When it comes to pain control and our well being, we’d be willing to turn to anything for relief, even an unregulated drug. In today’s episode, Dr. Rosie Sendher and Dr. Erika Fisk welcome Dr. Herman Johal, to have a discussion around a controversial topic in the medical field for its ethical reasons: the usage of cannabis as a treatment. There’s no denying that cannabis has brought relief to millions of patients thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, and yet there is still no funding, and as a result, no research, to start to better comprehend this ancient remedy. Physicians today can’t really recommend dosages, consumption methods or even the product itself, due to the unknown effects it could have on each different patient. The good news is that these conversations are taking place more frequently among professionals and patients, and we can start to aim for a society that is more welcoming to alternative methods to treat medical cases.

Dr. Herman Johal is an orthopaedic surgeon and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the McMaster University, who specializes in trauma orthopaedics. Passionate about education and research, he has become an advocate for cannabis study and discussion in the medical ecosystem.

When and how should professionals be having cannabis related conversations with their patients? Which is the most recommended consumption method? Why is legalization so relevant for progress? Tune in and listen to this important discussion on cannabis in medicine, and to learn more about both patients’ and professionals’ experiences with this remedy.

In this episode we chat about:

  • (00:48) - On Dr. Johal’s background, his research, and the accepted usage of cannabis for treatment among patients - “I’ve had patients who’ve self-medicated either by smoking weed or with CBD creams and found that it was effective with pain control.”
  • (15:23) - Focus groups, why we all need legalization, and the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD - “We know that there’s something in there based on our patients’ experiences, but there’s a lot still to unpack in research.”
  • (27:20) - Recommended ways of consumption and the dangers of unregulated territory for patients - “Ultimately what really needs to happen is we really need to have a lot of trials, research, and document this data to prove what actually works.”
  • (36:49) - The importance of discussions around cannabis and addictions - “Dry mouth, red eyes, those are side effects that cannabis users may not think are a big deal at a recreational level, but now we have to discuss this on a medical level.”
  • (50:19) - The future of cannabis: On the replacement of opioids with safer alternatives, Dr. Johal’s plans for his research, and the problem with high expectations around pain control - “Pain is a cultural phenomenon, and our approach to it and our discussions around it is shaped by society, our patients and how we are trained.”

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