Please don’t get me started on “wellness”. OK, now you’ve got me going. I admit I got sucked into this trap many years ago when I started my practice, but I’ve come to understand that wellness is pure-baloney marketing-speak. It infuriates me.
Wellness is the word that’s used to sell you fake health benefits. It means “we don’t actually have any evidence of what we’re saying, but we hope you’ll buy it anyway.” Wellness plays on your fears about the future, in particular your health and longevity.
Worrying about your health is not good for you. Taking the necessary actions to safeguard your health is a better response. There are some things that we know you can do: eat a reasonable amount, control your blood pressure, monitor and treat diabetes if you have it, take your medicine as prescribed, and get some exercise. These have scientifically proven benefits.
We also know that most other approaches to “wellness” – taking supplements, following the latest trendy diet (Atkins, South Beach, Keto, you name it), fasting – it’s all fake. In fact, in most instances there are good data – but those data say these ideas are not beneficial or are even harmful. For example, the US Preventive Services Task Force has repeatedly concluded that, unless you have a measurable vitamin deficiency, supplementation is ineffective. In some cases, such as Vitamin K, supplementation has been shown to be harmful.
Wellness is a deceptive term. As a physician, my view is that you’re either well or not. Either you have a problem or not. You’re healthy or not. There is no better than healthy. There is no problem so small that it’s not a problem.
If you’re not sleeping, that’s a health problem. If you’re anxious, that’s a health problem. These are not issues of “wellness” but of your health.
Why is this distinction important? Because health issues should be dealt with in conjunction with your healthcare professionals. You might need an NP, a PCP doctor, a specialist physician, a psychiatrist, psychologist, or physical therapist – these are all trained and licensed professionals.
What you don’t need is a watch, a blood pressure cuff, a new diet, bottles of vitamins or other supplements, infusions of nutrients, “medical” spa treatments, and the latest cannabinoid in a bottle (CBD, CBG come to mind). The US supplement market in 2022 generated 37 billion dollars – all for products people didn’t need. The average American spends $816 per year on these supplement – money they undoubtedly could have put to better use.
Further, be careful of who is giving you advice. The average American barely passes high school biology. That’s ok, understanding science isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Yet, it’s these same folk who are out selling these supplements or writing about how you need them. Remember that your average physician has studied science and human health for 11 or more years after acing those high school science courses. (As an aside, we physicians didn’t spend all the time and effort because we’re idiots – it actually takes that long to learn Medicine.)
In the cannabis space, there are really good data to support use of THC as medicine. There are really inadequate human data for all other cannabinoids and terpenes (with a few special exceptions). Yet, many of these unsupported chemicals are widely available. To know what to make of these, please don’t read on Google or ask the budtender – neither is a reliable and unbiased source. Ask you Cannabinoid Specialist. Don’t have one? You should. Visit Association of Cannabinoid Specialists for help cannaspecialists.org.
View supplements and “breakthrough” treatments (aka fads) with skepticism. Ask who is giving this advice and what are they selling. This includes physicians who sell-out and hawk products. Be wary of scientifically unsubstantiated claims especially in the cannabis world.
When in doubt, ask your doctor for advice. Undoubtedly she will be able to help you understand if you need to focus on aspects of your health and whether that supplement or treatment will actually benefit you.
Consult with a Qualified Boston Medical Marijuana Expert Today
Those considering using THC, CBD, or any type of medicine found in cannabis to help manage their condition should consider speaking to a trained medical expert who is knowledgeable about using cannabis therapeutically. Massachusetts medical marijuana doctor Jordan Tishler, M.D. sits on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and has years of experience helping patients treat pain and other ailments using cannabis. He and the team at InhaleMD stand ready to assist patients in determining whether medical marijuana is right for them. For more information, or to set up a virtual consultation with the team at InhaleMD, call us at (617) 477-8886 today.