But first, he says, we must change our approach.
Dr Jamie Rickcord, a GP and cannabinoid prescriber and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, sat down with LADbible to explain how endocannabinoid medicine is the way of the future.
But according to Dr Rickcord, there's a lack of understanding of how the endocannabinoid system works.
Dr Rickcord, who has opened up the Ananda Clinic in Northern NSW, told us: “A real travesty is that most doctors don’t even know we have an endocannabinoid system. So this very important piece of science is missed in most parts of medicine.”
So what is this vital system?
The endocannabinoid system comprises of a vast network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that are spread throughout our brains and bodies.
You know that lovely feeling you have after going on a run or that state of bliss you enter while vacationing in the tropics somewhere? Yep, that’s the endocannabinoids working in full force.
It plays a crucial part in our nervous system and keeps balance in the body by reintroducing homeostasis.
Dr Rickcord explained to LADbible: “Homeostasis is balance. So we have temperature regulation, we have blood pressure regulation, [and] the human body and all animals on the planet exist through homeostasis.
"We get too hot [the] body cools us down, we get too cold, the body heats us up.”
Dr Rickcord said we are not just driven by survival, but there’s an emotional homeostasis we need to balance, as disharmony can lead to stress and illness.
Furthermore, humans have a neurotransmitter called ‘anandamide’, which helps to maintain mental wellness. Taken from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda’, meaning peace, it's one of the first endocannabinoids to be discovered.
And humans engage with this physiology all the time without ever being actually ‘stoned’.
Dr Rickcord said: “That’s the point of endocannabinoid medicine because we’re giving people something to return them to that place.”
He continued: “Often my patients will use CDB, and when the CBD kicks in, they’ll say, ‘I could have been meditating for two hours’.”
The GP explained how endocannabinoid medicine elicits feelings of contentedness and being ‘relaxed’, which is emerging as an essential part of treatment in modern medicine.
And, by using the cannabis plant that engages with this system, humans can finally thrive.
“What we’re really doing is alleviating people’s distress and improving their quality of life, and one or two medicines can replace lots and lots of prescriptions people are on - whether it’s antidepressants, pain killers, seizure medications,” Dr Rickcord added.
However, he acknowledges that this isn’t an excuse for people to go forth to overindulgence in THC, as you lose around 99 per cent of the cannabis plant’s healing powers to alleviate pain and stress when you burn it.
While endocannabinoids should be at the forefront of medicine, more in-depth research still needs to be conducted.
He said: “There’s a lot of doctors prescribing it now. Not many of them have really understood what it is that they’re prescribing.
"So a lot of people believe that doctors being able to prescribe it is the beginning of the legalisation of cannabis, and therefore we can continue to use it in the way we used it previously.”
However, Dr Rickcord believes we need to adjust this approach entirely.
He said: “This is the paradigm shift, I say to everyone now, and we’ve learnt this the hard way - basically, the oils are the treatment for multiple medical conditions.
"You need to get that dosing right.”
Dr Rickcord continued: “You have to use the oils to engage in a different way because it calms it all down and when the pain gets back, or [if] you can’t sleep that’s when you use the flower because it kicks in, and then the relief comes.
"If you’ve got the dosing right, the relief comes sustained.”
When asked where this kind of medicine is heading in the next five to 10 years, Dr Rickcord says a complete ‘revolution’ is on the horizon.
He said: “I think some of the concepts we’re living in, in this sort of patriarchal structure that tells us what we can and can’t do, will start to break down.”
He continued: “Using medicines that make us feel good and are mind-expanding and changing our perspective is the way to get better.”
Featured Image Credit: Tiny Ivan / Alamy Stock Photo. Picture Partners / Alamy Stock Photo