A fascinating interview with Dr. Pejman Bady by Head Magazine Editor and Publisher, Charlotte Parker.
Dr. Bady is Chairman of the Board of NuVeda Natural Medicinal Solutions, He is Founder and current CEO of the Sanctuary, a medical cannabis dispensary in Nevada. Dr. Bady also heads the Nevada Cannabis Medical Association. In the interview they cover medical cannabis and how his background in traditional and aryuvedic medicine inform his opinions and expertise.
You can see the video interview below.
Charlotte Parker: Hi Dr. Bady. Thank you so much for speaking with us today at Head Magazine.
Dr. Bady: Nice to be here. Thank you.
Charlotte: Let’s start by having you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.
Dr. Bady: My personal background or my professional background?
Charlotte: Actually, they’re both interesting. Maybe a little bit of both.
Dr. Bady: Sure. I’m a Persian Jew from Iran who fled the country after the Islamic Republic people came out, and I’ve been here since I was 12 years old. My dad is a physician and my brother is a physician and I’m a physician. I went to medical school here in the US. I’m board-certified in family practice, trained in emergency medicine. Now, I do a lot of regenerative medicine currently. My main focus of practice for years was emergency medicine.
Charlotte: How did you come to get involved in cannabis?
Dr. Bady: My mom. At the time, I was a medical director for DaVita Healthcare Partners, a large publicly-traded company and I was involved in running Nevada with them. At the time my mom was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. She went through chemotherapy the first time around and she didn’t do well. She was in the hospital every time she had chemo and things settled down a little bit. Then the tumors came back and then I started her on cannabis.
I was a medical director for a large public traded company, and that was a complete no-no in 2013-2014. I was higher up in the management team but we saw cannabis help my mom.
My brother, my dad, who’s a very, very conservative physician, were all against it. I was against marijuana at the beginning, but then I realized how it helped my mom. She would be sitting at a dinner table with us, not in the hospital after chemo and she was drinking and eating. I’m like, “Wow, this is amazing.”
She lived for seven and a half years with a diagnosis that they usually die within 9 to 18 months.
Charlotte: That’s incredible. I also understand that you have a background in Ayurvedic medicine.
Dr. Bady: That’s correct. Another reason I got involved in cannabis was at the time, I had retired from DaVita Healthcare Partners and I moved to India to study plant-based medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, in Coimbatore.
I became a believer of treating patients with plant material, cannabis included. Believe it or not, a lot of the old Hindu and the Sutras from 3,000 or 4,000 years ago had a significant amount of cannabis used in the treatment of their patients. That’s another reason I became a believer in plant-based medicine.
Charlotte: I’m a big believer in plant-based medicine and also Ayurvedic medicine. I’ve actually been doing transcendental meditation for about thirty years but also the Ayurvedic medicine has a lot of wisdom, a lot of the plant-based wisdom, and all the many, many cultures. There are many cultures, there’s a tremendous amount of wisdom, which I think is gaining a lot of respect again.
Let’s talk about The Sanctuary for a minute. When did you open The Sanctuary and what makes The Sanctuary special?
Dr. Bady: We were one of the original license holders and had one of the original applications in the state of Nevada on the medicinal side. As we grew it recreationally, we had partnered up with the group for a while and that didn’t work out. I basically took over a little less than two years ago. We put together The Sanctuary dispensaries, which has the ethos of giving and being part of the community and for the well-being of all our tribe members.
A lot of those ethos mimic the ethos of Burning Man, which is about art and giving and humans as a whole. That’s how we created the ethos and the ethics of The Sanctuary.
We are very medically driven, the majority of the owners are physicians and we have seminars every other month, podcasts. We interview people with knowledge in alternative medicine, cannabis drive medications, treatments, PTSD, and so forth.
Charlotte: I visited The Sanctuary when I was in Las Vegas recently, and it’s a very cool place. You’ve got a great staff there, too.
Dr. Bady: We think so.
Charlotte: I know that you’re somewhat of a specialist in pain management as well. How effective do you think cannabis is in pain management?
Dr. Bady: I am not a pain management physician, but my companies manage pain management centers. My partner is a pain management physician. I think he’s got a significant effect on reducing our pain. More importantly, I believe that it has, and will have, more of a direct involvement in reduction of our opiate equivalence that we are currently using for our patients. We are involved in a study within our pain management centers to do a double-blind evaluation study, to see how much we can reduce the opiate requirements for our patients with cannabis.
Charlotte: There is a push to reduce the dependence on opioids. Do you think that cannabis can be very helpful in that regard?
Dr. Bady: Absolutely. I sat on the governor’s, not this governor, but the last governor’s task force for the opiate crisis and opiate management for the state. We put in significant regulations to reduce the total opiate use prescriptions and manage especially our primary care centers in the state. We’ve seen the devastation of opiate overdoses which is now surpassing our deaths through accidents.
It’s significant and Nevada is one of the lower states on quality management of opiates, or should I say one of the higher states in opiate use? I believe that for sure, it reduces the opiate requirements. I’ve seen it anecdotally while we’re now putting a study behind it. I am very confident that it’s going to play a significant role in the future of our pain healthcare of our patients.
Charlotte: It would be nice if it was taken off Schedule I.
Dr. Bady: Yes.
Charlotte: It would also be nice, in my opinion, to still retain independence. I worry that once it’s legalized that the drug companies will take it over and that it won’t be as independently managed. Do you think that’s a concern?
Dr. Bady: I have no doubt that is going to happen. I think the US government and the larger pharmaceutical companies have already understood and are effectively involved in what the future is going to look like as far as owning patents and so forth. I think there’s going to be a big, big push to standardize and control it, and I do believe that there’s going to be a unification of the larger pharmaceutical companies to manage cannabis as a drug.
Charlotte: Do you have a feeling about that one way or another?
Dr. Bady: I have mixed feelings. I think the more money we have behind it and the more standardization that we have behind it, the better it is going to become, but then I also think that individualism and our ability to be involved and growth as individuals is what I long for.
Charlotte: I agree with you completely on both counts. At least for now, maybe we can get it off of Schedule I, but we’ll see. I know they’re working on it.
Regarding the endocannabinoid system in the human body, do you think in general, the ingesting of marijuana or THC or CBD in itself can help people fight underlying conditions because of the way that it connects with the endocannabinoid system? Do you have a point of view about that?
Dr. Bady: Oh, I have a huge point of view about that. I teach this stuff, I believe in this stuff and the CB1 and CB2 receptors are obviously in our body and the endocannabinoid system, which it modulates and allows the modulation of our body’s endocrine and a lot of other systems, are significant. Therefore, absolutely, plays a role.
That’s why I believe for thousands and thousands of years they’ve used cannabis to manage the CB receptors which is both in the brain and on the musculature and has a significant effect on our nervous system, our brain nervous system, and allows the modulation of our activity and works in a very specific portion of our brain near the substantia nigra that really is important and is understudied –and keep in mind that a lot of these studies have been pushed away because of non-FDA approval on abilities to conduct major studies on them.
I have a feeling they’re just going to flourish. Hence the answer to a prior question is larger, big pharma people coming in, “Is it good or bad?” Well, it’s good because they’ll have the funding behind making these studies. Barring the individuality of this thing, I think there’s going to be a significant amount of studies on the CB receptors and all the subsidiaries of the endocannabinoid system, which includes the CBD, CBN. There’s the 200+ biproducts of the CB or endocannabinoid system that we are just getting used to.
I love CBN. I love extracting CBN for patients and for cancer patients because it allows them to be hungry and I still believe the archaic way of fighting cancer with chemotherapy. At least it allows patients to be hydrated and have enough nutrients to be able to fight the sequelae of the chemotherapy. There’s a lot of these. My knowledge is very limited as much as I study this stuff, and I think a lot of physicians’ knowledge is very, very limited on this because nobody’s taught us. Still because of the fact that it’s federally regulated, there’s not a lot of CMEs , continuing medical education programs that discuss the endocannabinoid system and the use of cannabis to treat patients.
Charlotte: Is there any advice that you can offer people who suffer from anxiety in regard to which cannabis products might be helpful?
Dr. Bady: Yes. To me, the anxiety is very similar to the pathway of the PTSD and the amygdala, which is a regulator of us getting into a vicious cycle of PTSD, which essentially is anxiety, but there’s factors that trigger PTSD. For our veterans who’ve been in war, it could be fireworks. We might be doing a presentation on how fireworks, PTSD, and marijuana, how can we manage patients with PTSD during 4th of July fireworks when these fireworks go off and it puts them in this vicious cycle and then immediately causes severe anxiety and these people become dysfunctional.
Anxiety is a by-product of multiple issues. PTSD is one of them, and the treatment of choice, I think cannabis, is fantastic. It works on the amygdala. The question is, well, what type of cannabis?
Charlotte: That’s my question – what type? Particularly because a lot of people do go to cannabis to try to self-medicate for anxiety problems.
Dr. Bady: Yes. I think a combination of the CBD, THC combination, if you could get a ratio of that close to a one to one, or even a two to one THC to CBD combination that works well. I think the Indica strain would have more of an effect. If you can find the Indica strain mixed with a CBD on a one to one or two to one ratio of THC to CBD would be the most effective way to manage anxiety quickly.
Charlotte: What about CBG? Do you have a feeling about that?
Dr. Bady: Oh, absolutely. CBD is really a broad spectrum, so it covers a bunch of other stuff and has a entourage effect when it’s used with THC, which means that they work well together to get the affected result. Now, CBG has a huge calming effect on patients, 100%, but just pulling out CBG for anxiety works well, but I think you still will benefit from the entourage effect of having the combination of CBD and THC.
Charlotte: The CBD one to one or two to one or whatever. How do you feel about those –they have these ones now that are two to one, three to one CBD to THC?
Dr. Bady: I’m a physician, right? The less psychoactive, the better for me, as long as you get the entourage effect.
Charlotte: Right. I think you need some THC with that. Based on that, it’s confusing. There are so many products that are out there that they have tinctures, they have edibles, they have flower, there are all kinds of things. In your opinion, I know it’s very difficult because everything is so personal and so unique to the person and the strain and everything, but between tinctures and edibles and flower, do you have any thoughts about how those are used optimally for different situations or the result that people might feel?
Dr. Bady: Yes. Again, as a physician, I advocate more of non-inhaled products. However, if you need an immediate effect, inhale is the fastest way to get the medicine inside of you. Now, tinctures sublingually are pretty fast as well. It gets into the bloodstream quicker and doesn’t go through the bypass effect of the GI system if you ingest it. However, the ingested products will remain in your body for a longer period of time. It might take 45 minutes to two hours for you to go to the first pass effect, you’re bypassing the gastro intestine system and get into your body, but it’s longer and more sustained.
I usually advocate for patients or cancer patients or patients that have problems sleeping to have an Indica strain edible at night time because it’ll remain given the tissue consistency of the levels that it would help them get across. If somebody needs an immediate effect, inhale or sublingual.
Charlotte: Lately, I’ve been hearing about how CBN helps with sleep. Do you have a point of view on that?
Dr. Bady: Absolutely, it does. CBN is really good for appetite management as it increases your appetite and also resting your sympathomimetic system which the fight or flight system. It takes you out of that flight or fight system and allows you to decompress.
Charlotte: What about those of us who are trying not to increase our appetite? Do you think that there’s anything we could do?
Dr. Bady: There’s a lot of these new studies that are coming out. I’m not well versed on the weight loss portion of stuff. I would assume is going to be a sativa strain of some sort. I don’t know the answer to that.
Charlotte: Okay. I just had some of my friends want me to ask you that so I’m asking. I understand that you did a well-regarded and famous study about the THC helping the glioblastoma in the brain.
Dr. Bady: I didn’t do the study. It was a Spanish study that came out approximately, I would say, six years now. It was a study on glioblastoma in mice. I think this is one of the best studies I have ever seen as a whole. Certainly, I believe it’s the best study in the cannabis industry that actually showed that mice had not only the reduction of the progression of the tumor size in their brains when they use THC and CBD on those mice, but it also had a curative effect that it actually reduced the tumor size.
Charlotte: Yes. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this physician, Dr. Michael Moskowitz in Northern California. He’s a pain management doctor. I did a fabulous interview with him and he talked about how he feels that he cured himself of cancer using quite a lot of THC. Anyway, he’s written many books and things like that but I didn’t know if you’re familiar with him.
Dr. Bady: I’ve heard of him. There’s a lot of anecdotal stuff that I that I’ve seen. I’ve honestly seen some really significant outcomes, anecdotally, with breast cancer.
Charlotte: It’s early on and it’s a lot of anecdotal stuff. That was the first time in that interview that I’ve actually heard about that. It was just so shocking and eye-opening to me. Now, secondarily, your referring to this study is also very, I don’t know, it’s quite an amazing piece of information.
I understand that you have cultivation centers as well as the dispensaries of The Sanctuary. Is that something that you’re also working on?
Dr. Bady: Absolutely. We’ve been working on this for a long time. We have a very high-end hybrid greenhouse that allows us to grow our product with exposure to the sun spectrum, which I believe that allows the full development of the endocannabinoids within the cannabis plant. This also allows us to use genetics. We also have manufacturing centers. We have a seed-to-sale process. A lot of companies have their own direction with a seed-to-sale process.
We have the ability to use genetics that will give us the CBD ratios that we want or some of the expected endocannabinoid effects that we can start from the seed and the plant. That way we make sure we control the entire process. Make sure that what we provide is clean, has gone through our systems of cleansing because a lot of times this stuff comes out and we have a lot of lab testing that we do in the state.
It’s very stringent but there’s some stuff that probably is not covered by all lab studies. Putting a product that could be considered medicinally, at least the way I look at it, and my standards need to be, go through the wringer to make sure that we follow our Hippocratic Oath and do no harm. We start from the seed process and all the fertilizers that we use and so forth, they’re natural and no heavy metals and that sort of thing. Then all the way through our manufacturing facilities and to our shelf for our patients to be able to have a consistent medicine that they could use.
Charlotte: I have a lot of confidence in your integrity in this regard. That’s saying a lot in this industry.
Dr. Bady: It’s one of our core values.
Charlotte: Does your product have a name or do you have a strain or something?
Dr. Bady: We have Sacred brands and our motto is “From Seed to Soul” on the Sacred brands. We also have a medicinal brand, it’s called BioVail. It’s the same material that we’d be using for our study to replace opiates, which is a colloid product that is one of the only ways to be able to mix water and oil together. This other colloid molecule, actually, we add to the oil. This will allow the attachment of our oil particle and hence to the human system. The absorption is significantly higher.
Charlotte: That’s called BioVail?
Dr. Bady: BioVail. It’s about five times more of an absorption than our regular material.
Charlotte: Now the Sacred brand, that’s for recreational?
Dr. Bady: Yes, and medicinal as well.
Charlotte: Yes, but me personally, I don’t see them as always separate.
Dr. Bady: They’re not. They’re definitely not. For sure.
Charlotte: Is there anything that you want to get across here to our viewers and our readers? Any points that I may not have covered here?
Dr. Bady: Don’t be afraid of cannabis. Don’t be stuck with our old fashion of thinking because medicine evolves. Anesthesia for us was a piece of steak and a bottle of whiskey less than a century ago. Now, we go through major heart transplantation surgery without having any pain. This is part of our evolution. Please don’t be afraid of it. If you have any questions about cannabis use and your medications, all of our doctors have a commitment to do pro bono work.
Interviewer: How do they reach you?
Dr. Bady: Through our website. You can reach us at thesanctuarynv.com. Yes, and they can reach us. My commitment to the memory of my mother is to have pro bono work on cannabis for our patients any shape or form that we can.
Charlotte: That’s really wonderful and very appreciated. Thank you for speaking with us today.
Dr. Bady: I appreciate you. Thank you very much.
Dr. Bady is Chairman of the Board of NuVeda Natural Medicinal Solutions, He is Founder and current CEO of The Sanctuary, a medical cannabis dispensary in Nevada. Dr. Bady also heads the Nevada Cannabis Medical Association. The Sanctuary provides ongoing monthly webinars hosted by Dr. Bady where they cover a different medicinal cannabis topic each month. Here is a link to some of his webinars.