Monthly Archives: July 2019

Opioids Vs Medical Cannabis

An alternative to opioids with medical cannabis and CBD oil

View of Dr. Leon Barron, GP at The Medical Cannabis Clinics

As a GP working in primary care, I regularly see patients who present with challenging and difficult to manage conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, mood disorders (including anxiety and depression), neurological diseases and chronic pain. Over the years, I’ve also cared for palliative patients on end of life pathways with the overall aim to relieve their suffering and improve quality of life.

An alternative to opioid painkillers

As a GP, I am responsible for overseeing and coordinating medical treatments together with managing day to day symptoms and prescribing regular medications. I have a broad understanding of complex overlapping chronic illnesses and the quality of life issues facing patients who have exhausted all conventional drug options. Some patients find that current licensed medications do not work well for them even when carefully managed, and can sometimes cause side effects and adverse reactions. There are a large number of patients who become tolerant to medications such as opioids – including morphine and tramadol, which stop working effectively for them, leaving few alternative long-term options.

Medical cannabis clearly can offer hope and should be considered for patients who have exhausted all other treatment options. My position as the GP for The Medical Cannabis Clinics allows me to work with patients who are unable to be referred by their GP or medical team.

A holistic approach to medicine

My experiences of working in both hospital medicine (throughout my medical training) and primary care have enabled me to adopt a holistic approach by considering the combined impacts of both physical and mental health on a person rather than focusing on one system or disease in isolation. I strongly believe in patient-centred care, which involves making my patients part of every decision and also sharing my goals as well as my targets for every treatment. Full partnership with patients results in the best treatments after considering all available evidence.

As GPs, we regularly encounter patients who are suffering from debilitating conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders or cancer who have not responded well to conventional treatments. At this point, it seems entirely appropriate that medical cannabis should be offered as an alternative or add-on for symptom control. The current poor access to medical cannabis on prescription in the UK has pushed desperate patients to travel abroad to receive medical cannabis prescriptions, which is often at high financial and personal cost.  As medical practitioners, we must offer our patients the very best treatments. Medical cannabis clearly has an essential role in relieving suffering and enhancing the overall quality of life when more conventional medications and therapies have failed.

Medical cannabis treatments overseas

On a recent trip to Israel, I met cutting-edge researchers and clinicians who are prescribing medical cannabis for their patients. I was also able to meet patients suffering from a range of conditions including autism, epilepsy, disabling neurological conditions and chronic pain and heard their stories about the positive benefits they’ve experienced from using prescribed medical cannabis products for symptom control. Listening to these specific cases and how patient’s lives have been transformed, reinforces the need for high-quality medical cannabis and CBD oil therapies to be available here in the UK.

Become a patient at The Medical Cannabis Clinics

Find out more about which conditions we treat or book an appointment with one of our specialists.

UK’s First Cannabis Clinic

Medical experts ready to launch the UK’s first standalone cannabis clinic

The Medical Cannabis Clinic – London is set to open imminently on Harley Street in London. Our team of world-leading experts in neurology, stroke and psychiatry will treat patients at our standalone medical cannabis clinic, the first of its kind in the UK.

With 150 patients already on the waiting list, the Medical Cannabis Clinic – London will provide life-changing treatments for patients living with a range of chronic and debilitating conditions, including chronic pain, neurological and psychiatric disorders.

The London clinic will be led by UK medical cannabis expert, Professor Mike Barnes, consultant neurologist and rehabilitation physician. Meet our team of specialist clinicians.

The London clinic is due to open following a final assessment by the Care Quality Commission. It is the second in a network of specialist clinics being opened in major UK cities this year and follows the launch of The Medical Cannabis Clinic – Manchester, which opened in March 2019.

The Medical Cannabis Clinics specialise in innovative cannabis-based medical therapies, helping to meet the unmet medical needs of people living with a range of chronic and debilitating conditions.  We are focused on expanding patient access to safe and effective medical cannabis treatments which have been found to improve the quality of life of people suffering from debilitating conditions including chronic pain, neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Find out more about the types of conditions and symptoms which could be alleviated by medical cannabis treatments.

For more information about medical cannabis treatments, please contact our expert team.

Meet Our Expert Team Medical Cannabis

Meet the expert team behind The Medical Cannabis Clinics

Led by Professor Mike Barnes, medical cannabis expert, consultant neurologist and rehabilitation physician, the specialist Clinic team are the most experienced and respected group of practitioners working with medical cannabis in the UK today. They include leading experts across Pain, Neurology and Psychiatry.

Dedicated to improving the lives of patients who do not find relief from traditional medications, the clinic specialists see medical cannabis treatments as further prescribing options for those people living with complex and treatment-resistant conditions.

Meet The Medical Cannabis Clinic team by watching the videos below:

Professor Mike Barnes, medical cannabis expert, consultant neurologist and rehabilitation physician.

Dr Elizabeth Iveson, consultant specialist in complex care and neurorehabilitation, stroke and elderly medicine.

Dr Elie Okirie, Clinical Director in neurological and specialist rehabilitation at the Central England Rehabilitation Unit.

Dr Rebecca Moore, consultant psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.

Dr Leon Barron, GP, will assess patients who are open to exploring medical cannabis treatments for conditions which are not responding to conventional treatments.


Dr Attam Singh, Consultant at London Pain Clinic, has also recently joined the Medical Cannabis Clinics team.

Find out more about The Medical Cannabis Clinics specialists or book a consultation.

Relief from PTSD with CBD

Finding relief from PTSD with CBD treatment

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, often referred to as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder. It can be caused by stressful, distressing and frightening events and can result in people living with nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety. People from all walks of life can suffer PTSD, including veterans who have served in the armed forces and mothers who have experienced traumatic childbirth.

Who lives with the impact of PTSD in the UK?

The most recent surveys indicate that around 4% of people in the UK have a PTSD diagnosis and 1 in 25 women develop PTSD after birth.

Many people have used a variety of treatments for their PTSD over the years and are often keen to consider medical cannabis treatments as an alternative to traditional medications, which can have significant side-effects and for some people, provide little relief from their PTSD.

How do we know medical cannabis and CBD treatments work on PTSD?

By activation of the cannabis receptors CB1 and CB2 receptors it is suggested can help promote happiness, pleasure, and memory. Cannabinoids play a critical role in PTSD cases by potentially acting to reduce traumatic memories and nightmares.

Sleep can often be affected by PTSD symptoms and we know that the endocannabinoid system in the human body is involved in promoting sleep. It also has an effect on the circadian rhythm, the system that makes you sleepy and wakeful at different times over a 24 hour period. A 2017 review of sleep studies in the US demonstrated that medical cannabis can result in improved overnight sleep patterns. 

The endocannabinoid system regulates anxiety behaviour and as anxiety is usually a dominant feature of PTSD, many individuals can experience relief from medical cannabis strains high in CBD. It can be used in combination with existing anti-anxiety medication and can, sometimes, even replace it. Researchers from Brazilian universities South Santa Catarina and Santa Catarina found evidence in 2018 that people were using cannabis to achieve PTSD symptom relief to good effect. 

A study conducted by the NYU Langone Medical Center showed that people suffering from PTSD have much lower levels of a neurotransmitter called anandamide than others. Anandamide is one of the body’s natural cannabinoids and seems to act as a natural antidepressant, impairing traumatic memories and reducing fear.

Meet Dr Rebecca Moore, psychiatrist and PTSD expert 

Dr Rebecca Moore is consultant psychiatrist for The Medical Cannabis Clinics. She has twenty years of experience and a special interest in trauma and PTSD along with anxiety and mood disorders. Dr Moore uses CBD and cannabis with patients:

Many of my patients already using CBD in different forms, or are buying street cannabis to manage their symptoms. These are products that might not be safe, and are not quality approved. I want to ensure everyone who could benefit from medical cannabis has the ability to access it safely.

PTSD treatments at The Medical Cannabis Clinics

To make an appointment with a medical cannabis expert to discuss your experience of PTSD, treatment options and further information, please book an appointment with one of our specialists.

Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain Relief

Medical cannabis and CBD for chronic pain relief

An estimated 14.3% of the population live with the impact of chronic pain considered moderately or severely disabling, according to British Pain Society research.

Many of these people are now turning to medical cannabis treatments as an alternative to traditional opioid medications, which often have severe side-effects and for some people, provide very little relief from their pain.

In the UK, medical cannabis treatment can be prescribed when patients are using or have tried traditional treatments but are still suffering with pain or other symptoms. So, for some people, medical cannabis can be a lifeline, allowing them to reduce or even stop taking traditional treatments including codeine and morphine.

How do we know medical cannabis treatments work on pain? 

Medical cannabis has long been used to treat chronic pain. Evidence, including a 2017 review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the US consistently demonstrates that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. 

Research shows that medical cannabis works for any kind of pain –including pain from cancer, headache and migraine, inflammation, arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuralgia, spasticity, joint and nerve pain.  But how does it work?

How does medical cannabis treatment provide pain relief?

Cannabis supplements the body’s natural cannabis system – this is called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a neurotransmitter system which means it controls actions in the body. 

This human cannabinoid system in our bodies have receptors, called CB1 and CB2, that react to the cannabis plant. The endocannabinoid system has an effect on many parts of the body – from the brain to our heart, liver, bowel and muscles – and it also affects how our bodies experience pain.

The active parts of the cannabis plant – known as the cannabinoids – suppress the body’s response to pain by changing the effects of our stress and nerve responses.  This produces a painkilling effect. 

How do you take medical cannabis for pain?

Medical cannabis can be prescribed in many ways. You can take it as a capsule, oil or tincture by mouth, with a vaporiser – often referred to as a vape – or as a lotion, balm, oil or cream applied to the skin.

A patient’s experience of medical cannabis for pain

Patient Forzana Nasir lives with a range of chronic symptoms including severe joint pain and dislocation. 

She said, “I access medical cannabis via The Medical Cannabis Clinics. Since starting my prescription, which I take by vape, there has been a reduction in my symptom severity in terms of reduced pain, improved sleep quality and stimulated appetite. I’ve finally been prescribed a medication I can tolerate, has minimal side effects and actually works. My quality of life is improving daily.” 

Chronic pain consultations at The Medical Cannabis Clinics

To make an appointment with a medical cannabis expert to discuss your pain symptoms, please book an appointment here.