It is National health Education Week! We are excited to kick it off with Dr. Kovach (MD, FACOG, MBA), who answered some of our biggest questions about Hemp and our bodies. She is a senior experienced board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with more than 20 years of extensive medical experience. Let's jump into it!
Q: Can you give me a little bit about your background?
A: I first attended Youngstown State University for my Combined Sciences (biology/chemistry) major. I then completed traditional 4 year US medical school (NEOUCOM, now NEOMED), followed by a university residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at East Carolina University in North Carolina for four years. Later in my career in women’s health and gynecological surgery, I explored a few other things such as learning more about addiction medicine and concepts thereof and acquiring training in suboxone and probuphine implant therapy. I then attended Harvard University and underwent training in acupuncture 2016-17. I found that patients were starving for a more comprehensive approach to their medical care that was effective and yet holistic in attitude. I always have my eyes wide open and am receptive to new but safe techniques to introduce into my armamentarium to help my patients.
Q: Is the endocannabinoid system recognized in the medical system?
A: Nearly 30 years ago, the endocannabinoid system was not discussed as part of mainstream pain receptor technology or our immunology literature during the medical school curriculum. Interestingly, even now the students from MD and DO medical schools and PA and NP training curricula have not heard of the endocannabinoid system and CB1and CB2 receptors, anandamide, AG2, etc. until they have clinical rotations in my office.
Q: Do you think that people have jumped the gun in terms of claiming it can be used to treat a wide variety of health ailments, since it has exploded in popularity over the last year?
A: Perhaps just the opposite...
Perhaps the general population in the US has been suppressed, misinformed, and misled by the ongoing propaganda and stigma promulgated by our government and thus ingrained into our society introduced in the mid-1930’s.
In fact, most groundbreaking progress comes from international research, especially Israel, specifically Dr. Raphael Mechoulam at Hebrew University where he isolated the THC molecule in 1964.
Q: What do you think are the most important things to look for in a good CBD oil?
A: There are several important factors. Firstly, the origin and testing of the hemp/hemp oil utilized is of paramount importance because this is the ultimate basis of the CBD product. Secondly, the purity of the ingredients in the CBD product and the lack of additives or fillers is imperative to maximize benefits and minimize potential unintended side effects. Thirdly, offering full spectrum products is important to unleash the “entourage effect” where treatment synergies between all the cannabinoids and terpenes work together within the body to alleviate ailments. Finally, offering THC free products for patients who are particularly cautious since they may be subject to drug testing is also a benefit.
Q: What do you feel CBD is best used for? What are your recommendations on what symptoms to use it for?
A: Because your endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in so many daily functions throughout your body, CBD can be used for multiple benefits:
Reduction of anxiety/stress, mood regulation, Immunity enhancement, reduction in pain/inflammation, digestive aid, sleep aid, appetite/hunger regulation, mood/energy level, cancer prevention, neurocognitive protection
The individual patient needs dictate what the CBD is “best used for”, but everyone may benefit to a degree because of the myriad of benefits and because of the basic ubiquitousness of endocannabinoid deficiency.
Q: What do you feel motivates most people to try CBD?
A: To speak plainly, people want to feel better. They are often afflicted by an aforementioned malady that they would like to have remedied by a holistic approach without undesirable side effects or unnecessary interventions or expenses.
Q: What age group do you feel benefits from CBD the most?
A: CBD can be utilized by any age group, and in fact by your pets as well.
The patients who will benefit the most are those whose endocannabinoid systems have been the most chronically and severely depleted.
Q: What products are your favorite and what would you recommend a first time user try?
A: The recommendations are typically tailored to an individual patient when they present to the office for specific guidance. Many patients have musculoskeletal or rheumatological disorders from which they are seeking relief. So a form of systemic therapy (such as a mid-strength 900mg full spectrum tincture) augmented by local therapy for problem areas, such as a pain gel, lotion, or oil works tremendously well in these circumstances.