We’ve been trying to get Dr. Cali Estes onto the show for a while now, but destiny seemed to always get in the way. Well, we could call it “destiny”, but “being incredibly busy” seems the more accurate term. Cali is certainly incredibly busy, and when you talk to her you get a sense of boundless energy emanating from her voice. In fact, at the time of talking, Cali was rushing about town and putting that energy out to the world. Here’s what she had to say …
How and why did you get into coaching and therapy?
I’ve been doing this for 21 years. I started off in a prison, and I kind of went from there. I was an SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) agent, so I did all my internships in a prison. My mentor was an ex-CIA agent. So I learnt body language, and they put me with the addiction guys, which I didn’t want to do, but was kind of my only option.
Then I spent the next ten years on projects for the working poor with nonprofit organizations. I worked with prostitutes, drug addicts, street people … I got tired of not making any money! So I started my own private practice and decided I was going to work with more high-end clientele. I’ve been doing that since 2012.
Would you agree with the idea that cannabis is medicinal?
I do. I use cannabis to get my guys off of opiates, as opposed to using Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone), methadone or any of that real harsh big pharma stuff. I would prefer they use medical marijuana.
Do you use cannabis for yourself?
I use the creams and tinctures for muscles. I’m not a smoker and I never was, so I don’t really use it in that way. But all the creams and tinctures, I use for everything.
Is there any particular condition you use them for?
Yeah, I’ve got a bad shoulder that I injured in … Oh God, what year? 1995, maybe? And I was told that I needed to get my shoulder replaced! I refused, and I’ve been doing yoga and meditation and gym stuff ever since. But none of the “real medicines” – none of the heat muscle rubs or anything like that – actually worked. I then found a cannabis product that was phenomenal.
Which particular one?
My son’s best friend has a spa named “Nature’s Root” [the first hemp-based spa in the world, based in Longmont, Colorado]. I use all their herb products! First of all, they come free in the mail, and you can’t argue with free! Second of all, they’re very good!
I’m guessing you use those products to reduce inflammation …?
Yeah, I use it for my shoulder. I give it to my clients for when they’re detoxing and when they ache all over.
Do you think cannabis is a substance unique unto itself? How does it differ from other drugs?
First of all, it’s a plant, so I don’t consider cannabis a “drug” per se. I never have. I only ever thought of it as a natural remedy. People say, “Oh, it’s a drug, it’s a Schedule 1” – I think that’s stupid. Cannabis is no more mind-altering than sugar. So here’s my argument: sugar pings the brain like cocaine, but cannabis doesn’t do that. So sugar is more addictive and worse for you than cannabis! So when people say, “Cannabis is a drug,” I always say in response, “Well, so is sugar.”
That’s an interesting point … The amount of refined sugar and salt in our diets causes more harm to the population than cannabis does …
I got into a debate on the air with a gentleman who was saying that, “Cannabis is no good. It leads to addiction,” and so on. So I said to him that, “Sugar is addictive.” He goes, “Yeah.” Then I said to him, “Well, sugar is more addictive than cannabis.” I went toe-to-toe with him, and I had all of his listeners agreeing with me! He was shocked at the end, because it [refined sugar] really is not a good thing.
You mentioned using cannabis to treat addiction. How many people would you say you’ve treated?
I use cannabis as a detox protocol for all the opiates. Over the past couple of years, I have probably treated over 200. I’ve been doing this for years, and I was doing it before marijuana was recreationally “legal”. Even before Suboxone came out, I was using marijuana to detox opiate addicts.
We would do a combination of, for example, heroin and marijuana in order to get people gradually off of heroin, because it is easier to come off of heroin using heroin than it is Suboxone. Suboxone is a tougher detox than heroin will ever be, but people won’t tell you that! They’ll say, “Go with Suboxone – it’s safe,it’s legal!” But then, why is marijuana not totally legal if Suboxone is? Marijuana is way safer than Suboxone! There’s no detox for marijuana. The worst thing that’s going to happen to you is that you’ll eat, sleep and play the Xbox!
The way they treat addicts at the moment seems to be, “You either take the replacement opioids or become completely clean, or we won’t treat you …”
I think our whole system is antiquated in terms of how we treat addiction. I don’t think we’ve caught up with what works and what doesn’t. We’re all about having these great political meetings where people sit around in town hall, take pictures with each other and talk about it, but we already have an answer that nobody wants to address in cannabis, which I don’t understand. If this is something that works, and if this is something that helps, why have we not made marijuana legal in every state? Why have we not figured it out yet?
As always, our conversation went on for some time longer. There’s so much information that we can barely fit it into one piece! Listen to Dr. Cali Estes talk to Doctor Frank on Wednesday 28 June at 6 pm on UBN Radio or Facebook Live to gleam some more knowledge from this quite amazing lady!