MAR 28, 2019 12:00 PM PDT

The Intersection of Nutrition, Microbiome and Medical Cannabis

  • Medical Director, ForwardGro
      Debra Kimless, M.D. graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Muhlenberg College with a double major in Natural Sciences and Biology. She attended medical school at Rutgers, and residency at Temple University Hospital and is a board-certified Anesthesiologist with a subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine and is recently board certified by the American/International Lifestyle Medicine Board.

      Motivated by her mother who, at the end of her life suffered with intractable pain and who responded paradoxically to opiates, Dr. Kimless traveled the world to learn if medical cannabis could have been a treatment option. She studied under the most respected experts in cannabis medicine and research and has become a passionate champion for medical cannabis.

      In addition to being the Medical Director of ForwardGro, a medical cannabis cultivation and processing company in Maryland, Dr. Kimless shares her knowledge by speaking with physicians and other health care providers, patients and legislators about using medical cannabis as a therapeutic option. She consults with patients, pro bono, treating them with whole food all plant diets and medical cannabis, and collects patient data and presents the cases at national and international conferences and seminars.

      Her passion is to use education to de-stigmatize cannabis and explain how it may be used as an effective medical choice.

      In her spare time, Dr. Kimless enjoys sharing her home cooked whole food all plant meals with family and friends. She will never turn down a cup of coffee.


    Whole food plant-based diets and medical cannabis have shared and continues to share similar levels of scrutiny, doubt, and stigma by the traditional medical community. One reason for the medical community distrusting the science behind whole food plant-based diets, medical cannabis, and the endocannabinoid system may be because the information is not usually taught in traditional educational platforms such as universities, medical schools or other allied health schools, or specialty sponsored medical continuing education conferences. The information is often rejected as hearsay or anecdotal despite mounting evidence that both whole food plant-based diets and medical cannabis can contribute positively as a sole therapeutic modality or in conjunction with traditional therapeutic treatments. There is a lot of public interest in medical cannabis as a solo treatment or as an adjunct treatment for many medical conditions. The question is if evidence shows that medical cannabis is efficacious? There is also a lot of public interest surrounding how diet and lifestyle may help boost the immune system and transform the body into a healing machine. There is evidence linking the synergistic mechanisms of action between whole food plant-based nutrition with medical cannabis leading to positive health outcomes. I will present my methods for treating patients and patient outcomes using case reports as examples. I will support my therapeutic management of patients, combining a whole food plant-based diet with medical cannabis, with evidence-backed information. I will discuss the rationale for the nutrition and lifestyles changes, the importance of an intact microbiome, and explain the endocannabinoid system and its involvement in biologic systems, and the use of medical cannabis.

    This knowledge is imperative for all physicians especially at a time when the world regulatory landscape is changing rapidly. The US DEA removed cannabidiol from the Controlled Substances Act and the World Health Organization is recommending that cannabis and all cannabinoids be removed from DEA schedule I designation.

    Learning Objectives: 

    1. Understand how a whole food all plant diet can transform the body’s internal environment and support the immune system.
    2. Understand how medical cannabis can help to as a therapeutic option as well as help to mitigate side effects from traditional therapeutic treatments.

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