Over-the-Counter Medications & Why You Should Limit

Over-the-Counter Medications & Why You Should Limit

Over-the-Counter Medications & Why You Should Limit


One of my passions for sharing about the benefits that cannabinoid medicine has to offer is so we can improve our quality of life and not have to exchange our health for relief. 


Chronic pain is a huge problem here in America and it is estimated that 51.6 million Americans (20.9% of the population) deal with chronic pain on a daily basis (1). This means that many people are looking to get relief, but the problem is that they turn to over-the-counter and prescription medications, which end up getting us in a worse predicament than what we began with. Let me explain. 


I won’t even discuss the issue with overdoses and pain pill addiction, which we all know is a huge problem here in America. I want to go more into detail about over the counter medications, the toxicity it causes for our liver cells (hepatocytes), how they destroy the gut lining (gastrointestinal mucosal barrier), inhibits nutrient absorption, and alters our gut microbiome (which immunocompromises us) (1). We know that if we aren’t giving the body what it needs nutritionally, things will malfunction. There is just no way of avoiding that. I want to show you how to keep the integrity of your gut lining intact because gut health is everything when it comes to our health and wellness. 


Sure, you can still use OTC or prescription medication when absolutely needed (last resort), but the goal is to reduce our daily dependence on it because these OTC medications will cause much more problems down the line. The problem is that big pharma doesn’t tell us about the negative consequences they have for our health. After all, why would they? They are trying to sell us their product, but when we know better, we do better. Check this out. 


OTC medications like Advil, Midol, and Motrin all contain ibuprofen and over 30 million prescriptions of these NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are issued EVERY YEAR (2). With more light being shed on the harmful effects of medications lately, we now understand how the conventional medicine approach to healthcare is far from healthcare. It’s no coincidence that we consume more pharmaceuticals here in America than anywhere else in the world, yet we remain in the worst health.


 Ibuprofen was shown to exhibit a great deal of adverse side effects including stomach bleeding, kidney toxicity, neurological toxicity, and liver toxicity (2). Ibuprofen is commonly marketed as a “safe” OTC medication, but this is far from the truth (2). The effects of liver damage were so profound that the hepatotoxicity against the liver cells (hepatocytes) were comparative to the effects that alcohol has on the liver (2). They impair the liver cells ability to function properly, which means a build of toxins in the body, creating what is known as liver lesions or scar tissue in the liver that impairs its ability to function. Now imagine following up a hangover with ibuprofen. That is a double whammy to our liver. Ibuprofen was also shown to increase ROS and oxidative stress, which contributes to inflammation from head to toe (systemically) (2). And let me tell you, the liver is vital! When we impair the liver’s ability to function, our whole health spirals down because the liver doesn’t just filter toxins, it has over 500 functions from blood sugar regulation to hormone regulation. Anything that affects the liver negatively should absolutely be limited.


The other concern with OTC medications such as ibuprofen is that they destroy the mucosal membrane that lines our intestines due to inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which was shown to lead to a decrease in gastroprotective prostaglandins (PG) (2). When we destroy the gut lining, we are altering the body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients, ultimately leading to malabsorption. The problem with this is when the body can’t properly absorb nutrients, other things start to go wrong. Our car can’t function properly without fuel, oxygen, or combustion, so why would we think our body will function correctly with the things it needs? Nutrients in this case, play a huge role in the onset and progression of disease. Anything that interferes with nutrient absorption should in no way, shape, or form be considered a “medicine”. 


In addition to destroying our gut lining (mucosal membrane), ibuprofen also alters our gut microbiome leading to what is called dysbiosis or a gut bacteria imbalance (3). This means that it kills the good bacteria and allows bad bacteria to proliferate, and I’ll tell you why that is a very bad thing…


The latest medical research puts a huge emphasis on gut health and our immune system. In fact, 70% of our immune system resides in our gut, which means that if we want to live our best life, we need to take care of our gut and our gut bacteria. Addressing the root cause of disease, more often than not, involves dealing with the gut in one form or another. 


What we have found out is that when we eat good food (fruit or veggies) full of polyphenols (anthocyanins, antioxidants, etc.) that the benefit we get from them is due to these plant chemicals interacting with our gut bacteria. When we wipe out good gut bacteria (one reason why the Standard American Diet is so bad for us) we become immune compromised. In fact, studies show that ibuprofen creates inflammation in our GI tract, wipes out the good gut bacteria, and allows bad bacteria like Acidaminococcaceae and Enterobacteriaceae to proliferate (3). Acidaminococcaceae is a bad bacteria that leads to things like antibiotic resistance and Enterobacteriaceae leads to things like urinary tract infections (UTIs), diarrhea, and bloodstream infections, which are life threatening. 


My goal is to show you what we were not told. We need to limit OTC medications, especially if you have underlying health concerns. The last thing we want to do is throw gasoline on a fire. Cannabinoid medicine is the future of medicine. We can use cannabinoids like CBD and THC to address pain and inflammation at a cellular level. How do I know this? Because these “pain receptors” we have all been taught about ARE part of the endocannabinoid system. This complex receptor system modulates or controls the pain and inflammation response through mitigating our immune response. This is the biggest breakthrough in medicine, yet medicine refuses to acknowledge it. 


Replacing OTC medications like ibuprofen can help drastically improve our quality of life by helping us address pain and inflammation, while doing the EXACT opposite of what ibuprofen does to our health and GI tract. Unlike ibuprofen, cannabinoids like CBD and THC were shown to have a positive impact to our gut bacteria, offer anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce GI tract inflammation, soothe an irritated mucosal membrane, improve nutrient absorption, and offer liver protecting properties (4). 


One plant with seemingly endless benefits. Now that's what I call medicine!


Bee Well,

Brandon Farless



 *This information is for educational purposes only and I am simply sharing information pertaining to these particular studies. No medical advice or claims are being made on my behalf.




  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 13). Chronic pain among adults - United States, 2019–2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/72/wr/mm7215a1.htm#:~:text=During%202021%2C%20an%20estimated%2020.9,Hispanic%20American%20Indian%20or%20Alaska 


  1. Kim, M., Lee, E. J., & Lim, K. M. (2021). Ibuprofen Increases the Hepatotoxicity of Ethanol through Potentiating Oxidative Stress. Biomolecules & therapeutics, 29(2), 205–210. https://doi.org/10.4062/biomolther.2020.108


  1. Sohail, R., Mathew, M., Patel, K. K., Reddy, S. A., Haider, Z., Naria, M., Habib, A., Abdin, Z. U., Razzaq Chaudhry, W., & Akbar, A. (2023). Effects of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Gastroprotective NSAIDs on the Gastrointestinal Tract: A Narrative Review. Cureus, 15(4), e37080. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.37080


  1. Gyires, K., & Zádori, Z. S. (2016). Role of Cannabinoids in Gastrointestinal Mucosal Defense and Inflammation. Current neuropharmacology, 14(8), 935–951. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159x14666160303110150

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