Cannabis meets Biohacking meets Personalized Solutions for Optimal Health - meet David Krantz.
Okay, this post is about to reveal some seriously life-changing information that you can use to absolutely transform your health - or simply upgrade your everyday (because there’s nothing better than simple wellness hacks that actually work).
I first came across Epigenetic Health Coach, David Krantz (who also just so happens to be an insanely talented musician), on my journey learning more about cannabis for wellness, and in particular - how your genes can influence your response to cannabis. This guy KNOWS HIS STUFF (& way more that will blow your mind in all of the best ways).
I’ve already learned sooo much from him, including his recommended biohacks - many of which I’ve implemented into my life with much success (e.g. replacing my LED lightbulbs with the incandescent variety - which has worked wonders on optimizing my circadian rhythms and thus sleep, yay!).
Now I’m incredibly honoured to introduce this genius to YOU - so that you can join me in upgrading your health (& learn a little more about my new found favourite topic: CBD).
Grab a coffee (or herbal tea - if you’re caffeine sensitive such as myself), get out your notebook, and make yourself comfortable - you’re in for a whole lotta wholly valuable information. Let’s all take a deep breath, and I’ll let David take it from here…
Q: Please provide a bit of background on how you got into tying in cannabis research with your epigenetics coaching.
A: My coaching mentor, Dr. Dan Stickler, had been heavily focused on how genetics impacts people’s individual response to food, supplements, detoxification, and exercise for about the last 8 years in his clinical practice. When I met him, he was just developing his Epigenetic Coaching training program, and needed some help researching and finalizing some of the training guides. I had an aptitude for understanding the studies and so I spent a couple hundred hours digging into the research and helping him fine tune some of the information in the micronutrient and supplementation portion of his training program.
One day I came across a study looking at the genetic variables that influence the metabolism of THC, somewhat by accident, and it just blew the doors wide open for me.
As I looked more into what was out there, it really started to explain some of the personal experiences I’ve had with seeing how individually people can respond to cannabis. I’ve always been naturally attracted to the plant, and had good experiences with it, and had always been a bit baffled as to way it wasn’t that way for everyone. The information I started finding, in terms of there being real measurable differences that could influence the way people subjectively respond to cannabis, was pretty amazing.
It not only explained some of my own observations throughout my life, but provided a deeper understanding of how the cannabinoid system works from person to person.
Alas, there just isn’t a ton of information out there about this stuff on the internet yet. There’s a good bit of research, but not a lot of people talking about it and making it accessible outside scientific journal articles with tons of impossible to understand jargon. So I felt it’d be a good idea to put some information out there that summarized what the research says in way that’s easier to understand.
And, as I began to start to use this information with my coaching clients, I started to see more positive correlations that matched the research, making it a useful piece of a whole-systems approach to health.
Q: What do we need to know about how cannabis might affect us as unique individuals?
A: Just like any other substance, cannabis effects different people differently. I’d say the biggest thing first of all is that you should trust your body in the way you respond. There’s no right or wrong way to respond, but there are also many variables to consider with dosage, strain, or extract.
Some people naturally have higher or lower levels of their own endocannabinoids, which can impact the general way that you might respond to cannabis. The current theory, supported by genetic association studies, posits that people with lower levels of their own endocannabinoids (that the body naturally makes) tend to do better with cannabis as it helps balance their system out. But, on the flip side, people with higher levels of their endocannabinoids seem to react less positively to cannabis.
Additionally, the way you break down cannabinoids can have a major impact on how much is the right dosage. For example, some people have genetic variants that might cause them to not break down THC as quickly, leading to a much stronger effect from the same dose from person to person. You can learn more about this variant in a gene called CYP2C9 in this article I wrote.
Even though we know a lot more than we did 10 years, a lot of the details are still not yet understood fully. But, the important thing to know is that you could be wired to respond to cannabinoids somewhat differently than your friends, family members, or neighbours.
Q: Most of the research done is on THC - is there anything out there on genes & CBD? While there’s evidence to suggest THC isn’t good for everyone, is the same true for CBD?
A: Right now there’s not many genetic-based studies on how CBD affects people individually. The most well researched and understood component of it is CBD metabolism and how certain people might have different levels of the enzymes that break down CBD. This can significantly impact dosage and is one of the reasons why dosage requirements are so varied from person to person.
I’ve seen a few anecdotal reports of people responding poorly to CBD but the vast majority of people tend to have positive experiences with it. Studies all conclude that it’s non-toxic, safe to use for extended periods of time, and has very little risk of adverse consequences. The main thing that people should be cautious of is if they are on certain medications that might use the same liver pathways that CBD does. CBD is actually a fairly potent inhibitor of certain liver pathways that metabolize certain drugs, so anyone taking prescription medications should definitely consult their doctor first before starting CBD to minimize any potential interactions.
Q: There’s fairly widespread agreement in the wellness world that a “full spectrum” CBD product is always best - do you agree? Is that always the case?
A: I think that for the majority of people a full spectrum CBD oil is going to be the best choice, due to the synergistic effects that terpenes and other cannabinoids have with each other. But, one of the important things to realize is that every brand’s “full spectrum” oil is going to be slightly different depending on the plants they were extracting from.
For example, the type and amount of terpenes (molecules that give cannabis and other foods and spices their flavour) can really vary from strain to strain. Growing conditions can affect this too. Other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN, while usually present in much smaller amounts, can also impact how a particular CBD oil acts on your endocannabinoid system.
On the flip side, pure CBD oil without the other cannabinoids and terpenes is going to provide a more predictable response since you take the other variables out of the equation. But, I think it also may reduce some of the healing potential of the whole plant synergy to use CBD completely on its own.
Ultimately, of the most important things to realize when dealing with full spectrum CBD is that you’re dealing with a plant that can produce an amazing diverse array of different compounds and phytochemicals. Not all CBD oils are the same, and its not to say one is necessarily better than another (as long as its held to a high standard of purity with pesticides and herbicides), but different bouquets of cannabinoids just simply are going to work better or worse for you as an individual.
Q: How can we get the most of our cannabis experience from a wellness and longevity perspective?
A: I think it’s important to put cannabis and CBD in perspective with a healthy lifestyle.
CBD has incredible health benefits, but I see it as a bridge to better health, not a complete solution on its own.
For example, if you’re fatigued or have anxiety and have success (like many people have) with using CBD to alleviate your systems, take advantage of the extra energy or headroom to incorporate even more health promoting things into your life. Regular exercise, good sleep, and high quality nutrition are going to go a really long way in maximizing the benefits you get out of cannabis or extracted CBD. It really is most effective when you enhance an already healthy lifestyle instead of trying to compensate for an unhealthy one.
Understand how you’re wired to respond to certain substances and foods by either self-experimenting or doing some genetic testing can go a long way in really narrowing down what a “healthy lifestyle” looks like for you. We’re really starting to move past the idea that there’s one healthy diet that’s good for everyone, and there’s so many opportunities out there to optimize your health by really focusing on what’s right for you.
If you’ve ever tried a diet or supplement that worked great for your friend or relative but wasn’t a miracle cure for you, then you probably know what I’m talking about.
A lot of people get caught up in what they “should” be eating or doing based on what works for other people. But, ultimately your body is unique and if you want to really maximize the effectiveness of any cannabinoid-based protocol, really customizing your diet and routine to your body and your genes will go a long way.
And, as far as cannabis or THC-containing concentrates go in general, I’d say try to focus on vaping or eating it instead of smoking it when possible. Both of those are overall healthier ways to ingest it, and by not heating and combusting it, you do preserve a bit more of the health promoting terpene content in the plant.
Q: Differences aside, what are your top 5 recommendations that EVERYONE can benefit from?
1. Get in the sun
More and more evidence points to regular sun exposure being healthy and essential for good health. Of course burning your skin is bad and you don’t want to do that. But, there’s a lot of benefits to regular and moderate sun exposure on your skin. A study in Sweden that followed thousands of people for close to 30 years found that less sun exposure was associated with a shorter lifespan. The sun is your friend, don’t believe the sunscreen hype, only use it if you’re really going to burn.
2. Get good quality sleep
Upping your sleep quality is by far going to go the longest way of just about anything you can do for yourself. Practice good sleep hygiene by sleeping in a completely dark room and reduce your blue light exposure.
3. Reduce Blue Light Exposure
This is the first time in human history that we’ve altered our light environment so radically. Light from screens (phones, TV’s, computers) and LED and fluorescent lighting tend to have a disproportionate amount of blue light compared to what we normally would be exposed to. This has a number of negative health effects and even though it seems like it doesn’t matter that much, it really is a big deal. Light is a drug. It affects your system just as much as food, exercise or supplements do. Just like you can have an unbalanced diet that has way too much fatty foods or way too much sugar, your light diet needs to be balanced too. You can learn more about this in this article I wrote.
4. Eat less omega-6 fats and more omega-3 fats.
Unless you’re paying attention, you’re probably getting too much omega-6 fats. It’s not your fault, it’s just how our modern food system has developed. This means eating less fried foods, using less vegetable and seed oils, and upping your intake of wild cold-water fish or supplementing with something like algae-derived DHA if you’re a vegan or don’t like fish. This can help lower inflammation and improve the balance of the fatty acids that help structure your cells.
5. Discover your personal meditation style
Dropping into a place of present moment awareness has so many benefits. Studies have shown that regular meditation actually epigenetically shifts several thousand genes that have health promoting benefits from an immune perspective. And, of course, meditation can help with focus, better emotional regulation, and a sense of connectedness to yourself.
Q: Your ultimate biohack for optimal wellness? (No expenses spared).
A: Believe it or not, my ultimate biohacks for optimal wellness are free. We get caught up in technology but often times the most powerful thing we can do to improve our health is to return to ancestral practices.
Get sunlight, drink clean living water, ground your body by putting your feet on the earth, get out in nature, eat fresh high quality food, hang out with friends that elevate you, see if you can know yourself a little bit more than you did the day before, and figure out how to spend your time doing something meaningful to you.
Want to learn how your genes impact your response to CBD, cannabis, or other foods and supplements? Get in touch with David Krantz and book a complimentary consult to see how you can empower yourself with the right information for your body and your genes so you can get a handle on your health once and for all.