Cannabis Research Update: The Latest Webinar from Healer

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This month’s Healer webinar provided a deep dive into six studies on cannabis for various conditions.

On April 10th, 2024, Dustin Sulak, DO, founder of Healer, hosted a two-hour webinar discussing several research studies involving cannabis. Joining him was Ethan Russo, MD, Founder and CEO of, board-certified neurologist, and psychopharmacology researcher. For this month’s webinar topics, Dr. Sulak discussed studies that examined the entourage effect, cannabidiol (CBD) for treating anxiety and stress, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) for treating autism spectrum disorder, the impacts of cannabis on impairment, and the effects of using the endocannabinoid-like molecule palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) after a stroke.

The first study that was discussed, “Vaporized D-limonene selectively mitigates the acute anxiogenic effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in healthy adults who intermittently use cannabis,” was co-authored by Dr. Russo, who provided further insights into the framework of the study and the importance of terpenes in cannabis effects. He also answered attendees’ questions in real time. Dr. Sulak discussed background on the entourage effect and the terpene D-limonene, plus points to note in the participant characteristics and in the study’s methods, results, and limitations.

The second study tested the effects of two CBD products on self-reported stress relief in 374 participants completed over either a 30 day or 60 day regimen. The participants first took a CBD isolate product and switched halfway through the study to a broad spectrum product. Drs. Sulak and Russo explained the results of the study, focusing on the significance of broad spectrum and terpene content in the products used in the study, plus the limitations of the study, such as the problematic nature of using different doses of the products.


The next study was the only non peer-reviewed study covered in the webinar. It examined the safety and efficacy of orally administered full spectrum cannabis in children with autism spectrum disorder. Drs. Sulak and Russo both noted the high doses of the CBDA and the reported effects. Dr. Sulak also highlighted the importance of the endocannabinoid system as a potential target when treating autism.

Dr. Sulak also discussed a case report on cannabis, autism, and the entourage effect, comparing CBD and CBD plus terpenes for treating autism over one patient’s childhood and adolescence. Bonni Goldstein, MD, joined the conversation and discussed her experience using CBDA to treat patients with autism and the importance of chemovars and dosing.

Dr. Sulak next discussed a semi-naturalistic, open label study from Australia that examined the effect of prescribed medical cannabis on neurocognitive performance and driving ability. “Most of the research on the cognitive effects of cannabis has looked at people who aren’t using it as a medicine—either healthy volunteers or regular cannabis users,” Dr. Sulak pointed out. The participants in this study administered their medicine, which involved various methods of ingestion and contained various compounds, then underwent assessments and questionnaires over periods of time, and they also performed a simulated driving test. The study showed little impairment in the participants, Dr. Sulak noted, but there were also several limitations to the study.

The last study examined the effects of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) when administered after a stroke. The results showed enough cognitive benefits, Dr. Sulak explained, that it’s hard to believe that similar studies have not been conducted with other cannabinoids, given the studies of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD on rodent brains after strokes.

At the end of the webinar, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions of Drs. Sulak and Russo. Topics included Dr. Russo’s current studies on cannabinoids and terpenes, the operation of cannabichromene (CBC) alongside other cannabinoids, and the effects of secondhand vapor.

Find more information on upcoming webinars here.