Integrative and Functional Medicine
(Licensed in CA)
San Diego, CA
During this time of the COVID19 pandemic, Dr. Sexton is currently only seeing patients via telehealth.
You will receive an email link just prior to the time of your appointment to join a video conference.
Please let Dr. Sexton know if you don't have this computer capability and she will plan to call the telephone number that you provide.
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!
Michelle Sexton, Naturopathic Doctor
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of California, San Diego
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Sexton is a Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of California, San Diego. She is a physician/scientist, with extensive clinical experience and basic, 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
The overall approach to treatment may include:
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.
Photos & Videos
Click on the image below to hear Dr. Sexton's presentation on her current research at UCSD on cannabis use for chronic pain!
Am I Too Old to use Cannabis?
Research has suggested that cannabis may be rejuvenating for the aging brain!
Many older individuals are accessing and using cannabis for a variety of health needs.
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 users over the age of 50: experienced significantly less "cognitive" side effects than younger users
Less difficulty concentrating
Less difficulty with word-finding
Fewer short-term memory problems
Less likely to have stimulation of appetite (getting the "munchies)
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%).
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.
Dr. Sexton is a technical advisor and editor on the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis Monograph and Therapeutic Compendium
Processing can significantly change the chemical components, as described in this report by Dr. Sexton and her team:
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.
Dr. Sexton's published research on her ongoing
"Cannabis Use Survey"
can be found by clicking on the links (in blue).
This paper on Medical Use of Cannabis is one of the top-cited articles in the Journal: Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research!
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.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Texas Tech University
Bachelor of Science in Horticulture
North American Registry of Midwives
Certified Professional Midwife