C3 Video No. 9: Sunil Pai, MD

Updated: Jun 3

In December 2021, Higher Learning LV™ conducted an exclusive interview with Sunil Pai, MD, a celebrated clinical practitioner, author, and holistic healer who leverages the efficacy of botanical medicines to produce positive outcomes for his patients and readers.

Sunil Pai, MD


Pai is an internationally recognized expert in integrative medicine based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and author of the critically acclaimed 2016 book An Inflammation Nation. He is a lecturer and a contributing author to medical textbooks and scientific journals.


Pai is a practicing doctor who combines an evidence-based approach with more than 20 years of clinical experience. Each year, he educates thousands of physicians and medical professionals about the nuanced biochemistry involved in the administration of hemp-derived cannabinoids and terpenes for the treatment of a variety of disease states and conditions.


The Pai interview was exceptionally informative. As such, it is being published as two separate videos.


Below is Part 1 of the Pai interview (20 minutes) 👇🏽

Theme song Copyright 2018-2022 JoRoPo Records. All Rights Reserved.


Below is Part 2 of the Pai interview (17 minutes) 👇🏽

Theme song Copyright 2018-2022 JoRoPo Records. All Rights Reserved.


Sunil Pai, MD Interview

Higher Learning LV: "You specialize in treatment of diseases and conditions based in inflammation with a number of botanical solutions, including cannabis. What do the cannabinoids produced by hemp and cannabis provide that is unique among plants?"


"The cannabinoids produced from hemp and cannabis are unique as they are closely related to our own endogenous system of production of those molecules. Therefore it is close to being a bio-identical ingredient that comes from nature that is the most similar to what our own body produces."

Sunil Pai, MD: "The cannabinoids produced from hemp and cannabis are unique as they are closely related to our own endogenous system of production of those molecules. Therefore it is close to being a bio-identical ingredient that comes from nature that is the most similar to what our own body produces. With this important attribute, it allows for more targeted immune responses when it comes to helping rebalancing the dysfunctions of disease conditions."


HLLV: "There's been much hype surrounding newly popular molecular analogs to delta-9 THC, including delta-8, delta-10, and THC-O Acetate. What is your opinion of these cannabinoids? Are synthetic cannabinoids unhealthy merely because they are synthetic?"


SP: "I personally do not like the industry using these new analogs. The reason is that they have to use solvents and sometimes very dangerous chemicals that can cause harm and even fire.


"These synthetic molecules usually will not have the same benefits as natural molecules, especially when given at higher potencies and not balanced with other cannabinoids. Many companies are trying to provide 'newer' and 'stronger' effects of THC from cannabis and hemp by trying to skirt the 2018 Farm Bill 2018 laws.

Dr. Sun Pai's 2016 book An Inflammation Nation


"However, the intention from the manufactures is to deliver and the demand from consumers is for a stronger component to give THC-like effects directly and indirectly. By not focusing on better growing standards, such as organic and good manufacturing practices (GMP), it allows many companies the opportunity to provide potentially harmful products due to lack of regulation and quality checks.


"This, in turn, hurts the entire cannabis and hemp industry. We are starting to see the push back in many states in the form of bans for delta-8 products. Hopefully this trend will end soon, so that it won't interfere and be politicized by those who want to continue to block legalization of cannabis and hemp products. Every time the news reports a bad case from these types of products, it places the opportunity for federal legalization further behind."


"Since the beginning, I have been an advocate for the 'start low and go slow' approach. This is because, when you review and understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS) at a physiological and immunological level, it is all about a form of micro-dosing, not macro-dosing."

HLLV: "There is much confusion among patients and their caregivers regarding the dosing of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. How should patients with serious diseases—and their caregivers—approach dosing?"


SP: "Since the beginning, I have been an advocate for the 'start low and go slow' approach. This is because, when you review and understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS) at a physiological and immunological level, it is all about a form of micro-dosing, not macro-dosing.


"In brief, ECS receptors are in a 'resting state' in healthy bodies (organs and systems). As the body experiences more dysfunction and disease, those receptors shift into an 'active state.' Therefore, for those who have more chronic and severe conditions, less is needed to stimulate a targeted response.

"Most people who are healthy may actually need a larger dose than those who are unhealthy, not the other way around. I usually recommend starting at doses of about 5-10 mg three times a day to get up to 25-50 mg three times a day—and not more than that.


"In general, I prefer sublingual tinctures as they have more of a systemic and direct immune support effect and softgels for those who need more GI support. I don’t advocate vaping or smoking because these consumption avenues convey dangers such as chemicals with vaping and inflammation with both smoking and vaping. Vaping carts also involves loss of cannabinoids."


HLLV: "What is the endocannabinoid system? How can patients use the cannabinoids and terpenes produced by hemp and cannabis to improve the health of their ECS?"


SP: "In short, the endocannabinoid system is a systemic neuro-modulatory system that plays important roles in central nervous system development and organ function, neuronal plasticity, and the response to internal and external stimuli. The ECS provides immune responses that range from defending to repairing.


"The ECS is comprised of cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2, and others), endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids such as 2-AG and anandamide), and the enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of the endocannabinoids."

"The ECS is comprised of cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2, and others), endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids such as 2-AG and anandamide), and the enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of the endocannabinoids.


"If used appropriately and with guidance, the cannabinoids and terpenes produced by hemp and cannabis are a safe and natural way to support an individual's health. Why? They keep certain aspects like inflammation under control and assist in repairing diseased tissues. The approach would be similar to assisting the body's ability to heal naturally rather than suppressing or masking symptoms, which is often the mechanism of pharmaceuticals for treating the same health conditions."


HLLV: "What are some of the major misperceptions about using hemp and cannabis for better health that you see among the patients in your clinical practice?"


SP: "Many patients that I see in my clinical practice have been misguided by the Internet and social media. Their perception is that hemp and cannabis is a panacea for improving all of their medical conditions. This is completely wrong.


"Anyone who touts themselves as a cannabis/hemp 'health coach' or 'cannabis/hemp expert' that does not have real and certified training in the subject are just salespeople hawking products. They're pretending that they have some secret knowledge that no one else has.

"This is harmful to patients. Many of mine have been misguided by these type of people and have had their health conditions get worse. Healing and achieving optimum wellness is more complicated than consuming just any product, hemp and cannabis included. Many patients also have been misguided to stop their current mediations or to try fad diets or untested dietary supplements.


"Again, each of these areas need training to provide guidance."

"Again, each of these areas need training to provide guidance. When patients come to see me, I can provide them with all of these categories of expertise using evidence-based and clinical experience. This makes all of the difference in the world for truly improving the patient's health outcomes.


"However, the benefits of patients coming into to see me already using cannabis/hemp products leads me to help them understand the benefits of not just using a natural plant medicine, but also use of a whole food plant-based diet as medicine. Once patients understand the benefits of cannabis/hemp, it is easy for them to then explore the integrative medicine approach that focuses on safe and natural dietary, lifestyle, and natural therapies first."


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