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Sensi Magazine

Next Frontier Biosciences: The Secret Sauce for Medical Cannabis Success

Sep 17, 2019 09:23PM ● By Marketing SENSI MAG
As the cannabis industry grows, so does the number of professionals within it, acting as incredible sources of insider info on the trends and issues driving the marketplace forward. The Sensi Advisory Board is comprised of select industry leaders in a variety of fields, from compliance and education to concentrates and cultivation. They are invited to share specialized insight in this dedicated section. This month, we hear from a member in the Biosciences category....


The American medical establishment has been touted as the “best in the world” for over a century. We have fantastic facilities, advanced technology, and well-trained physicians. Yet many individuals feel unsatisfied with the level of care they receive with what Western medicine (allopathic medicine) has to offer. The interest in more traditional/shamanic medical practices is at an all-time high. Naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, and Ayurvedic medicines are routinely practiced in many US cities. So why is the interest in alternative therapies so great if allopathic medicine is more advanced and successful?

One of the glaring reasons patients seek alternative practitioners is the degree of compassion shown compared to the Western medical doctors. Patients look for a care provider who is understanding of their condition and empathetic to their needs. This concept has recently been confirmed in the book Compassionomics by Dr. Steve Trzeciak and Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli. During its research, the authors set out to understand what qualities make for an ideal doctor. What they found was unexpected, yet from the patient’s perspective makes perfect sense: patients are looking for a doctor who is compassionate, regardless of specialty. It doesn’t matter how many “best of” accolades a doctor has for a given disease. If they aren’t recognized as being compassionate, they did not score well overall.

There is a current crisis in the allopathic medical system of burnout. Providers are trained to “not get too involved.” Drs. Trzeciak and Mazzarelli point out that this lack of compassion and empathy is leading to this burnout. When health care providers engage with their patients, there is greater satisfaction for practitioners as well as patients. Not only do the patients fare better, but the provider’s job satisfaction improves.

As a scientist, I didn’t think the level of compassion a patient experienced really mattered to outcomes, but, the data show otherwise. The authors’ evidence-based research demonstrated numerous cases of compassionate care improving outcomes as disparate as HIV viral loads to cancer patient survival. This was startling to the researchers and made them rethink the benefits compassion offers to patients. Perhaps the answer to my original question as to why patients seek alternative therapies is obvious: people want more compassionate practitioners to help them heal. Whether that practitioner is a naturopathic doctor or a medical cannabis prescriber, patients are seeking out healers that provide them with the care they need on the road to being well.

In the evolving medical cannabis specialty, the concept of compassionate care is a cornerstone of the industry. These caregivers know instinctively that compassion is necessary to heal their patients. Many patients come to cannabis as a “last resort” having failed Western medical treatments. Patients are often desperate for help: be it an epileptic child, an elderly parent with cancer, or to heal themselves. Plant-based medicine is offering an alternative modality for sufferers of chronic pain, anxiety, stress or sleep deprivation. The empathy and respect shown by medical cannabis providers to their patients may be a part of the synergistic benefits experienced in recovering from chronic illnesses and complicated medical diagnoses. When I consider the women and men diligently working in this industry to truly help patients, I am awed and inspired. They recognize that compassion is not only a “nice to have” but, truly aids in the healing power of cannabis.