Gut Bacteria

#134: Laura Lagano, MS, RD – Cannabis & Gut Health: Medical Marijuana Science

by Mike Mutzel


Watch the Interview

Listen to the Interview

Click here to listen on your mobile device in iTunes


About Laura Lagano, MS, RD

Laura Lagano, MS, RD, CDN, is a nutritionist and health educator who integrates her classic background as a registered dietitian with cutting-edge training in functional medicine. Laura brings a range of experience in the food and nutrition world to the table. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta and Master of Science in Nutrition Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she is currently a doctoral candidate in Nutrition & Health Education. She is both a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist (New York State).

Connect with Laura

Sponsored Content

Show Notes

1:30 Cannabis Overview: It has been a long strange trip. Cannabis is an ancient herb. It is not a new tool in the healing tool box. It was recommended for things like menstrual cramps, inflammation, and pain management.  At the end of alcohol prohibition in the US, cannabis became prohibited.  Hemp was also used in paper production. The US Declaration of Independence was writing on hemp paper. At one time, Americans were required to grow hemp.

03:52 Laura’s Cannabis Journey: Laura is a registered dietitian. She and others noticed that cannabis was being used by medical marijuana doctors as a bandage approach. That is contrary to functional medicine’s core focus, getting to the root cause.  In Laura’s practice, cannabis may or may not be part of the treatment. Many people are supportive of Laura’s approach, but not everyone.  

07:06 Cannabis Stigma: The cannabis plant has been bred by farmers to be high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component. The plant originally has a much lower THC content. It is a complex plant with many compounds and many cannabinoids that produce different effects. CBD (cannabidiol) modulates the THC effect. Consuming the plant with all of its compounds is beneficial. It does not need to be smoked. It can be as a tincture, as an oil, an alcohol base, in an edible, as a patch, or as a topical.

09:42 The Endocannabinoid System: This is a system of receptors throughout our bodies, called CB1 and CB2 receptors and others. They sit on the cells in our body within various systems. These receptors are in our brain, our gut, our immune system and other places. There are zero deaths from cannabis overdose because we do not have these receptors in our brainstem. You may react to an overdose in some other way, depending upon your genetics.

13:16 Cannabis Seizure Treatments: Cannabis has application for seizure disorders. The ratio of CBD to THC for people with seizures depends upon the person. It gives the patient the ability to titrate. Most of the time for the effects of cannabis, less is more.

17:36 Health Benefits of Daily Cannabis Consumption: The endocannabinoid system exists in all humans and animals all the way down to sea squirts.  This can be upregulated by cannabinoids and other lifestyle behaviors like exercise, sex or for babies, breastfeeding. Cannabinoids are adaptogenic.

23:12 The Benefits of THC: There are different levels of THC from hemp to cannabis, from strain to strain and plant to plant. THC can modulate many effects in the body, including immune function.  The THC component is important for treating seizures.

27:12 Influences upon Our Body’s Endocannabinoid System: Besides exercise, sex, and meditation, there may be other ways to influence it as well. However, we are unable to measure the endocannabinoid system. There is much research to be done. Most of the research has been done outside the US, particularly in Israel, where it is not federally illegal.

29:23 The Anti-Inflammatory and Immune Modulatory Effects: The federal government deems cannabis as a schedule one drug, meaning that it has not benefit.  The federal government has a patent on cannabis as an antioxidant. Cannabis is an incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Cannabis helps to tighten the junctures in leaky gut and calms the digestive system.  Cannabis is being used as an exit drug from addiction to alcohol, cocaine, opiates and amphetamines.

32:50 Cannabis and Mitochondria:  There is research upon the use of cannabis and mitochondrial disorders. It is already being seen as effective with those of us with MS and ALS, mitochondrial disorders.

34:49 Contaminants: By consuming the cannabis plant, you receive the benefits of the entourage compounds. However, some states require that the plant not be smoked. Extractions could involve butane or CO2 and other things could be added. During one water extraction, researchers found high levels of alcohol and butane. This turned out to be residue from equipment cleaning.  In addition, there are no guidelines for organic cannabis.

37:11 The Best Delivery Method: Laura thinks that all formats can be valuable. Most practitioners would recommend vaporizing, rather than smoking. Within 3 seconds to a minute after smoked cannabis hits your lungs, your blood levels will be in full cannabinoid effect.  Most edibles, cannabis infused food, are sugar laden junk food. It will take from 45 minutes to 2 hours to reach effect. For edibles, go low and start slow. Oils work well for children with seizures. You need to make sure it is quality oil.

42:58 Better Strains: Sativa is the more calming strain and Inica is the more uplifting strain. The strain for seizure disorder would have a higher level of CBD and lower THC. The strain for ADHD might have a CBD derived from cannabis and very little THC. Durban Poison strain is popular for ADD. It has a higher THC content, so the dosage is very low.

45:55 Topics Covered in the Holistic Cannabis Summit: They will be discussing the three most common reasons for cannabis use. Many people who use cannabis recreationally are self-medicating.  The three reasons that cannabis is recommended are stress (and anxiety and mood disorders), pain and insomnia. Gut healing, cancer, seizures, mood disorders, autism and safety will be discussed.  Even cannabis for pets will be discussed.  Much more will be covered from the history, to health freedom, to how cannabis works with functional medicine.

51:37Laura’s Favorite Herb or Plant: Laura chooses the confluence of herbs. You can grow them even if you don’t have a yard. Herbs provide flavor and they are detoxifying. They upregulate our detoxification systems. They are the ultimate plant category.

53:31 Laura’s Morning Routine:  She is up between 4:30 and 6 a.m. She intentionally goes up and down the stairs of her 4 story row house. She stretches and she would like to meditate. She consumes protein to start her day. She also drinks lots of lemon water or apple cider vinegar in the morning. She takes supplements that include adaptogenic herbs. She works at her computer, but may break for a walk or to work with patients. She has 3 kids who are mostly away, but still require involvement.

57:05 One Health Tip for America: We need to reform health insurance to reform health care. She would promote the application of food and cannabis as medicine, as well as modifying lifestyle to effect change. She would also like to see medical nutrition therapy under the nutritionist’s umbrella.


Related Podcast

Click here to listen on your mobile device in iTunes

Interview Overview

Tracy Konoske is a Registered Dietitian (some may call her a Nutritionist) who specializes in Natural, Integrative, and Functional Medicine. You probably have a sense of what Natural medicine is – herbs, supplements, stress reduction. Integrative comes into play because most sick people are on one or more conventional drugs so we “integrate” care. We also “integrate” your body, mind, and spirit when addressing your health conditions.

#100: Tracy Konoske, MS RD- Gut Brain Hacks to Fix That Bloated Belly and SIBO

Leave a Reply