• Michelle Sexton, Naturopathic Doctor

    Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of California, San Diego

    Dr. Michelle Sexton

    Meet the Doctor

    Dr. Sexton is a Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of California, San Diego. Her role at UCSD is to engage in cannabinoid research and to bring cannabinoid medicine into the clinical medical curriculum.


    Dr. Sexton is a physician/scientist, having extensive clinical experience and basic science, translational and clinical research. Her clinical work focuses on body/mind healing.


    Dr. Sexton has been helping her patients fine-tune their endocannabinoid systems since 2008 . Her approach is backed by six years of formal study of cannabinoid pharmacology at the University of Washington, in addition to her Naturopathic Doctoral degree awarded from a 4-year accredited institution, Bastyr University.


    Dr. Sexton sees patients for education on utilizing medical cannabis and other naturopathic approaches to treat chronic conditions. The overall approach to treatment may include:

    • Herbs
    • Nutrition
    • Lifestyle changes
    • Self-discovery 
    • Care and feeding of the Soul

    Personal empowerment, renewing connection to nature, and teamwork are central to enhancing quality of life . Dr. Sexton enjoys surfing, swimming, gardening, guitar-playing, giving back to the community, grandkids and engaging in life-giving outdoor activities in her spare time!

    Dr. Sexton graduated from Bastyr University in 2008. She completed NIH-funded pre-doctoral (T32) and post doctoral fellowships (F32) at The University of Washington in​ the Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. There she examined the effects of Cannabis on immune parameters in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. She is an internationally recognized scientist with research published in peer-reviewed journals. Recent projects include documenting the natural history of administration of Cannabis to pediatric patients and a Cannabis Use survey.

  • Naturopathic Doctor

    Integrative and Functional Medicine

    (Licensed in CA)

    San Diego, CA

    In the Pacific Beach neighborhood of SanDiego

    Phone: 619-940-5686

    Address: 1001 Garnet Avenue

    Suite #220

    San Diego, CA 92109


    Located in the Healing Arts Massage and Wellness Center

    Entrance faces Cass Street

    (next to the alley on the South side of Garnet Ave.)

    Parking available behind the building


    Dr Sexton offers a 10-minute phone consult at no cost

    for you to assess whether this approach is a good fit

    for your healthcare needs. Have your questions ready!


    You can find Dr Sexton on Facebook, Instagram and Linked-In


    Doctor Sexton also schedules consultations by Telehealth for those at a distance or unable to travel.

  • "Happiness depends on ourselves"


  • Areas of Practice

    Anyone can initiate patient care with Dr. Sexton for a patient-centered,

    integrative approach to wellness.


    Dr. Sexton provides a novel assessment, based on endocannabinoid system function, one that modulates pain, hunger and metabolism, sleep, adapting to stress, the ability to store and recall memories, abolish negative ones, and to protect the body from chronic infection or inflammation. There are many strategies for addressing what could be considered "endocannabinoid deficiency" or excess.


    Through a "functional" approach, we work together to address multiple systems

    to treat root causes of disease, not symptoms.


    Naturopathic medicine works to stimulate the body to heal itself. This approach can help minimize or eliminate pharmaceutical medications. Dr. Sexton may also order laboratory analysis to enhance diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition.


    Help for digestive and gastrointestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Crohn's Disease, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, indigestion, metabolic syndrome. These conditions can been addressed by assessing endocannabinoid system function in conjuction with other appropriate diagnostic information.


    Sleep disorders are the most common clinical problems encountered in medicine, with quality of life significantly impaired. Sleep disturbances disrupt out body's internal clock, leading to a host of health problems. Balancing biochemistry and hormones for restful nights and peaceful days are Dr. Sexton's approach for difficulty falling, or staying, asleep, REM sleep behavior disorder, restless leg syndrome and general insomnia.


    Guidance on restoring stress resiliency that is disrupted by daily or acute stress. Anxiety and depression are often symptoms of chronic stress, and endocannabinoid function is associated with the ability to adapt to stress. Using a comprehensive approach to stress reduction and promotion of stress resilience, we will seek to balance your neuroendocrine function. This may include testing for neurotransmitters.


    Strategies for protecting the brain and improving cognitive function. Treating neuro-Inflammation is a key component for optimal brain function. The endocannabinoid system is a gate-keeper of the immune system. Being able to extinguish traumatic memories is also an endocannabinoid function.


    Integrative approaches for addressing autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus are examples of the immune system being out of homeostatic control. Botanical medicines are a safe approach for treating these conditions.

    A Different Type of Perfect

    Perspectives for treating the whole family for bringing wellness, quality of life and joy to those living with autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, PANS and PANDAS and genetic disorders.

    Women's Health

    Dr. Sexton has been serving women, first as a midwife, since 1993. Having navigated the range of womens' experiences herself, and having treating many women, she is uniquely poised to address health across the lifespan for women. The endocannabinoid system functions in reproductive tissues plays roles in hormonal balance as well as mental health. Natural approaches for specific women's needs are central to Dr. Sexton's care.

  • NEW: Products that can support

    Endocannabinoid Function!

    Ethanolamines occur throughout human biology, however we cannot synthesize it so must get it from external sources. This helps us produce the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA).

    Ethanolamine can also help us to convert choline to Acetylcholine,                               an important neurotransmitter for cognitive function.  

    Nootropics are compounds that can support cognitive function.

    If you need help with implementing nootropic therapy,

    please schedule an appointment with Dr. Sexton!

  • Photos & Videos

    Click on the image below to hear Dr. Sexton's current research on cannabis use for chronic pain!

    Cannabis and opioid reduction for chronic pain

    Does cannabis help with pain? Watch this video to learn more about the evidence on this topic. Dr. Sexton presented this at the Center for Medical Cannabis Research 2019 symposium at the University of California San Diego.

  • Am I Too Old to use Cannabis?

    Research suggests that cannabis may be rejuvenating for the aging brain!


    One of the medicinal compounds in cannabis

    Affects nerve cell "plasticity", or adaptability

    Facilitates release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can improve cognitive function.

    Up-regulates KLOTHO, which is an anti-aging compound

    Restored cognitive function in older mice

    May be an approach, at low dose, for addressing cognitive impairment!

    Effective as a pain reliever

    Cannabis Acute Effects

    in Older Individuals

    (Click on the link to read the original research)

    Dr. Sexton and colleagues surveyed cannabis users and found differences in acute effects in older individuals compared to younger users!


    Less difficulty concentrating

    Less difficulty with word-finding

    Less forgetful

    Fewer short-term memory problems

    Less likely to have stimulation of appetite (getting the "munchies)

    A Survey of Cannabis Acute Effects

    CBD: Older individuals in our study were more likely to be "shopping" for cannabis with high CBD, which means it is lower in THC content.

    Another healing compound found in cannabis.

    May allow for lower dosing of THC to be more effective

    Reduces side-effects of THC

    Has anti-inflammatory potential

    Has been shown to have anti-anxiety effects

    May have antioxidant effects in the brain

    Not likely to have strong effects on pain

    Effective doses may vary



    Cannabis As A substitute for Prescription Drugs

    The use of medical cannabis is increasing, most commonly for pain, anxiety and

    depression. Use of prescription drugs may be decreasing

    in states where medical cannabis is legal.


    In this survey, 46% reported using cannabis as a substitute for prescription

    drugs. The most common drugs substituted were narcotics/opioids (35.8%),

    anxiolytics/benzodiazepines (13.6%) and antidepressants (12.7%).


    See the peer-reviewed publication!

    Not only "patients", but also adult users, substitute cannabis for pain medications, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs, among others. Women are substituting 4x more often than men. There are gender differences in the response to cannabis.



    American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

    Dr. Sexton is a technical advisor and editor on the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis Monograph and Therapeutic Compendium.



    "Cannabis as a Substitute for Prescribed Pain Medications: Theory and Clinical Practice" is a talk Dr. Sexton gave in June 2017 in Melbourne Australia at the United in Compassion Conference.


    Schedule with Dr. Sexton

    to learn more about a personalized approach to your health

    and for professional help

    with withdrawing from prescription medications.



    Processing can significantly change the chemical components, as described in this report by Dr. Sexton and her team: 

    "Evaluation of Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Content: Cannabis Flower Compared to Supercritical CO2 Concentrate"


    Vape-pens may not be the best choice for patients, when accessing medical cannabis. One reason is that pesticides may be concentrated along with cannabinoids and terpenoids. Another reason is that "excipients", added ingredients to make the concentrates pourable, could be harmful to health. Third, the "name" of the chemotype may not really describe what is in a vape pen cartridge.




    Cannabis Use Survey - Michelle Sexton ND

    Dr. Sexton's published research on her ongoing

    "Cannabis Use Survey"

    can be found by clicking on the links.


    This paper on Medical Use of Cannabis is one of the top-cited articles in the Journal: Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research!


    "A Cross-Sectional Survey of Medical Cannabis Users: Patterns of Use and Perceived Efficacy"


    "Sex Differences in Cannabis Use and Effects: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Cannabis Users"


    You can purchase Dr. Sexton's Book "Cannabis Use Survey" through Amazon. This book contains the raw survey data: uncensored and unedited responses of cannabis users. Readers can experience the full impact of the frustration or appreciation of users, while also getting a feel for the education and life experience of cannabis users at large.


    Bastyr University

    Bastyr University


    Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

    Texas Tech University

    Texas Tech University


    Bachelor of Science in Horticulture

    North American Registry of Midwives Logo

    North American Registry of Midwives


    Certified Professional Midwife