Is CBD Good For Your Health? with Dr. Rebecca Siegel

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

CBD oil and medical marijuana is new to the scene, and therefore it doesn’t yet have sufficient research behind it to help you make the decision on whether or not it could help you. Fortunately, we have the next best thing, as brain health specialists Dr. Daniel Amen, Tana Amen, and Dr. Rebecca Siegel are here to answer your questions on medical marijuana and CBD use.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We are very excited and grateful to Dr. Rebecca Siegel. This has been such an interesting conversation. We've already got a lot of social media chatter about this. It's like a religion a little bit.
Dr Rebecca Siegel: Yeah, I'm so glad I don't care about being popular.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's like a religion a little bit when it comes to marijuana and CBD, because the science has yet to grow up. Let's talk about, Rebecca, some of the most frequently asked questions about CBD. The first on, is it addictive?
Dr Rebecca Siegel: Well, if you said is it physiologically addictive or is it psychologically addictive, that's the question that I do believe more research needs to be done. That's my answer. I think that, depending on the person, it most likely can be very dependence forming. Actually, what I've recently been informed about is that in a user who is doing it very frequently, they may become used to the dose very quickly, and they need to increase the dose or they need to increase the frequency. That's scary. That can definitely lead to dependence and addiction.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Here's a statistic that'll just blow your socks off. More than half of THC consumers are affected more than half of their waking hours. More than half of THC consumers are affected more than 50% of their waking hours.
Dr Rebecca Siegel: Right, and they get the label potheads for a reason, because they walk around looking high. Not everyone who smokes pot has that, but a lot of ... Even in school, you see these kids. It's something they do to be cool. It's something they do for their anxiety, but they walk around being spaced out.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and this is the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Brain warriors are armed, prepared, and aware to win the fight of their lives. If you're not cognitively intact, it's really hard to do that. Initially, by legalizing it, state revenues would go up, people would get cleaner marijuana, less likely to be laced with negative chemicals that are more likely to cause psychosis, but that has, in fact, not been shown to be the case, with a lot of pesticide use and negative compounds still found.
Tana Amen: I want to ... Since I pushed really hard on the other side, I do want to at least point something out. I do know some of the kids that I've known, because I have a 15-year-old daughter, that have started smoking pot, sometimes it's because they really have an excessive and extraordinary amount of trauma and stress, and they don't know what else to do. I mean, I've known kids that were on the verge of suicide, or they just really did not know how to handle themselves, and that seemed like the only option, because nobody was guiding them through a better way to do it, so it's not like we don't understand. It's not like I don't ... I just think we as parents, as a society, need to do a better job, or need to figure out a better way to help some of these kids or people, adults, especially adolescents, where they're at such a high risk, not only for starting to smoke marijuana, but for having these psychotic breaks, these episodes.
We need to do a better job. I mean, what can we do to help them learn to manage their anxiety and that stress, so that marijuana doesn't seem like the only option?
Dr Rebecca Siegel: I think it is a huge, huge question that you bring up. It is so important, as parents, that we are able to have conversations with our children. That can be very, very difficult, certainly with teenagers, but the first thing is to actually acknowledge your child is going through something. You see a change in their behavior. They seem more anxious or depressed, or things that we know are problematic. If their grades are falling, if they're becoming isolative, if they're not doing the activities that they normally do, time to have a conversation with your child. That is the most important thing.
Tana Amen: Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and one of the real problems with what you're saying is it's on average 11 years from the time a child first has their brain health/mental health symptoms, anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD. It's 11 years before they get their first evaluation. That's the average.
Tana Amen: That's so sad.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If children and teenagers are not being paid attention to and getting the help they need, because there's still such stigma around mental health treatment and psychiatric practice, they're going to try and feel better, right?
Tana Amen: Well, and-
Dr. Daniel Amen: They're going to try ... They're going to drink. They're going to use drugs. They're going to see CBD as potentially innocuous, and they're going to engage in behaviors that make them feel better. The problem, and I write about this in Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, is they're going to go after short-term solutions that cause long-term problems.
Tana Amen: Well, and I know two teenagers that are ... personally one of them being our niece, who we helped to take out of an extremely traumatic and stressful situation. We helped get them out of foster care, and it was just really hard, the whole situation was. She's very open with us, and she's such a good kid, I mean an amazing kid, honor student. I don't know how this kid turned out to be so amazing, but both of them. She's one of those kids that easily would've gone or could have gone the other direction without someone intervening like we did.
I know another kid where the same thing ... The parents were smart enough to see it and get this kid really good therapy, and it really prevented a true disaster from happening. I just want to point out, when you do intervene and you do the right things, it can literally change the trajectory of a kid's life.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's important, if you're worried about your teenager, to talk to them. It's really ... The relationship can be healing. We also have a poster called Which Brain Do You Want, which has healthy scan surrounded by drug-affected scans including marijuana, and it's just a discussion. If your brain really does control everything you do and everything you are and every decision you make, don't you really want it to be healthy. If there's controversy, and clearly there's controversy around marijuana, and CBD there's controversy, why not go for the less controversial options first.
Dr Rebecca Siegel: It takes a village to raise children.
Tana Amen: It does.
Dr Rebecca Siegel: I think that, besides the home, the schools, the people that are involved with your kids, have to be aware of what's going on. Kids are going to self-medicate. They don't understand what they're going through, what their feelings are. Their feelings of anxiety they may not understand. All they understand is they can't tolerate having them, and they need to figure out a way out of them. The ultimate is we need to try and identify that and help them to get help.
I do believe that there should be no marijuana use in anyone under the age of 25. That is definitely something that you and Dr. Amen have-
Tana Amen: That's because of the brain not being fully developed yet?
Dr Rebecca Siegel: Absolutely. We want our children to have the optimal brains that they can have, and no form of self-medication is going to help with that.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Once again, I choose not a popular side. When I went to Expo West, which is the large supplement conference.
Dr Rebecca Siegel: Oh, I bet this year it's crazy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Anaheim Convention Center, there are over 2000 supplement companies there. People ask, “When's BrainMD going to start carrying CBD products?” One company there, they had 17 new CBD products. My concern is we're unleashing this on the population, with the chatter being it's innocuous, when we don't have the research to actually back that up. Anything that actually decreases seizures at an effective level probably has side effects. We are just saying, “No, it's plant medication,” but we know, for example, St. John's Wort, which is one of my favorite and natural antidepressants, head-to-head works as effective as Zoloft, decreases the effectiveness of birth control pills.
Tana Amen: We need to know.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We need to know before we unleash, but we have the habit in this society to unleash video games and other things on our society, cell phones, where we don't really study the long-term effects on development, and we unleash them on a population that may not ... At first, like social media, you think it's innocuous.
Tana Amen: It's definitely not.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Now, the majority of teenage girls don't think they're enough, because they're comparing themselves to young stars who are totally airbrushed on-
Tana Amen: Yeah, well, photoshopped and-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Correct.
Tana Amen: I'm with you. I don't really have much of an opinion on CBD, because I just don't know enough about it. I just think it's probably better than smoking pot, but who knows? I'm definitely not a fan of legalizing marijuana, so maybe CBD is a better option than marijuana, for legalization anyways. I just don't know, but that's the point is I don't know.
Dr Rebecca Siegel: We can't stop it, at this point. The gates are open, and now it's trying to understand what's coming through the floodgates and trying to do the research on it, so that we can actually make educated opinions on it.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We will watch closely over the research, and here on the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, we'll bring it to you, as we continue to help you have better brains and better lives. Rebecca, thank you so much. Dr. Siegel practices in our Manhattan clinic. If you have a child or an adult, who's got issues with anxiety, depression, ADHD, you want to know more about medical marijuana and CBD, she'd be a great person to make an appointment with. Our clinic in New York is actually in an awesome place. It's right next to the public library on 40th Avenue, between Fifth and Madison. It's been there now, goodness-
Tana Amen: Long time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Seven years. I'm very excited, Rebecca, that you have joined our team there. Thank you so much.
Dr Rebecca Siegel: Thank you.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe, so you'll always know when there's a new episode. While you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're interested in coming to Amen Clinics, give us a call at 855-978-1363.