During the Pain Revealed series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Melissa Gallagher N.D., and going deeper with her on a variety of topics of great interest to our viewers. Like so many experts we have spoken to, her personal health journey has informed her career decisions and philosophy.

In her early 20s, Dr. Gallagher suffered an acute case of Epstein-Barr syndrome. Frustrated when her physician told her that she would have to wait it out, she sought out other solutions and options.

Her search led her to a practitioner of Chinese medicine who inspired her to leave the corporate rat-race and reinvent her career. She describes this change of course as an amazing blessing!

Much of her practice is now online, and her YouTube channel is a driving force behind it. She has made it her goal to create an online clearinghouse of information on various health and wellness challenges as well as available treatments. 

Chronic pain in its various forms is a huge factor in her practice. In fact, she believes that pain is a national crisis. 

She discussed several approaches to chronic pain, including acupuncture, but homed in on the role that CBD oil is playing in addressing this crisis. CBD oil, she explains, does not just cover up symptoms, but works by balancing out both the central nervous system and the limbic system.

Part of the benefit of CBD is its ability to address the emotional side of pain. Pain is aggravated by anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and CBD effectively addresses all of these. 

She adds, “…we’ve seen the rise of PTSD and the rise of suicide rates. I do believe that CBD can be a really great resource and managing that emotional side of pain to help individuals better balance themselves and feel more like themselves and less detached emotionally.”

Because there are a variety of CBD, hemp, and cannabis products available today, she helps patients decide which of these best fits their needs, as well as how to administer the treatments. She finds that patients are confused by all the marketing that is currently surrounding these products.

Dr. Gallagher advises consumers to research brands carefully, “… conscious consumerism is crucial in terms of identifying products and brands that are going to deliver the right type of product that they’re enlisting on a bottle.”

Some companies, she cautions, are just jumping on a trend and not delivering what they promise.

She recommends that consumers look for a full-spectrum CBD that is subject to third-party testing. Anything with more than a trace amount of THC should be considered unacceptable.

She finds that there is a lot of confusion about the dosage as well, “It’s a wild west, if you will, in terms of what brands are choosing to label and… how descriptive are they being about the milligram dosage per dropper or capsule or gummy or whatever they’re consuming.”

Dr. Gallagher advises consumers to be as informed as possible about where and how their CBD is processed, to make sure the product is clean and free of pesticides and herbicides, and to look for lab testing and quality control of every batch produced. 

To help patients, she created a quiz in which patients respond with their symptoms and issues. This quiz is linked on many of her YouTube videos. The information generated from this quiz will provide a recommendation custom-tailored to the patient’s needs. 

She adds that many patients benefit from the topical application of CBD. It is quickly absorbed into the body and crosses the blood-brain barrier. This method is especially recommended for children, those with conditions that affect the skin, such as shingles, and those who may face drug testing at work and fear ingesting trace amounts of THC.

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