Dr. Kevin Hoffarth literally wrote the book Functional Medicine and focuses on an integrative health approach to managing stress and anxiety at BioFitMedicine.com. We discuss the experiences of Dr. Hoffarth’s clients with cannabis and CBD for Anxiety and Stress.
CBD for Anxiety and Stress. Welcome to the show. Thank you for listening. Today's episode is always is brought to you by Magic immune a tea available at packedwithlife.com. What could be more important in today's world and having a strong immune system? probably nothing but how do you do that diet exercise no kidding, but what I've recently started doing is drinking magic immune a tea number one tastes great and it's loaded with healthy nutrients called adaptogens including four essential mushrooms: Reishi, lion's mane, chaga and cordyceps. Not the magic kind you guys. Come on. Reishi, lion’s mane, chaga and cordyceps are great for you highly nutritious and very Adept at boosting your immune system. So give magic immune a tea a try at packedwithlife.com.
Today's guest is dr. Kevin Hoffarth MD. He's focused on functional medicine in his practice. And in fact, he wrote the book Functional Medicine is the name of his book and we'll be talking about his experiences with cannabis and CBD for anxiety and stress with his patients. So enjoy the show. Thank you.
To a conference and learn for yourself because it's it's not one of those things. You can just kind of talk about you got to actually experience it and After experiencing one conference for a week-long conference. I remember telling my wife I was like, I don't know anything. I felt like I was back in medical school and trying to kind of restart my understanding of Integrative Medicine and All the explosion of information that was not really privy to a traditional position and I always believed that there was more answers out there. And that what we were doing was was good for about five percent of the population, but we were missing a huge chunk of the population being involved in every area of of care, you know, you just kind of realize I just I've never had a really wasn't having a lot of wins. I called it for self and a win for me was reversing the disease not being stuck on medications indefinitely their disease actually literally goes away that to me is a win and only, you know, a handful of times that I really actually experienced that in the traditional world in the functional World experience it regularly and if you know functional medicine, it's probably the Easiest way to describe it is it's we're talking about the same disease. It's this is not a new medicine. Okay, it's just simply flipping the script. Your provider looks patients. So rather than starting at the last chapter that we tend to do in patients in traditional world looking at the disease in the symptoms and the signs and addressing those directly. It's kind of moving backwards in the book and kind of saying okay what got them there in the first place and you know after doing this for eight years now studying, I literally just drove into functional Medicine and integrative world, I literally took every single course you can possibly take it was kind of insane and I just kind of went back to being a student which I love it's actually my first love anyways learning and you know you start and then you working with hundreds of patients you start to realize you know, it's the same Beginnings for most people and it really does come back to the lifestyle component. And and so now it's me my practice is designed. You literally just teach people how to get out of her own way. The body is designed beautifully and it just doesn't function optimally when we get in our own way that most of the time. I meant that you're looking for from people, you know, can I find that very interesting you just in my own experience as and dealing with myself and others that I know, you know, really having a personal commitment to your own health and betterment is is really critical to everything. So tell me more about your experiences there and why you kind of position things that way yeah, it's a great question. I kind of got the idea. I you know when I was saying flipping the script of how How I look at patients. I also flip the script on what it means to be a doctor and I started to kind of learn that experience with you know, the second half of my career. I have a lot of CEOs and you know, they kind of taught me, you know as a physician, you know me business classes. I took and like all the years of schooling zero and and they kind of teach you kind of, you know, kind of looking at at things from their perspective. Have as a company and I started kind of realizing, you know, it's not any different if a business owner came to me and said hey, I you know, I feel like my business is profitable, but I feel like I could be doing better. And so they hire a consultant and that consultant comes in and really looks at their business into the details and it's up to ultimately the CEO to decide if they choose to follow those recommendations or not and you know as a A as a physician physician guide I see myself as that consultant role now where I'm literally just looking under the hood of each patient very detailed. I spend gosh these days. I'm now have an ability to spend two or three hours prepping a person's chart before I see them and then I spent another two hours with them really get to understand them under the hood and they're thinking because the key is Is understanding where they're coming from and why they're making their decisions and then I always put it back on them and say look this is this is only as good as your commitment as well. And I really try to find what each person's absolute motivation is deep under the layers and then then I utilize that to help them move forward and stop me. Making personal excuses for not showing themselves the self-love the self-care that they deserved just like they would provide anyone that their employees their loved ones their family members blah blah blah. It's it's important to also kind of step back and say look we need to give you time for you. And and here's what you need to do. You don't need to do x y Z you just need to do X and focus on X right now and this is a commitment and it's up to you if you decide or not, you're the CEO, not me. I'm just the consultant right? How did you how did you I guess when you got into this, how did you discover CBD and want to bring that into your conversation with patients? I have a lot of very Savvy patients and you know, I heard for example, I heard like I was telling you before like I heard about Charlotte's Web and like what the hell is that and you know patients would start to kind of tell me. Hey this CBD, you know, and you know, of course, you know through the years, you know coming where I practice I was in California. So I was there during the time when it was booming where it was by the time I left. Haha, I mean two years earlier. No THC shops after I left a small town of like 20,000 there was like five stores just in my little town and so, you know, California obviously was one of the first to really kind of open the door to the discussion of THC which then obviously led to the opening the door to CBD and you know pain, you know, colleagues my pain specialist through you know, what would they traditionally say is to me is you know, it's amazing. I throw in all these opiates to my medications and Fentanyl patches and you know stimulators and all this and what seems to work better than anything is good old cannabinoids and and so, you know, you start to listen and hear and you know, I see every single patient as an opportunity for me to learn and that's how that door opened five. Years ago now and I started to study it and started to realize hey, there's something to this. I keep hearing the same story over and over again. I anxieties better. My sleep is better sleep is probably the one I really hear a lot about I hear a lot of people on my patients, you know, they're their patients I deal with now are type AAA kind of guys and girls and so their minds constantly going and they got so much going upstairs. They can't seem to settle It'll themselves down and that CBD really helps them kind of get out of their own head and fall asleep and stay asleep to me. You know, that's such an important aspect that that leads into, you know, kind of what we're seeing across the world right now with whole covid thing. Definitely a lot of people being anxiety and asleep seems to be a constant discussion that I've been having on a daily basis right now.
Let's talk more about the sleep. That's my experience. That's the first thing that people seem to experience when they when they start getting involved with cannabinoids or CBD everybody even if that's not what they're pursuing, you know, it seems in my experience. The first thing people say is, you know, I've noticed I'm sleeping better. So tell me tell me about your experiences with that what you're what you've seen.
Well, you know again as a traditional physician, I've I've kind of gone through the gamut over 20 years. I've learned this process from all walks and demonstrations. So obviously is The traditional doc, you know, you learn to utilize medication is first. Okay, the ambiens the Valiums the Benadryl has the you know, the the Melatonin zhun some level. Okay, but in traditional world that was even a little bit alternative which is kind of silly now when I think back and you know, and then the Lunesta is and you know, there's a whole variety of Pharmacy. You too, cold medications and you know, it's interesting because let's taking Ambien, for example, that was you know, a very powerful medication that works well, but of course, then you hear the gamut as a physician, I would hear all sorts of stories like, oh my gosh, my my my my my mom woke up in the middle of night was just sleepwalking through, you know on the streets and totally confused here now for those stories and it won't lie. Okay, everybody, but you hear enough of those stories in ink frankly as a physician you you know one important rule is when people ask you is there a side effect to medication? I say absolutely and it in anything can happen. There's a reason why there's this Bible called the PDR that has every single side effect that can happen on a medication and it becomes any were expected as Physicians. Who are Not pharmacists to to understand and appreciate this. Well, when you practice medicine for long enough, you see that you know, most people do well but if you're 10, 15 percent of your population is having pretty serious problems. That's a problem. That's not a good number in in stats. And so you start to look for other Alternatives CBD, I Any level of offering CBD to people who are having sleep issues as a tool to help them in their sleep challenges. Is it for everyone absolutely not but it definitely helps for a fairly large segment of my population who suffer from anxiety or just emotionally driven stress emotional thoughts that they can't shut down and it doesn't leave them groggy in the mornings. That's another thing. That's You know I hear oh, yeah, I slept great with this particular sleep aid, but now I'm like, I'm exhausted the next morning because I just feel groggy from it. I get that way personally I get that way from Tylenol PM, you know the which is basically Benadryl I feel shot for 3-4 hours after I wake up I can be and fortunately I don't really have a sleep issue every once in a while, you know, you just take one just because you feel like you kind I need it. But yeah, you know it's so it's you know, when you're talking about the body and this is where I think functional medicine. I love how we how I was kind of more in tune to think is that nothing that's made by the body is all bad or all good. Well, what is one of the system's that's built into US is the camp cannabinoid system. Well, I find it so fascinating that there's all these plants throughout. Earth that connect with our body. I mean if you really think about it, it's kind of like, oh there is a very systematic design here and you know as you I'm speaking to the guy but who understands that you know, the cannabis plant and the Cannabis sativa L, which is the hemp plant very similar names little bit different in different distributions that cannabinoids but all these cannabinoids which we don't even know all the names of all of them and we don't know the impacts of all them but we do know that we have a cannabinoid system that desires balance. Okay, and our body is to simply looking for a balance which we always call in science homeostasis, but I like to kind of see it as we had this massive military defense operating system. It's called our immune system and it's protecting us and preparing us at every Second at every moment. Otherwise without it we'd all die from paper cuts. Right and and the Canada Boyd system is just one little layer okay of a much larger supercomputer that's helping keep this system in check and sleep. You know, I always try to remind my patients. There is a reason there's a lot of literature on sleep the more that's written about something the less they know about it. It's a there's a lot of thoughts and hypotheses, but it's usually the more literature the less they know and as a practicing clinician sleep is challenging because it could be infected by affected by so many different Pathways blood sugar's alcohol stress pain anxiety gosh, and then there's that gamma Patients where you can't really put your finger on it the beauty of CBD I have found I don't think it's the end all to all things. Okay, but I do find that from a sleep perspective since we're talking about that. It's a great starting point for a lot of my patients and and so many of my patients will say wow. I'm so glad you kind of suggested this I was really mixed, you know, and you're hearing this a lot less these days but you know five ten years ago is interesting. It was to me was the discussion of CBD was like the discussion of covid right now. Okay, there's these two devices camps. Okay, and you know do I wear masks you AR the now not anti maskers the maskers, you know, all these it's just this weird divisional thing going on. Well, I felt like that that's the way it was with CBD for a while. I feel like it's definitely not in that realm anymore in that camp. I feel like most of my patients are very open to discussing it now and they're like, huh? Even my father who's a physician very old school. I haven't run CBD and he was like, I mean anti-marijuana that he was he was in that camp for a long time and now he's grows older quite a bit older. He's 82 now and has aches and pains. Oh that's Except that it's joy to get it get older with he finds CBD extremely helpful. He's like, oh my gosh, this stuff is great. I'm shocked. I and in his own words as a stoic man from grew up in the 50s and 60s. He was like gosh. I wish I didn't wasn't so divisive in my thinking and you know of great of this topic.
Yeah. It's interesting you bring up something that I've talked to a lot of people about over over the years as well, which is you know, Believe in God or you don't and you believe in evolution either we were designed to consume these plants as you suggest or at minimum. We've been consuming them and I've been around them and very close consumption for Millions. If not billions of years. So either one of those two realities would lead one to believe that these are very beneficial compounds for us, right and only in the last hundred years. roughly have we gotten away from from that and demonize them for other political reasons clearly and probably also for four reasons that would enable, you know, medicinal pharmaceutical companies to you know, to develop things that they can intellectually property, you know, they can they can have intellectual property that they get to then own, you know, but we won't take care us into all of that, but I did find what you're saying about the you know, The time of in the living together in close proximity between people and plants for so long. That's something that I think also helps people really be optimistic and hopeful that this could do something for them positively.
Yeah. I think we you know as you get more into you know, you bring up some layers there and you know as they trained traditional Allopathic position you're trained to think very one-sided and you start to realize over time and it's really working with patients you start to realize the limitation of that. It has its place. I'm not here to bash all out Pathak docs because by any means no, I think there's some great components to it. But if we if we open our minds and start to realize that At we're not medicine deficient. We are balanced defficient. We are lifestyle Choice deficient people love to say. Oh it runs in my jeans like to remind, you know bad habits run in your jeans. That's good for you. I agree no room for excuses. Yeah, and so the CBD, you know that that whole conversation really opens up a lot of Windows and Doors. Has of you know, obviously there's many layers we could go into the hull politics and the economics and all that stuff. But when it comes down to Patient Care individual care, I like to choose things that work that have minimal to no side effects. Nothing has zero side effects. I've learned that anyone can cause have anything but it's not one of those things that keeps you up at night CBD is not one of those ones. I worry about I always you know in thing is with CBD, you know for me a small amount does a lot for my wife takes a fairly large amount. She has Irish genes in her you can knock through alcohol. Like there's no tomorrow E2 without really feeling expensive. So everyone has a little bit detox and breakdown systems, but regardless of that variability, I don't see people reporting to me serious complications or you know, really there's not a lot of there are certain medications. Stations in supplements, of course, you got to be aware of it interaction, but they're pretty few and far between and your physician if they do some kind of level of research they'll to guide paid their patient. Right? I want another thing.
I want to ask you about in today's world, especially, you know with with covid and you know this lunacy that we're experiencing all the way around are you know, I've I'm even personally feeling stressed and anxious And I feel like I've got a pretty good hold on myself in that regard in a lot of ways. But are you seeing more patients coming in with or zooming or whatever you're able to do with them these days to talk to you about Stress and Anxiety.
You bring up a really great question that you just got me thinking about a topic that I was just recently writing about. So in all my years of working with men's health. For example, I work with men and women but Well, I would always joke with my man that it would take a Mack truck to destroy most mens libido and interestingly I think in the last 6 months literally 50% of my guys regardless of their age are reporting a low libido and I really think this pandemic is the mack truck and it to me. Speaking volumes of how much it's impacting people who are like saying. Oh, well, you know you always hear the term. Well, I know it's not the people are almost like for trying to forgive themselves for even trying to complain about it because they're like, well, I have a job and I'm not stressed financially because of this and I feel really bad for the people and you hear this kike beginning caveat, but then there's the layers like well, but my kid and my other kid is in remote school and we're trying You know have everybody in the house and then you know, my wife and I were were around each other a lot more and she's getting sick of me, you know, and of all these different little layers completely throwing off for example, and just this scenario men and some of these men that I work with their used to traveling a little bit so they have like their little getaway in terms of just being around breath of fresh air. Yeah, and they don't have it and you know, they're trying to be It can say, oh, I'm fine. But then they're describing. I have no libido to me that speaks volumes and they're they're just saying to me Maybe not The Superficial anxiety that a lot of people describe or depression and things like that, but mental health. Okay comes out in all sorts of ways. Frankly I think comes out and A lot of things that people don't you know, they don't want to say oh, I'm anxious or depressed right? They would they would much easier say, you know, I'm having a hard time sleeping or my libido. It's got to be it's got to be my testosterone okay, or you know, they want to blame it on something else. But really when it comes down to it, it's up here and you know that end the cannabinoid system is you know, there's the CD ones that are in the brain and then there's the CB twos there more periphery and you know, that's the beauty of CBD the kinetic of CBD versus THC is it kind of impacts both those Pathways really? Well and in a from least from the science that we understand and it's helping to regulate the that overall balance in the brain of neurotransmitters as well. It's such a complex computer that trying to just say this causes this it never works and but yet patients like to think binary and Physicians like to do it because it's nice to go. This medication will help this and I always like to remind people that were a big chicken web it the bodies the big chicken web and everything is kind of interconnected and CBD just provides a little bit of extra balance.
Hmm. No, I this is great. I'm so glad to hear you and I'm encouraged
by what you're talking to your patients about because you know, I don't generally
Generally get the feeling that there's a lot of openness to the concepts, you know by physicians
that you're talking through, you know, and approaching these things holistically, you know, you're talking about adding something that's natural and it's actually, you know supplement that your body's already making do you ever get into conversations about nutrition or meditation? I mean if those types of things because it seems like that would be the next logical evolution of what you're trying to counsel your patient. Oh, yeah. I mean we're just talking.
At CBD, right, but every patient who works with me is sick and tired of me bringing up kitchen and meditations matter of fact a book that I wrote recently. It's called functional medicine the new standard I had talked about the five stamp triggers. So sta MP and the two bookends stress as the S and K and P the poor diet. Okay has to do with cortisol and insulin and I always Tell people that if until you heal, these two Pathways you heal nothing and so I put an enormous amount of energy into the kitchen. I always call it the kitchen. I don't like diets. I don't like the names that I don't give a shit. If someone's paleo or vegan carnivore. I don't get caught up on that and and you know, as far as stress stress can come and manifest in multiple ways. It would be better CBD is a good conversation during this pandemic because anxiety is a form of stress and sweet lack of sleep is a form of stress and and then you have those then exacerbates the pain pathway. So my chronic pain patients now have more stress and and then they're like, okay, what's the chicken or the egg? And I'm like, it doesn't really matter. Okay, frankly. We just need to clinically give you some tools to help you break these Cycles. That's you know when you're talking about open-mindedness. I was that doc. Okay, who was closed minded in the first half of my career because it was not taught me right, you know you get into this world and I think you know kind of the Swing when I first got into medicine was evidence-based Memphis and everything had to have a study. I mean when I was in residency him and and the years after it was like we'd get together as Physicians and talk about something. Had to have a study to support it and you know after a while you start to go. Well, we can't study everything. Okay, and these are population studies. What about the individual because they don't mesh in true clinical medicine book and real life don't always perfectly match if we want to perfectly mesh them, but they don't and so you kind of got to go. Wait a minute here. I'm not working with a robots working with a human being who's got a life who's got all All sorts of shit going on around them. Okay, and I have to be open to their world and you ask me okay about getting people involved. I try to find out how involved are you going to be with me and me with you? Okay. I got to know your level of commitment here because if you're just going to make excuse Excuse excuse and think I'm going to give you some magic bullet. I always tell I'm on them. I'm not a magician. Okay, my magical powers is being able to see To your weak links and helping guide you to figure out those are the places I have to focus on its I don't have to, you know, be caught up in this whole mesh of everything and you know, not everybody has to do a line, you know mol detox and not everybody has to do, you know, whatever over here. It's we got to we got to get focused and the focus almost always starts in the kitchen. Every patient who works with me I tell them a little motto. I say health starts and ends in the kitchen every single time. If you get stuck go back to the kitchen now, that's great advice. What are you do that? I love it. What is a you mentioned the stamp? I don't want you to go into the your entire book, right? Yeah. Well leave it. I love that idea.
Tell us a little bit more about the the what the other letters.
So yes stressors T4, toxins like Call Tobacco drugs or environmental toxins a for allergens. So it could be like an Austin area. We have a lot of Cedar but that's not the one I'm talking about talking about like food sensitivities. For example, m stands for microbes. Now in today's world where all is were thinking is covid, but we're but really in reality. It's more like parasites and viruses in Lyme disease and things like that there go a little bit more coats and affect Health from a very. You know less obvious Manner and then poor diet, right? And these are the five triggers or are major war powers that can really start to impact our immune systems defense system and then lead to inflammation or lead to Auto antibody mistakes and and then lead to disease eventually.
Well what I really like about what your philosophy is representing is You're empowering people to to basically not have to come see you. Right which is an interesting thing. And that's I think very admirable and I think that should be the objective of all of all Physicians and people that are involved in medications and trying to help rehabilitate people from whatever they may be working towards so I commend you for that and I'm excited that you're doing that because it gives me a new faith and and the situation where you know, Like you mentioned you weren't taught about the endocannabinoid system, right? And there's unfortunately Physicians they're still not taught about that and in medical school which to me is just a travesty but course, they're not really taught about nutrition and importance of that either So, you know, it's really quite bizarre to me. But thank you for doing what you're doing. And is there anything else you'd like to share with us? Because this has been fascinating to me and I love to I'm going to definitely check out your book and and learn more about what you're up to.
There. Was anything else you want to share with us before we wrap.
Yeah, I do think there is a real push by positions on a general rule alot of traditional Doc's who are really seeing the light and are getting enlightened by their patients and the world of functional medicine. You can just go to Institute of functional medicine Dot o-- r-- g-- and that's who I started my process with and if people are looking for a physician in their area start there. And that's that's you know, and I do think it's the shift is happening. So be encouraged and you know docks are not the the enemy I think sometimes it gets like into like, oh they are trying to be you know, this divisional person. They're not they're just going with what they've been taught and know and are trying to do the best that they know how and you know, and they're the good ones are Our students for life, and the bad ones are not and that's with every field life right? So just look for the one that's always asking the questions and well Kevin.
Thank you so much for being with us Ashley on CBD. CBD for anxiety and stress. I really appreciate you joining us, and I look forward to meeting you somewhere down the road. I'm sure travels will cross. So thank you so much for what you're doing and you have a great day you to thank you very much. Take care.
Thank you for listening. Today's Show always brought to you by Magic immune a tea available at packed withlife.com a mushroom tea that tastes great. Try it magic immune a tea at packedwithlife.com.