CannMed 2022: Medical Practicum Organizers Share Their Insight, Part III: Dr. Dustin Sulak

In this interview series, we speak to each of the organizers to learn more about them and what attends can expect from the practicum. Here in Part III, Dr. Dustin Sulak shares his insights.

The upcoming CannMed conference—taking place May 3–5 in Pasadena, California—will feature an exciting full-day medical practicum organized by Bonni Goldstein, MD, (the practicum’s originator); Dustin Sulak, DO; Kevin Spelman, PhD, MCPP; and Eloise Theisen, NP, AGPCNP-BC. During this practicum, each of the presenters will share the latest research, their clinical experience, and practice guidelines related to cannabinoid therapeutics. This course is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing for 9.5 contact hours.**

In this interview series, we speak to each of the organizers to learn more about them and what attendees can expect from the practicum. Here in Part III, Dr. Dustin Sulak shares some of the clinical applications for medical cannabis, dosing information, how cannabis can be used to stop opioid addiction, and more of his insight.

What are some of the clinical applications for medical cannabis?

Dustin Sulak, DO: Chronic pain, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nausea, and vomiting are certainly the most common, but a typical cannabis practice is full of refractory conditions from every other field in medicine, for example, psychiatry, gastroenterology, oncology, neurology, rheumatology, and so forth. Overall, cannabis is often an effective treatment when everything else has failed.

How is medical cannabis dosed and what methods are being used by patients?

Dustin Sulak, DO: Cannabis is highly versatile and allows for individualized treatments that can often be fine-tuned to allow for all benefit and no adverse side effects. This fine-tuning includes delivery methods (oral, oromucosal, inhaled, topical), numerous varieties of cannabis with distinct properties. You can find more info at: https://healer.com/using-medical-cannabis-delivery-systems/

Can cannabis be used to get you off opioid addiction?

Dustin Sulak, DO: Lots of data prove yes in chronic pain: https://healer.com/category/cannabis-and-opioids/. Less data suggests it’s helpful in opioid use disorder, but I have seen this work in my patients.

How does cannabis interact with other prescription medications?

Dustin Sulak, DO: Very few interactions except at high doses of cannabis. The blood thinner warfarin is a common one to watch out for—patients should have their blood checked after starting cannabis.

How is cannabis used to treat acute and chronic pain?

Dustin Sulak, DO: Cannabis is very effective at treating chronic pain and associated symptoms. It can be useful in acute pain, but it also has the potential to intensify acute pain, especially in people who are new to cannabis. Despite this, one study showed that administering tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to trauma patients in the hospital, including those with no prior experience using cannabis, improved their symptoms and decreased their requirements for opioids.

How is medical cannabis being used in pediatric patients? Is there clinical evidence for using cannabis to treat anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Dustin Sulak, DO: Small studies have shown benefit in anxiety and trauma-related disorders with THC, an analog of THC called nabilone, and cannabidiol (CBD). There’s even less data for ADHD. Anecdotally, I have seen cannabis help these conditions in hundreds of patients. These are both great examples of conditions cannabis clinicians successfully treat all the time but are lacking peer-reviewed clinical studies.

To find out more about CannMed’s medical practicum, please visit: https://cannmedevents.com/practicum/

**CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS: This course is provider-approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, provider number 16845, for 9.5 contact hours.