Cannabis Patient Care - August 2022

Cannabis Patient Care - August 2022

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26 doctor focus cannabis patient care | vol. 3 no. 2 More than Skin Deep: How the Subconscious and Cannabis Help Go Beyond Traditional Understandings of Health and Healing B Y E R I N M C E V O Y A New Approach to Health and Wellness In Washington state, Dr. Elizabeth Hughes helps to change the way her clients view their health and wellness. As she puts it, she has "graduated and moved on from dermatology," and though she no longer provides direct, traditional patient care, she "coaches patients with chronic, unsolvable medical con- ditions on how to activate their body's natural healing ability." The tagline for her current practice is "Healing Beyond Med- icine." For Dr. Hughes, looking beyond traditional medicine is twofold. First, she asks why? "While I love medical science, you can't get answers to questions you don't ask. There are a lot of questions in medicine that people don't ask," she explained. "For example, why do some people, if they take a medication, get better and some people don't? Why do some people have a certain side effect and some don't? For a science, there's a whole lot of inaccuracy, in comparison with chemistry and physics, where there are clear effects and phenomenon." The second par t of looking beyond is to push the bounda- ries on what's considered "off limits" in medicine. "We don't know what's good for us unless we study it. There are a lot of medications or beneficial substances that are off limits in medicine," she said. "You can't talk about cannabis or CBD because they've been put into the 'bad' categor y." Converse- ly, even some medicine and practices placed in the "good" categor y have turned out to be harmful. For example, Dr. Hughes points out that at one point, hormone replacement therapy was considered crucial for postmenopausal wom- en, until it was discovered that this caused an increase in hear t disease. How does this way of questioning and catego- rizing treatment have an effect on overall health? What other treatments and alternatives could patients be missing, par- ticularly in terms of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and its derivatives? Dr. Hughes' method of working with patients is similar to the idea of personalized medicine–the practice of looking at a person's biological makeup and adjusting their treatment– but her method is more nuanced. "I'm a little closer to what a psychiatrist or a therapist would do. I look ver y person- ally at the beliefs that a person has picked up about health through their lives," said Dr. Hughes. "I have some specif- ic protocols and several different coaching cer tifications to help people to reset. First off, there is the investigation. What is it that you actually do believe? Then we work on re- setting all of those beliefs." Dr. Hughes believes that the emotional and subconscious state of a patient as a person in general helps determine their health and recovery. The subconscious can drive how people use medications, respond to illness, and how the body heals and recognizes itself. She works to find the deep-seat- ed and underlying beliefs a person could be carrying all their Dr. Elizabeth Hughes, a dermatologist by training, had started a career in medicine after completing her education at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and her dermatology residency at Stanford School of Medicine, when she began combatting the challenges of traditional medicine and treatment. She started to look beyond what traditional medicine had to offer, later also becoming a certified yoga instructor, and completing coaching courses. For chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases, she now coaches her clients in ways to activate the body's natural ability to heal by exploring the subconscious mental and emotional effects on a person's health. She also recently created a cannabidiol (CBD) oil skin treatment, despite facing challenges and resistance to the use of cannabis and CBD as a part of medicine. Both cannabis and Dr. Hughes's approach to health are part of a larger exploration of what health truly means to a person, an exploration stemming from the idea that overall wellness and lasting health are cultivated from areas beyond conventional confines.

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