I was lucky to have Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman on my show. Dr. Holtzman is a Southern Calfornia medical doctor and talked at length about the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
He often hits the local speaking circuit and preaches the medicinal benefits of cannabis in local nursing homes and medical facilities in the greater Huntington Beach area.
To say he’s a cannabis optimist would be a gross understatement. The Dr. talked in detail about how he sees the future of cannabis being used in our everyday lives and how transformative this plant can be.
Underneath the SoundCloud and YouTube, audio/video files is a transcription.
Shane McCormick: Hello everybody, this is Shane from cheaphomegrow.com introducing Dr. Holtzman, I have a few questions for the doctor. Could you please tell my audience about yourself?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: I did my undergraduate at UCI. I did my medical education in Mexico. I did post medical graduation at UCI and then at the VA hospital where I did an internship in internal medicine. I started practicing in 1987 in California, and then I opened my own practice in 1988. I was a general practitioner. In 2005 I added treatment of opioid abuse disorder with Suboxone to my practice and expanded. A few years later I started consulting for rehab for drug and alcohol rehab facilities and treating opiate detox and also alcoholism and a couple other conditions. I took some time off from my practice and started to do locums work throughout Los Angeles at clinics, mostly for the farm workers and low-income people.
Then on skid row, I worked the methadone clinics. I also worked in Fresno for about six months, at some of the clinics that treated farm workers out in the rural areas of Fresno. I was out there in 2009 during the swine flu, and I was the only doctor at one of the clinics. I drove up the road and I saw about a hundred people standing in front of the clinic with bandannas and masks over their faces because they’re concerned about the swine flu. So I’ve had a lot of experience over the years for treating opioid addiction, what I started noticing is that most people that are addicted to opioids, when you get them off, they go right back on. What I did start noticing some people didn’t go back on opiates. And when I questioned them about it, and they would start talking about marijuana or cannabis as an alternative treatment that they would use to keep from going back to opioids to help treat some of the problems they had, like anxiety or sleep issues or depression.
At that point in my life, I was educated in regular medical education, so I saw cannabis as just another drug, same as heroin, same as mushrooms. So I didn’t quite differentiate it out. In about 2010 I had an opportunity to work in a cannabis clinic doing medical cannabis evaluations. With that opportunity, I started seeing all kinds of people that were claiming miraculous cures with cannabis. I was obviously very skeptical, I’d have people come in and tell me they’ve had cancer and they use marijuana and their cancer went away. Over my 30 year career, I’ve seen cancer just go away because that can happen.
Shane McCormick: Really?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Yes. Disappear one day. I wasn’t impressed. It can happen. They just don’t print it in books because apparently, people wouldn’t get treatment if they knew that they had a one in a hundred million chance their cancer would just go away.
After doing cannabis evaluations, I decided to reopen a practice. In January 2011 I opened my own practice in Huntington Beach to do general practice, treat opiate addiction and also do cannabis evaluations. I did that until March  when I closed the office with the recreational cannabis, the business had fallen off. So I decided I was more interested in doing consulting, giving lectures. I mostly do lectures for senior facilities because a lot of seniors are very interested in cannabis because the opioids just don’t react well to their lifestyle.
Shane McCormick: That brings up my next question, what method of ingestion do you recommend for your senior patients? Or what’s their preferred method of use?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Most elderly people probably prefer the edibles. A lot of them prefer things in a pill form because it’s closer to what they’re used to, the problem with edibles, they can take up to two hours to take effect, and they can last up to 12 hours. Its just way more difficult to time an edible than it is something shorter acting. So a lot of times when I have a new elderly patient, everyone is an individual, because everybody has different health problems. Everybody’s got different psychological conditions, everybody’s on various medications. Remember cannabis interacts with almost every medication to some extent. So everything has to be taken into consideration.
When I get an elderly person, almost all of them have some pain related to some kind of arthritic condition. Most of them I always consider at least using a topical. No matter what, if they’re not going to do anything else, I suggest them at least consider doing a topical. The problem with cannabis in California, I don’t know if it’s the same in your area, but here’s nobody medical making this. There’s nobody pharmaceutical producing this, it’s people making in their garage or in a kitchen or something. So everything’s a little bit unreliable. So you’re never sure going to get the same product every single time.
What I always recommend is when you’re looking for a product, ask for samples. If they don’t have samples ask them if they have very small trial size and give it a try before you buy it. Some bottles and containers will be a hundred bucks. So I always recommend people don’t spend more than $5 to try a topical. You can get a sample that’s better. Generally the topicals work better, the more fat-soluble they are; usually, an ointment will work better than a can of cream. Generally, creams and lotions in cannabis are not very good for pain because the cannabinoids are fat soluble, there lipophilic, if you put them in a water-soluble vehicle, like cream, they don’t tend to penetrate, so there better to be an ointment.
The problem with ointments is that they leave you sticky. Ointments are useful in a place like a back where can tolerate something sticky. For areas like hands or feet where you don’t want something sticky I usually recommend trying alcohol solution. That’s the second best for some penetration. That way it’ll penetrate, and it’ll evaporate, so you don’t have the stickiness. Another option for elderly people is a patch where you put it directly over the area. The patches are particularly suitable for somebody who’s had surgery like back surgery. Say somebody has had multiple back surgeries, you can put a patch, and that’ll give you local effects, and it also gives you systemic effects.
Shane McCormick: How long does it take to actually go into effect, whether it’d be a, a patch or a topical, how long does it actually take to see the results?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: OK, it depends on what you’re treating. If you’re treating a topical pain, the closer to the surface the quicker it tends to work. For example, pain in a finger that’s going to be a little quicker than pain in a hip. If it’s an inflammatory condition, it might actually take a couple of days before it actually makes the inflammation down. I’ve personally used cannabis for hip bursitis, I used a topical ointment called, Xternal Topical Balm. The first time I put it on, you get a warm menthol feeling, similar to Icy Hot.
The inflammation took several hours before it decreased very much. So with inflammatory conditions, a lot of times you’re going to have to put a topical on for several days in a row before you’re going to get significant benefit. You’re going to get a decrease in a day, but to get significant benefit, it might take a couple of days.
When you use topicals something to be aware of is that if it’s a fat-soluble vehicle and it’s fairly high concentration, you’re going to get systemic effects from the cannabis in the topical. We want people to be careful if they’re going to put a lot of topical on and then they’re going to go and drive. Usually, I recommend people when they start cannabis products start them during the middle of the day since they’re not going to be driving. So they have a lot of time to assess what the effects are.
Shane McCormick: Depending on how much you physically put on your body, it can act like if you were ingesting it?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: It’s going to depend on how concentrated it is, where you’re putting and how good the circulation is there. The best thing with topicals is to try them, and everything with cannabis is about balance. You start low and then work your way slowly. So you can access how you react to it and how it interacts with other medications and other products your taking.
Shane McCormick: I’m going to sort of switch gears, do you believe medical cannabis can be an effective opioid substitute?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Absolutely. Let me just give you an example. I had a patient that I saw as a general practitioner, that had multiple back surgeries. She was on very high doses of opioids, which I was writing for at the time. I used to write opioids.
She would take all the opioids I gave her and then she’d run out then she would go into withdrawals and end up in an emergency room. I told her, I’m not comfortable writing in higher doses. I have to send you to pain management. I sent her to pain management, and she maxed out all the pain pills they would give her. She would still end up in the emergency room. It was a really horrible thing, but after using cannabis, she looked me up and came in, and I explained about using marijuana for pain. By the third year she came back, she was off all our opioids, and I was surprised because the other doctors that we’re seeing her and I all consider her a drug addict. The first year she came back she put down she was on Oxycodone and Norco. By the last year she put down, and I said, “so you’re off Oxycodone?”, she said “yes,” and I asked “you just take Norco?” and she said, “I take nothing.” She goes on to say “I don’t have any pain, so I need nothing. I’m not a drug addict.” I said to myself, “wow, was I wrong?” So absolutely, cannabis can be used to replace opioids.
When I start patients with cannabis that have pain, I never tell them we’re going to get them off their pills. I explained to them as the cannabis goes higher, the synergistic effects of the pills are going to make the pills feel way stronger, they’re going to be kind of forced to decrease the pills. Most people that I see with pain issues are able to reduce their opioid use by anywhere from 25 to 100 percent.
Shane McCormick: That’s quite a statistic.
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Absolutely. When that happened, it kind of blew me away to the point that I question the use of opioids in most patients.
Shane McCormick: How was that patient ingesting their cannabis?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: She was taking an edible product that was a one to one ratio of THC to CBD in a hybrid.
She started off with candies; as her dose got higher she eventually had to switch over to the concentrated oils for costs. A lot of the candies are made with oils, so you’re paying extra to have them put into candy, when she finally came back she said, I don’t have to take any opioids, but this is not going to be affordable. So then at that point, I suggested, maybe you should think about getting the oils. The problem with the oils is most of our made poorly and contaminated.
Shane McCormick: I can agree with that. I see a lot of people on social media promoting their oils “as the best oils out there,” but I’ve always been skeptical of those type of products.
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: I’ve been in this industry since 2010, and I have yet to find a product that I would be willing to promote because there’s nothing that’s made well enough for me to promote. They would have to go through steps. The first thing they would have to do is grow the cannabis organically, but what everybody usually does out here, they just buy oils made from anybody or only by cannabis from anybody available and then they buy some solvent from the hardware store. Nobody is even using pharmaceutical grade, and they just make it up in a kitchen.
Shane McCormick: From your experience which is better for treating pain, Sativa or Indica?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: All the strains are hybrids, there’s no really no such thing as Indica or Sativa. What I do is I look at Indica as the main effect you have. So if you think of every strain as a hybrid, every strain has its own characteristics like dogs, dogs think you can divide it into categories of the major effects which are, retrievers, terriers, shepherds, but among any group of those, we’ve got a lot of variations, like terriers. We have bull terriers versus a rat terrier. So there’s a lot of variations. With the Indica and Sativa and hybrids, that’s the general effect that you see from that plant, from that strain, but the strain is unique in that it has a lot of other effects. So generally the Indica effects are a body sensation and a calming effect, and usually, there’s some sedation.
The Sativa effects are generally an uplifting effect with a head sensation and generally tends to wake people up, and then the hybrids are someplace between the two; usually, the Indica effects tend to dull senses, and the Sativa effects tend to enhance senses. Generally, Indica effects are used for pain. Indica effects are used when we want to bring things down. For example, anxiety, insomnia, and pain we generally want to bring down, so we generally use Indicia effects for that.
The Sativa effects are generally used when we want to break things up like depression, lethargy, attention deficit, things that we want to increase or enhance the sense to make food taste better. Generally, Sativas for pain needs to be used with caution, especially if somebody has headache pain, migraines. Now think of if you have a Sativa, and you have a migraine? A migraine hurts your head because the Satica brings your focus to your head and the Sativa can actually enhance the senses. If your feeling pain, it can enhance it. What I recommend is if you’re going to treat pain with Sativas, be very strain specific because remember, they’re all hybrids. You get a strain with the overall Sativa effect, with an uplifting effect, but you could still have pain relief due to the Indica genetics that is still in that plant because they’re all hybrids. Does that make sense?
Shane McCormick: My next question would be what, what specific strains would you recommend it?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: It depends on how much pain somebody has or even the time of the day. So for instance, if somebody is in a lot of pain and they need something really heavy to go to sleep, then you’d go with something on the heavy Indicia side, something with like a Kush. Kush all generally tend to be Indicas.
If you go with anything like a Master Kush or Bubba Kush, you’re going to get more heaviness. If you add anything purple to it, like a Purple Kush, strains that have purple in the name generally tend to have a lot of Indica genetics because if Indicas are grown appropriately, they are going to have little purplish color, most of the time. Anything Granddaddy Purple or something similar that’s heavy tends to be good for heavy pain.
The problem is if people do too much Indica people have a lot of residual effect and they can be depressed or lethargic because of it. So in those cases, you’d want to move more towards the hybrid range. For example, OG Kush, Girl Scout Cookies. What I recommend your listenership to check out is leafly.com. It’s a good place for people to get guidance on what other people use for issues. So if somebody is on the Sativa end, I usually recommend them go on leafly. Sativas are generally good for pain. Things that are derivatives of Blue Dream tend to be good for pain. The Blue Dream some people would classify it as a Sativa, dominant hybrid strain.
The strains that tend to be very sensory enhancing, like the Haze strains. Typically those aren’t good choices for people with migraines. Although they might make you careless, they might actually not help the pain but actually make it worse. I estimate about a third of Sativas make pain worse, about a third are neutral, about a third and make it better.
Shane McCormick: Concerning pain, how about Indica, what does that do for your pain?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Well the Indica effects bring the pain down, but it tends to make people sleepy. Want you to want to do is figure out how much Indica effects do you need. How much can you tolerate at that time when you want to take it. For instance, if you’re going to medicate in the morning for pain unless the pain is extreme, you have a lot of nervous system stimulation from the pain, you’re probably not going to be able to tolerate too much Indica effects. That’s why you might pick something like a Blue Dream, which is going to be a lot less pain relief, but it’s also going to be a lot less impairment. A lot of people might use like a Blue Dream in the morning and then they might use like a Girl Scout Cookie in the afternoon or a Master Kush in the evening, to get some sleep.
Then the other issue to think about is how’s this person psychologically? Are they depressed? Depression tends to be made worse on the Indicia side and made better by Sativa, but because they’re all individual strains. What I usually recommend is if you’re going to medicate with something on the opposite side of what the general effects are, so if you’re going to medicate at night with an Indicia, and you have depression, then pick an Indica strain that also helps with depression and leafly is a good choice. If you’re going to medicate for depression, but you also have anxiety or pain, then pick a Sativa type or Sativa dominant strain that is also good for anxiety, so you don’t provoke more anxiety.
Shane McCormick: Are there any cons for an individual using cannabis to relieve pain?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Everything’s about using the right dose at the right time. Obviously, if you’re using something too heavy in the morning, it’s going to impair your life, if you’re using too much Indica effects without an antidepressant effect, it might make you depressed and lethargic and lack of motivation. What I would like to stress it that it has to be used properly.
Shane McCormick: Do you believe cannabis is a gateway drug?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Not used medically. If somebody is a strict Mormon and they’re not going to do any anything, then they’re not going to end as a heroin addict. I’ve treated a lot of opioid addiction and a lot of times I would see kids come in my office that was 20 years and I would say, you’re 20 years old, and you’re addicted to using heroin. How does that happen? Huntington Beach is a beautiful area. They come from good families, and they’re saying, I don’t know how it happened. All I know is we’re going to parties were smoking weed then the next thing we know we’re smoking heroin then before I knew it, we were shooting heroin, and my friends are dying.
When people go to parties and they use marijuana and heroin is available, they’re like, well, I used marijuana. They told me not to, but I used heroin, so I guess I’ll smoke some heroin and it doesn’t seem that bad. Next thing they know they’re addicted to heroin. I could go either way on that.
I think that if it’s used medically and somebody comes in forgetting opioid pill for pain, then I don’t think it’s a gateway drug, but if somebody is doing it recreationally, it can open up people to using other drugs. I don’t see too many people that start shooting heroin that has never smoked a cigarette or had a drink. It does open it up, but it is also an exit drug because I’ve seen lots of people get off opioids using cannabis. One other thing I’d like to mention, any derivative from morphine does not control nerve pain. The only opiates that control nerve pain are synthetic opioids. Cannabis controls musculoskeletal pain like opioids, but it also controls nerve pain. So some person, like that woman that I talked about, will do better with cannabis than they will with opiates if they have a nerve pain component that’s primary.
Shane McCormick: Really?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Yes, like for neuropathy issues, cannabis is very good. I’ve seen neuropathy improve immediately with just topical alcohol sprays. I had a guy come in who had severe polyneuropathy where he had nerve pain all over the body. He was in a wheelchair because the pain was so severe and he was wheeling around because he said his legs were hurting, I said I’ve got some topical spray, do you want me to spray a little of it on? He said It won’t help. I said you’re making me nervous, by wheeling around why don’t you try it if it’s not going to hurt anything? So he said, it’s not gonna help, about five minutes later, he said it actually really helped. It depends on how close to the nerve pain is the surface and the potency of the concentrate.
Shane McCormick: That’s an incredible story.
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: My patient base was about 23,000 patients that I was sitting in the office. A lot of people I saw multiple times. So I’ve seen a lot of people.
Shane McCormick: What’s the most incredible or dramatic story you’ve seen?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: I had parents bring in a young girl that had a genetic seizure disorder where she had almost cost from seizures, up to a hundred a day. These were so severe that she suffered brain damage from essentially was confined to bed or was strapped to a wheelchair because she was seizing. When I saw her, she was on three antiepileptic medications at high doses and the parents where there because they felt there was nothing else left to do, they were at their wit’s end. So we talked about using CBD because they had been a lot of research. Also, there’s a new CBD product that’s just been approved by the FDA. GW Pharmaceuticals, the drug is called Epidiolex, I think it’s gone through all the approvals, so we’ll see where that goes. That would be the first product that comes out of the American market since 1942 that’s derived from the cannabis plant.
But anyway, that wasn’t at the time. So we talked about that, we went over how they might consider adding it to her regimen, and by the next year she came back, she was still strapped in a wheelchair she was still severely handicapped from the brain damage. I asked the parents, how’s she going? They said “100 percent better”? I’m like, how is she a hundred percent better? She strapped in a wheelchair, and they said she hasn’t had a seizure for nine months. I said, excuse me, and they said she has not had a seizure for nine months since we started the marijuana, cannabis, and CBD, and we increased the dose. About three months into it, the seizures went away. The next year that I saw her, her medications had been lowered significantly. She was on very small doses. The last time I saw her, she was on a homeopathic dose of a prescription anti-epileptic, and they said she was just on that because the neurologist didn’t want to take her off everything. So he left her on a minimal dose.
I thought that was pretty dramatic. There was another case that blew me away, and it had to do with cannabis treating cancer. I actually did a research project on that, I followed 60 patients for two years that were on marijuana for cancer. I had a patient come in who was somebody that I known. He had cancer, I believe it was a sarcoma. He was told he had four months or so to live and all of his friends told him cannabis would help with the symptoms. So he wanted to try it. We talked about how he can use it for his appetite, for pain. Then he started asking me about how people are using it to treat cancer. I told him, obviously there’s no research on that, and I told him about how cancer sometimes just go away, but I explained how people were using at the time. That was before I did my research. So next year he followed up and so when he came in, I looked at his chart, and I put down you shouldn’t be here, and he said, I know. I asked him what is your doctor saying? He goes, well, he’s really happy, and I couldn’t believe it. He says the tumor shrank and everything is doing better. I saw him like over the next five years, by the last time I saw him, he said his tumors were essentially gone.
Shane McCormick: What type of tumors are you talking about?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: A sarcoma, soft tissue tumor with some spread.
Shane McCormick: Let me see if I can wrap my head around this he ingested cannabis and his tumors essentially went away?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Yes, over a five year period. I’m not saying cannabis did it. I do not advocate cannabis for cancer. I advocate it for pain. There are so many people using cannabis for cancer, I thought, we should have a physician look at this someone who’s a medical doctor. So I started doing this with anybody that came in for cancer that was interested in getting RSO I asked if they would like to join part of a study and we would try to get free concentrates for them. I assigned one of my office staff to follow up with these patients, to do conference calls. What they would do is form a support group and then do conference calls during the week where people could call in and talk about their different problems.
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: So we contacted Phoenix Tears, and they had a representative contact us. They would go on the calls and talk to the patients about the issue, and as I said, I was not advocating, I was just trying to follow and see what the problems would be. What we’ll do is usually on Sunday I would get on and all the patients problems they couldn’t solve I would talk to them and see if we can help solve. What I found out from this project was that most people cannot tolerate a thousand milligram or a gram of concentrate a day like they advocate, it’s too much, they can’t tolerate it. The other thing we’ve found out is that all these people are getting products on the market. We check and send them all to a lab and found out they’re all contaminated with pesticides, with heavy metals, so that was not an option.
What I found was a better option that I’m advocating now when people come in, and they say I have cancer now what I recommend is use raw cannabis. I recommended juicing, Dr. William Courtney is the big expert on that. I recommend juice the raw cannabis for the acidic cannabinoids because I think it doesn’t have anything to do with the activated THC, it has to with the total cannabinoids which can be acidic which is the water soluble. It doesn’t have to be the fat-soluble because your body can convert them back and forth. I’m not advocating cannabis for cancer treatment, but if somebody wants to, I recommend them juice because it’s going to do no harm.
I also recommend juicing for any kind of inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, psoriasis, I also recommend using the activated forms, [the regular THC] for issues like pain or appetite when you’re going to get the head effect. The ascetics are water-soluble, the activated are fat soluble, the THC is fat soluble which allows crossing the blood-barrier interacting with the brain. The ascetics are good for inflammation, but they’re not that good for pain. The activated THC because it gets to the brain has good pain relief. So generally a lot of patients, I recommend them juice and then use a vape pen before meals for their appetite or for nausea.
Shane McCormick: Are you a supporter of home grow?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Absolutely. One hundred percent. If somebody is going to juice, the first thing I tell them is to grow your own, it’s the only way you’re going to be able to have organic without pesticides. The biggest probably we have in this industry is contaminants, pesticides, and chemicals.
I recommend growing organically with organic nutrients and obviously no pesticides. I recommend juicing and freezing the juice. Generally, I recommend people grow the plants, harvest them at their peak, don’t dry them, juice them fresh and usually juice the leaves and the flower together and then you save the cubes in ice cube trays and freeze it, that way it will be good for one to six months. That will give you time for another harvest. Then I recommend them to use ice cubes, put them in a blender to make a smoothie and drink that as their way of meditating. I usually recommend this for people with arthritic conditions, autoimmune type conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
So absolutely, I recommend growing, absolutely. It’s like herbs. I have my herb garden, we use those for cooking. The best herbs are the ones you grow, not the ones you buy at the store.
The problem in the cannabis industry is there are not too many people encouraging people to grow their own because they want to grow in their big fields in a big warehouse under there lights. Then treat them with chemicals and then extract with solvents and sell people oils they can charge a lot of money for, so the industry out here is really bad. There are not many people that really care about helping patients.
Shane McCormick: How do you think the pharmaceutical industry will react to people growing their own?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: I don’t think big pharma will care one way or the other because it’s not going to impact there market. I think with big pharma the future for them is to make the products like the GW pharmaceuticals and Epidiolex which is a CBD product. They’re a UK company, and they also have a product called Sativex that is a one to one THC to CBD product that they sell in Europe and Canada and is used for MS symptoms like spasticity and pain. So if they can get this on the market and the FDA approves it, and there’s already two synthetic THC’s on the market that is not derived from cannabis, it would be hard for them not to be able to get the Sativex that’s been used in Europe and Canada onto the market. So I think they’ll be making more making products. I believe that the pharmaceuticals will be more replacing the people that homemaker their pills, that home make their oils. All of these oils on the market, the majority are bad, and they need to be replaced. I’m a hundred percent for that. I don’t think they really can do much about the people growing their own for their own use. It’s like the farmers be concerned about people growing their own vegetables. I don’t think that’s going to make a difference. I think the only people that are going to affect are the drug dealers.
What happens out here is you have a grower, and he gets bugs into his plants, or he gets mold on them. They don’t look good, so he can’t sell it, so what they do is spray with pesticides, crush it up and go to harvest or buy some solvent. They’ll run that through, then they’ll make an oil and then they’ll sell it to people and tell them it will help with their cancer. The products on the market are usually the flower they can’t sell because it’s terrible quality, they tend to have chemicals, most of the products are really bad. I welcome the pharmaceutical industry to come in and take over.
But with homegrown, that’s like people grow their own vegetables or their own herb’s. It’s not going to affect them in one way or the other except improve people’s health.
The people that grow there own I believe are doing so for health reasons. I recommend people now make their own oils. I suggest that if somebody is going to make an oil, have it made by a pharmacist or a biochemist or somebody who knows what they’re doing.
Let’s say somebody has cancer and they grow their own cannabis, and they juice it, they still probably want a vape pen to help their appetite or to help their nausea. The reason why I usually recommend vape pens for the nausea is that a lot of people when they’re nauseated, aren’t able to put anything in their mouth without throwing up. Sometimes they can use depositories, but they take too long to take effect. If you’re getting nauseated, hit a vape pen, it’s going to go down within 15 minutes.
Shane McCormick: Do you see a future where cannabis can lower healthcare costs?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: Yes, absolutely. I have seen lots of people that have autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis now remember rheumatoid arthritis can just go into remission. Somebody can be crippled in a wheelchair, and the next month it’s gone, they’re essentially symptom-free for a while. If these people were juicing, I think that a lot more of them would be in remission because it has excellent anti-inflammatory effects. It doesn’t have all the side effects of using cortisone. So for a lot of conditions using cannabis would decrease the chronic illness, which would reduce costs. Also, there’s a lot of costs incurred due to opioids. Addiction of overdose, opioid overdose is the leading cause of death in people under 50 years old. That’s more than car accidents, more than violence, that’s mind-boggling. These are things we can replace.
In the future, there’s a lot of possibilities for making designer cannabis-derived medications by adjusting the ratio of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids to get specific effects. So you can take the best strain out there for a particular condition. You could adjust the terpenes the cannabinoids and the flavonoids to get even better effects with fewer side effects. So the future for pharmaceuticals is astronomical. It’s unlimited. The differences with pharmaceuticals, what they’ve done so far is they typically take one medication, their highly purified, and they use one medication. With cannabis, we’ve got 100 cannabinoids, about a 140 terpenes and I’m not sure how many flavonoids, that’s a new field. So we’ve got a lot of chemicals to adjust, but we’re using multiple chemicals to treat different conditions instead of one to treat it. So I absolutely think that if used properly cannabis could significantly lower healthcare costs.
The problem is we’ve got too many people in the community that are nitwits, they’re running around with rasta hats smoking in public and telling people “I can cure cancer, you need to listen to me!” and they lose all credibility. I’ve been telling people in the industry, we need to reach out to medical professionals, the physicians, the pharmacists, and help them understand our point instead of trying to force it upon them and tell them they have to listen to us.
I’ve been trying to bridge that, but I haven’t done that good of a job. That’s why I try and get the word out to people. What I usually tell patients is here’s my website, tell your doctor if they have any questions I’m more than happy to talk to them. Just have them read my cannabis 101.
Shane McCormick: My final question is, am I missing any questions? Do you want to make any final statements?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: We have a big problem with opioids, and that’s where my focus is, and I think this could help. We’ve also got a problem with PTSD. There’s also a lot of new legislation, the VA Hospital has not been pro-cannabis, but there’s apparently a bill that’s pending that would allow the VA to start doing research on cannabis, which would open up the market. If they begin researching cannabis, it would be easy to catalog the different effects from the different terpene profiles, and designer medications would presumably come next, it’d be a whole new market. With what I’ve done, as a general practitioner for 30 years. Using cannabis, I can treat about 80 percent of the conditions that I normally would see. For example, anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation. Cannabis entirely is better than Benzos. We can easily get people off Benzos. A lot of the things that we would have prescribed, I can use cannabis if used properly.
Shane McCormick: Why isn’t the VA pro-medical marijuana?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: When I first started doing cannabis, I saw a lot of veterans who said that their cannabis is the only thing that helped them. Their VA doctors told them “no if you do cannabis, we’re going to drug test you and we’re not going to give you any other medications, were not going to treat you.” More recently it was kind of like “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” If you do cannabis, just don’t talk about it.
I just met with the group a couple of days ago, that’s looking to help veterans with PTSD, and they’re interested in talking about using cannabis and bringing back to the VA. They’re looking at cognitive behavioral therapy and their stating that it helps but maybe adding cannabis to the regimen would help more. I’m hoping that they can get me into the VA and talk about this. If the V listens and is willing to look at it, I can give them all the information on how to use it and what products to use and hopefully we can help some Vets. Once we get the Va doctors involved then there pharmacist, then we could actually move forward. If the VA started using it, then the other doctors would be able to learn from it then it would come to main street.
My goal has been to try to spread understanding. For people taking the time to grow their own is the really only way to go about it. I think juicing is definitely something a lot of people should be doing.
Shane McCormick: One final question, what is juicing?
Dr. Aury Lor Holtzman: When you have a raw plant the cannabinoids are in the acidic form when you heat them, they convert to the decarboxylated, or fat-soluble form which allows from crossing the brain.
What you want to do is get the plant fresh, harvest it fresh, and then you want to juice it fresh. Usually, you take the leaves and the flour, typical dose and remember, nobody’s really studied this, but a standard dose with people is going to be anywhere from 15 to 20 leaves and anywhere from two to five times per dose. So what you do is harvest your plant, you cut off all the stems because that’s just fiber, usually put it through a weed crush juicer. The weed crush juicer separates weeds from the fiber. Then you place the juice and then typically some people will take a shot of it, which I understand it tastes really horrible, and other people will have to freeze it. It will last up to six months, and then they’ll take the ice cubes and put them in the blender with whatever they want to make a smoothie with to cover up the taste.
You could also use the raw form [of cannabis] and make that into a smoothie also, using kief, or you can put it in a capsule if you want to use the acidic. There’s a lot of different options. It’s a wide field, it would be nicer for us to figure out specific medicines for people.