Cannabis is having a breakthrough and we don’t just mean with your stoner neighbor. Medical cannabis is emerging and doctors are becoming more warm to the idea of advising patients to see what this plant has to offer besides a case of the late night munchies.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Melanie Bone to get an in-depth look at cannabis. She is a cancer survivor with 30 years of professional experience in gynecology focusing on cannabis as therapy for her patients.
Dr. Bone shares her unique personal experience with patients and women’s wellness by educating people on cannabis. In our talk, we discuss the benefits of CBD, how she recommends marijuana to clients, the dosing method, and which ratios might work best for chronic illnesses as well as anxiety and PTSD.
A key takeaway from our conversation is that everyone is different and proper cannabis use requires a bit of trial and error in order to figure out which dose and ratio works best for you. Just like most things, you are your best doctor and only you know how you are truly feeling! Fortunately, cannabis is incredible safe and can be trialed without fear of overdosing.
Check out a few excerpts from the talk down below or catch the full conversation on the podcast!
Alyssa: What do you find are some of the ways that you go about teaching people and educating people that really don’t know anything about cannabis?
Dr. Melanie Bone: I do a lot of hands-on work with education, whatever works best I think. I usually start my consultations with just the very basics, I call it Cannabis 101. I have a little handout that they can take home, explaining it’s a plan with different elements that go into making up for the plants and I usually end after one hour of just trying to gently get them to understand the concept of cannabinoids psychoactive and non-psychoactive.
Hannah: Out of curiosity, how does your prescription method work?
Dr. Melanie Bone: When the patient comes in, I assess their problem...
I tell the people that helping them with what they need is all about discovering the ratio cannabinoids that works for them so I say it’s kind of like your sweet number when you buy a sleep number bed, what’s your sleep number? What’s your ratio? You need a 5:1 in case you have a lot of anxiety, you don’t need too much THC.
Maybe you’re just somebody that has a movement disorder who just needs a very high dosage of CBD or are you someone that has an end-stage cancer where we will need to jack up the THC for all sorts of reasons and then once I figure out where I think they fall in the spectrum for ratios I usually move slightly lower than what I think they need just to start.
Hannah: Speaking of the ratio, do you have any insights on why CBD affect people differently and why some people might get stimulated, and some people might get sleepy? Does that have to do with the dose or the individual?
Dr. Melanie Bone: There are definitely differences in CBD’s from brands and some CBD’s are more uplifting and some CBD’s tend to be more sedating and I tell people you even have to go from brand to brand to know what works for you.
But it also has to do with your native endocannabinoid system, how you process cannabinoids which gets very complicated as you know.
What’s your FAAH doing? What’s your enzyme breakdown activity?
What other things do you have in your body that might interacting with it so it’s very idiosyncratic but it’s like anything you know. It’s why we’re all unique creatures, right?
Hannah: So going back, you really have to experiment with even different products, different doses, different ways.
Dr. Melanie Bone: Unfortunately it is a little bit trial and error which is why I really feel that people should take smaller amounts to start. Eventually it’s just like what you order...we’ve never fought someone for wanting a change in their shampoo or what they eat for dinner and the same thing goes from marijuana. You might have to change it up after to get it to work.
Hannah: So is it highly individual.
Dr. Melanie Bone: Highly individual, if you look at the literature they say okay for PTSD you’re gonna do well on a 5:1 range but I can tell you I have some PTSD that THC doesn’t work for and I have other PTSD who needs higher THC marijuana you just have to believe the patient.
Hannah: As a patient, you really want to experiment and track what’s working for you.
Dr. Melanie Bone: That’s correct. It’s the only medicine where you tell me your dose, not me telling you. That makes some people very anxious because you’re the expert, you need to know but I can’t tell by looking at you whether 3 milligrams of THC can get you stoned or whether you need 30 or 40 and you’ll feel it right?
"So here’s my deal, the bible of marijuana:
Start low, go slow and don’t be afraid to say no".
Alyssa: Do you recommend different delivery methods depending on the person as well or is it different more so depending on the symptom?
Dr. Melanie Bone: Both. For example, if the patient had a cancer treatment and has severe neck pain based on radiation or chemo, you can put a cream or plain CBD directly on site but you may have chronic inflammation in your body impacting them so ingesting CBD to get it into your whole body can decrease inflammation.
I kind of insist that almost all my patients take CBD, very rare don’t do that. I get a lot of push back from some people about it because it’s expensive but I tell them that you can look at any literature...
Alyssa: For people who are listening that aren’t familiar with the differences between THC and CDB, can you just give a brief overview of how THC heals or could help the body?
Dr. Melanie Bone: Marijuana is a plant that has multiple constituents, we have the cannabinoids including the psychoactive cannabinoid which is very famous THC and I always say the “H” reminds you that’s the one that gets you high and then all the other cannabinoids colloquially we call them CBD but they’re really composed of many other miraculous CB’s, CBG, CBC’s.
Then there are terpenes, they make the taste and smells. A pinecone smells like pine because of Pinene, patients get that immediately.
I would say higher THC products I use for people with a lot of experience with marijuana who have difficulty sleeping because it will definitely help people fall asleep as well as those with a lot of muscle spasms, terminally ill patients, glaucoma, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The patients that come in that have anxiety I tell them “You want all the other great CB’s because THC can cause anxiety”.
Cancer patients need more appetite they’re going on the THC side but if they have anxiety, PTSD, or epilepsy, you need to go to the CBD side to quiet the nervous system down.
We often start with a 1:1 low dose and then we have the patient diary what they do and we check.
If they come in with Parkinson’s I wouldn’t do that, I would start them on the CBD side but a lot of people come in with persistent pain symptoms and that’s a 1:1 dose for MS, back or neck pain, etc.
We learned so much in this conversation with Dr. Bone who is a wealth of information. We were so grateful to get the opportunity to chat with her about her cannabis practice! If you want to check out Dr. Bone’s work go to: https://www.drmelaniebone.com/