Monthly Archives: May 2021

Treating mental health conditions - how can Medical Cannabis help?

Supporting mental health during these times – can medical cannabis help?

In recent years and especially during the pandemic, more and more people are speaking openly about their mental health and seeking support. The NHS reports that 2,878,636 people got in contact with mental health services between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. That shows just how many people are in need of care and treatment when it comes to mental health.

The silver lining of COVID-19 is the way that it has helped to improve mental health awareness by shedding light on all of the existing mental health problems that so many of us face: anxiety, depression, PTSD, and insomnia being some of the most common complaints. Social distancing and prolonged loneliness have brought all of these conditions to the fore for many people. The lack of family and friends has removed the support systems for thousands of people, leaving them vulnerable. So what can be used to help people manage the symptoms of these mental health conditions?

How can medical cannabis improve mental health?

When used in line with advice from a qualified doctor, medical cannabis has been proven to help those suffering from a variety of mental health conditions. According to Dr Anup Mathew, Psychiatric Consultant at The Medical Cannabis Clinics, use of medical cannabis can be a lifesaver for vulnerable patients.

“Medical cannabis in the UK is life-changing treatment for patients with a wide range of conditions that not only eliminates the suffering and despair they experience from their illness, but also reduces the UK’s significant health burden,” explains Dr Mathew. 

“The scientific evidence has always been supportive, however nothing is as powerful as hearing and seeing the direct positive impact medical cannabis treatment has had for patients. 

“This is further magnified when the vast majority of patients reveal no side-effect profile or dependency concerns for medical cannabis compared to standard pharmacological treatments. It is a privilege to be part of the UK’s medical cannabis revolution in view of establishing it as a primary treatment option for so many chronic and enduring mental health conditions.” 

Many patients at The Medical Cannabis Clinics can also personally testify to the positive effects of their prescription, carefully created specifically for them with their own needs in mind.

Can medical cannabis help reduce anxiety?

Illustration of a woman in a highly anxious state of mind

A Canadian study from 2019 showed that lower doses of cannabinoids, present in medical cannabis, helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, by helping to promote feelings of relaxation and lowering the heart rate. 

The results also speak for themselves. Lottie Robert, a 25-year-old legal assistant had anxiety that was affecting her life in many areas. After using medical cannabis for a year and a half, she had this to say: “I have anxiety which used to limit the things I do, places I went and stopped me sleeping every evening.  Since starting medicinal cannabis treatment, I have managed my condition naturally, without supplementing any prescription drugs at all. I am more confident and capable – I am in control of my anxiety, it no longer controls my every-day. I am a better person, employee and friend with my new treatment. I truly have my life back.”

Can medical cannabis help with stress or depression?

In the same way that medical cannabis has been shown to help with anxiety, it also helps to combat the negative feelings associated with stress and depression. Where traditional treatments have let down some of our patients, medical cannabis alone has shown to have a positive effect.

In the case of this patient, medical cannabis has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for treatment, after just two months of using it. 

“I have been clinically depressed for the last 25 years,” they said. “Medical cannabis has calmed me down, I don’t cry as often as I used to. I’m still down sometimes but I’m in a calmer place to think things through. It also helps me sleep longer instead of a few hours where I wake up exhausted. I truly believe it is helping me.”

Can medical cannabis help improve PTSD?

Many of the symptoms of PTSD can become overwhelming. Medical cannabis can be a useful aid to help manage those symptoms so people suffering from the condition can continue to lead fulfilling and happy lives.

Hear from one of our patients, 30-year-old Christopher James McBard, a horticulturist and garden designer, who has taken medical cannabis for a full year. for his PTSD: “It brings me down from my usual state of hyper-awareness where I’d usually live in constant alert of anxiety and paranoia. With cannabis, I am able to recognise my triggers and relax in a way I cannot without. It has allowed me to get back to work and better my life significantly.”

Can medical cannabis help those suffering from insomnia?

Man struggling to get to sleep looking at the time on his bedside clock

An American study from 2019 showed that the use of CBD improved the sleep in the majority of patients who were experiencing insomnia. This stems from CBD’s calming effects on the nervous system, helping patients drift off into a restful sleep.

Warehouse manager, Mark, 57, has been taking medical cannabis for 7-12 months.

“Before taking my first prescription, I was lucky to get two to three hours of sleep a night,” Mark explains. “This has increased to five to six hours of sleep, sometimes unbroken. This hasn’t happened for well over 10 years. It has also alleviated bad moods and tiredness in the mornings.  Medical cannabis has had a really positive impact on my life.”

Ultimately, medical cannabis can act as a useful tool alongside other forms of treatment for a variety of mental health conditions. It’s vital that we continue to promote mental health awareness and explore all avenues of treatment available to us.

Supporting Fibromyalgia Awareness Month

Fibromyalgia – why it’s more common than you might think

It might not have an instantly recognisable name, but fibromyalgia is a much more common condition than you might think. Not only does it affect a lot of people, many celebrities have shared their own experiences with the condition.

Also known as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), fibromyalgia is a chronic condition causing widespread pain all over the body. As there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, traditional treatment options focus on managing the symptoms of chronic pain and make it easier to live with. The stories of successful celebrities show that it is possible to live a fulfilling life with fibromyalgia – but what does that life actually look like?

How common is fibromyalgia?

The NHS estimate that between 1.2 and 2.8 million people have fibromyalgia in the UK. They can only estimate within that broad range because it’s notoriously tricky to diagnose. Many of the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, so definitively establishing whether someone has fibromyalgia can take time. 

It’s more common amongst women, with 75-90% of people with fibromyalgia identifying as women. The exact cause for fibromyalgia is not known, but many experts believe that it’s related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain. 

Which celebrities have fibromyalgia?

Many famous household names have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Some of them have spoken out about the condition to raise awareness about the difficulties of dealing with chronic pain. 

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards

Lady Gaga confirmed in September 2017 that her struggles with chronic pain were because of fibromyalgia. Her condition came about after breaking her hip. Her fans were able to see an up-close account of what it’s like to live with fibromyalgia in her Netflix documentary, ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two’, where she also shared the coping strategies she’s developed. 

“My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is. So I hope people watching it who do struggle with chronic pain know that they’re not alone. It’s freeing for me… and I want people that struggle with it to hear me,” Gaga said.

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman in a professional headshotEveryone’s favourite gravelly-voiced actor shared his experiences with fibromyalgia in an interview with Esquire magazine, saying that it did prevent him from doing certain activities, such as sailing. Nonetheless, Freeman has kept a positive outlook and maintains that there are ways to live a fulfilling life with fibromyalgia.

“There is a point to changes like these,” said Freeman. “I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land.”

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham on the red carpet

Alongside sharing her experiences with endometriosis, Dunham has also shared about the chronic pain she struggles with from fibromyalgia. She wrote about her story on Instagram: “I appear to be totally able-bodied but it’s complex, and I am just trying to do everything required to maintain a life of joy and service. My work costs everything I have. This is fibromyalgia. It’s little understood and so, even though I have a lot of knowledge and support, it’s hard to shake the feeling I am crazy. But I’m not (at least not this way!) and you’re not.”

Dunham went on to assert that everyone’s pain is valid and get easier to manage over time.

How can medical cannabis help with fibromyalgia?

As all of these stories from celebrities show, it’s definitely possible to have a fulfilling and satisfying life with fibromyalgia. There are ways to manage the symptoms of chronic pain and find some relief. One of those ways is medical cannabis. 

Two studies, one from 2010 and one from 2018, both provide evidence of cannabinoids helping people suffering from fibromyalgia manage their symptoms, specifically in pain management. Medical cannabis has been shown to have analgesic effects, or the ability to minimise the feelings of pain without causing loss or disruption to consciousness. On top of that, some forms of medical cannabis can also improve sleep in patients with fibromyalgia and even be a substitute for other medications. Many people with fibromyalgia end up taking various prescription medicines, so replacing those more natural substances is often preferable.

For those looking to try new ways to manage symptoms of fibromyalgia, medical cannabis can be a productive way forward.