Cannabis Patient Care - August 2021


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8 cannabis patient care | vol. 2 no. 2 doctor focus " I WILL RESPECT the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug" (1). That is the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath as written in 1964 by Louis La- sagna, academic dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts Uni- versity, and used in many medical schools today. A version of the basic tenet of the oath—to first, do no harm (or primum non nocere, the Latin translation from the original Greek)—is sworn to by all physicians in the US, including Dr. Bonni Goldstein, medical director of Canna-Centers, a Cali- fornia-based medical practice created to educate patients about the use of cannabis for serious and chronic medical conditions. But this famous quote actually isn't a part of the Hippocrat- ic Oath at all. It is from another of Hippocrates' works called "Of the Epidemics" (2). The actual interpretation of the oath is that doctors should help their patients as much as they can by recommending tests or treatments for which the potential benefits outweigh the risks of harm. And that particular interpretation perfectly aligns with the work that Dr. Goldstein does with her medical cannabis patients. Taking the Leap Dr. Goldstein is something of an enigma in the field of canna- bis medicine, evaluating both adult and pediatric patients for use of medical cannabis (3). She has become deeply commit- ted to promoting and exploring the use of medical cannabis. She has given numerous lectures to many patient suppor t programs, including Cancer Suppor t Community, and vari- ous pediatric epilepsy and autism non-profits. She has also lectured at the yearly CannMed conferences, Patients Out of Time conferences, and Cannabis Science Conferences. She is on the board of the International Association of Can- nabis as Medicine, a member of the Society of Cannabis Cli- nicians, and a member of the Policy Advisory Committee for Americans for Safe Access. But as Dr. Goldstein has discovered, using cannabis to bring healing to her patients is more than just following the tenets of the oath she swore to. It's about the perceptions she has to deal with among her doubting colleagues. "I share my clinical experience in order to try to open up the minds of those who are still dubious about the therapeu- tic potential of cannabis," Goldstein said. "Physicians aren't always convinced by a patient's experience. But hopefully hearing the collective experience of a well-trained, fairly con- servative physician who has been in the field for over a dec- ade will help change opinions." Her immersion into this growing niche of medicine be- gan in 2007 when she took a leave of absence af ter years of working the night shif t in pediatric emergency medicine. A friend of hers who was ill asked her about medical canna- bis. "I knew nothing at the time," Dr. Goldstein said. "I did some research for my friend and found numerous repor t s of medicinal benef it s in the scientif ic literature. I was so intrigued by the science that I star ted working par t-time in a medical cannabis prac tice in 2008, where I met many Do No Harm—The Work of Medical Cannabis to Treat Epilepsy: How One Physician Found a New Treatment that Works and Upholds the Oath She Took B Y D A V I D H O D E S Dr. Bonni Goldstein, a leading medical cannabis doctor, advocate, and researcher, discusses her journey into treating patients with cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD). Here, Dr. Goldstein discusses her observations about how cannabis can "move the brain forward," explaining how she has seen it help some of her worst seizure disorder patients who had severe developmental delays begin to advance developmentally while using cannabis medicine. Dr. Goldstein also discusses the many studies she has worked on as part of her personal and passionate mission to normalize the use of cannabis for novel medical treatments.

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