CF 155: Vegans & Broken Bones, Daily Step Count, Medical Cannabis

Today we’re going to talk about new research for vegans and the risk of broken bones, we’ll cover new information pertaining to a patient’s daily step count, and we’ll talk about a study on medical cannabis and it’s effectiveness in treating chronic pain. Good stuff today, folks.  But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music

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OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun, profitable, and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around.  We’re the fun kind of research. Not the stuffy, high-brow kind of research. We’re research talk over a couple of beers. I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.   If you haven’t yet I have a few things you should do. 

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You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #155 Now if you missed last week’s episode , we talked about the shake up with the World Federation of Chiropractic and all of the goings on that went on with that. Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

On the personal end of things…..

As of the typing of this, it is the Monday following Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a good one. I have a nice back patio, outdoor kitchen area with a fireplace and quite a bit of room to move around.  I have my mom and my stepdad over as well as my brother and his wife. With the four of my regular crew, that made 8 of us. Nobody went inside. We all just gathered outside on the patio and ate outside. It was great. It was safe. And we still got to have Thanksgiving. 

We had two separate tables. One for my crew and one for the other four. We had my crew at one table because I work with 140 or so appointments per week, my son goes to a high infection rate college, and my daughter goes to junior high with over 1,000 kids every day. So, my crew was the wildcard in that crowd. So we sat separated just a bit to be sure we were protecting the others from any asymptomatic hoo ha.  It seemed to work very well. Again, I hope you all did well and stayed safe and happy and healthy.

It was different for sure, right? Definitely one to remember. No doubt.

Think of all of the things we took for granted before this mess. I know many of you have but I haven’t taken a trip or vacation or anything since February when we went to Key Largo.  I’m used to going on little vacays about once per quarter just to preserve my sanity. I think that’s important. Getting out of the office and getting some sea air or some mountain air in your face.

But we haven’t been able to do any of that in the last 9 to 10 months and I’m missing it. I’m a traveler.  This has really taught us what we do and what we do not have control over. We do not have control over nature from what I can tell. Certainly not this virus. At least not yet we don’t.  This second spike has been severe where I live. Over 1,000 new cases in one day on the last count, over 750 FEMA staffers here helping our healthcare system keep up with the hospitalized patients. I haven’t seen this week’s numbers yet but we lost 24 residents to COVID in just two days last week. 24 deaths in two days. That was unheard of just a couple of months ago. I have lost a couple of patients to it.

Fortunately, I haven’t lost any friends as of yet. I hope your friends are all staying safe and weathering the storm the same.  PRactice is just there. Nothing special going on right now. We are running a radio spot for this holiday season but I’m not sure how smart that is. Luckily, they gave us a killer deal on the run so we couldn’t resist. They made us a deal we couldn’t refuse. I’m not sure all of the ads in the world will get everyone out of the mental and financial funk any time in the next several months.  But I’ll report back. If it works, I’ll share what we did so you can do the same.

On the other hand, if you’re doing something that is working for your clinic and getting people back in the numbers you want to see, send me an email at and let us know so we can let others know and help everyone out with getting their numbers back closer to normal. 

Item #1

Let’s start with one called “Medical Cannabis for the Management of Pain and Quality of Life in Chronic Pain Patients: A Prospective Observational Study” by Safakish, et. al. (Safakish R 2020) published in Pain Medicine in November of 2020. And it sizzles and steams as it sits.  

Why They Did It

To evaluate the short-term and long-term effects of plant-based medical cannabis in a chronic pain population over the course of one year.

How They Did It

  • 751 chronic pain patients initiating medical cannabis treatment.
  • A longitudinal, prospective, 12-month observational study.
  • Study participants completed the Brief Pain Inventory and the 12-item Short Form Survey (SF-12), as well as surveys on opioid medication use and adverse events, at baseline and once a month for 12 months.

What They Found

  • Medical cannabis treatment was associated with improvements in pain severity and interference (P < 0.001) observed at one month and maintained over the 12-month observation period.
  • Significant improvements were also observed in the SF-12 physical and mental health domains (P < 0.002) starting at three months.
  • Significant decreases in headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and nausea were observed after initiation of treatment
  • In patients who reported opioid medication use at baseline, there were significant reductions in oral morphine equivalent doses (P < 0.0001), while correlates of pain were significantly improved by the end of the study observation period.

Wrap It Up

Taken together, the findings of this study add to the cumulative evidence in support of plant-based medical cannabis as a safe and effective treatment option and potential opioid medication substitute or augmentation therapy for the management of symptoms and quality of life in chronic pain patients. Alright, I’ll be upfront; I don’t like marijuana. I know some of you love the sweet sweet weed. I’ll never understand it. Trust me, I’ve been around it so many times I can’t count. I’m a former traveling muscian. For 10 years I traveled the circuit so you can only imagine.  I’ve been against its legalization from Day 1.

I’ve seen it turn famiily members into lazy, unmotivated bums. I hate it. I hate the smell. I hate what it does to people and I hate the culture surrounding it.  But, I can’t argue with research and this says it helps. I’ve seen other reports that it works. Regardless, I’m for pill form, chewables, or gels. I will never before inhaling it. There is no amount of evidence on the planet that will make me think it’s OK to take smoke into your lungs. Especially when there are other options for it’s utilization.  So, this is encouraging.

I hope its medical use becomes more widespread and more common because it sure as hell looks like it works for chronic pain and, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re here for. 


Item #2 This second one is called, “Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults” by Saint-Maurice et. al. (Saint-Maurice P 2020) and published in JAMA in March of 2020. Dammit it’s hot enough. 

Why They Did It

Describe the dose-response relationship between step count and intensity and mortality.

How They Did It

  • Representative sample of US adults aged at least 40 years in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who wore an accelerometer for up to 7 days ( from 2003-2006). 
  • Mortality was ascertained through December 2015.
  • Accelerometer-measured number of steps per day and 3 step intensity measures 
  • Accelerometer data were based on measurements obtained during a 7-day period at baseline.
  • They adjusted for for age; sex; race/ethnicity; education; diet; smoking status; body mass index; self-reported health; mobility limitations; and diagnoses of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

Wrap It Up

Based on a representative sample of US adults, a greater number of daily steps was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality. There was no significant association between step intensity and mortality after adjusting for total steps per day. I personally found it interesting that they found no big association between step intensity and mortality. Very interesting. So, let’s make sure we’re all moving. No matter the age. 

Item #3

This one is an article by Rupert Steiner(Steiner R 2020) called “Vegans and non–meat eaters are more likely to suffer broken bones, Oxford University research show” and it was published in Market Watch on November 24, 2020 and it’s it’s hotter than the burning sun!

  • We just hit the highlights for the articles so here we go:
  • They start right off getting into the meat and taters by saying, “Non–meat eaters, especially vegans, are at higher risk of breaking their bones due to lower intakes of calcium and protein, according to new research by the University of Oxford published on Monday
  • The EPIC-Oxford study, which involved almost 55,000 British people, concluded: “Non–meat eaters, especially vegans, had higher risks of either total or some site-specific fractures, particularly hip fractures
  • Participants were categorized into four diet groups composed of 29,380 meat eaters, 8,037 fish eaters, 15,499 vegetarians and 1,982 vegans.
  • The results showed over an average of 17.6 years of follow-up, researchers observed 3,941 cases of total fractures.

Food for thought and the damn pun was absolutely intended. Alright, that’s it. Y’all be safe. Keep changing our profession from your little corner of the world. Keep taking care of yourselves and everyone around you. Tough times are upon us but, the sun will shine again. Trust it, believe it, count on it. Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week.  Store Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at   

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The Message I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment rather than chemical treatments like pills and shots. When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show us patients can get good to excellent results for headaches, neck pain, back pain, and joint pain to name just a few.

It’s safe and cost-effective can decrease surgeries & disability and we do it through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal hassle to the patient. And, if the patient treats preventativly after initial recovery, we can usually keep it that way while raising the overall level of health!

Key Point: At the end of the day, patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment that offers the least harm. When it comes to non-complicated musculoskeletal complaints…. That’s Chiropractic!

Contact Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show and tell us your suggestions for future episodes.  Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on podcast platforms.  We know how this works by now. If you value something, you have to share it, interact with it, review it, talk about it from time to time, and actively hit a few buttons to support it here and there when asked. It really does make a big difference. 

Connect We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.


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About the Author & Host Dr. Jeff Williams – Fellow of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger    


  • Safakish R, K. G., Salimpour V, Hendin B, Shoanpal I, (2020). “Medical Cannabis for the Management of Pain and Quality of Life in Chronic Pain Patients: A Prospective Observational Study.” Pain Med 21(11): 3073-3086.
  • Saint-Maurice P, T. R., Bassett D, (2020). “Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults.” JAMA 323(12): 1151-1160.
  • Steiner R (2020). “Vegans and non–meat eaters are more likely to suffer broken bones, Oxford University research show.” MarketWatch.


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