Prof Ian Brighthope: Medicinal Cannabis & Nutritional and Integrative Medicine

In this episode, I spoke with Professor Ian Brighthope. Ian is the Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM) whose mission is to improve healthcare outcomes for all and to empower individuals to take control of their health and create a balanced life. Ian is also the founder of Entoura, an Australian medical cannabis manufacturer and educational company.

In our conversation, we explore the benefits of studying nutritional and environmental medicine, the role and potential of medicinal cannabis, and the impact integrative medicine is having on Australia in a time where health is a focus for everyone like never before.

Health Podcast Highlights

Prof Ian Brighthope: Medicinal Cannabis & Nutritional and Integrative Medicine Introduction

Today we are going to be discussing Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 101 and why it is important to each and every one of us. We’re also going to be touching on, actually discussing the kind of length of Medicinal Cannabis.

My guest today is Professor Ian Brighthope. Ian graduated in Agricultural Science in 1965. He certainly doesn’t look — and then in 1974, graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree. 

The Brighthope Clinics and Biocentre were developed in the 1970s and specialized in Nutritional Medicine, Environmental Medicine, and Herbal Medicine. And was the founding president of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) and was held that position for over 26 years. 

Ian’s pioneered the first Postgraduate Medical Course in Nutrition in Australia. He is now the official Ambassador of ACNEM. In 2016, Professor Brighthope was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Indian Nutritional Medicine Association (INMA).

Ian’s lifelong ambition is to help change the way medicine and health care are practiced for the benefit of the public and to see Nutritional, Environmental Medicine, and Herbal Medicine becomes the building blocks and keystones to world health and peace. And he explains that in very good detail. And has a lifelong interest and passion in nature and health. And I love this quote from him, “Think to heal; do no harm.”. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Professor Ian Brighthope.

Podcast Transcript

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:00:00] I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I am recording this podcast today, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and recognize the continuing connection to land, water, and culture. I pay my respects to their elders of the past, present, and emerging.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:00:17] Hello and welcome to Unstress. My name is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Well, today we are going to be discussing Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 101 and why it is important to each and every one of us. We’re also going to be touching on, actually discussing the kind of length Medicinal Cannabis.

My guest today is Professor Ian Brighthope. Ian graduated in Agricultural Science in 1965. He certainly doesn’t look — and then in 1974, graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree. 

The Brighthope Clinics and Biocentre were developed in the 1970s and specialized in Nutritional Medicine, Environmental Medicine, and Herbal Medicine and was the founding president of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) and was held that position for over 26 years. 

Ian’s pioneered the first Postgraduate Medical Course in Nutrition in Australia. He is now the official Ambassador of ACNEM. In 2016, Professor Brighthope was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Indian Nutritional Medicine Association (INMA). 

Ian’s lifelong ambition is to help change the way medicine and health care are practiced for the benefit of the public and to see Nutritional, Environmental Medicine, and Herbal Medicine become the building blocks and keystones to world health and peace. And he explains that in very good detail and has a lifelong interest and passion in nature and health. And I love this quote from him, “Think to heal; do no harm.”. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Professor Ian Brighthope. Welcome to the show, Ian.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:02:18] Thanks, Ron. Pleasure to be here.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:02:20] I know that Nutritional and Environmental Medicine is a great passion of yours and mine. But actually, not many people know very much about it. I wondered if we might just start by telling us because you founded the college, but I wondered if you might tell us: What is Nutritional and Environmental Medicine and why is it something we should all be interested in?

Nutritional and Environmental Medicine and why we should all be interested in?

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:02:44] Nutritional and Environmental Medicine is basically boiling down the nature and nurture of life. It’s looking at the basic building blocks that make us up. The basic building blocks are basically proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and a whole lot of minerals and fatty acids and so forth in their systems. We get all of this from our diet or from our mother’s diet via womb and breast milk. All of these molecules that make us up are derived from the environment. And the environment is critically important in delivering the right balance of these molecules, atoms and molecules and minerals, and so forth into our system.

And when one looks at all aspects of life, from the science of soils, crops, and pastures, plants, animal production, animal fertility, the health of animals, the health of the land, it comes back down to how we look after it, what we’re given and what we need to add or subtract from it. And what I’m talking about here is, is the new science of Nutrigenomics. And a long time ago at some of the lectures, I used to refer to Genomics in terms of nutrients affecting the expression of genes.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:04:04] And this is what it boils down to: nutritional and Environmental Medicine is the actual supply of the right levels of nutrients so that the microenvironment of our cells and that includes especially the nucleus of ourselves, where we have our chromosomes, we have our genes, and there is a myriad of substances floating around in the watery milia of the of our genes that delivers nutrients and takes away toxic substances and helps our genes to express themselves, our genes to repair themselves, our genes to reproduce, and genes to actually behave in a way that’s going to optimize our health and that applies to every tissue and cell and organ in our body. 

Our brain to the big toe, if you like. Every part of our internal environment. And then the microenvironment of the cells is determined to a large extent on the external environment, the chemicals in the external environment, the plastics, the electromagnetic fields, et cetera, and also the environment, all of the nutrients that ingested.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:05:13] I think there is a basic philosophical question that doctors have to ask themselves because they are very dismissive of Nutritional Environmental Medicine. And I guess there’s a basic philosophical question as to whether you see your role in managing disease, in which case the prescription pad and a referral pad are your best tools or actually addressing the causes of disease is a basic philosophical question that doctors ask themselves at that point, aren’t they?

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:05:43] Yes, unfortunately, we were to talk very much about preventative medicine, and in fact, social mobility of medicine was basically laughed at by the medical students when I went through, and biochemistry was also laughed at. And these are fundamental to what we’re talking about.

I think the prescription pad is something is going to have to be relegated to the back rooms of future clinics. We see the signals that top the reasons that people die or hospitalized and sick because of overprescribing prescriptions and Iatrogenic or Physician-induced disease. This is intolerable and should not. So I think I really do think the health systems, which are really disease care systems and very good medical systems, we’ve got second rate in terms of the health of the population. We really need to have what we used to call, The Healthy Doctor, treating the diseases, yes. But also making them healthy at the same time.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:06:42] Now we, in this period particularly have become more focussed on health as a globe than ever before. And I know that you have taken this issue right up to the highest levels. I mean, you’ve been writing feverishly to two Senior Ministers, Prime Minister, senior ministers, regulatory bodies, professional bodies, and challenging them about their approach to public health. How do you, I mean, I think we’ve touched on it already. But the current status quo, how do you see it?

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:07:16] It said the status quo has not changed within the organizations where it should have changed over the last 40 years since we’ve been running the college for nearly 40 years. However, at the grassroots level and the general public, there’s been massive changes in terms of their attitude towards health. 

Younger people are drinking less. Cigarette smoking is reducing. People are looking after their health with the diets, more aware of their diets and the state of nutrition. And more and more people are looking at the shelves in pharmacies stocked with herbal medicines and nutrients for improving the health. Now, that’s not the ideal situation, but that it has been a massive change in the last 40 years.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:08:05] I remember when you could not buy too many vitamins from a pharmacy. They were relegated to health food stores. Wholemeal bread was basically something the health food industry introduced yogurts and salad milk, fermented foods, the things that the health food industry introduced. 

Now the health food industry has suffered as a consequence of a lot of this going into supermarkets now and in the pharmacy. I remember the pharmacy authorities saying we’re not going to stop these things. And also, there were medical professionals saying, you know, pharmacies are going downhill because they’re stocking up on medicines and vitamins. So this is a massive change.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:08:47] There’s still a large demographic in Australia that consumes a lot of junk food and sugar and has no idea about what health is and what makes them sick. So there’s a massive campaign with regard to education. And the education of teachers, the education of parents, the education of all of the medical profession in particular, because they are that ignorant of what they know about nutrition is very little. And what they do know is quite, quite dangerous in many respects.

You talk about the letters to the government, the early stages of the pandemic. Last year in 2020, I was very, very busy writing emails and letters to all of the authorities and including people outside of the government and regulatory bodies and the business leaders and unions, and very, very little interest in the Science that I was providing to them and I was providing the science in a very common-sense way.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:09:48] When an epidemic or pandemic hits, fear occurs and when fear occurs, people stop thinking clearly. And I witnessed this during the HIV AIDS epidemic because I was right in the middle of it, giving patients high doses of intravenous vitamin C and keeping them alive when they should have been dying. And I witnessed my profession avoiding these patients like the plague because they’re fearful of them and they weren’t thinking clearly about it at all.

And I think that Lady Diana Spencer, who just died, was the one who actually showed the profession up and shamed them when she went to the hospital and shook hands with the HIV AIDS patients.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:10:32] Now, similar things are happening now. People are so fearful that they’re being encouraged to go and have vaccinations. And I’m not going to get into the vaccination debate because that’s an option that people have a right to choose. But before vaccination, the basic building blocks to your immune system will stop the virus from going into your immune system and stop it going penetrating the cells of your lungs and the cells of your gut. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc, without doubt, the major and principal weapons that we’ve got against catching the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and also preventing it from causing the cytokine storm that actually causes death. And there’s no doubt about that in my mind from the evidence that’s available right now and the beginning of the pandemic, we should have been implementing this.

I can tell you a very sad story. My colleagues went to an elderly and aged care facility and offered to test the elderly people for their Vitamin D status because Vitamin D actually prevents upper respiratory and lower respiratory infections, an acute severe viral infections. The management said, yes, wonderful idea. The management approached medical advisors and medical advisors said no way. Unbelievable. That’s part of a story. The other part of that story is that some of the elderly people who were taking Vitamin C and Vitamin D in aged care facilities had their vitamins taken away from them.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:12:17] I’m at a loss for words as to if public health is really our number one priority, then everything should be thrown at this. I mean, vacs… I’m not anti-vaccines or either. I think with vaccines.. We find a vaccine. Great, fantastic. We’ve had vaccines to eliminate all sorts of things and they’ve been fine. But if public health was the main issue here, then we would embrace everything, but we don’t.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:12:45] Yeah, and we wouldn’t be just looking at vaccines, we’d be looking the medicines that are working and we’re looking at that, we would be looking at the nutrients and they would be ranked number one and number two, in terms of the importance of the start of a pandemic.

You know, I believe in a couple of the states to the US, they’ve already got herd immunity and stopping from vaccination as being from exposure to the virus. Now, admittedly, in these states, people a large number of people have died. They wouldn’t have died if the authorities had allowed the C-D-Zinc to be administered. And also the use of ivermectin and or hydroxychloroquine. I mean, my colleagues in India and the US and Canada, I’m getting information from them every day about the effects of these nutrients and the effects of these medicines and we should not be locking everybody down.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:13:40] The other thing I wanted to ask you is what would you say about IVC in intensive care?

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:13:44] Well, it would save lives. That gets people off our ventilators, the pervasive going on the ventilators, and it should be used before they get to intensive care. In fact, it should be used in our patients to be used in casualty as soon as they enter the front door. You put up a drip. 

In fact, the ambulance drivers should be pulling up strips of I.V. Vitamin C. Home visits by nurses to very sick patients would also save a lot of lives. So, I mean, the vitamin D, the vitamin of the sun, vitamin C, it’s the thing that’s consumed the most serious inflammatory disorders and that’s the thing that has disappeared at the time of the cytokine storm and that’s why the storm keeps ongoing.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:14:21] When you say consumed most, you mean the body just gobbles up all your little vitamin C trying to find what’s going on.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:14:28] Yes. Just before you have a heart attack, the platelets conglomerate and it’s at that point in time when they do that, the Vitamin C is dropped to its lowest. You can prevent a Myocardial Infarction simply by it could be platelets full of Vitamin C. My archnemesis used to say that 100mg of Vitamin C is more than enough because some countries only need 60mg, some need 70 something depending on the country. But to save lives, I’ve had to give 100000mg, not 100 by intravenous injection, and up to 200000mg to save lives.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:15:07] Listen, the other thing that I know that you’re very involved is, is the National Institute of Integrative Medicine, and it’s a wonderful organization. I wondered if you might share with this that organization because I know it’s been doing a lot of work and we’re going to talk about Medicinal Cannabis. But tell us about NIIM first.

National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM)

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:15:27] NIIM is an organization that was founded by a great friend of mine, in particular, Professor Avni Sali, a Professor of Surgery at the Repatriation Hospital here in Melbourne. He opened his mind to other things, and he’s been an integral part of Nutritional Environmental Medicine for many, many quite a few decades.

Quite some time ago when he left Melbourne University, we actually knocked on the doors of a number of universities. And one of them, Swinburne University, agreed to establish the Graduate School of Integrative Medicine and it’s grown over the last 15 plus years. We received quite a large sum of money to conduct a trial looking at Vitamin C, D, and Zinc. High dose intravenous vitamin C and a couple of the other medications for COVID-19. 

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:16:24] Because we don’t have that number of sick patients here in Australia, the trial had to be conducted in Turkey. We’ve got a good partnership with the Turkish Authorities very much. They’re very much into Integrative Medicine. And so out of the 300 patients, just under 300 patients that they’ve got in a hospital who are seriously ill. With Koven, we’ve discovered that they are all very, very deficient in vitamin D. It’s exciting times for NIIM.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:16:55] I want to come back to Medicinal Cannabis. Or Cannabis, in fact, because for the last 40 or 50 years it’s been demonized. In fact, it’s been criminalized, but it has great promise as a medicinal herb. And I know that you are very involved in Australia and globally, you know about Medicinal Cannabis. If I had to ask anybody, I couldn’t ask anybody better tell us about Medicinal Cannabis. What’s its potential?

The Potential of Medicinal Cannabis

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:17:22] Well, Medicinal cannabis as you mentioned, Ron, was demonized and that made illegal in 1937. When prohibition was lifted in the US, the prohibitionists had to do something. And, of course, Cannabis was used in a form called Marijuana by the Mexicans and the US at the time as a cheap source of relaxation instead of using alcohol.

Alcohol was deprohibitioned and there are other aspects of the Cannabis plant at the time that were competing with other interests, including paper, manufacturing, and nylon manufacturing. And all of the derivatives of oil and the chemical derivatives of oil were becoming very important part. 

So there was competing interests there. So not going into any of the very, very interesting details about how they got rid of Cannabis or that Marijuana was as it was, not because it smoked as Marijuana. It was out of favor for a long time, criminalized, etc.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:18:24] But before it was criminalized, over a hundred uses for Medicinal Cannabis, the oil or the extract of the flower as a herbal medicine in the American Pharmacopoeia and doctors used to prescribe it regularly for a whole range of things. Pain, migraine, epilepsy, spasms in multiple sclerosis, inflammatory disorders right across the board, unusual neurological presentations, etc., anxiety, insomnia.

It was a very widely prescribed herbal medicine and I believe in Queen Victoria was prescribed medicinal cannabis oil or tincture for menstrual problems. But why would such a thing have such a broad spectrum of activity? It comes back to nature and nurture. We have evolved with plants that provide us answers to our problems and I talk about the old plants have nutrients in them, they’re not drugs, they don’t necessarily even medicines the have nutrients in them.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:19:30] And when you look at over 142 different Cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant, they do have a very broad spectrum of activity. They are also combined with a range of substances called terpenes. And terpenes are the holder’s substances that you find in the pantry, if it’s filled only with nutmeg and cinnamon, so forth on the floor and had a good sniff. That’s the smell of terpenes. These are functional nutrients and they do have a beneficial physiological effect as well.

So come back to the Cannabinoids, how do they work? Well, we have a system in our body that we were not told about when we did Medicine. I’m still not taught about very much, for obvious reasons, called the Endocannabinoid System. The Endocannabinoid System as receptors on nearly every cell in the body.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:20:24] What a beautiful system. I mean, nature couldn’t have.. well, nature did.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:20:27] Towards the latter part of our lives, we have a number of things that we can use to have a very, very enjoyable passing. We’ve got Opium, for pain. We’ve got Cocaine to give us a little bit of a high. We’ve got Cannabis for pain and relaxation, you go on and on and on. And instead of turning them into dangerous drugs with side effects, they should be available to us.

At the other end of life, the baby is born and starts suckling. What happens when a baby starts suckling? You can let down and mother’s milk supplies the baby with Endocannabinoids. The Cannabinoids that the mother’s making.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:21:13] Wow.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:21:13] We make them in our immune system, we make them in our nervous system, and we’ve got receptors, we’ve got the receptors, cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. Most of the Cannabinoid Receptors 1 are in the brain and nervous system. And 2 are in the rest of the system, in particular the immune system. So these systems are talking to one another. And let me tell you that there are more receptors for these cannabinoids than there are receptors for the neurotransmitters in our system.

When you say in the future, what Cannabis medicine are you going to give? To me it’s not so much what Cannabis medicine you’re going to give, it’s how you take it and how you give it, and the method by which you deliver it.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:22:02] For example, for most people, a couple of drops of oil under the tongue or tincture under the tongue will can relieve some of the most severe chronic pain you could imagine and relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It can relieve the recurring high-frequency epileptic fits of Dravet Syndrome in children where they have dozens of epileptic fits in a day and you can stop it. You can actually reduce them with some Cannabis to maybe one minor fit or two minor fits a month, you know, or eliminate them completely. 

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:22:38] Well, very difficult to patent, isn’t it? And it’s very difficult to patent and keep a patent on for 25 years to give you exclusive rights to something. So if it doesn’t have that as the caret, then we won’t bother pursuing it. But what about the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)? Tell us about what THC, does that have some you know, what’s the benefit or not of THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:23:03] Oh. THC is it’s the one that’s been studied the most and CBD (Cannabidiol) is the other one that’s been studied the most. But there’s something else in the CBA there are so many other Cannabinoids.

But THC is the one when it’s heated by smoking or some other means did carboxylic in the acid form to the non-acid form. And it’s the non-acid form that is becomes highly psychoactive. And if there’s too much, it becomes what I regard as toxic and that’s when you get the high or you get silly, too silly and you end up with catch lock and can’t move. We can’t do anything. 

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:23:49] So THC, when it’s heated, becomes more toxic, more active, but THC before it’s heated and after it’s heated as well, if it’s given in the correct amounts, can be very, very effective in helping some intractable pain, psychological, psychiatric problems, possibly important as part of the anti-inflammatory activity of cannabis. But I don’t like to attribute too many physiological activities to the Cannabinoids because most of the time we’re using them in mixtures.

The message about THC is, is if you smoke Cannabis, the THC is converted from the acid form to the known as a form by the oxidation and it becomes like a toxic. Most of the cannabinoids are psychoactive and very, very gently psychoactive. We’ve just finished a study using a THC CBD mixture for insomnia.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:24:45] A big problem, a big, big problem right now.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:24:49] The data’s in. It’s been analyzed. The paper hasn’t been published yet, but I’ll get it because I’m not going to do anything harm to anybody. People get off to sleep. They stay asleep. They wake refreshed. They have an improved quality of life the next day, their anxiety levels drop. But one of the most exciting things that I feel we found is that this particular formulation causes a significant increase in melatonin production.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:19] Wow. Interesting. Interesting. We’ve spoken a lot to a lot of people about well, of course, none of my regular listeners will be surprised to hear a good night’s sleep has all those kind of benefits. But interesting to hear this THC-CBD combo increases Melatonin. Where are we at in Australia with this Medicinal Cannabis?

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:44] I mean, you know, people are going to see their doctors or their nutritionist. Where are we at? Is it legal? Who can prescribe it? How accessible is it? What’s the best form of taking it? I mean, smoking can’t be a good way of doing it.

Australia & Medicinal Cannabis in Focus

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:25:58] Now, the two ways of getting it — by prescription or illegally. And the illegal stuff can either be obtained from sources within Australia or from overseas. Now, I’m not encouraging that at all. What I do encourage is the legal use of it by a doctor’s prescription. I’ve got to go and see a doctor. I must admit, the health department has been very difficult and made regulations very difficult around medicinal cannabis. And again, for obvious reasons, the doctors have learned how to quite quickly now prescribe and send the prescription to the TGA, get approval for prescribing it through the special access scheme.

Once the doctors were approved to prescribing it, they could prescribe medicine reasonably freely for specific conditions and specific patients. And the conditions have no very few at the beginning. But the number of conditions are expanding, have been expanding because of the evidence. And so far for any pain that the pain of arthritis, back pain, cancer, pain, migraine, inflammatory pain, it works very well.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:27:07] It can be used for anxiety, PTSD, can be used for a whole range of disorders associated with autoimmune diseases and inflammation. But the doctor has to prescribe it for a particular condition where the government will allow it to be prescribed. I understand now also a large number of the forces and others suffering from PTSD are getting very rapid access to the medicine. But I’ve seen some incredible changes in patients. 

For example, a woman who is on four different opiates as an antidepressant hypnotic at night time to put it to sleep, anti-inflammatory drugs, and paracetamol. And she basically came off nearly all of those which she came off all of the opiate drugs incredibly over, you know, for a few weeks, Spasms in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. So painful. Many, many, many conditions that one doesn’t expect the response from migraine, slight change in diet and cannabis for somebody who suffers from migraine once a week, sometimes for four days a week, incapacitating them and so it’s all fixed.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:28:29] It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because we did a program with Mind Medicine Australia on Psilocybin and LSD and here we are coming back to these natural compounds sometimes. I mean, I’m not sure if MDMA is a natural compound, but certainly, the mushrooms are, and they’ve shown great promise for treating PTSD, which is a huge and growing problem as well. I mean, it’s interesting we’re coming back to this nutrient model.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:28:58] Those with microdoses, it can be extremely effective. Again with those substances, you do have to have special training to administer it, whereas, with cannabis, you don’t need it. You may get better results with Psilocybin. We need more information and training and research is easier because I think that they probably could work very well together. And you know, the dramatic effects with the Psilocybin and some of these other psychoactive, naturally occurring molecules could be modulated with the Medicinal Cannabis.

Because the whole thing about medicinal cannabis or cannabinoids is they are modulators. You know, if there is an overactive system, it down-regulates the system. If it’s underactive, it up-regulates the system. That’s putting it very, very simply. And I’m sure one day I’ll be proven to be wrong in some aspects of it but that’s the way it appears to work. And that’s, you know, as a moderating agent. Most researchers and physicians will agree to its activity.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:30:07] And if the modulation is to down-regulate inflammation, which is the common denominator in almost every disease, then it won’t be surprising to see it affecting many more diseases. As you’ve observed.

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:30:22] There are some people using it, in COVID now. Right now, I’m not recommending you inhale it as a smoke from a cigarette because that’s dangerous. However, if you can get the flour and put it in a nebulizer, then that can give you very quick relief from inflammation in the lungs. It’s also very quickly absorbed into the system by the lungs. So for acute and severe pain relief, rather than taking oil or whatever the inhalational method is, it’s very, very effective. And that’s what it was used for a lot by cancer patients when they didn’t want to take the opiates. 

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:31:07] Hmm. Now, I am just finishing up. I just wanted to ask you one last thing, and that is sort of taking a step back from your role as a doctor, and as a researcher, and as an entrepreneur. Actually in all of these areas as well. Because we’re all on a health journey through this modern world. I wondered if you might tell us what you thought. What is the biggest challenge for an individual on that journey?

The Biggest Health Challenge

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:31:32] The biggest challenge, I think, is getting the right information and the best support. That’s one of the reasons I got seriously behind ACNEM (Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine) because I truly believed in what I was doing in clinic. But I was seeing patients from all over the country. In fact, I was seeing patients coming in from Europe and the US in particular, the HIV AIDS patients. I thought we need to do more than this.

And in the early 80s, of course, I got in trouble because I spoke to the media and wrote a book about Nutrition and mentioned AIDS and that sort of thing. You know, I thought it’s going to be worthwhile or not because I started to realize that it was bigger than me. The problem was a lot bigger than mine. And my part of being part of the profession. So, I mean, I took some risks and it ended up in the Supreme Court of Victoria and won the case and the medical board was chastised by a Supreme Court judge at the time behaving in such a way that it wasn’t the public interest to actually continue with the training and education of doctors and changing their ways of practicing so that they could help more people.

And now, I mean, I couldn’t handle all the people coming to me anyway. I had four clinics running at the time. And for the individual, coming back to the individual, I think information and support, the best information and support should be coming from the medical profession and its allies for the betterment of the public and the individual patient,. 

So seek out the information, read as much as you possibly can, learn as much as possible can. Talk to other people who are involved in health care and don’t listen to the so-called experts. Because the experts are not always right, as we’ve seen with this pandemic.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:33:32] Well, you know, I’m very grateful to you because I went through that college, the Australasian College of Nutritional Environmental Medicine (ACNEM), and you were very big part of that at the time. And I’ve been looking forward to having you on as a guest for a long time and it’s been such a pleasure to have you. Thank you so much for today. 

Prof Ian Brighthope: [00:33:52] Thanks. It has been a great pleasure to get to know you. And thank you for being President.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:33:56] Thanks, Ian.


Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:34:00] Well, we covered some territory there, and I think it was important to do a kind of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 101, and I think Ian can put it so beautifully, and that is: We are what we eat — quite literally. We are what we eat and if what we eat isn’t all that it needs to be, our body becomes unwell.

And I thought his metaphor or his example of being the pilot, we need these health practitioners, particularly medical practitioners, I would argue, are perfectly placed for this because of their training to be the pilots of the plane, guiding patients through our modern world and our modern world is rife with chronic, preventable, chronic degenerative diseases, more recently familiarized by the word ‘comorbidities.’

And I’ve had this conversation with several of the other members of the Ortho Molecular News Service Group. But I also am concerned that immune function is not being championed and when we hear so-called experts say, “Oh, there’s nothing, you know, you’ll just urinate out, use my vitamins, they’re useless, they’re expensive, you’re on.”. 

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:35:17] Well, guess what? We consume water, too. And, you know, we urinate out what we don’t need. And so does that mean because we urinate out something we shouldn’t be interested in it or see it as an important component of health?

Our soils are deficient. We know that. And Ian’s background in ag science, that’s a really good point, that you just look at an animal and you know that they either need selenium or zinc or whatever. And in order to improve productivity, farmers will use supplements but translate that to a human and it’s a total waste of time, despite the fact that chronic degenerative diseases are literally costing millions of unnecessary deaths each year. And when I hear so-called experts say there is no evidence to support Nutritional and Environmental Science of Medicine, I say they are actually asking the wrong questions when they ask, is there evidence to support it? 

My question to them is you’re asking, I say you’re asking the wrong question. The question is: Why haven’t you read the literally thousands of articles on this subject that focuses on why your patients are getting sick? Or do you see yourself as just an agent for the pharmaceutical industry? Or are you so busy writing out prescriptions and referrals to specialists that you can’t see the wood from the trees and actually see what is causing disease and therefore become more involved in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine?

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:36:58] Because when we start picking off diseases one by one with prescriptions, one by one, we end up with side effects, which inevitably will result in more prescriptions. If, on the other hand, we address the cause of disease and restore balance to the body, the immune system, then miraculously several chronic diseases which seem unrelated except for the fact that they’re all occurring in the same human body, suddenly resolve and people feel better and get better.

So I think this approach is such an important one and it’s why I added: Why should we all know about it? And we’ll be interested in it. And actually, it’s isn’t it interesting enough? The thing about medicinal cannabis and I was quite surprised that it actually got it wrong, it hadn’t been criminalized for 40 years. It’s more like 80 years following on from Prohibition. Something else needed to be prohibited and there’s a whole political and social aspect to why that occurred.

But here we had a compound that is natural, that ain’t actually described as a nutrient and he made the point of those Endocannabinoid Receptors, which are more common than neurotransmitters receptors throughout the body. Neurotransmitters, you may know more as Dopamine, Serotonin, Adrenaline,. And all these other neurotransmitters. So I think that is also very interesting and very promising.

And of course, the resistance. Of course, there will be resistance. Because if you cannot patent it if you cannot make billions of dollars from it, then there is a very big cohort of the medical profession, so-called experts in health, that will resist this kind of initiative. Too simple, too cheap, too effective.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:38:55] Remember, health care system that we have is a great Economic Model, just not a very good Health Model. Look, obviously this is something I feel very passionate about,. And I know Ian does in was a great mentor to me in the two years that I served as President. He served something like President for 16 years and he really put the College together because it was not and it still is not being taught at Universities.

So I think that is something that I really wanted to share with you. I wanted to share invite you to be here and we’ll have links to insights and all that information about Medicinal Cannabis and we’ve got so many other interesting and exciting things happening in this latter half of the year. You’ll be finding out all about it and if you’ve downloaded the app, Unstress with Dr Ron Ehrlich have to put that all in: “Unstress Dr Ron Ehrlich.” You can download the app and find out things as they happen. How exciting would that be? Anyway, I hope this finds you well. Until next time. This is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Be well.


This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.