How to Get Superior Health with Dr. Matt Chalmers
By Yuresh Shayzer
August 29, 2023
In today’s episode, our guest is Dr. Matt Chalmers. He is a health and wellness expert, author, and speaker who specializes in the areas of long-term wellness, nutrition, women’s health, weight loss, athlete wellness, and holistic healing. He is also the author of the bestselling book “Pillars of Wellness,” which helps readers cut through the information overload about wellness, exercise, and diet to figure out the actions they can take that will have the greatest impact.
[2:30] Why should I listen to you?
Typically, the conversations I have with people revolve around important health issues. I specialize in various areas that conventional medicine may not address effectively, such as hormone therapy and cardiac prevention. Currently, my primary goal is to combat the opioid epidemic by leveraging the benefits of cannabis and ketamine. Many people either have misconceptions or limited knowledge about the tools we have to combat this crisis.
[3:40] How did you arrive at this point? Can you share the journey that led you to confidently discuss this topic on a podcast?
It's actually quite amusing. I play the medical role in what's essentially a venture capital (VC) company. Our primary task involves evaluating various deals. We work extensively with NFL athletes because they often come across questionable deals and require someone to tell them when something isn't right. So, when someone brought us a cannabis-related opportunity, it piqued our interest. At first, we didn't pay much heed, assuming it was just another offering. However, it turned out that cannabis has incredible medical potential. In fact, it can alleviate pain in 64% of cases, which rivals opioids. This completely changed my perspective on cannabis. We realized that many people were missing out on its remarkable health benefits, primarily due to misconceptions or concerns about smoking or vaping. To address this, we employ a unique technology that allows users to benefit from cannabis without smoking, vaping, or ingesting it. This method provides pain relief without the psychoactive effects. For instance, I discussed in my TED Talk how I used these cannabis strips to help my 10-year-old son recover from surgery without experiencing a high. We've found great success in using this approach to manage pain for various medical conditions. This journey started as a response to the opioid epidemic, and we believe more people should be aware of these alternatives.
[5:58] In your journey of doing this work, what sparked your passionate connection to it? Was it driven by personal experiences, childhood influences, or a desire to help a specific demographic in need?
Interestingly, I have a personal connection to this endeavor, although it's not the primary reason for my involvement. I'll share that connection with you. Back in 2007, I was in a car accident that left me with a broken left foot, a fractured left femur, and my face meeting the car's dashboard, resulting in a severe concussion. To address the pain, I was prescribed opioids. Now, here's where it gets interesting: Due to the concussion, I completely forgot that I had already taken two of those pills, and I ended up taking two more. If I hadn't woken up and realized what happened, I could have been in a dire situation. So that incident is certainly part of my connection to this cause. But the primary reason I'm deeply committed to this mission is my network of connections and driven individuals who share this vision. I firmly believe that if you have the means to make a significant positive impact on people's lives and you choose not to act, it's a tragedy. I have the resources and the drive to make a difference, and I can't let that opportunity slip by. I understand firsthand the challenges faced by individuals in similar situations, and it's a matter of doing our absolute best because there aren't many people with the kind of access we have to make a meaningful change in this field.
[7:56] So, considering that this concept has existed for a while, why do you think it's relatively unknown, and why aren't more people aware of these potentially life-changing treatments?
First of all, cannabis has been unfairly demonized for a long time, which has created a lot of skepticism and hesitation around it. People tend to view it in a negative light. As for ketamine, it's a relatively recent discovery that it can effectively break addictions about 85% of the time. This breakthrough has only come to light in the last decade or so. Despite ketamine's extensive use in pediatric surgery for its safety, its potential for addiction treatment remained largely unknown. We're working to change that by bringing this knowledge to the forefront. While there are ketamine clinics here and there, not many people are aware of its potential in addiction treatment. What sets us apart is that we've developed a technology using sublingual strips that can deliver ketamine safely and effectively. This means we can reach more people and help them overcome addiction. As we continue to share this information through platforms like podcasts, we hope to create greater awareness and meet the growing demand for this groundbreaking approach, ultimately helping more individuals break free from addiction.
[9:25] Could you explain what ketamine is? I've heard of it, but I'm not entirely sure what it is and how it works. Can you break it down for us?
Ketamine serves a dual purpose – it's used for pain management and as an anesthetic to induce unconsciousness. The crucial difference is how opioids and ketamine affect the brain. Opioids impact various brain regions, including the one responsible for autonomic respiration, which controls breathing during sleep. The danger with opioids is that they can suppress this part of the brain, causing respiratory failure and, ultimately, death. That's the primary reason opioids are so deadly. On the other hand, ketamine doesn't interfere with the part of the brain that controls respiration. This is why it's considered a safer option. Ketamine has been a staple in the medical world for some time due to its safety profile, particularly in surgeries where it's used as an anesthetic. Ketamine works by targeting NMDA receptors in the brain. Think of your brain as a tangled string, and NMDA helps straighten it out. When used in a specific regimen, known as a ketamine cycle over several days, it can effectively flush out addictive behaviors. Some individuals have reported that after a five-day session, they experienced a significant reduction in their cravings and addiction, such as in the case of cocaine. In essence, ketamine offers a safer alternative for addiction treatment without the life-threatening respiratory risks associated with opioids.
[15:56] How can we reconsider the demonization of substances like marijuana and psychedelics for potential benefits?
It's fascinating how politics often shifts with public opinion and perception. When it comes to topics like medical cannabis, it's reassuring to see that the vast majority of individuals support expanding doctors' choices for patient care, especially when these alternatives are safer. Public sentiment can have a significant impact on motivating policymakers to contemplate changes in laws. Engaging in nationwide discussions and open dialogues on these topics can help dismantle any existing barriers and clarify misunderstandings. Individuals need to express their backing for policies that resonate with their principles and the welfare of the community. In doing so, we can offer guidance to our representatives and ensure they remain attentive to our shared aspirations and necessities.
[21:10] What does life look like for you?
You know, it's one of those things when you're able to help somebody with something they've never had anyone else help them with. We do this with lives, and we do this with conditions like ulcerative colitis, and more. When you finally fix an issue that someone has been desperately struggling with, it's the most rewarding feeling you can experience. Helping someone in need is incredibly fulfilling, and I aspire to make a positive impact on as many lives as possible. I envision our work expanding beyond Dallas, reaching other areas such as California. We're also planning to offer online services. My goal for the next five years, looking ahead to 2027 or 2028, is to significantly reduce the number of deaths related to addiction. I believe we might see an increase in the next two or three years, possibly reaching around 150,000, but after that, we can make substantial progress.
[26:56] How do you envision your role in the future of this mission? Do you aspire to be the enduring face of this initiative, or are you open to passing the torch to someone else if it serves the cause better?
This is just one facet of what I do. I'm passionate about many things, and I often speak about various topics in the medical field. For example, I frequently discuss hormones, which can be a hot topic. But the truth is, I've witnessed incredible transformations in people's lives by addressing hormone imbalances. It's remarkable how it can help with brain function and other health issues. As for being the face of this movement, I'll gladly do it as long as it benefits the cause. If someone else, maybe younger or more attractive, comes along and can take the reins, that's fantastic. I'm not possessive about it. My goal is to see this initiative reach its full potential. If I don't contribute to that, it would feel like a failure because, right now, this is my purpose to make a difference.
[30:28] What promise did God make to the world when he created you?
I believe my gifts are strongly connected to an understanding of physiological function and a deep passion for improving health. My purpose seems to revolve around being a doctor for as many people as I can, dedicated to enhancing their overall health and wellness. In the grand scheme of all the things I've done, this aspect might be the most significant.
How to connect with Dr. Chalmers