood right or anxiety and it doesn't send out enough serotonin you might end up with an imbalance in your brain and feel depression or something like that. So the amounts in frequency timing of the neurotransmitter release is really important for all sorts of things that happen in your brain and body so the endo cannabinoid system is really unique because it actually regulates how much of these other neurotransmitters are released so it can help regulate how much of every single neurotransmitter from the Gabba to the glutamate to serotonin. All these different earn transfers. It regulates the other neurotransmitters so in general when you're when you're endo cannabinoid system is off you could be off in all these other systems. So it's interesting because you can you've never had a drug target that can fix everything from your mood here.

[00:26:06] So it was like a primary. It's like the the system that controls the systems.

[00:26:09] Exactly. So you know I always like to say a it's fine to knob on your evening you're on your radio when you're trying to get you know that channel like crystal clear. But it's a little off. I mean you can still hear the music but it sort of sucks.

[00:26:24] So you won't really want to be living life in 3-D in color. You know if you really want to talk about performance whether it's physical and cognitive performance and I know like investors and business people always like you know I want to be more productive I wanna be smarter and more focused.

[00:26:39] Well if you have a rundown on new cannabinoid system you're not going to feel focused you're not going to go great you're just going to feel like crap. And most Americans feel like crap. I mean we're already feeding ourselves you know McDonald's and junk food. We're not getting enough sleep. We're stressed out we're not exercising. And it's interesting because I mean all those things obviously have negative impacts on your health but they can also destroy your endo cannabinoid system. So we know that stress is one of the biggest things that make sure the cannabinoid system run down.

[00:27:07] So I mean stress is horrible for your brain but you can actually burn out some of those brain cells that control so many different things like you know your ability to say no to you know high fat salty foods or things like that your ability to remember things the new cannabinoid system actually regulate your ability to forget things. It's important for so many different. So I like to talk to people about vitamin D. It's the easiest thing. So for the longest time people would be told by the government Oh we all get enough vitamin D you don't need supplements like that. The government is always telling us we don't need multivitamins and keep coming out with with studies that say oh you know you take a multivitamin and didn't do anything you know like so don't even take them right. But what they actually did was take blood levels of vitamin D from people and found out like 90 percent of people are actually deficient in vitamin D sorry. The government's been lying to you for years and it wouldn't be so bad if like Vitamin D didn't do anything but it turns out that Vitamin D had like 150 purposes in your body that's really important. And for some people especially those struggling with mental health issues depression if you don't get enough vitamin D you don't get enough sun you are depressed. And so what you need and some of Prozac is vitamin D like that's so simple like it's like twenty five percent of depressed people could just actually be treated with dignity pretty messed up. And so so we have you know and cannabinoids such as an and divide into a G. So Ananda might is one of the things that you can actually have low levels of and due to stress and there's been several studies where they look at things like everything from firefighters that fought fires in 9/11 for example there was a study and they showed that they had PTSD which is post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues following that very very traumatic event where the Twin Towers fell in New York City.

[00:28:50] And there's been other studies where they have looked at people that have gone through trauma and high levels of stress and they all have and cannabinoid deficiency. And so the treatment for some of these these syndromes like PTSD is actually to provide cannabis.

[00:29:04] And so you be able basically you know boost and restore function and cannabinoid system which then fixes the serotonin the dopamine you know everything else in their system and they're happy again and they're able to forget traumas and you know they're able to move on with their lives. So there's a whole bunch of different conditions including fibromyalgia including migraines that are rooted in endo cannabinoid deficiency. And we'll actually probably find out that there's a lot more conditions and disease for example. There are actual genes that code for cannabinoid receptors and they can have mutations in them so that these receptors don't work so well right. OK. The receptor doesn't really bind to whatever the target Monaco that's supposed to bite into it because it's got a mutation so a little wonky right Crohn's disease patients have mutations in the cannabinoid type 1 receptor the CB one receptor in the CBT receptor. There's like 20 other conditions now where we're finding that like you what's wrong with this. Oh it's the capital. So if you're cannabinoid receptors aren't working so well you might need more and more stimulation. And you know there's really not an Ananda by product.

[00:30:08] You can take if you take an Ananda by pill then and my will be just broken up by like your stomach is. It's not really useful bio THC. However you can eat it and it will actually go and bind to those CB One CB to receptors and activate your end of cannabinoid system and work. And so that's why you know using THC is really helpful for people have some sort of endo cannabinoid deficiency or dysfunction. So I will say that they like. There is a lot of deficiency. There's also some people that have too much and like endo cannabinoid soo obesity is also on the other range where you might actually have too much in and divide. And so it's always about balance in your body right you never want too little something and too much of something so there's some people that will ask me right. They go well if teaching is so great and we're trying to restore my deficiency I can I should take all the TTC and possibly take in your life. No no please don't DAB 80 times a day. That's probably not a good thing.

[00:31:00] All there's different issues there. So should we have these systems we have these balances. I guess that the trick is is how do we how do we figure out the right levels how do we figure out which wants to take. What is the mechanism actions like how do I do this. And that's that's where infused health comes in. Is that so. So how how does infused health help with people finding the right the right regimen the right kind of product mix and stuff for them. Like how are you approaching this.

[00:31:26] Yeah. So we've done a lot of research into what products are in the market. I'm some of the biggest challenges are that because the products are not federally legal that you can't even have some of the same products in the same you know in multiple states right. So if you're in New York you might not have access to same products out in California. So it makes some of these things challenging. For example we've met people where we can look at their genetic data suggests OK you probably need this specific cannabinoid that isn't even available in your state. OK. Well what can we do instead with a Turpin combination that might help. Do you know delivers the same benefits whether it's appetite suppression and whether it's seizure control etc. We try to figure out you know sort of like concierge medicine like what is the best solution for you based on your demographic based on on your financial abilities because cannabis isn't reimbursed by health insurance. So it's one thing to say hey you know you need this are so or this Rick Simpson oil but in many states if you're buying it at a dispensary. Twelve hundred dollars a month without reimbursement for health insurance so you have to figure out for that patient OK if you have a limited budget you know maybe using a cannabis suppositories actually your best method for getting a lot of cat and adenoids in there without a lot of costs. These are the conversations somebody is not going to be having at a dispensary because a market counseling them on. OK well maybe get this teen should turn it into a suppository so that you get the right amount of cannabinoids to where you need them for you know when you're targeting colon cancer for example vs. you know you're trying to help with depression.

[00:32:54] These are very different things that require different treatments and your average doctor just doesn't know about this or is even legally restricted about having you.

[00:33:03] I mean this is the fascinating part of this is that you know that the way these systems are set up is the doctors. I mean they basically authorize that you you have a qualifying condition but they actually don't. There's no really prescribing or advice given and they can't actually talk to the dispensaries either end up in this. OK. Great. I've got a card now I'm on my own.

[00:33:23] Yeah. And it's it's been so challenging. You know part of my journey about you creating or nonprofit creating this company that is all about cannabis health coaching and education was how hard it was for me to find the right products. I've lived in multiple places in multiple states. I had certain products I use in Colorado that aren't available here when I moved to count back to California and in May.

[00:33:46] And you know for many conditions you have a different set of conditions based on how much stress you have based on how active you are like fibromyalgia for example your pain you have spasms sleep issues all sorts of different things and they're not the same every day. So you literally have to have like a whole pharmacy in you have to know when to use what product. Right. And it's it's a little challenging for the average person. So some people will take a product and they'll say I thought cannabis was supposed to relieve my pain but instead I smoked a joint and instead it flared up my sciatica and now I'm like really paranoid and like anxious about this pain that's like stabbing in my back. And these are the conversations people aren't having everyone. You know when you read on the internet about cannabis. People were like oh it help with the seizures. Oh it changed my life. I took one CBT and now like everything is cured and so people even have almost shame or they're likewise cannabis working for me and they won't they don't have anyone to talk to about it. Everyone else is doing great on it. They're not doing great. And sometimes it turns out it's a medicine interaction.

[00:34:44] People do take other pharmaceuticals and sometimes THC or CBD may amplify something that they're not looking for. Or it can be context right. People don't even understand. Like if you have an underlying anxiety issue and you can eat with other people is not you know it does not make you feel good you need to acknowledge that and learn how to take it in the context that work for you because it will amplify emotions whether they're positive whether they're negative. A lot of people have trauma. This has been the most exciting topic for me and this is something that I've been really able to explore here in California because everyone's all about releasing their trauma. There's a lot of people that are doing psychedelic work here things like dance all about you know uncovering your wounds do you know for better mental and physical health because some people are holding on to trauma like things that in their childhood things that happen in their adulthood. And it's actually making them sick. And like not treating it. And so you know they're expressing that trauma with physical symptoms. Right. They're migraines or spasms whatever. And sometimes cannabis actually reactivate like that trauma or makes people feel uncomfortable with some things.

[00:35:45] It's like weird it's like cannabis is a very honest medicine it's actually a spiritual medicine. People think that they're taking it you know like it's a pharmaceutical. You're popping a pill. It's not like that. Like it's going to heal you and inside it's also going to do some things to your brain chemistry that may make you think about things that you weren't thinking about before. And so if you have a lot of trauma you might not have great experiences with cannabis. And the people that had the most negative experiences that that's what they find out you're like Why were you anxious. Why did you not feel good.

[00:36:12] Let's talk about your intentions like where you're going. Let's you know to actually have a coach that can say OK you weren't having a good time with cannabis and that's because you were thinking about some kind of relationship that you had that wasn't right about your job that you hate right now you hate your job.

[00:36:26] You were starting to feel better with cannabis. Let's think about changing other things in your life like literally cannabis can be the catalyst for a better life in so many different ways. And people are having these conversations now that they didn't feel honest with them but themselves to have before. So it's a deciding thing.

[00:36:41] There's a lot of life coaching him out and how and how does your coaching model actually works if you are working with a client. How do they engage with their coach. What does that look like.

[00:36:51] Yeah. So right now we have a like a very basic subscription model so we do 60 minutes a month of coaching of course people can add more if they want to. But we have a combination of a self guided course that helps people log in and like learn about how to use cannabis write down some those intentions and things like that so they can write down and actually read it in like Coach themselves and then check in with a coach once every two weeks. But we make sure that we review that cannabis or CBD safe for them that you know that they are using the products properly that they're actually getting the results that they're looking for. So we have some clients that do more than the twice monthly coaching sessions they want weekly ones because they have a lot bigger goals right. If you're trying to get yourself out a wheelchair and off like 10 prescription it's a lot more intense then like I just want to feel happier. So you have different levels. A lot of ads in there but our models very different because I have actually been doing the education and training of all the doctors nurses and nonprofits for years. So we have a module on pain. We have a module on weight loss fitness. We have a module on anxiety depression you have to be careful when you're like calling these things like we call it stress right.

[00:38:00] Because we know that with legalization you can't really say that you're healing medical conditions unless you're a doctor. So we're dealing with your stress the stress really manifests as anxiety and depression and PTSD. So my goals are to help you with one of those big three things. And we usually take eight weeks to 12 weeks for any of those programs we know. Healing doesn't happen the first time you smoke a joint. It just doesn't. So it takes a little time to go through those programs but our program costs one hundred fifty dollars a month which we think is reasonable for concierge medicine and for the high level coaches. All right coaches are certified health coaches and you can talk to them just like we're talking right now over Skype. Does it matter whether you're in Kentucky or in Australia we can help you and assist you in finding the products that we you know are safe and effective and no matter what your goal is whether it's a mental health goal physical Hall a health goal we have that expertise and we also have like this whole network of coaches which just like so exciting that there are different people that are different experts different things whether it's how they've been working in a nursing home and they they really care about you know all patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's or things like that. There are some people that are really passionate about that.

[00:39:09] There's some people are passionate about helping people with PTSD for example because that's something that they went through and now they are armed with the science and with the help coach training to really be helpful to help patients specifically with that. So we try to match through our intake forms with people that are actually specifically trained in and have expertise in their condition because I hate this about cannabis. You go to Canada is Dr. hay and they're like OK I have breast cancer I want to talk to the cannabis doctor and the doctor is like I don't know I was a neurologist before I went into that flag and there just basically bullshit. I mean they're exactly it's you don't go to a cardiologist for brain how fly. You don't see an obese you I head for your liver problems and because cannabis health coaching cannabis coaching even cannabis doctors it's a very new field there's not a lot of us. And you know we're trying to do the best we can with what we have but I think that the health coaching model is a way that we can train more people not necessarily having to send them you know for a doctor it's a medicine that we can arm them with the knowledge that they need supervised by other coaches and nurses and doctors and they can provide the support it's great if people want to find out more about.

[00:40:19] And just tell us about your background the work that you're doing.

[00:40:22] What's the best place to get more information so you can find everything about us and our health coaching programs at infusedhealth.com Great.

[00:40:30] I'll make sure that link is on the show notes so people can click through. Michele it's been great. I've learned a lot and I'm sure we could go on for several more hours on these and other topics. But this has really been a pleasure and I really appreciate the time. Thank you so much.

[00:40:45] You've been listening to Thinking Outside the Bud with Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt to find a full list of podcast episodes. Download the tools and worksheets and access other great content. Visit the Web site at thinkingoutsidethebud.com. And don't forget to sign up for the free newsletter at thinkingoutsidethebud.com/newsletter.