Today we welcome Gina Ruffa, health and nutrition coach and registered pharmacist with over 37 years of experience. Gina will be contributing to the Farmulated CBD team as a natural wellness expert and brings a wealth of knowledge on herbal formulas, supplements and plant-based foods. You can find her website at www.what-supp.org
Tell me a little about your background as a pharmacist. What led you there?
After finishing pharmacy school at Duquesne University and a hospital residency I began my pharmacy career which entailed a combination of hospital, retail, independent and pharmaceutical industry positions in WV, FL, NJ and PA.
So when did you begin to transition to holistic medicine?
When my son Anthony got sick with cancer, I started investigating natural alternatives and plant-based medicine. I was on a mission to help cure him! I combined traditional medicine with alternative methods and formed an integrative approach. Anthony became a two-time childhood cancer survivor at the ages of 2 and 4 years old and was cured from Stage 4 metastatic cancer with less than 1 percent chance of long-term survival.
How did your role as a pharmacist change after such a profound experience?
This inspired me to immerse myself in natural remedies for cancer which led to my interest in treating other maladies naturally. My colleagues began calling me the “FARM-acist” and the “alternative” pharmacist because I am vegetarian and look for natural options. Gradually my children got on board with natural wellness and nicknamed me “Mother Nature.” Anthony even became a raw food vegan between the ages of 15 and 19 and was a health blogger during that time.
Over time, my experience and passion grew. My philosophy is to exhaust natural alternatives before resorting to prescription medications. Of course, there are many instances where medications are medically necessary and life-saving but it’s important to be able to discern when. My mottos include “EDUCATE before you MEDICATE” and “PICK UP YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS IN THE KITCHEN.”
Your website references health care vs. sick care. Would you explain that a little more?
A lot of people look for symptom care without getting to the root cause of their health problems (“A pill for an ill”). I say, “Genetics load the gun but it’s our lifestyle choices that pull the trigger.” Many conditions, like adult-onset diabetes, are reversible without pharmaceuticals by incorporating lifestyle modifications, diet and supplements.
As a natural wellness advocate, what was your first impression of CBD entering the market?
I’ve been a promoter of CBD for people with issues like anxiety, depression, insomnia, fibromyalgia, pain, inflammation and chemo-induced side effects. Consideration for usage includes the person’s age, current medications and liver function. It is always recommended to inform your health care provider of the list of supplements and the doses at which you are taking them. As we continue the ongoing research and use of CBD, we will continue learning about the emerging potential benefits for conditions such as acne, substance abuse, diabetes, mental health, cancer and cardiovascular health.
How do you feel as a pharmacist promoting CBD?
There are some misconceptions regarding CBD and whether it contains THC. The CBD products available over the counter must contain less than 0.3 percent THC which is not enough to be psychoactive or impair psychomotor activity. Pharmacists need to be health educators because the dosage and dosage forms vary widely. We must advise patients on the uses of CBD, taking into consideration any concomitant meds, ailments and other supplements and herbs they are taking. Everyone metabolizes medications and supplements differently and the therapeutic responses are very individualized. It is important to determine the dosage form and dose that is most efficacious and convenient for the patient.
Do you personally take CBD?
I have made it a habit to personally take any product that I promote to stand behind what I endorse. I recently started adding a CBD tincture to my daily regimen for the potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. I must admit that I tried the dark chocolate and absolutely loved it! I thought I’d try just one square but I had to practice portion control because I almost had a snackcident.
I would have to agree. We rarely make it through team meetings without pulling out some of our CBD Dark Chocolate Bars.
Thank you for chatting with us, Gina! We can’t wait to learn more about your in-depth knowledge of natural wellness and hope to integrate your ideas into our products.
To schedule a consultation with Gina or to learn more about alternative approaches to medicine, visit http://what-supp.org/.