Let's Talk About Anxiety Disorders!!! Seems Like it's Everywhere!!

Anxiety is different for everyone
Anxiety disorders come in all shapes and sizes, which can make them difficult to identify. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults ages 18 and up. That's a lot of people!

While there are many different types of anxiety disorders, they all share one common symptom: Fear!  Fear is a normal emotion that we all experience from time to time. But when that fear is constantly present and interferes with our ability to live our lives, it becomes a problem. Stress can lead to uninvited levels of anxiety as well.

Symptoms of anxiety can include physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms

Anxiety disorders can manifest themselves in many different ways.  There are 3 different stages of response to anxiety.  If you understand and identify those stages you may be able to alleviate anxiety before the symptoms become full blown. 

Let's take a look at some of the most common symptoms.

Cognitive:  This usually begins with a thought that results in worry or uncertainty.  Once the worry thoughts start, it can escalate to worsening cognitive symptoms and lead to physical symptoms.  Worry usually stems from fear about the future.  That future can be 5 minutes away or 5 years away.  

Jesus specifically tells us not to worry in Matthew 6:25 & 27 where he says “Therefore I tell you:  Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?   And in verse 27:  Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying?  

This is where anxiety starts.  Worry and fear.  If you can identify this at the onset, you can use coping techniques to help reduce the fear and worry and anxiety so it doesn’t progress to the physical symptoms of anxiety

Physical Symptoms
Anxiety disorders can cause physical symptoms that range from mild to severe.  You may began to sweat, you may feel your heart rate increase, you may feel light headed or dizzy and you may have a lot of tension especially in the neck and shoulders.  You may feel tight in your chest and you might even become nauseous.   These symptoms are manifested because your body is attempting to avert danger.  You may become really shaky, start to sweat and your stomach can become upset sending you to the bathroom with diarrhea.
These physical symptoms can be so severe that they lead people to believe they are having a heart attack (chest pain and tightness) or other medical emergency. It's important to remember that anxiety is a real condition that should be treated by a mental health professional. If you're experiencing any of these physical symptoms, don't hesitate to reach out for help. 

Behavioral Symptoms
In addition to physical symptoms, anxiety disorders can also cause psychological symptoms, resulting in a change in behavior such as: 
-Feeling anxious or scared most of the time without knowing why (known as free-floating anxiety) 
-Constant worry about everyday things such as finances, work, family, etc. 
-Avoiding situations or places that make you feel anxious 
-Feeling on edge or tired all the time 
-Trouble sleeping or concentrating  
-irritability or feeling easily frustrated

What is going on in the brain in relation to anxiety?
When a person experiences anxiety, it's as if their brain is playing a never-ending game of 'what if?' What if I fail this test? What if I can't find my way home? What if that sound is a burglar trying to break in? The anxious brain is constantly on the lookout for potential threats, which leads to those pretty uncomfortable physical symptoms, like a racing heart and sweaty palms. But what's actually going on in the brain when anxiety strikes?

It all starts with the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions like fear and anxiety but also pleasure and anger. The amygdala lies deep in the brain.  It’s a very small structure actually.  But when the amygdala senses a threat, it sends out an alarm signal to the rest of the brain. This triggers the release of stress hormones like adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure. The thalamus then kicks into gear, sending out signals to the body that it's time to prepare for fight or flight. All of these changes can make a person feel pretty anxious

What if it’s not anxiety but something else?
Your provider should make sure there is no underlying cause for anxiety.  You should have some labs done including a:
CBC- to rule out anemia
CMP-to check kidney and liver function, sugar and electrolytes
Thyroid function tests - Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a perfect example of how a person can have anxiety that is driven by a metabolic problem
Urinalysis - to make sure there is no infection especially in the elderly
Urine drug screen - some abusable medications like cocaine or methamphetamine can cause anxiety 
These are routine tests but if it is in the ER setting they may look at more complicated tests like EEG, CT scan of the head, MRIs

There are many treatments available for anxiety, including therapy and medication.

  • The mainstay of treatment is CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) psychotherapy or counseling.  These all are similar but finding a good therapist can be challenging.  There are many types of therapists ranging from Christian to secular therapists and ones who just do talk therapy or who are more skilled at diagnosing and recommending classes of medications
  • The mainstay for pharmaceuticals are the anti-depressants.  Most people will ask why you are giving them an antidepressant when the problem is anxiety.  The reason is that they increase neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.  This adjustment in neurotransmitters helps both anxiety and depression so they are used interchangeably.  There are several classes of meds including TCA’s which are older antidepressants, SSRIs like prozac or Zoloft, or newer medications that increase GABA
  • Another medication commonly prescribed for years and years but has recently had a prescribing change by the DEA are benzodiazepines.  This are meds like Ativan, Xanax and klonopin.  They are very habit forming and research is showing long term use of these meds has been connected to early onset Alzheimers disease.  A medication I commonly give to take the place of these is a medication that acts like these meds but is not habit forming and that is buspirone or Buspar.  Another medication that is actually for blood pressure but is used off label for anxiety is propranolol or inderal. 
  • TMS is a form of treatment that uses magnetic coils to activate neural networks in target areas of the brain.  This is a 20 minute treatment in your providers office that is repeated over an extended period of time and addresses treatment resistant anxiety, depression and other mood disorders
  • Neurofeedback is another non-invasive form of therapy that measures a persons brainwaves and gives the recipient real time information about how the brain is functioning.  The goal is to help the patient gain voluntary control over functions in the body such as rapid heart rate.  It teaches you self-control of brain functions by showing how the brain reacts to certain triggers.  With multiple treatments a person can soon recognize the triggers that lead to anxiety and recreate the desired state they want.  So instead of feeling anxious, having a fast heart rate and feeling sweaty, the desired result can be relaxation, and recognition of the anxiety triggers and how to avoid the progression of anxiety
  • Sound frequency therapies like the WavWatch can address multiple mood disorders.  There are 850 different diagnoses that the watch can address.  Here is a link to get that watch.  You will save $100 and because this is an affiliate it’s a win-win for you and me!

My favorite part is about plant medicine solutions for anxiety

First Essential Oils:

Oils that help with relaxation, reducing heart rate, promoting calm and rest include
  • Lavender
  • orange
  • lemon
  • roman chamomile
  • valerian
  • Melissa ( lemon balm)
  • copaiba
  • ylang ylang
Young Living Essential Oils have a few special blends like:
  • stress away
  • peace & calming
  • Angelica
  • release
  • surrender
These oils help by entering the limbic portion of the brain when you smell them and that area of the brain is responsible for memory and emotions!  You smell the oil, the molecules go through your nose to the olfactory bulb behind the nose and straight to the limbic portion of the brain.  This lives right above the amygdala where anxiety can develop.  

Cannabis and CBD options:

We have this amazing body that is enhanced with an amazing system known as the endocannabinoid system that loves cannabis and CBD!  The issue with using cannabis if you have high anxiety, is it can actually make it worse.  So many folks rely on CBD as it is the best option for reducing anxiety.  It’s not wrong to use cannabis if it works for you though.  The key is to use a very small dose of THC to a much larger dose of CBD.
You combine CBD with a great essential oil and you have the best of both worlds!!!!  
Chemovars of cannabis to look for are ones with high levels of limonene terpenes.  You can find this in Tangerine Dream and OG Kush.  Another relaxing terpene is linalool and myrcene.  You can find these terpenes in chemovars like Purple varieties & Bubba Kush.
CBD chemovars like Zeta and Cookies are known for shifting or improving mood, stimulating motivation and soothing anxiety.  Just use a little bitty amount especially if it isn’t mostly CBD.  The ratio of CBD should be much higher than THC.  

Having anxiety can be frightening and frustrating.  You really don't have to suffer with this alone.  If you want to try alternative approaches I can help with that.  Figuring all of this out is difficult.  I knew nothing before I received my certification as a cannabis coach and educator.  I also have my aromatherapy certification.  This knowledge is beneficial if you just don't know where to start!  I would love to help!

For the Health & Wellness Enthusiast: These are the Perfect Christmas Gift Ideas!

The perfect gift isn't always easy to find, but we've got you covered!  With our wide variety of gifts ideas including kitchen gear and reading material for your favorite spot on the couch you are sure to find something for someone, maybe even yourself!!  There are options for your furry family member too!  The best part about these products? They're all tested winners with reviews from happy customers like yourself who want their friends (and families) to enjoy them too.  For the health and wellness enthusiast in your life, these are the perfect Christmas gifts!

1.  Ardent
Meet the Ardent FX all-in-one, portable canna-kitchen! Backed by science, the FX is perfect for the Cannabis Lover, Home Chef, Wellness-Obsessed, Edible Enthusiast, Gadget Guru, and more. This new DIY device fully activates your plant material (97 – 100%), including flower, kief, concentrate, stems, and more, and has settings to infusecook and bake right inside. It is precise and dependable and takes all the guesswork out!

2.  CBD from Nuvita
From Nuvita:  In case you missed the memo... we are a little obsessed with serving others, giving back, and doing our part to uplift everyone around us. That is why every month we donate a portion of all proceeds to a different charity, organization, or cause that does just that. 
Specifically, our focus has been on putting an end to human trafficking, once and for all! No one deserves to be sold.  

So not only do you get a high quality CBD product but you get it from a Woman owned business that cares about others. These products are organic and tested to ensure safety to you the consumer.

3.  CBD & other cannabinoids from Healer.com

Healer is One of the Most Trusted Brands in Medical Cannabis 

Today, hundreds of thousands of people rely on Healer.com for trusted cannabis and hemp education. Thousands of dispensary agents, healthcare providers and interested consumers have completed the Healer Certified training program. And, the Healer team is united in Healer’s mission to help you feel your best every day by delivering affordable, safe, and effective products with science-based education on how to best use them.  You can be confident in ordering from this company. 

4.  Great Books for Learning about Cannabis

Supplies to use to make your own plant medicine products

Now for your Furry Family Members

Young Living!  The Best Oils on the Planet!!
Musculoskeletal Support Bundle
Sleep Support Bundle

Last but not least
this is a gorgeous, elegant diffuser that will not disappoint and will surely spoil your favorite someone!!!

One more thing!!!
This is pretty special!  It's a different way to address 850 diagnoses.  It is the WAVWatch.  This device uses sound frequency to reach different organs and cells in the body.  Our bodies are alive with frequencies and respond to different sounds either negatively or positively.  This watch is easy to wear and you can work on all kinds of issues just by wearing it. I know it all sounds a little strange, but our bodies are unique, created by a God who has a wonderful imagination, so why wouldn't something like this work to help restore and recover health issues we deal with?  And you can save $100 with this link.  Click the image below.

Is there an Indication for Plant Medicine for Neuropathic Pain

What is Neuropathic pain?  

It is a chronic condition that is caused by damage to the nervous system. Neuropathic pain results from damage or dysfunction to the peripheral ( arms and legs) or central nervous system.  It can result in altered sensation in a leg or an arm or hands and fingers or neck. There is another type of neuropathic pain called CRPS or chronic regional pain syndrome that is extremely painful.  This type of pain can be incredibly debilitating, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Unfortunately, traditional pain medications are often ineffective at treating neuropathic pain. This has led many people to explore alternative treatments, such as CBD and cannabis products.

But first, what is the conventional approach to these disorders?

Providers used to readily prescribe opiates but with the opioid crisis in full swing, prescribing habits have changed so first line medications include gabapentin or Lyrica, tricyclic antidepressants, like amitriptyline, SNRIs like duloxetine or venlafaxine.  After that, opiates like tramadol and tapentadol which are milder opiates may be prescribed.  Topical medications include capsaicin and lidocaine patches or gel. Last resort meds would be stronger opiates like morphine or oxycodone and lastly injections like botox into the affected area.  

The problem with all of these options are you are looking at long term use and risk of side effects including issues like QT prolongation, nausea, constipation, ataxia, dry mouth, hypertension, dizziness and rash at application site if you are using a topical patch or gel.

How can plant medicine be a benefit?  

We know from existing studies that cannabis has properties that protect the nervous system.  It is a neuroprotectant, an antioxidant and a pain modulator.  This is important because it can actually result in restoration of damaged nerves in some situations.  It will decrease inflammation, remove or reduce oxidative stress and help control pain.  

When clinical trials are established there is this statistical analysis important for the outcome of the trial known as the 
'number to treat".  That means that out of so many patients the positive response was explained as the number to treat.  In a person with cholesterol issues who takes a cholesterol lowering agent the number of patients that have a positive response in terms of reducing risk of heart attack or stroke is 200.  So you would have to treat 200 people for 1 person to not have a stroke or heart attack (that is a really terrible statistic).  In the case of using cannabinoids to treat neuropathic pain, the number of patients to treat to result in an improvement  or complete resolution of symptoms is 5.6.  That is a significant number!!

How Does This Work?

It’s that good ole’ endocannabinoid system  (ECS) that occurs naturally in our bodies in an attempt to create balance or homeostasis.  The CB1 receptors that live in the CNS and the peripheral nervous system are activated by the ECS and results in pain modulation.  The CB2 receptors live in other structures particularly monocytes and mast cells which are associated with inflammation.  When these receptors are activated, there is a cascade of events that occurs in the CNS and brain that results in a decrease in pain.  Other newer discovered receptors are activated as well to  help with pain modulation.  

It should be noted that all forms of cannabis are currently illegal in many parts of the world. As a result, obtaining these products can be difficult and may not be legal in your area. If you're considering using CBD or cannabis products for neuropathic pain, make sure to speak with your healthcare provider first. They can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits before you make a decision.  Also CBD is more readily available.  Click the link for a really good source of CBD and education.

How to Dose Cannabis and CBD for Neuropathic Pain

As with previous recommendations, using the lowest effective dose of cannabis is recommended in order to avoid psychoactive effects that are uncomfortable.  We are looking for pain relief without sedation or dizziness.   A randomized controlled trial  explored pain relief using small smoked doses of 9% THC and resulted in decreased pain without side effects.   They found a single inhalation of 25 mg of cannabis with 9.4% THC decreased pain intensity in post-traumatic or post-surgery induced neuropathic pain.  This is a dose of less than 2 mg of THC.

  • Oral:  consuming cannabis orally will improve rest, sleep and will help control pain for longer periods of time.  Oral consumption has a longer onset of action and it may take more experimentation to find the right dose.  It can take 45 minutes to 1 hour to feel the effects with this route.  The benefit, is the longer duration of pain control.
  • Another oral approach is an oil or tincture.  These products will take effect min about 20 minutes but won’t last as long. An example dose would be 2.5 to 7.5 mg of THC taken orally every 3-4 hours.  This regimen will help with low to moderate pain levels.  If this dosing results in psychoactive symptoms then adding CBD will help with that.  The goal is to find your sweet spot!  
  • Vaporizing and smoking cannabis is a common approach and is very effective for treating neuropathic pain.  There is a rapid onset of action with this method.  Use the lowest effective dose of 2.5 - 7.5 mg.  If you aren’t used to using cannabis, start with no more than 2.5 mg and wait patiently 15 minutes before adding more.  2.5 mg is equivalent to a matchstick size piece of flower.  
  • Topically you can try CBD/THC to help reduce local inflammation.  The best is a high dose of THC rich salve or lotion or gel.

Chemovars for Neuropathic Pain

High CBD varieties are good for neuropathic pain like Harlequin, Cannatonic, or ACDC
High THC varieties are good for distracting you from the pain and for sleep support and include chemovars higher in myrcene and linalool such as any of the Purple varieties and any of the cookies varieties. Beta caryophyllene is another important anti-inflammatory terpene found in the cookies chemovars as well.

Essential Oils for Neuropathic Pain

Essential oils have so many properties known to help with nerve issues and pain in general.  Specifically 1-2 drops  each of frankincense, blue spruce, vetiver, helichrysum, lavender and eucalyptus mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically 3-5 times daily can help.  Taking a capsule filled with 3 drops each of coriander, helichrysum and copaiba and 1 drop nutmeg taken 1-3 times daily will benefit.  Specifically for sciatica make a capsule with 5 drops each of balsam fir, lemongrass and helichrysum 1-3 times daily.  I personally love Panaway oil from Young Living mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically brings relief for several hours.

Essential oils can vary in terms of how they are grown, harvested, distilled and bottled.  You need a company that is doing all of that right without chemicals and pesticides and I recommend Young Living.  I trust this company completely and have used their oils for 7 years. Please reach out if you would like more information and in the meantime, here is a link if you want to explore on your own. 

Other Options for Addressing Neuropathic Pain

The WAVWATCH is a device that operates on sound frequencies.  Our bodies have frequencies and we respond to sound. We feel better when we listen to happy music, we feel sad if the music is sad.  Sound can really affect us more than we even knew.  This watch is a pretty amazing tool.  There are 850 different medical diagnoses that it addresses including anything to do with the nervous system.  I have a link that will save you $100 if you are interested.  Use the code 
SHOSHANA100 for that discount.

Exercise and other modalities

Stretching, walking, massage, physical therapy, heat and cold are also options for addressing neuropathic pain.  

CBD and cannabis products offer hope for many people struggling with neuropathic pain. While more research is needed to understand the full effects of these substances, early evidence suggests they may provide some benefit. If you're considering using CBD or cannabis for neuropathic pain relief, make sure to speak with your healthcare provider first to weigh the potential risks and benefits before making a decision.. And of course, if you would like one:one help you can book an appointment with me for coaching.

How Can Cannabis & CBD help in the setting of Respiratory Diseases

Learn about plant medicine and whether or not it can help with respiratory diseases. Discover why you should educate yourself on this subject, how this alternative treatment works, and if it’s worth exploring as a potential therapy for your condition.

What are respiratory diseases? 
Respiratory diseases are a broad category of illnesses that affect the lungs and airways. Asthma, COPD, bronchitis, emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis are all examples of respiratory diseases. 

Respiratory Diseases
  • Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways that leads to episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. These episodes, or "asthma attacks," can be triggered by things like exercise, cold air, allergies, or smoke. 
  • COPD is a group of lung diseases including Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema that make it difficult to breathe. In these diseases the patient has trouble breathing due to restriction of the airway causing limited airflow or in the case of emphysema there is an abnormal permanent enlargement of air spaces in the terminal bronchioles and deterioration of the alveolar walls.  It is caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particles such as secondhand smoke or air pollution. Unlike asthma, COPD cannot be reversed or cured. 
  • Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the tissue in the lungs becomes thickened and scarred.  This scarring makes it difficult for oxygen to pass from your lungs into your bloodstream and can eventually lead to respiratory failure if left untreated. There are two types of pulmonary fibrosis - idiopathic ( meaning there is no specific cause ) or interstitial (non idiopathic). 

What is the Conventional Treatment for Respiratory Diseases
  • Asthma:  Patients with asthma  usually use inhalers to manage their breathing.  The goal of therapies is to prevent acute episodes, and to provide relief by making healthy lifestyle choices with prescribed inhalers. 
  • COPD:  it is estimated that 32 million people in the US have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis or emphysema. Treatment approaches are similar to asthma.  Most people require rescue inhalers and inhalers that control symptoms long term. There are some oral medications, ie. Steroids and indicated to help prevent acute exacerbations.  Also, quitting smoking, avoid toxic fumes and other exposures and going to pulmonary rehab are several treatment approaches.  Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. If chronic it means you have had a persistent cough for longer than 3 months  during each of 2 years consecutively.  The treatment approach is the same.  
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis:   current treatments for pulmonary fibrosis focus on managing symptoms and slowing disease progression; however, there is no cure currently available.  IPF management includes addressing underlying COPD, obstructive sleep apnea, GERD and coronary artery disease.  With both diagnoses, the goal is to stop nicotine, manage underlying conditions, O2 if pulse ox room air is <88%.  Pulmonary rehab will improve exercise tolerance, eliminate any toxic exposures, even medication and if infection occurs, treat promptly

Where do Cannabinoids fit in to the management of respiratory diseases?
  • Asthma - Cannabis has been used to treat asthma for centuries, dating back to at least the 18th century when it was included in the first edition of The New England Dispensatory.  While the exact mechanism by which cannabis exerts its anti-asthmatic effect is not known, it is thought to work by reducing inflammation in the airways. A study published in 2009 found that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a major active component of cannabis, was able to significantly reduce inflammation in a rat model of asthma. CBD may also play a role in the anti-asthmatic effects of cannabis by keeping the endocannabinoid anandamide from breaking down.  inhibiting the breakdown of another compound known as anandamide. Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid (a compound produced naturally by our bodies) that is known to have anti-inflammatory effects. 
  • COPD - There is some evidence to suggest that cannabis may be beneficial for people with COPD. A study published in 2012 found that smoking cannabis was associated with improved lung function in a group of 382 COPD patients. Additionally, a survey conducted in 2013 found that nearly one-third of COPD patients who used cannabis reported improved symptoms such as cough, phlegm production, wheezing, and breathlessness. It should be noted that most of this research has been conducted using self-reports rather than more objective measures such as spirometry (a test used to measure how well your lungs are functioning). 
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis - Research on the use of cannabis for pulmonary fibrosis is extremely limited at this time; however, one study published in 2015 did find that cannabinoids were able to significantly reduce inflammation and lung damage in a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis . More research is needed before any firm conclusions can be made; however, these findings do suggest that cannabis may have potential as a treatment for pulmonary fibrosis.

Digging a little deeper
A study in 2021 by the European Journal of Pharmacology looked at the potential of cannabinoids and how it inhibits the breakdown of the endocannabinoids in our system.  They looked at phytocannabinoids (THC and CBD), endocannabinoids ( our endogenous cannabinoids that we make on our own) and synthetic cannabinoids ( artificially produced substances).
To try to keep this simple, in a nutshell, the cells and the pulmonary arteries in the lungs display both CB1 and CB2 receptors.  In cases of respiratory disease, there is usually constriction of the airway and inflammation which is the nature of the disease.  In this study, they measured respiratory effects after smoking marijuana and it was shown that the structures actually dilated for 15 min to 1 hour after smoking.   The theory is that the CB1 receptors were activated in the airways resulting in dilation of the airway.  One of the known factors of CBD and THC is that they have strong anti-inflammatory properties.  With these lung conditions inflammation is a key factor that exacerbates poor respiration.  In the setting of pulmonary fibrosis - cannabinoids are being considered as anti-fibrotic agents.  One issue is that CBD will not result in bronchodilation. 

Best Way to Consume Cannabis
  • smoking - this is the fastest way to achieve relief however, it is the hardest on the lungs
  • vaporizing - this route is much easier on the lungs and provides rapid relief
  • edibles - onset of action is from 1-2 hours and lasts 6-8 hours - a good option for bedtime 
  • tinctures and oils - onset is about 15-30 min and easy to take
Have I mentioned that I'm a Health and Wellness Coach with an emphasis on plant medicine including essential oils and cannabis and CBD?  Trying to figure it out on your own can be overwhelming.  Let me help you find a treatment plan that works for you. 

Breast Health: Is there a place for CBD and THC especially in the setting of cancer?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
You may have heard that cannabis can be used to treat cancer, but you may not know the specifics. In this post, we'll explore the role of CBD and THC in breast cancer. 
October is the time when women are reminded about their breast health.  If you go for your mammogram and get the unfortunate diagnosis of breast  cancer........what then?

My Mom's Story
My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 56.  It was a lump they had been following for a while and it was time to get it removed.  She went into the hospital for a lumpectomy and came out without a breast!  I was so angry about that!!!! It seemed so drastic!!   She wore a prosthesis for the most part but as she got older she didn’t even wear that!  It laid on the table most of the time. Her fake boob!  I still don't know what type of cancer it was, I wish I did.

My Story

When I was 32, my provider demanded I get a baseline mammogram due to my Mom’s history.  The girl that did the test at the hospital, Linda, (I don't fondly remember her name) pressed the plates together against my breast so hard that there was an audible “pop” followed by a dark green discharge that came out of the nipple.  I was also bruised all around the breast.  That experience pretty much created a deep fear in me to ever get another mammogram.  I avoided it for years after the recommended age for screening had passed.  

Finally, (I don’t remember my age), I came to my senses and scheduled another mammogram.  This time there was a dedicated breast center and the experience was much more tolerable.  I am a terrible patient, so I let the yearly screening come and go and was not good at being diligent with that. Besides, my mammograms were usually normal.  A couple of times, there were some “calcifications” that looked suspicious so they would call me back in for a diagnostic mammogram to look further.  

In 2015, I was supposed to get my screening mammogram done in January.  I already mentioned I am a terrible patient and before I realized it the year was almost gone.  I scheduled my test on my birthday in November.  I figured that would be an easy way to remember to get this done every year. I got a call the next day that I had a suspicious lesion that was likely cancer.  WHAT?????  Yep, ER/PR+ HER2- 1 cm DCIS tumor.  I had a breast MRI to make sure there were no abnormal findings anywhere else in the surrounding musculature or bones.  It was all normal.  I had a lumpectomy and they removed 4 lymph nodes.  Once the surgical site healed, I had 33 radiation treatments.  It was a scary process but I am, at the time of this writing, cancer free.  

The standard care approach to breast health is to perform monthly self breast exams, have your breasts examined by a health care provider every 1-2 years and once you reach the age of 40 (some camps say 45) you need a mammogram every 1-2 years.  Breast MRIs are also diagnostic but are more expensive and of course, insurance isn't going to jump on the band wagon too quick to pay for this imaging study.  Ultrasound is done if you are younger due to more dense breast tissue.  The other option which is non-invasive is thermography.  This test detects inflammation which is the precursor to cancer by heat.  It is a good test but not recognized by the FDA.

Types of Breast Cancer

First, it's important to understand that there are two main types of breast cancer: 
  • hormone receptor-positive:  is the most common type, accounting for about 80% of all breast cancers. 
  • triple-negative Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer:  this cancer is not fueled by estrogen or any other hormone. This type of cancer is more aggressive and harder to treat. There is currently no targeted treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, which is why new treatments are always being explored. 
CBD and THC are two cannabinoids that have shown promise in treating breast cancer. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which means it won't get you high. THC, on the other hand, is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. 

CBD and Breast Cancer 
Studies have shown that CBD can inhibit the growth of both hormone receptor-positive and triple-negative breast cancer cells. In one study, CBD was found to decrease the growth of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells by up to 50%. This is significant because hormone therapy is currently the most effective treatment for this type of breast cancer. 

CBD has also been shown to inhibit the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells in vitro (in a dish). In one study, CBD reduced the proliferation of triple-negative breast cancer cells by up to 73%. This is significant because there is currently no targeted treatment for this aggressive form of breast cancer except mastectomy and chemotherapy. 

THC and Breast Cancer

THC has also been shown to inhibit the growth of both hormone receptor-positive and triple-negative breast cancer cells in vitro (in a dish). In one study, THC reduced the proliferation of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells by up to 50%. This is significant because hormone therapy is currently the most effective treatment for this type of breast cancer. 

Triple-negative Breast Cancer Cells:  In another study , THC was found to reduce the number of triple - negative breast cancer cells by up to 80% . This study used a three - drug combination consisting of THC , CBD ,and temozolomide (Temodar) (an anti -cancer drug) . This study suggests that a combination of THC, CBD ,and temozolomide may be more effective than temozolomide alone in treating triple - negative breast cancer.  

Conclusion :
There is still a lot of research to be done on the role of cannabinoids in cancer treatment , but the results so far are promising . If you are considering using cannabis oil for breast cancer, be sure to talk to your doctor first as it can interact with other medications you maybe taking.  Don't be surprised if your doctor is not supportive.  Most doctors know very little about the benefits of cannabis.  

I love this podcast and have included several episodes pertaining to breast cancer and the use of THC & CBD.

Thanks for reading and let's Break the Stigma!!!

I didn't have a mammogram last year but had thermography which was normal.   I can guarantee that if I should go through this experience again, I will choose THC and CBD over surgery, radiation and chemo in a heartbeat!  

Thanks for reading my blog.  If you struggle with cancer of any kind, please consider using plant medicine as part of your therapy.  

Read Older Updates Read Newer Updates