By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 118


Dr. Miyabe Shields is a Ph.D. pharmaceutical scientist who specialized in the structural biochemistry of the endocannabinoid system for drug discovery. They have received national and international recognition for their pre-doctoral research in the endocannabinoid system and industrial accomplishments in the cannabis and emerging psychedelics industries.

After co-founding a cannabis research startup post-PhD, they delved into rare extract and formulation research, exploring heat-transformed cannabinoids and developed a novel form of cannabis extraction. Miyabe transitioned to community education and science advocacy through social media and podcasts, reaching over 6 million people.

Shifting away from production-focused roles, they now advocate for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and psychedelics for neurodivergent brains. They co-founded the Network of Applied Pharmacognosy (NAP), a new research non-profit, to disseminate real-world applications of the synergies of nature by analyzing data and communicating research and educational information to the public.

In this episode, we talk all about the difference between ways to take in cannabis, the different ingredients, and how this can be helpful (or harmful) to various neurotypes. Again, please keep in mind – this is not medical advice. This is just a discussion between two neurodivergent adults who happen to use cannabis as a tool in our regulation toolbox, sharing our lived experience and clinical research.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

Episode Links

THC, CBD and Neurodiversity, with Dr. Miyabe Shields Ph.D.
Speaker 1 0:00 I took 11 months where I didn't use any cannabis whatsoever. And I recorded everything that happened to me in those 11 months. That's actually how I got diagnosed on the spectrum was then I brought that information to a medical professional. He was like, That's autism. And I was like, oh,...

Speaker 1 0:00 I took 11 months where I didn’t use any cannabis whatsoever. And I recorded everything that happened to me in those 11 months. That’s actually how I got diagnosed on the spectrum was then I brought that information to a medical professional. He was like, That’s autism. And I was like, oh, so very much. So cannabis is helping me to mask right. It literally decreases my sensory overstimulation, it decreases also for me like PTSD stuff and like sleep issues and like, it’s decreasing a bunch of things that do then make me more typical passing, because my quality of life is hot as higher, and therefore my disability is less effective, or it doesn’t affect me as much. But for me, personally, that’s really important to me that I have a high quality of life. It’s very important to me that I’m happy and healthy and stable, and it’s absolutely something that I think is like a beneficial tool that everyone should be able to make up their own minds for themselves. Laura Petix 0:56 Welcome to the sensory wise solutions podcast for parents, where parents can get real actionable strategies to support kids with sensory processing disorder. I’m Laura, OT and mom to Lilyana a sensory sensitive kid who inherited my anxiety and my love for all things Disney. Consider me your new ot mom, bestie. I know my stuff. But I also know what it’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Speaker 2 1:25 Okay, mom, enough about me. Let’s try the podcast. Laura Petix 1:30 Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. This episode is only for adults ages 18. And over more specifically, my intent is to reach neurodivergent adults. If you’ve been around for a while you know that I am not shy about my use of THC and CBD edibles. This is something that’s new for me, relatively speaking probably within the last year or so. And I started sharing about it on Instagram. And then I got a ton of messages from other parents who said that they’ve been curious about trying these kinds of products, but were nervous about it. And I kept hearing the same thing. I’m an overstimulated parent. I have a lot of racing thoughts, I have a lot of intrusive thoughts my brain never turns off. And those are some of the exact same reasons that I decided to explore cannabis products. So I invited someone who knows a lot behind the science of cannabis products to help us learn more about it. Dr. Miyabi shields is a PhD pharmaceutical scientist who specialized in the structural biochemistry of the endocannabinoid system for drug discovery. They have received national and international recognition for their pre doctoral research in the endocannabinoid system, and industrial accomplishments in the cannabis and emerging psychedelics industries. That is a lot. After co founding a cannabis research startup post PhD, they delve into rare extract and formulation research exploring heat transformed cannabinoids and developed a novel form of cannabis extraction. Miyabi transitioned to Community Education and Science advocacy through social media and podcasts reaching over 6 million people. shifting away from production focused roles. They now advocate for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and psychedelics for neurodivergent brains, they co founded the network of applied PHARMAC Coggan noci pharmacognosy, which is known as na P, a new research nonprofit to disseminate real world applications of the synergies of nature by analyzing data and communicating research and educational information to the public. That was a mouthful, but Miyabi teaches us so much in this episode. So we’re going to talk all about the difference between all the different ways to take in cannabis, the different ingredients and how this can be helpful or even harmful to various neuro types. Again, please, please, please keep in mind, this is not medical advice. This is just a discussion between 32 neurodivergent adults who happen to use cannabis as a tool in our regulation toolbox. And we are sharing our lived experience and Miyabi shares some clinical research with us. Alright, let’s get into it. Miyagi, it’s so good to have you on here with us. When I was first introduced your content, I was mind blown that this niche even exists. It was like an overlap between things that I didn’t know could overlap and then exist with research and all of the amazing information that’s out there. So I got so excited. I think it was your partner who tagged you in a post that I did for it. Speaker 1 4:49 So it was so funny because Elaine and I have overlapping special interests. And so my partner lane is neuro divergent curriculum developed in neuro divergent curriculum development. And we are shared special interest really is where this intersection of drugs and the brain come together for neurodivergent adults and also for how we can, how we can approach research in a way that is also neurodiversity affirming because a lot of mental health research hasn’t been yet and so there’s a lot of things that we talk about and I know actually lane, one lane tag me in that lane was like, you immediately need to go look at this content like and I want to say that like what I see what you’re doing with your daughter, like, these are different ways that we can be raised to feel about our brands. And it is going to change so much and I’m I’m so grateful to see that like I think it’s like feeling’s mutual. Laura Petix 5:41 Oh, thank you I’m so these are the there’s pros and cons to social media, right. And so my gosh, definitely one of my favorite things is connecting to people that I never would come across, or learning about a niche in a way that I’m like, wow, that actually exists. So I have so many fun questions for you. But I want to remind everyone here listening, my my intent for this, my excitement for this topic is because I know a lot of you out there are curious about cannabis use, particularly stemming from me sharing about my journey with finding edibles as a source of relief and unwinding for me at the end of the day. But I know people out there are anxious and nervous and worried about what that does. And so my favorite way to cope with the uncertainty and unknown is to learn more about how things work. When I’m afraid of something or nervous about something I like to research it and learn more about it. And Miyabi is the perfect person for that. So before we get fully into the content, why don’t you first tell us how you came to find this niche of I don’t even know what’s what’s your your title as a researcher, it’s on your bio on Instagram, and it was mind blowing. Speaker 1 7:00 I am I have a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences. And I studied the system and the brain that interacts with cannabis. So the endocannabinoid system, and what you said about how to alleviate your anxiety about the unknown, you research and research and get a greater understanding. That essentially sums up why I ended up getting my PhD studying the system in the brain that interacts with cannabis. It’s just that cannabis saved my life. And I didn’t understand that it was a medicine for a very, very long time. And I didn’t treat it as a medicine even after having a medical card until I better could understand like the framework of how we’ve as a research community as a medical community, we’ve approached cannabis with a way during the Prohibition from a very standoffish and fear mongering standpoint, and the prohibition did involve a lot of propaganda, there were a lot of like racial and political influences that were involved in that as well. And so as a scientist, I feel a piece of my responsibility as a scientist, now that I have the privilege of this knowledge is to share it back with my community. And I came up professionally as neurodivergent, around three years ago now. And that was scary, and shocking. But it actually also was liberating. And so many people have shared their stories with me like 1000s. And there’s so much therapeutic potential for neurodivergent kids, neurodivergent adults, for and there’s a lot of research, emerging research going on that are in very specific formulations and different ways. There’s all these different products, and it’s confusing, it’s a lot, it’s a lot to take in, especially for people who, you know, we aren’t educated on this right like for, for me, I grew up in the culture like from when I was a teenager, the amount of knowledge that you accrue over those years. And the amount of knowledge that you get from studying it like these are all things that the general public just doesn’t have access to this information. And that’s one of my missions, with social media education, and just with public education in general, even with the research that I do, and how I choose to prioritize it. I want everything to be tangible for for people who can benefit from this, like right now. And then also from people who do want to understand like, what are the safety precautions that are in place? And what are the relative risks and like, how do we understand that that benefit and how do we do Oh, and before we get into talking about all of that, I have a research PhD, my doctorate is technically in philosophy. That’s what the PhD so So technically, scientists are philosophers. And I am a philosopher at the atomic level interactions of what’s the act of molecules in cannabis and then how they cause beneficial changes inside the body. And so that is where the theory of all of this is coming from. It’s not medical advice for everyone out there where Laura Petix 9:58 we’re trying to get that straight. We’re Speaker 1 10:00 talking about lived experience. I’ve been using cannabis as medicine since I was a teenager, I didn’t know that it was medicine until I was much later, like much older, and I wasn’t diagnosed, but I had many diagnoses, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult. So that also adds to sort of like layers of complexity of how we understand our medicine, and what I would call self determination of medicine. And the ability to understand what we put into our bodies and why what benefits they have and why. And with cannabis, there’s so much out there to understand it’s, it’s a lot. So I’m excited to answer some of these questions, because it’s a lot of information to take in and people don’t know what the sources are. And I’m not saying that I’m necessarily even just the best source, I’m just one source of information. There’s, that makes it even more confusing. But what what I’ll be speaking to or speaking from is from the context of the neurodivergent cannabis community, and the information that I’ve started collecting from adults who use cannabis as medicine, Laura Petix 11:02 I imagine. So I know at least in the, in the parenting space, and even the psychology space, we think of new interventions and new regulations and new things, only coming after, like 10 years later, after the research has been developed. That’s like, generally the timeline. So I’m curious, since you kind of already mentioned it, this, this stigma and kind of wall up that a lot of society has against the use of cannabis definitely comes from prohibition days, and all of the propaganda that we’ve drugs are bad, no drugs, and this is a right that that’s what that was we were brainwashed and we not brainwashed but taught a lot. It’s whatever whatever right, whatever we want to call it, when framed Speaker 1 11:44 on our our preventive has been framed. Yeah, I’ve Laura Petix 11:48 been fed very specific bits that are just on loop in my head. Right. But so I’m curious than what your opinion is? Or if you know anything more specific that what, what’s taking so long for laws and regulations to change. Is there just not enough convincing research that shows that it’s not as dangerous? And I always compare this to alcohol, if there’s an age for that, and there’s known risks, probably not as many benefits, if any, as that we can think of, what do you what’s your opinion on that hang up? And do you think that this would ever be federally regulated? As a Speaker 1 12:29 scientist, we’re always going to say that we need more research because that is what we do. Like we just always want to know more. There’s never enough, right? However, when it comes to cannabis, I’m confident in saying that we don’t need more research to prove that it’s safer, we don’t need more research to prove that it actually leads to a decrease in opioid substance use cases or opioid deaths from opioids in states that have access. And that actually pretty much any survey that you look for any demographic of people who end up using and benefiting from cannabis, that it will be somewhere between over 50% At least but between like 60 and 70% of people will reduce prescription pharmaceutical intake. And so when we’re talking about the net benefit when we’re talking about toxicity, there is definitely like, if you were to compare anything with total abstinence, which would be you know, to take nothing, that then cannabis, sure, you could say like, yes, cannabis has increased cardiovascular effects like it’s and if you are smoking it or inhaling it, there could be effects on your lungs that we still do not fully understand. But in the net overall. First of all, we’ve been looking for damage to the lungs of cannabis for years and years and years and investing a lot of money in it and haven’t found it yet. And then on the flip side, usually it’s not cannabis or nothing is usually cannabis or more alcohol. It’s usually cannabis or pain medications. It’s usually cannabis or psycho pharmaceuticals. And all of those things come with their own risk. So I personally do not think there needs to be more research. I think that that has been held over our heads. And for the general public. The research has been sort of gate kept intentionally with how the mainstream media picks up and, and then runs stories on cannabis, on how we talk about natural medicines in general in terms of their strength, validity and purpose in our lives. Not you know not to say that pharmaceuticals don’t have a benefit. They absolutely do. But their benefit is different, but not better than then many natural alternatives. And I think that one of the biggest fears that is associated with cannabis is that it’s a gateway, it’s going to start leading to a bunch of other it’s a harder, quote unquote harder drug than alcohol and I could not disagree more with that statement. I think that alcohol has one of the most intense mind and body highs and we just call it being drunk. It is a high low and we take in in huge amounts and I’m not judging anyone for that and I’m not judging myself for But I’m just saying that, you know, in contrast of actual safety of on the body, it’s a no brainer, what is less toxic, that’s what we would classify it as toxicity, it’s less than toxic, there’s actually no acute dose that would ever kill you. And that inter in like, the long term effects on our health are lesser than long term effects that we see for say, sugar, alcohol, tobacco, things that we have the freedom and right to choose and utilize as tools in in our lives within regulation. And that by regulating them, they actually become safer. And more Laura Petix 15:38 trackable, traceable, so many more things under Speaker 1 15:42 health standards, and also, like, a good amount of like money in revenue for local cities. And you know, it can lead to some really positive things. And I think with parents especially, there’s an extra stigma, there’s an extra associated, you’re responsible for a child, how could you, you know, be irresponsible, right? Like, it’s this, Laura Petix 16:05 I thought that as well. I knew before I became a parent, I judged parents, I knew who were still who were in my inner circle of friends. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, they’re still smoking, and they have a kid now. And I just That was pure ignorance, lack of education, I was thinking what I thought I knew it meant to get high from weed, and how that must be being a parent, I had no personal experience of what that did. And I didn’t have experience of the benefits and seeing how I actually was a better parent with my perfect little dose. So I like that. That’s why I like edibles, because they’re very, like they’re predictable. And I know what works for me, and I know how long it lasts. And it’s the same every single time. So I actually would love if you if we could start out by if there was a simple way for you to describe the differences between all the different forms of cannabis use between vaping smoking, and I guess you would categorize them both as inhaling but and then at different. Speaker 1 17:16 Yeah. Okay, different edibles. And then one other thing is topicals, which I’d like to talk about, like bath bombs, like, okay, great patches and stuff, because that’s the thing you just mentioned about finding your dose and not knowing, like what to expect and sort of like thinking about it being like, Oh, wow, these parents are still smoking or they’re still using cannabis. And it’s, it’s possible that there are parents in the US. I mean, it’s not just possible, it’s I know that it exists, that there are parents that are overusing cannabis that is not responsible use, right, totally, that that exists as well. But there is an entire spectrum in here and that the majority of parents who are utilizing cannabis for their health and wellness, or who are even trying to think about how maybe it would be supportive of their children, a majority of those people are finding doses that are in a functional range that is definitely within a medical benefit in my opinion, regardless of whether you have a medical card or regardless of whether you think of your downtime as medical, but so there’s so if you go into a dispensary or if you go into if you have access, and actually everyone has access to hemp or CBD because it is federally legal so that even Laura Petix 18:23 those the same thing I’m so bad with knowing what the ingredients and all the terms are so you’re gonna have to break it down. No, Speaker 1 18:27 this is actually a great thing to break down. So hemp is a type of the cannabis plant it is just the type of plant that has less THC so it has almost none. So hemp like hemp clothing hemp rose Laura Petix 18:40 there’s a temp lotion that’s just like that’s made from the Speaker 1 18:44 oils or the leaves usually and like the ropes are made from the fiber of the stock so the plant but then the actual flower for him has ever since 2018 There is a new type of hemp that is like a more medicinal version, the flower of the habit it looks very much like the flower of cannabis. I mean, it’s pretty much identical. I’ve seen all the differences less less THC, it has almost no THC in it. Okay, so because there’s almost none, it’s less than point 3% It’s very, very, very little. That Okay, well you can use hemp flower hemp is federally able to be grown and distributed and there’s all sorts of hemp products available to everyone. And a hemp is actually where I would suggest people I mean, that’s one of my places that I think it’s a safe place for people to start off and experiment because CBD is the act of molecule that’s inside of hemp. So CBD is the main molecule in hemp now, some products that have CBD in it. What they’ve done is they’ve taken all the CBD out of the plant, and it’s just CBD by itself. And so that’s where there’s a difference here between what would be called a product that is CBD, that’s an isolated product. It’s just CBD. These are usually the ones that you would find in like a CVS or Whole Foods or like a pharmacy like typically the products are made with with isolated CBD. And they will say on the back, it’ll just say CBD like the ingredient will just be cannabidiol CBD. Versus if you have what is called like a full spectrum extract or you have a product that has everything in the plant in it, that product will have a little bit of THC in it, it will also have a bunch of other things in it that come from the plant. And it is my opinion that the entire plant provides like a synergy. But they are different. It’s different distinctions within these they affect each other differently. And it’s worth noting that when you are experimenting with these things, they’re different products. There’s different molecules. Laura Petix 20:37 So would you say Moke? CBD e only like, if you’re like smoking like if I think of someone like inhaling usually flour there’s okay and that’s okay and that’s what they would that’s available at a dispensary If someone would like to try that. Yes, Speaker 1 20:57 and usually CBD is actually available easiest online have like half an hour is the most easy ly available online because not a lot of dispensaries. Unfortunately the dispensaries have a difficult time selling hemp CBD products and this is just like a another it’s a lack of public education but dispensaries have a difficult time pushing anything but THC. And THC is in the medical cannabis. When you think about cannabis. When people say cannabis we’re thinking of THC THC meaning Yes, cannabis and usually it will sometimes have CBD in it sometimes not. But oh there is like the opposite. Typically, it’s a very, very small amount of CBD. There are mixed ratio strains. And so again with all of these THC CBD, we’ll start with just we’ll start with just those two, those two different those are two different types of products. They feel entirely different, right? My experience of CBD is mellow. It’s not it’s not perspective altering. I, I I would say that it is psychoactive, like a lot of people find anxiety relief from it. It’s definitely anti inflammatory. And so for those reasons that it is acting in your brain, we know that Nbd yes first Laura Petix 22:10 and this includes for inhaling CBD, CBD, topicals, and CBD edibles all of those will have generally the same effect on in that part of the brain depends Yeah, matter how you take it. Speaker 1 22:23 topicals are their own thing because it’s hard and topicals are difficult while difficult to find a measure but with smoking or inhaling like vaping. And with edibles, yes, it’ll be the same, I find that smoking or inhaling CBD, you can feel it more. But that’s just potentially a difference of the methods. So I’ll finally answer your question. I went off on a tangent, I’ll answer your question. When you smoke or vape, you’re inhaling it into your lungs, it gets absorbed in your lungs and goes straight to your brain, it lasts like maybe like, it only takes like 10 minutes for you to feel anything. And it lasts for like an hour to an hour and a half. So it’s a shorter duration of action. It’s faster. But it doesn’t last as long versus you take an edible, sometimes it could take up to an hour, it really depends on your metabolism. And you know, whether you’ve eaten that day and some other factors, sometimes they can be quick, like 15 minutes depending on it, there’s but it depends on you. But edibles can last like, you know they can last six hours, they can last for a good amount of time. Laura Petix 23:24 So in terms of the brain, like what it does, they both do the same thing to the brain, it’s just a matter of how long it takes to release and have the effect on you and how long it lasts is kind of what we’re thinking of between the two. Speaker 1 23:34 Yeah, and and then the other big difference is that when you eat an edible, you’re eating it, it goes into your stomach, it goes into your small intestine, that’s where it’s absorbed, and then it gets processed by your liver before it goes to your brain. So there are some slight differences like with THC edibles, especially, there is a difference in effects. Because you’ll make you’ll make a metabolite, and basically your body, your liver will change it before it goes to your brain if you’re if you’re eating. And so they do have they do have different effects profiles. So the two big differences are that there’s that it feels slightly different. And it depends on the person. This is again another thing like whenever we’re talking about this advice with all of these products and diversities like it is complicated, because a lot of it is trial and error. Still, it’s a common misconception to that like this will always happen to everyone. neurodivergent people in general respond differently to to drugs, just in general. I mean, that’s like, that’s something that like makes sense, right? I mean, like, if it makes sense, there’s a diversity of the brain, there’s going to be a diversity and how the chemistry of that brain interacts with with other chemistry so I have a hyperactive brain. Like it’s been super clear to me from the moment that I even understood the conceptualize that it was different from others that it was different from others and that it helps immensely to take that to slow it down to decrease some of those background thoughts and to allow Have some more control over anxiety, some more control over direction, maybe of your thought processes like less per separation, right, like less. Yeah. And it’s an incredibly, incredibly helpful tool. I cannot stress how helpful I think cannabis is. For such a large number of people, especially people who have chronic pain, especially people who struggle with mental health, especially people have GI issues, sleep issues, like there’s so many benefits to it to both vaping and inhaling and edibles. And then I didn’t talk a lot about but topicals are really people shouldn’t be using topicals more they really help with inflammation. Cannabis is one of the most powerful anti inflammatory medicines we’ve ever found. It is a and that has to do with what the endocannabinoid system does in the brain and body, it controls hyper activity of the brain, which that’s like a big one that I clearly experience. It controls the immune system and inflammation all over the place. And then it also controls and modifies, like energy metabolism. So there’s, it’s a really big, really important system. And so it does make sense that cannabis can help for like, so many different things. Laura Petix 26:09 Some people talk about, I guess edibles specifically is the conversations I’ve had, but perhaps other forms as well. But talk about that paranoia that happens that increased paranoia and almost increased and increased anxiety, which like that, how can you blame me for that? Because that’s how I am without it. But then it does the opposite for me. So like, what is it the difference between people’s brains that it’s reacting, so opposite? Speaker 1 26:39 So THC is the act of molecule that’s in cannabis, right? And THC receptors is something called biphasic, which means that there are two separate phases. And there’s two in the first phase, so let’s say for you 10 milligrams, right, you eat a 10 milligram edible, you reach that first phase, it’s reducing your anxiety, it’s reducing it. Yeah, and this is your good state. Now you have a window, but between the first phase there’s going to be a second phase, and I don’t know what that is for you. Maybe it’s like 50 milligrams, like right, if you were to take more right now then you reach that second phase, it’s called that’s why it’s biphasic. There’s two phases. In that second days, it might cause anxiety. So the difference in that window for you is good because you’re taking 1015 You’re still in your good phase, and yet you haven’t yet broken through to the part where it gives you anxiety now for some people that window where it starts to give them anxiety is very low. And for me with edibles, it’s incredibly low like I said, I take one milligram edibles basically have I always have CBD with my edibles with them and that is my edible dose when I take edibles will be nothing more than a one to one at five milligrams like a one to one five milligrams THC, five milligrams, that’s my max. For me For edibles. When I get above that I start to get really anxious. So if I took your dose, so for me, if I took your 10 milligram dose, I would be in my second phase already, like my window is just shorter. Ben, okay. It’s like lower lower to the ground, Laura Petix 28:09 right? Yep. Yep. So so people need to shoot for that first level that first phase, that’s what they want. Exactly. Speaker 1 28:16 And and some people it seems are more sensitive to edibles than inhaling or smokeable and like for you, you’re more sensitive like it’s the other way around, like everyone is. Everyone can have different different needs. So I would encourage people who get that anxiety and paranoia first of all to try CBD to add CBD to it because we know that that decreases it like so Laura Petix 28:37 is it like a cancel out kind of thing? Where is it like if you’re producing Speaker 1 28:42 a volume like okay, it turns the volume down on the receptor. Okay, Laura Petix 28:46 basically your ratio that people would want to shoot for is more CBD than THC. If Speaker 1 28:53 you’re high anxiety person I would absolutely say that like your if you lean if it’s giving you anxiety right and I would say whoa back away from that THC. You’re maybe in your second window here we need to like you know even even it out and I was I’ve experimented with a lot of different ratios of CBD and like the ones that seem to me personally my own experience be noticeably different is ratios of 20 to one so that’s like a lot more CBD than THC. That’s basically half that’s basically hemp. Okay, then there would be a ratio that’s like four or five to one CBD to THC. So four or five more THC. That’s like super mellow. And then there’s one to one which is like exactly the same amount like the same amount of both. That one’s very social for me. And then there’s just THC edibles. I pretty much don’t ever do that but that’s because I’m super sensitive sense of anxiety. I yeah, I mean, it makes credibly sensitive to feeling now just feeling that way. So which is all about the experimentation. Laura Petix 29:50 Would you say that so I know for for like an ADHD neuro type. They’re all about those like dopamine hits. Does do THC and CBD have any effect on like those like on serotonin on dopamine on those kinds of neurotransmitters? And is that the mechanism of like feeling good feeling like happier feeling more chill, like kind of those things? Or are they not related or any part of the problem Speaker 1 30:15 there? You have no idea how related. I mean, I personally think that the separation of the systems is just a facade I mean, like we are discovering more and more as we look into the brain and how these systems interact with each other. The more we look at it, the more we see that all of these systems are intimately related to one another. They’re talking to each other all the time. So I usually call the endocannabinoid system like a master regulator of the other systems, it regulates a lot of the other systems, so it absolutely affects it. And then on top of that, CBD actually directly activates a serotonin receptor, it activates the serotonin one a receptor, and that receptor activating it has actually been a pharmaceutical target for anti anxiety, anti depression and anti psychotic drugs. Like historically, like it’s a long, it has a long history as a target. And it’s fascinating because it’s CBD also affects the endocannabinoid system. But it also, I would say its primary target is actually serotonin. And there’s a synergy there between those two systems. And without going into like, too much detail of it. Yeah, what we do and don’t know, is that we do know that there’s a synergy, we do know that there’s a cross talk, we do know that all of these things are constantly interacting with one another. What we don’t know is exactly like we couldn’t say exactly this is what’s doing this. But to tell you the truth, we don’t know that about any drug. So yeah. Does that make sense? Like that makes sense. That’s the illusion, the illusion is that we know it about the other. Right, right. Because all the unknown that there is still in cannabis there is equal unknown in synthetics as well, if not greater, unknown, but it’s just different unknown. Okay, Laura Petix 32:04 that makes sense. So I one message that I got the week that I was talking about edibles and neurodiversity, a lot of people sent me messages about a risk for increasing signs of schizophrenia, or developing schizophrenia. And I don’t know where that was coming from, if you could explain that, oh, you’re listening. Speaker 1 32:24 There’s a lot of history behind linking cannabis to psychosis. And whenever I talk about this, I want to like let it be known that like, the stimulants are also linked to psychosis. And we never talked about that. And that people are prescribed stimulants from their childhood, and are very dependent on them, which is okay, because they’re incredibly helpful for people. And they can be incredible medicine, and they should be used. And there shouldn’t be a shortage and there shouldn’t be a scarcity of them either. But at the same time, at the same time, they also, I mean, stimulants are linked to psychosis, like meth is like clearly linked to psychosis. And these prescription pharmaceutical stimulants are very, very similar. Now, we’re not using them at the same doses, et cetera. But I’m just, I want to posit it out there that there are other there. There are other risks that come with this as well. But cannabis and psychosis, the link to it, is that there is a strong correlation. And I will not deny it, there’s a correlation between people, especially people who use cannabis young, and continue to use cannabis throughout the rest of their lives. So basically, me like, I’m a great example of this exact demographic, okay, that there is something like between a two and fourfold percentage increase. So the general population is chances of getting schizophrenia or something like point 2%, or something like that. They’re pretty low. Like if you’re, if you’re a Gen pop, you have no, you have no genetic link to it. Right? Like, like, yeah, the general, the general percentage, it’s pretty low, it’s less than 1%. And then, if you are someone who started using cannabis, like as a teenager, you use it heavily. You’ve used it every single day, you continue using it for the rest of your lives, someone like me, that percentage will jump up to like, I think it’s somewhere between two and 4%, depending on what study you’re looking at. So that does mean that there’s a strong correlation. There’s a big correlation there. Right? Laura Petix 34:10 Not causation. Very important distinguish. We Speaker 1 34:15 just don’t know whether or not as causation and the argument there that I bring forward is that you cannot identify the people who would not go on to be schizophrenic, or who are as I am, what would be could be classified as far as episodic remission. So yeah, it all depends on the framework of how we’re looking at, like, how can we collect this data and, and has it even been collected? I still say that to me. And just this comes from my personal experience, and also from my community, that we need more information. And we do need to look more into this because it’s absolutely true that what we are identifying here is a vulnerable population, a population that often has trauma, a population that often has a genetic link to neuro divergence, like different types of neuro divergence, a population that typically struggles with substance use, we’re just seeing multiple social vulnerabilities overlap. And cannabis happens to be an indicator of that, like cannabis is an indicator, or can be an indicator of social vulnerability. And that’s something that I think needs to be researched more, but it’s not known. And it’s, it is positive, like, it’s known that there’s a cause for this, it’s, it’s not known that that’s the cause. It is known, perhaps, to me that there’s a therapeutic benefit, that then a socially vulnerable population, who experiences that therapeutic benefit will continue to use it, and potentially also that, because you’re at a higher risk, I do think neurodivergent people I say this often neurodivergent people can be more vulnerable to like escapism to, you know, having such high stress and high anxiety in our lives, that self medication is something that needs to be monitored, like very closely, and that we need to have a lot of tools and a lot of like support systems and a lot of inherent knowledge to be able to navigate that and I hope that it becomes more available, especially with cannabis, because people will try cannabis or if if you’re scared to try cannabis like, you can do it in a way that is so safe that you start off with feeling nothing and then you work up to it right? Like that’s, that’s so different than what it’s posited as of oh, it might cause you to go psychotic, like the first time you take it, it’s like no, that’s like not, you could, you could completely you shouldn’t say completely eliminate any risk because there’s always risk to everything we do like stepping out our door. But if you could reduce the risk of that to be where it is literally like a non concern, like I would reduce the risk of that by a million and billion fold just by understanding that you’re not going to take like 100 milligrams to the face. You’re not going to like your first time be like I’m gonna do a dab like Yeah, right. It’s like, like, and like don’t do that anyone. Laura Petix 36:58 The population that’s listening to this are very overly cautious, responsible parents who literally just want to try it in moderation as like I say, it’s like, you know, when you look forward to it at the end of the week, and you have like a glass of wine or it’s like a Friday like Oh, such a long week let me let me have a glass of wine or a couple beers like it’s it’s that we’re not talking about like except we’re not talking to teenagers here. We’re not talking to parents who are going to pick this up and do this every single day all day. And yeah, you know, people out there listening know your history with trauma, you know, your history with drug abuse, or addiction in your family and mental illness, all of that you take into consideration but if you generally feel like none of that is an issue and you’re just looking for an option to quiet your mind or to feel I call it melty, I love feeling melty and my couch at the end of the night and just to literally slow down my brain. My brain works so fast, it is exhausting. And that’s what I want to encourage parents to do. I would love if we could touch on so some of the most common neuro types that for parents who listen that that are that are here in the audience today are a lot of the audio HD community so the mix between autism and ADHD and those specific that specific neuro type anxiety and then just this general like overstimulated touched out parent who’s probably undiagnosed, but it’s very, very just sensory overload by the end of the day, right? Do you have specific recommendations for each of those neuro types that you know work best for you know, like you said, a hyperactive mind a sensory seeker, a sensory avoider? Anxious sprains like to have like go twos, if you were to tell each one of those people place to start? Speaker 1 38:44 Yeah, this is this is a fascinating one. And again, this is just like, this is a mix of personal opinion and like community experience from other neurodivergent adults who shared I did this when I did the neuro divergent cannabis survey. And I got responses over 600 people wrote me individual responses about like, what helps them how it helps them and I was like, I read every single one and I gotta shut up it was just so incredible because the the key there are key takeaways that are just general truths, right, like of the high anxiety. One is the easy one. high anxiety people definitely try CBD. Definitely try CBD and try it in doses that are relevant. So if it’s an isolate, you are going to have to use a lot like don’t be afraid to do like three droppers of CBD, you’re not going to feel like yeah, pretty much but then again, you could work up to it right? So that you know, but like if you if you take one dropper and you don’t feel something within an hour, take another one. You know, like, and for high anxiety people like CBD is incredibly helpful. There’s another type and I’m gonna throw out another molecule in here. So now we’ve got THC, right? We’ve got CBD and now there’s CBG This is the third one. I will stop. Oh, yeah, we talked about CBN as well. There’s another one there. There’s a lot there’s a here’s another one. CBG seems to help people with Focus So mood and it seems to be something that is really beneficial for people in a way that’s somewhat stimulating, but also decreasing anxiety. And there’s been a few papers that have been published. My group just published a case study, I think it might be the first of its kind of a case study of combining CBD and CBG for anxiety. But it also just from the community is people are benefiting a lot from it in terms of like, focus, like it’s decreasing the overstimulation that then allows you to function and execute. I struggle with attention and I’m probably in the audio HD mixed. Yeah, mix of everything group as well. And the overstimulation can come in in different way could affect you in different ways. I guess. I think there’s all these different ways that being overstimulated Can, can cause us to like have challenges where it would be better for us to be less stimulated environments and focus and productivity is definitely one of them. For me, and so CBG is hemp, so it’s classified as hemp, and it’s under the hemp umbrella. It’s federally legal, and it’s available for people to buy online. It’s a useful place again, it’s another place that I would suggest people with anxiety try to start with is hemp CBN is another one because again, all of these that I mentioned, CBD CBG, CBN, they’re all less, like intense, or psychoactive or less, like less altering the THC and THC would be yes. Right, right. And so they’re a good place for people who have anxiety to begin their experiment with. And then they could like add small amounts of THC back into it. And you could eventually get to the point where you’re mixing your own ratios of everything. I know that for a lot of people who end up benefiting a ton from cannabis. Because if you start using it, and it really does benefit you there isn’t anything wrong with using it every day, it is just like a pharmaceutical and that way could be beneficial. And for people who end up with lack those levels of therapeutic benefits, you end up finding that you can tune your ratios on like a daily basis, you end up knowing enough about yourself and about the medicine that you know when to like have different things. And that would be something I’d say for the Adi HD community that is like, there’s different needs every day. In general. Yeah, yeah. In our community. Like I, yeah, it’s hard. There’s different demands every day, you know, knowing Laura Petix 42:24 more what level of impact you need, if you need help with focusing if you need help with, you know, racing thoughts if you need help with sleep, what about like people who want to be more comfortable, like socially, I think that this is the anxiety one, Speaker 1 42:42 this is going to depend on the person. Exactly. Yeah. Like, I would not suggest for anyone who is like me, but then it’s like to find out I know, tons of people who like the only way that they want to socialize is to be like, like with edibles specifically. Yeah. So it’s, I think that I would suggest that everyone who’s trying it for the first time, try it in a safe environment on your own with no obligations. No, like, no, like, you know, at the end of the day, like things are done. Like you don’t have to feel that looming responsibility if something else might happen and starting at lower doses, and so that you can understand how you feel. Because once you’re comfortable, absolutely. I mean, like I socialize all that I pretty much well, one of the things cannabis gave me was the ability to form connections to other humans. Like I didn’t fully form social connections until I started using cannabis and that was how it saved my life. I mean, my friends have saved my life over and over again. And like Maya, would you say that that’s Laura Petix 43:37 because you were connecting with them over cannabis is are you saying using cannabis sort of like opened up your vulnerability to make friends your bravery to like talk and like, share things, all of Speaker 1 43:49 those things, unmasking, allowing mask and then the last thing too is that we actually know that the endocannabinoid system controls oxytocin, specifically in social reward behavior. Oh, interesting. And oxytocin is the love hormone. Yeah, yeah. moms know Laura Petix 44:06 that. Yes. Yeah, sure. I’ll yeah, so we love we love oxytocin over here. Speaker 1 44:12 So cannabis, the endocannabinoid system is involved in that signaling specifically in social reward. And so I literally felt different, like I felt different, being able to connect with other people. And then the another thing is over stimulation, which we were just talking about with the type of people that if you reduce the sensory overstimulation, then all of a sudden also like there’s less pain, there’s less pain, there’s less otherness and you are more able to connect to another human. They are more able to be something that you’re focused on in a relaxed state, because you’re not in pain or in like Laura Petix 44:50 overthinking what you’re saying and like, yeah, room Speaker 1 44:54 all of that meeting or I can have communication barriers where he’s like, I’m not able to speak when I become very stressed out, I’m sure like, cannabis has helped me a ton with that it helps to allow you to like, it is a good way to relax and to, you know, be able to unmask. And I’ve definitely found that that’s been helpful for me socially. And it’s been a huge thing in in my life. And it’s very, very common. So I think people absolutely could in terms like replacing alcohol, like you could have like a cannabis beverage. But I would suggest that you be more comfortable and experienced by the time you introduce other people into that, because sometimes that could give you anxiety. People have social anxiety, right? Like? Laura Petix 45:39 Absolutely, absolutely. I agree. So with the recommendation for parents to just try, just be open minded. What is one thing that you wish, had on a free how I want to phrase this? I guess I’ll just phrase it by saying, if there’s something that you could tell that if a parent was sitting in front of you right now, and was like, Miyabi, I am so overwhelmed with parenting, I’m feeling so guilty for even thinking that I need to try something at the end of the night. I love my kids so much. But I’m so exhausted, I’m so burnt out. Do you think I should try? We eat or cannabis? Like, what would you suggest to them if they were sitting in front of you and was like, so nervous to try it? But you’re like, you won’t benefit from this? Speaker 1 46:30 If they were sitting in front of me? It’d be easy. We just like set it up. Right? They’re Laura Petix 46:35 like, Oh, I got something for you. Speaker 1 46:38 I usually have a plethora of options. No, but I mean, seriously, like, it happens to me often that I meet people in my lives where it’s like, you know, this could be a huge benefit. And like, there are ways that you should feel empowered to go about it. And I want to throw it out there that neurodivergent that, like parents of neurodivergent children often have their have challenges of their own, on top of the fact that it is difficult. I was a neurodivergent child and like, I am not a parent, and I’m looking but I look back on my parents like I I look back on the experience. Like it’s not easy. There are challenges and like you, of course love your children. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have your own needs. Like oh, Laura Petix 47:21 amen. Oh, 100%. And yeah, and Speaker 1 47:24 then parents are put under this Glassware like you expect it to be, you know, you’re expected to be always one thing you need to be able to be yourself to, like, yes, and process that I mean, I feel really strongly about all my friends who are parents, like, love their kids to clearly you know, love them. And, but you know, you you do need time to to be yourself and that there, there are demands that demands and needs and stresses and responsibilities that you don’t have to feel guilty. That that’s a lot. And also in terms of like needing something to relax or unwind, like, you know, the different demands and different levels of stress. They make it more difficult to relax, like if all of us were billionaires, and were able to like, go out on a private yacht for my lunch or something right now like, yeah, I probably would feel a little different about my stress. Yes, Laura Petix 48:12 yeah. To resources. Everyone has different resources. Yeah, right. Speaker 1 48:16 There’s different needs. And so I think that cannabis is absolutely helpful to a population of people, like a parent was telling me that I’d be like, do not feel guilty about this, this is so helpful to so many people, and how many people use it responsibly to increase their quality of life. And you would never even need to know if you didn’t want to disclose it, you shouldn’t have to, and that it is a medicine. You Laura Petix 48:38 should never feel guilty about your needs or your experience of being a parent, you can’t feel guilty for being burned out at the end of the day and meeting some some external support to feel that. That brings up one last question for me. So in the neurodiverse, in the neurodivergent community, we talk about being neurodiverse. Affirming, and, and each, you know, honoring the brands exactly as they are and it’s not our goal to rewire or change our child’s brain. Right? That’s big, loud message out there. So I hear a lot from adult neurodivergent people who get confused and they’re thinking, if we’re using this Are we masking if we’re are we using THC and CBD to mask our neurodivergent traits? And is then that not neurodiverse? affirming? I said, Oh, you know what? That’s a really great discussion. I see it differently than that, but I could see how people think that so I’m curious about your opinion on that. Speaker 1 49:36 Yeah, it’s this is a hard this is a hard one because like at what point does masking increase your quality of life or those masking or having like the ability to relax or navigate like a typical environment or society allow us to then feel like we’re able to then contribute more we’re able to be better parents or we’re able for me to be like a better scientist better spouse like it’s It’s a complex conversation because i Since becoming like coming out about being neurodivergent, since entering the advocacy space and being surrounded by people who finally look at my brain and say, Yeah, I can see how that’s great and also challenging, you know, like, that has changed my world. It’s changed my life. And in a positive way, I very much believe in neurodiversity affirming language. That is the curriculum that my spouse creates. That’s what does, yeah, but it’s hard within even within science and medicine, like the world is not neurodiversity affirming as much as we in our little bubble would like to remain in our little bubble of all neurodiversity affirming people. That’s not the universe that we have to exist in that we have to wage gain, and that we have to continue to navigate so that we could have a roof over our head and food on the table and provide and that, I think that it is possible for cannabis to be a tool that is both useful, and it’s possible for that same tool to potentially be detrimental. It’s the same thing with anything. So same thing with like, like, all things are possible to be used and access. And I think that when we look at that, we start to say, okay, like, is this masking? Are we forcing ourselves to be in a different neuro type by that way? Like, the question is, like, for me, like, it’s all about, like, navigating, like, if I’m changing my brain chemistry, like this is something that’s intentional that I have self determination over. But it’s a lot of it has to do with framework and framing, right. Like for me, I took 11 months where I didn’t use any cannabis whatsoever. And I recorded everything that happened to me in those 11 months. That’s actually how I got diagnosed on the spectrum was then I brought that information. Laura Petix 51:39 Wow, that’s fascinating. Yeah, he was really smart. Unknown Speaker 51:43 He was like, That’s autism. And I was like, Laura Petix 51:47 looks like no criteria. Speaker 1 51:49 So so very much. So cannabis is helping me to mask right. It literally decreases my sensory overstimulation, it decreases also, for me, like PTSD stuff, and like sleep issues, like it’s decreasing a bunch of things that do then make me more typical passing, because my quality of life is hot as higher, and therefore my disability is less effective, or it doesn’t affect me as much. But for me, personally, that’s really important to me that I have a high quality of life, it’s very important to me that I’m happy and healthy and stable. And it’s absolutely something that I think is like a beneficial tool, that everyone should be able to make up their own minds for themselves. Like, Laura Petix 52:28 that’s the key there, right, is that you’re choosing it for yourself versus a parent or teacher who is like, trying to fit this neurodivergent child and make them change to fit neurotypical classroom or standards or anything like that. So that’s, that’s the difference when it’s your own your own agency and choice over. Speaker 1 52:47 And I think when it comes to children, that’s another difficult I mean, and even young adults, it’s difficult to have informed consent when there’s disability involved. But that’s a hard place to navigate. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look at these with like, no one would say that about pharmaceuticals, I find it I think that it would be very rare for someone to say that about their, about their pharmaceuticals, right. And so it’s just I think it’s it’s about this perspective, where we don’t treat it with the same seriousness or with the same validity when it really does. It really is a powerful medicine. And it’s not toxic. And it works for so many things like like the molecular mechanism behind the anti inflammatory effects alone, explain enough to just be like a giant swath. So it’s, it’s important, but it gets out there because it has so much potential to help people and I really think that like, especially in the neurodivergent space like overstimulated, hyperactive minds, that right now because of the internet because of social media, we are because the world, we’re even more overstimulated, and stressed and taking on even more in changing economies that are like even more like this is this is stressful, okay. And, like, the brain, the brains who are thinking a lot are under a lot of stress. So yeah, ya know, and for, for me, like cannabis is a no brainer. For a lot of people. It’s not for everyone. I would say in the neurodivergent cannabis survey, I had something like a 2% response rate where they were like, it’s not for me, but I wanted to respond to your survey. And like, wait, you know, thank you. Yeah, so it’s probably a little higher than 2% because you know, most people who respond to the survey public Follow Me Laura Petix 54:34 want and wanted to say that why these are the people who don’t use it probably didn’t respond. So that makes sense. And yeah, and that’s our that’s our goal here. Again, not saying everybody should try it. But if you are curious, but you are afraid, I hope that this information helps you make a more informed decision or at least gets you more curious about learning more about it and being more open minded. Well, I thank you so much for your time. I learned a ton today. Where can people continue to learn from you if they want to dive deeper into the science behind CBD, CBD and cannabis. And you also did a recent neurodivergent Conference, which looked awesome. I sent it to my cousin, who’s super into this stuff, too. And I was like, This is so cool. Can you tell us more about where to find you? And if people want to follow you or learn more about your work, where can they do that? Speaker 1 55:22 Yeah, so I’m on LinkedIn, which is actually the only platform that doesn’t censor for cannabis content. So it’s Miyabi. Shields, that also on Instagram at Miyabi, PhD, just all one word. And if you want to look at the nonprofit that we’re currently using research, and our plan is, we have so far the only known dataset on neuro divergent cannabis users. And we need to start talking about the unique needs, like we have unique medical needs, we have unique legal protections that we need, we need to start talking about these things. And if you want to learn more about where I’m going with that part of my research, it’s actually And I’ll send it to you so you can link i’ll put a link below in the description exactly, because people are gonna see as a Laura Petix 56:07 I’m not even gonna try to say that one. But that’s a great place for people to participate. If there’s any neurodivergent people here who are already using cannabis and want to participate in that that’s very helpful. Certainly, Speaker 1 56:18 we’re really interested also, like, I really think cannabis helps parents in so many ways with creativity and play and reducing frustration and there’s there’s so many unique things that we need to look into with with parents as well that is stigmatized and taboo. But I will Laura Petix 56:34 volunteer as tribute to that reason, when you want to study that. Let me know. Well, thank you so much, Miyabi it’s been so good talking to you. I can’t wait to follow your work and thanks for all the work that you do. Yeah, Unknown Speaker 56:50 thank you. Thanks for having me. It was great. Laura Petix 56:55 If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review which helps other parents find me as well. Want to learn more from me. I share tons more over on Instagram at the OT butterfly. See you next time.




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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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