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The Benefits Of Cannabis
Kick-ass, undefeated Martial Arts UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock talks about the benefits of plant medicine for pain. Sixteen years of competition left Frank Shamrock in debilitating pain. Looking squarely at a potential addiction to pain meds, with the encouragement of his coaches and doctors, he took a serious look at Cannabis as solution to his pain and has never looked back.
Cheech and Chong no more
Cannabis has moved away from being merely a recreational drug to being a serious pain fighter. Frank uses a strain of cannabis with high CBD that focuses on the pain and allows him to function in the world without a fuzzy head. There are many new healthy ways to consume cannabis besides smoking a joint.
Open Minded Medicine
If you are struggling with chronic pain, talk to your doctor about the benefits of a non-addictive plant medicine with little side effects. As a great alternative to big pharma, the stores are every knowledgeable about finding the right plant for you to start your personal journey with the guidance of your doctor. Frank Shamrock is sharing this message on his new online talk show and will keep spreading the good news to educate the public about the science behind this amazing plant.
Interview Notes From The Show:
– Hey, welcome back to the Urban Monk. Doctor Pedram Shojai here, talking about some very interesting subjects that have to do with pain. Look, I’ve been a martial artist most of my life, and there usually isn’t a day in my life that I don’t have some body part reminding me of those days. So today, I have called in a mixed martial arts legend to talk to us about his career and his use ofmedial marijuana and what it does for pain and how it has helped him in his life. This, to me, is really, it’s an important piece of this. First of all, you’ve done so much. Welcome to this show, Frank Shamrock, welcome to this show.
– Thanks for having me.
– Give us a little bit of your background of how you got into the martial arts. Everyone’s got a different kind of inception story in this stuff.
– Sure. I started training when I was 22 years old. I’d had a life of crime and issues and social dysfunction. You know, my group home dad sat me down and was, like, “Listen, you gotta get serious “about your life. “Martial arts is a way,” and he basically dropped me off at the gym when I was 22 years old, and then I never left.
– Wow. You found it, you loved it. You said you, life of crime. So you had some things that you needed to get together, and then martial arts kinda pulled you in and became a lifestyle for you?
– Totally, yeah. I grew up in a broken home, home of abuse and addiction. So I learned that crime was a vehicle to achieving success in life. It wasn’t until I turned 18 and that became an adult conversation that I realized that I needed to change my life. I just had not tools. I had no education, I had no opportunity. And martial arts was the opportunity. My dad, wisely, gave me the Dad Talk and took me to the program.
– What kind of martial arts was it when you first got going?
– I was studying submission wrestling, pankration style, which was underneath my brother Ken Shamrock. He had learned this style in Japan. They were competing in a Japanese organization called Pankrace, which was one of the roots of the UFC that is today.
– From there, did you just get into all the mixed martial arts strategy? I mean, you go from wrestling, and the you go into, I mean, you gotta learn how to punch, you gotta learn how to kick. You don’t know what’s coming at you in that octagon, right?
– Yeah, and for me, I approached it very scholastically because I was quite a student, I really enjoyed studying. I figured out early on that it was an underdeveloped art. People didn’t really know how to mix all these things together and create a style. There was a lot of theories, there was a lot of, you know, tough guys. But it was great for me because I was a student and I sat down and I studied it. And I came up with some really good theories and some really good ideas that I eventually turned into my own style, and I was very successful at it.
– What years were you it? I mean, I’m assuming you’re not competitively fighting any more. What years–
– No, no. Yeah, no, I’m retired. But from 1994 until 2010, I was a professional athlete and competitive for 16 years.
– Wow, that is a long run, man.
– That’s a lot of body damage. 16 years is a lot of work.
– Yeah, and, I mean, for a lot of people who aren’t into martial arts, I think we can both confirm that getting punched in the face sucks, right? And it doesn’t get much better. So you get better at defending yourself, but you don’t block every punch. That’s a lot of damage to the body over that many years. So as you started getting better, I’m assuming you won a lot. Your name is out there. I mean, you’ve obviously made a great name for yourself. But the stuff that people don’t talk about when you’re up there hoisting a trophy or belt is what it’s gonna feel like the next morning. And it hurts, man, it really hurts. So when did you start to feel kinda your mortality? You shake off a fight, and after a while it’s, like, you move on. At what point did you just realize that, like, this gift that keeps on giving is still with you?
– I was in my early 30s. I started getting hurt to the point where it wouldn’t just heal from ice and massage and stuff like that. And it really started opening my eyes to just the violence in the sport. It’s an incredibly violent and dangerous sport. I was very lucky when I was young ’cause I was so strong and so athletic. But yeah, about 32 or -3, things started falling apart. The need for pain management, medicine, therapy, triple, quadruple, until at the latter stages of my career, most of my training was therapy, just dealing with the damage that’s being done to me so that I can do my job.
– And your job requires being flexible, agile, quick response, having fast twitch muscles, being able to be there in the moment. And when a body part doesn’t respond when you need it to, that’s a problem when someone’s coming after you. Just out of curiosity, though, what body parts at first started to fall out? Was it ligaments, tendons, muscles? Where’d you start feeling the drag at first?
– Well, first thing was my knees and my hips, because besides all the martial arts, when I was 16, I was diagnosed with scoliosis and spondylolisthesis in my lower spine. I’d broken one of my vertebrae at some point. So there’s tremendous tension in my lower back, my hips, everything sort of overcompensates for this lack of spinal stability. So yeah, by the time I was 30, I was in horrible pain. You know, I was getting prescriptions and recommendations for really powerful painkillers that would not leave me in a position to do business and communicate and work on camera. So I had to start looking for alternatives to my pain management.
– What did you try? I’m assuming everything, chiro, acupuncture–
– Anything, everything, the newest technology. I mean, you name it, I’ve tried it. When you’re in pain, when you’re in constant pain and your job is to perform, you gotta stop the pain, otherwise your job just sucks.
– Right, right. You know, even if you can’t go to your job, everything sucks anyways. Pain’s always there, that’s the hard part. At what point did you look at marijuana as a remedy? And did it start working immediately?
– Well, it was really in my 30s that I started getting caught up with the science. I’d used it recreationally, I’d used it even through self-medication for my own pain and discomfort. But I didn’t really know the science of it. I hadn’t been exposed to it until, like, my early 30s, when, you know, all this technology and all these research studies started coming out. And at that time, I felt very guilty about using this illegal substance, you know, for any purpose, ’cause it’s illegal. But it wasn’t until, you know, I was, like 32 and I’m, like, “Wait a minute, this is real medicine. “This is real medicine stopping pain, curing things,” and I struggled with myself internally but I started taking it, and it was night and day difference. I mean, I could sleep, I could rest, my appetite came back. When you’re in pain all the time, you don’t wanna eat, ’cause it hurts. You don’t feel hungry. So it was, like, instantly my appetite came back, my tension was minimized. I found it to be just night and day different between what they were giving me pharmaceutically and what I could do naturally through ice and heat. Adding the cannabis made all the difference in the world.
– Let me get this straight. I’m, you know, just personal bias. I think that there’s a lot of promise here and I think that it’s a wonderful alternative to big pharma and narco drugs, right? And the jury’s out. It’s not 100%. There’s some studies that say it can mess with your brain and all that. But if you’re in excruciating pain and you’re taking Percocet and you have an opportunity to take cannabis, I mean, it’s kind of a no-brainer. So were you able to pull off the other pain meds and do basically cannabis with ice and stretching and massage, or were you still on some of the other, more potent ones, as well?
– No, I dabbled in ’em for a very short period of time. In that, my pain was through the roof. They were giving me these drugs. And I was saying, “There’s gotta be other ways. “These are hard core drugs.” And I was very lucky to have mentors who had struggled with additions, and who had been down this journey. You know, they were the ones going, “Listen. “This thing is a dead end. “You end up a drug addict, you know, this horrible pain.” So I knew right away, like, “We gotta find some natural alternative to this, “and something that’s not gonna damage me, “to stop my pain.” And cannabis, every time, every time you can rely on it. It doesn’t wipe you out, there’s no hangover. It’s a legitimate painkiller medicine. When I started consuming it, it changed my whole physical structure, because I didn’t have to hold back because I was in pain. I could be more of the athlete that I thought I was, but the pain was sort of stopping me ’cause, like, it only felt go so far with this pain.
– Have you been playing with it? There’s so many, like, I’ve had a couple guys on this show, they’re talking about all these different delivery vehicles now, between dabs and edibles to all sorts of new forms of vapor. What seems to work best? Is there a TC-CBD combo? Like, what’s the magic formula for a guy like you?
– Well, for me, and it’s different for everybody, this is where your personal medicine journey needs to be examined. But for me, I have excruciating pain. And I need to manage that all throughout the day. I use the vaporizer. I use the volcano vaporizer. So I’m not burning anything or combusting anything in my lung, which, by the way, is the worst way to consume it. I’m breathing in a heated plant matter. It goes right into my system, it’s very quick. It lasts for six to eight hours for pain management. Yeah, I’m not smoking anything. That’s why this, America need to kinda catch up to this medicine, because, I mean, they’re still talking about “smoking weed,” and it’s, like, that is the worst and least viable way to consume this medicine. There’s so many better ways for you to consume it that have longer-lasting effects, that are better for your body overall, and that attack the pain better as well.
– How do you manage the high? A lot of people have a hard time functioning and kinda running their days. And look, you know, getting high and having a good time, that’s one thing. But, like, you’re in an office building right now. I’m sure you got shit going on, right? How are you managing the pain while managing the psychoactive components of it so that you can navigate in the real world?
– True, and that’s a great question, and it’s one we hear quite often. I think that’s where the overwhelming misconception is. I’m not getting high. And most of these times, I’m not high at all. But you need a little bit of THC with that CBD to make it work for you.
– So you’re taking a high CBD version with some THC to activate some of the different compounds?
– Yeah. So it’s very rare that I’m getting light-headed–
– [Pedram] Got it.
– I’m feeling. ‘Cause it’s very rare. Sometimes it happens. But unlike the Percocet, I’m not zoned out for six hours. I’m just,after 30 minutes, I’m, like, “Whoa, that was too much.” But it’s a much more manageable pain tolerance experience. Everybody’s different. I think that’s a lot of the problems with cannabis, is it’s hard to get a consistent strain that affects people in a certain way. A lot of people have good trips, bad trips, good medicine, bad medicine. So there’s a lot of mystery about it. It’s one of the reasons why we’re doing this talk show, The Bake Out show, it’s, like, we need to have real conversations about this, because we can’t keep this culture of misinformation, especially when there’s people that really need this medicine.
– Totally. I was just in Boulder, Colorado, for business. I stayed an extra few days to go skiing in Vail. The guy I was with is this CBD guy. He’s, like, “Come on, let’s stop by a smoke shop “I’m gonna pick up some CBD.” I’m from California, technically it’s legal here but we don’t have an industry quite yet. Like, the law hasn’t kinda clicked in. So it was my first smoke shop experience. And I walked into this thing going, like, “Holy crap, man. “It’s like a store, and it’s very well articulated, “and people here are, like, “like, there’s displays and people, like,” it was unbelievable how much knowledge and wisdom there was attributed to this whole industry that, like, I had no idea about. So I think people who don’t live in Colorado and a couple of these kind of early adopter states have no idea about much of this. And that’s a part of it, that’s probably why you’re doing your show.
– Yeah, because the general conception is, we’re smoking weed, we’re smoking grass. That’s been the general conception for, like, 50 years. But with technology now, with the ways to consume it, with what we understand about it, like, we have just gone so much further than that. We need to educate the people as well as, some onus goes back onto the people in this industry. It’s time to stop talking about smoking weed, and it’s time to stop living in the Cheech and Chong era, ’cause we’re way past that. This is a legitimate medicine that’s now being studied. Millions of dollars are going towards the study of it. I think we’ll see over the next five to 10 years a tremendous influx of information coming out of these studies that give a very positive support to the cannabis medicine.
– Oh yeah. I think it was, like, what, the ’40s, a lot of this still got kind of shuttled out. The Israelis did a bunch of the research. Right now, is it AG Pharmaceuticals? There’s 10 of millions of dollars being put into this industry now because people understand that guys like you, who have pain, are actually reporting much better tolerance, much better pain relief, than all these narco meds that are addictive, right? So that, to me, is really interesting. So you look down the barrel of a lifestyle of someone who has chronic pain, and you look at opioid additions. It’s inevitable that, if you start using them, it’s going to become a problem if you’re not very, very careful or your genes are just, you’re just lucky. So, how many people in your industry do you know that were stuck in some opiod downward spiral?
-Pick ’em. I mean, I think everybody experiences it. It’s your coaches, it’s your community, it’s your family, that wakes you up. Because you don’t know. Your doctors are giving you this stuff, you’re in horrible pain. We’ve got a problem in our culture. We’re masking pain. We’re taking painkillers. We’re not taking things to fix us. We’re not taking action to solve it. We’re takingto numb it, to kill it, to put it to the side, and it’s, like, that’s where cannabis has so much hope. All these pills they give you are highly addictive. We are giving our people addictive painkillers. And that just, it makes no sense for anybody but the pharmaceutical companies. That’s the only person that it makes sense for in this day and age.
– You know, the guy that changed my stars when I was bright eyed and bushy tailed at UCLA, pre-med, I was working a pain medicine center. All these people would get carted in in pain and get carted out doped up on morphine. And I was just, like, “What are we doing? “How do we fix this?” And he’s, like, “This is all we got, right?” This is, you know, back in the ’90s, like, “This is all we got.” And it just changed my, I was, like, “I’m out.” I went into Chinese medicine and acupuncture and tried to find other remedies. But there’s also the core issue, right? You have now something that’s non-addictive, that’s helping you with your pain. That’s wonderful. But you’ve got the spondylolisthesis, and you’ve got probably a couple herniations and some things going on in the low back and the hip. And fixing that is a much more complicated matter. Like, those are very difficult things to turn around and correct. Have you done any sort of intervention there to turn that around, or has the cannabis shifted the dynamic to the point where, like, everyday life is cool?
– Well, everyday life is cooler now. And that just took some time. Took me about seven years to kinda heal all the horrible things I did to myself. With that said, now I feel great. Long as I don’t do anything crazy or take tremendous impact, I feel really, really good. What I’m hoping for and waiting for is the technology to catch up, because much like slap tears and shoulder surgery, stuff like that, they should be able to do this surgery soon arthroscopically, where they don’t have to cut me open and cage my spine and all these other things. So I’m fingers crossed, waiting for technology to catch up with me. But I certainly don’t wanna be addicted to all these other stuff in the meantime.
– [Pedram] Got it.
– For me, it’s, I can manage it, I keep my core strong, I have exercises that I do every single day, and as long as I don’t do, you know, x and y, I’m perfectly fine. I’m like a normal.
– And that’s something I think a lot of people need to know. If you had a single level herniation, I think the latest statistic still is about 50% of those people go back for a second surgery. And that’s not a guy who’s, like, been through the blender. You know what I mean? You’ve got a bunch of things going on there. It ain’t that pretty as a single clear herniation. Therefore, the surgery makes very little sense unless you have numbness or debilitating, like, loss of bowel or bladder control and stuff that means, “Dude, you need the surgery right now.” So if there’s something that could hold you off and buy you that time, you’re right. Look, every year, the technology’s getting better. Every year, the surgeries are getting better. So you’re in a pretty spot, ’cause it’s not a race against time with an addictive substance.
– Yeah. And that’s where it’s, like, “Give me a natural medicine that I can take my whole life “and it not destroy me.” ‘Cause I’m a patient. The rest of my life, I will be a patient. I need to manage this thing. And even if I did the surgery, this is why I haven’t had the surgery, every doctor who’s said, “Yeah, get it, it’s gonna be great, “and then you’ll be a patient afterwards. “‘Cause then you’ll have to dealsurgery “and the medicines that are needed to get through that.” So it’s, like, either way you go, I’m a patient. I need to care for myself. And do I take risk or do I do it naturally and manage my own pain and my own health success.?
– Yeah, love it. Have you gotten into, now that the big bruiser days are over and you’re not in the ring, taking punches or delivering them, Tai Chi or Qigong, some of the softer arts?
– Yeah, yeah. As a martial artist, you know your art evolves as your body ages. Yeah, I’m doing some nice stuff now. I took about four years off after the healing, in the midst of the healing, actually. I just, I took some martial arts time off to kind of restructure my whole existence and life. But yeah, now I’m back to doing some deep meditations, there’s a little bit of Qigong, a little bit of energy movements. But, I mean, I thought for certain I would die fighting in a cage in some foreign country, in some crazy knock-down, drag-out fight. So everything after that career has just been a blessing. The fact that I can manage my own pain and healthcare, that I’m healthy, it’s just, I feel so blessed.
– How have you changed as a guy? I’m always curious about guys who get into the martial arts and what drove you. I was put into martial arts ’cause I was just a monkey. Like, I was just ADD and I was put in as a kid. So it’s just part of my culture. I came to it early, but it wasn’t for fighting reasons. It was more for discipline reasons. You got in a 22 ’cause life was different, and you had to make different choices. What fueled you in that cage? What fueled you in there? Was it anger? Was is survival? What was the primal energy that drove you all those years?
– Survival, pure survival. At first it was, “Don’t get beat or beat up,” and then after that, it was, “Win,” because I realized this was my ticket. This fighting thing was my opportunity. And most people, they don’t get that opportunity. Where a lot of people, they had families, they had support, I had none of that. So I knew my success would be built on my time performing in the martial arts. So I put everything into it, and I always performed like I was gonna die in some foreign country. I think that’s why a lot of people were compelled by my brand and followed me and stuff, ’cause the fighting was pretty awesome.
– So you fought with your back against the wall, and you fought for survival. What was your record, by the way?
– 27 and 10 and something. I had a lot of.
– Yeah, titles that you held?
– I was the first ever UFC middle weight champion and retired from there undefeated. I won the World Extreme Cage Fighting championship at heavyweight, I won the Strikeforce Middle Weight Champion, and I’m sure I won some more stuff. But there was a lot of belts and stuff.
– A lot of belts. A lot of belts. You can only wear one at a time. Those belts aren’t designed to keep your pants up, either. They’re heavy.
– Currently, they occupy space in my garage on a nice, clear bech.
– Somewhere in there.
-It’s good to know you still have ’em. For someone’s who’s fighting pain right now, and someone who is struggling with the prescriptions. The good doctors are real reluctant to script this stuff out, ’cause they know, “We know this is a problem.” But with struggling with pain right now, how do you get into this conversation with your doctor, how do you get access to medical cannabis, and how do you learn what is right for you? Because I think most people are stuck in Cheech and Chong. I need a resource if I think this is gonna work for me.
– Yeah, I think the first thing is to be real with your doctor. ‘Cause a lot of doctors are hip to this sort of medicine. My doctor was. My doctor was one of the first ones who said, “Listen, you can’t keep taking those pills. “You need to think long-term here.” So definitely disclose this to your doctor and talk to them about it, because they need to hold your hand in this. And then, after that, it really is a personal experience. The uses are pretty defined. What it does or is supposed to do is pretty defined. So you can find your strain, you can find your oil or whatever it is you need to alleviate your thing. But every body’s different, like we talked earlier. Every absorption is different. You really need to find what your personal medicine is. I think this maybe is what is scaring both big pharma and the general public. Imagine if you could control all of your own medicine. Imagine if you could plant a seed in your back yard and provide medicine for your family. That’s a thought that’s really empowering, but also damaging to big pharma, to other industries that rely on medicine.
– Well, and so they’re hedging their bet. I think there’s a lot of big pharma money coming into medical marijuana. There’s a lot of cannabis investment happening right now. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So yeah, I mean, look, gold standard, grow your own food, grow your own medicine, and screw all of it, right? But you know a lot of us live in a market economy where we need people to grow it and provide it. And now we’re in a weird space. I think someone was telling me Phillip Morris patented the joint, you know what I mean? And there’s all kinds of interests coming into this space for recreational and medicinal. So it is kinda wild, wild west. But look, I mean, you found your blend. You found something that works for you. You’re obviously not high as a kite, you’re on a CBD blend, you know what I’m saying? You can function, right? You’re functioning and you’re doing well with it. So what I’m hearing is, find it, experiment with it, and find the blend that works for you, is kinda the way now?
– Yeah, I mean, pretty much. Like I was saying, we’ve identified the core human ailments that this does attack or help with. So it’s, like, you know if you have hunger, you have pain, you got issues, there’s a specific strain, there’s a variety that will kinda fill that need for you. But it is a personal journey. You gotta find how to consume it, what ways you’re comfortable with. A lot of people, especially with edibles, have a negative experience. They consume too much. Then they’re kind of afraid to go back. They don’t have a good experience. So you kinda need a little support, a little hand holding. And that’s really what our TV show is about. I’ve been consuming this plant for 20-plus years. But I’ve only learned in the past year or so, you know, just the science of it, the technology of it. And I’m like a super nerd. So if I don’t know, imagine what the rest of America doesn’t know.
– Sure, sure. Well, the rest of America thinks it’s evil, right?
– [Frank] Right.
– We had a guy on the show was talking about how, like, cannabis was rebranded as marijuana because there was this isolationist thing that was happening, where they didn’t want Mexican immigrants to come in. The whole thing is just like, it’s in a hilarious saga of a story that’s a politicized plant. There’s a lot of good, bad and ugly. I don’t want teenage kids smoking dope and not doing their math homework. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a high-CBD blend that is incredible for pain that isn’t psychoactive and is doing wonderful things for someone who would otherwise be at risk of being an addict already on pain killers.
– Yeah, and when you look at the controversy behind this plant, when you look at the dual positions of our own government, our government holds a patent on it, but also calls it a schedule one drug with no uses whatsoever medically. So there’s two different positions, and the people are in the middle. They’re the ones not getting medicine, being fed misinformation, and frankly, being fed pharmacopeia instead of natural plants. We sort of evolved on this Earth by using Mother Earth to care for us. As people, we need to get back to some of those things, like protecting our Earth, consuming our medicine, understanding what that medicine is. ‘Cause you don’t know what’s going in your body, you don’t know what’s gonna happen to you.
– Amen, brother, amen. That’s it. And the plants are wise and the plants are teachers. It’s time to really kinda revisit that culturally. Frank, what is the TV show? Where can people see it? Where could people find your work?
– Sure, you can find it online, at bakeout.tv. We are an online show, ’cause it is actually illegal to do a show like this on a network broadcasting channel. So we’re bucking the trend a little bit. But everything will be online, bakeout.tv. Yeah, we’re having real conversations about it. Our first guest is just, when you see it, it’ll floor you, drop you to your knee. It’s a young woman who has basically taken her own health in her hands and saved her own life.
– You know what, there needs to be more and more of those stories getting cameras on ’em. So I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing. Because there’s stories like that all over, but you don’t hear about ’em, especially when pharma commercials are blasting between your regular program network TV. Pharma has overstretched into the media. They control the airwaves and they fund a lot of the TV out there. So this is real grassroots, no pun intended. It’s important that you’re doing this work. Man, again, thebakeout.tv?
– Bakeout. Bakeout.tv, Frank Shamrock, legend, man. Thank you so much for doing the work that you’re doing. I’m really glad to see you on the other side of this, with, like, good cognition, and, like, your brain is with it and you’re doing good stuff for the world. So you really got out of that career and into the next in a way that’s positive, and I thank you for it. That means a lot.
– Oh, thank you.
– Yeah, this is great. So hey, the moral of the story here is, plant medicine, good medicine, if you can apply it the right way. Find your balance, find your medicine, and look for examples in the world of people that are doing things that are supportive of their own health. And, look, we just had a very good example of someone who has seen a lot and taken a lot of punishment body, who’s now thriving because of a plant medicine. So let’s take a look at this, let’s be open minded about it, and let’s look at things objectively. Let me know what you think and if you have any other resources or stories you wanna share, put ’em in the chat thread here. This is Doctor Pedram Shojai. I will see you next time.