Pain Management. Dr. Bearman has treated several patients who have experienced incredible results using medical cannabis. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Bearman and learning more about how the history of medical cannabis and how it can be used effectively.
Dr. David Bearman on treating his patients with medical cannabis
Abbi: Have you only practiced in California?
Dr. Bearman: Yes, I started medical school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle. I have been licensed in California and have been practicing since 1968.
Abbi: How has the legalization of cannabis – recreational and medicinal – impacted your practice?
Dr. Bearman: I’ve long felt that the laws regarding cannabis didn’t make any sense and the more time I spent looking into it, the more it reinforced that thought. I have noticed that as the medicinal use of cannabis becomes more accepted, people are learning more about the therapeutic potential of cannabis as a medicine. It [cannabis] has become more accepted. More and more local physicians are referring patients to me. As I see cannabis gain more acceptance as a medicine, people who are desperate and are using cannabis as a last resort come and see me. I have to attribute a lot of it to the Sanjay Gupta interview. I’m seeing an increasing number of parents asking if I will see their children for Social Anxiety, Aspergers, Autism, severe ADD, and I have. I’ve had some pretty remarkable results and parents who are ecstatic with the improvements seen in their child.
Abbi: How long have doctors been studying medical cannabis?
Dr. Bearman: Doctors have been studying cannabis since 2630 BC. The French did most of the research in the 19th century when it [cannabis] was taken from Egypt by Napoleon. For quite some time every major drug company marketed products that contain cannabis and from 1854-1942, cannabis was marketed in the U.S. pharmacopeia. In 1942, Morris Fishbein, the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association said that cannabis was the best treatment for migraine headaches. In 1944, the New York Academy of Medicine recommended cannabis in small dosages for recreational use. The first modern research was done by Ramsy and Davis in 1947. They looked at several kids with Cerebral Palsy and when they were treated with cannabis, 5 out of the 7 had no seizures. In 1964, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam characterized medicinal structure of cannabis and after this, the research really started to ramp up. As of today, over 22,000 pieces of research have been done about cannabis and cannabinoids.
Abbi: What is a Cannabinoidologist and would you consider yourself one? Why or why not?
Dr. Bearman: Well, I call myself a specialist in cannabinoid medicine. Currently in California, I am the top prescriber of dronabinol (THC.)
Abbi: What kind of medication or advice do you typically give your patients?
Dr. Bearman: Well, it depends on the patient’s medical conditions. If a person has pain, I will prescribe certain pain medication. If they have spasms I prescribe anti spasmodic drugs, for anxiety anti anxiety drugs, and in some cases patient needs additional medicines. I’ve been prescribing medications in conjunction with cannabinoid medicine as well. For example, a lot of people with ADD use Adderall or Ritalin in conjunction with cannabis. I prescribe just cannabis based medicine depending on the patient’s medical conditions and desires as well. I talk to them [the patients] about using cannabis cigarettes, vapes, tinctures, edibles, capsules, etc.
Abbi: Why did you get involved with the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM)?
Dr. Bearman: A number of us put it [AACM] together over the course of a year or two, we had started talking about it at Hempfest in Washington. What we wanted to do was to support those physicians making recommendations and improve professionalism in the practice of medicinal cannabis. We wanted to be an organization that could educate healthcare professionals as well as the public about medical cannabis.
Abbi: What do you think is safer cannabis or Adderal/Ritalin?
Dr. Bearman: Cannabis has fewer side effects than Adderall. Adderall interferes with appetite and cannabis can help that. As a matter of fact, in 1988, the DEA Chief Administrative Law, Judge Francis Young recommended that cannabis be rescheduled from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2. He even went on to say that cannabis is the safest drug known to man.
Abbi: What would you say to a patient who is thinking of using cannabis?
Dr. Bearman: It depends on the individual. I start by briefly reviewing the law and the science with them. I make sure to tell them about studies being done under San Diego School of Medicine and studies done by GW pharmaceuticals. We talk about specific research, doses they might take, since pain requires the largest dose. We also discuss side effects and ways to use cannabis such as smoking, vaporizer, edibles, etc.
Abbi: What are some tips you would give patients who want to talk to their primary care doctor about using medical cannabis?
Dr. Bearman: I think it’s a good idea for patients to talk to their primary care doctors. Even though they know their primary care doctor, I think patients are a little more hesitant to mention it than they should be.
Abbi: Under which circumstances would you recommend a loved one to use cannabis?
Dr. Bearman: I would recommend it if they had a medical condition that responded well to cannabis. It’s safe and effective.
Dr. Bearman’s office is located in Goleta, California. If you are interested in making an appointment with Dr. Bearman you can contact his office at: (805) 961-9988 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.