Monthly Archives: September 2021

CBD Oil and pain – how does it work? #PainAwarenessMonth

Can medical CBD oil help my pain symptoms? How does CBD oil work? And what’s the difference between prescription CBD oil and what I can buy on the high street?

These are all very good questions, and as part of #PainAwarenessMonth, we’re going to take a look at CBD oil in more detail.

What is CBD Oil? 

Firstly, CBD is an abbreviation of the word cannabidiol, which is the name of the natural chemical found in the cannabis plant. You get CBD oil from the stalks, flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant, also known as the hemp plant.

Simply put, CBD oil is the natural oil obtained from those parts of the plant. 

 

Can CBD Oil help my pain symptoms?

The real question is can medical cannabis help your pain symptoms, as CBD oil is just one method of taking medical cannabis into the body. 

Here’s the science bit – once you take CBD Oil, or any medical cannabis treatment, it starts working with your endocannabinoid system – which is a complex cell-signalling system in the body. 

While we’re constantly learning more about the system, we know it plays a role in regulating sleep, mood and memory. Further research has shown that the endocannabinoid system also plays a part in moderating pain, inflammation and muscle function among other things.

We know CBD oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties, as well as having a large number of antioxidants, which is why so many say that it helps them manage their pain. 

In a recent survey, 94% of our patients surveyed told us that they felt medical cannabis had been effective and made a positive difference on their health and wellbeing.

 

What is the difference between prescription CBD Oil and CBD oil on the high street?

In the UK, any CBD oil that you buy on the high street or online is strictly regulated – this means that it is only allowed to contain less than 0.2% THC. Unlike CBD, THC is a much more powerful component. It’s the THC that binds itself to the cannabinoid receptors in your brain and this is what produces an amplified sense of euphoria. So depending on your condition and your symptoms, high street, or low THC CBD oil might not be effective in treating your condition.

Medical cannabis prescriptions allow for stronger concentrations of CBD oil, including THC to be prescribed, depending on the outcome of your consultation with a pain specialist.

 

How do I take CBD Oil?

It’s really easy. All you need to do is use the pipette provided and drop a number of drops underneath your tongue – this is known as taking CBD Oil sublingually.

When you hold CBD oil under your tongue it passes through the fleshy membrane and enters your bloodstream directly. You should hold the oil under your tongue for around 30-60 seconds, then you can swallow normally.

 

So when looking to CBD oil to help manage your pain symptoms, there’s evidence that shows how CBD oils have been proven to be effective in managing pain and inflammation. high street oils are in no way as powerful or concentrated as CBD oils available with a medical cannabis prescription.

#PainAwarenessMonth – Ask an Expert with Dr Farrah Ayob

At the start of September we asked for your pain related questions to mark the start of #PainAwarenessMonth. We put them directly to two of our pain specialists, Dr Sunny Nayee and Dr Farrah Ayob.

In the first of our pain focused Q&A’s, here’s what Dr Farrah Ayob had to say:

Question:I have epilepsy and diabetes neuropathic pain. I’m also not sleeping. I’ve never taken cannabis before, but the pain is killing me. Can this help me to sleep and to manage the pain?” 

Dr Farrah Ayob says: Yes, recent clinical trials have found that the active ingredient within medicinal cannabis is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) help to reduce neuropathic pain in various conditions, including peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, spinal cord injury and post-surgical pain. 

Both compounds communicate with your body’s endocannabinoid system which is important in regulating many functions including sleep, mood, appetite and memory. 16 studies published recently showed that all cannabis based medicines were better than placebo in reducing pain intensity, sleep problems and psychological distress.

We’ll be publishing more responses from Dr Nayee and Dr Ayob very soon, so watch this space for more.

Webinar: Medical Cannabis, THC and mental health with Dr Niraj Singh and The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society

On Thursday 23 September, Dr Niraj Singh will be speaking to The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (The MCCS) about the benefits of THC in medical cannabis treatment, and medical cannabis in the treatment of mental health conditions.

As well as discussing the benefits of THC in medical cannabis, Dr Singh will draw from his extensive experience as an expert specialist in Psychiatry with over 2 years of prescribing experience at TMCC.

Dr Singh will be joined by Hannah Deacon, Director at The MCCS, as well as patient representatives who will be sharing their experiences with medical cannabis and mental health.

This event is set to be an interesting and informative look at THC based medical cannabis versus CBD only treatments, the positive impact this can have on patients, and will challenge some of the preconceptions surrounding THC – it’s not one to be missed.

You can book a place on the webinar on The MCCS website.

Veterans spotlight: “I was a combat patrol medic in Afghanistan & suffered a debilitating car crash with PTSD flashbacks”

In the first of a double feature, we’re taking a look at veterans who are suffering with pain or psychiatric disorders, and whose needs are not being met by traditional medication.

In this first part, we caught up with Alex*, one of our patients and a former combat patrol medic who served in Afghanistan. He talks to us about his pain and PTSD conditions, and why veterans like himself benefit from medical cannabis treatment instead of seeking opioid treatment, which he found to be ineffective.

“Before I tried the treatment, I used to go to hospital every three weeks. Now I go every three to five months. My friends and family have noticed a real difference. I was previously feeling like a burden on them. My kids have also noticed a difference, because the drowsy side effects of the painkillers I was on are gone.”

Alex also opens up about how medical cannabis has impacted his relationships with his family and how unhappy he was on traditional medication.

*Alex’s name has been changed at the request of the interviewee

Which part of the Armed Forces did you serve in and where? 

I left school to go to an army college at the age of 16 and I was in the army for over five years until I reached 21.  

I spent seven months in Afghanistan and was on rotation in Camp Bastion. I was living at different checkpoints in Afghanistan houses, with no WiFi or running water. 

I was a combat patrol medic in Afghanistan. I treated wounded soldiers, patched up the casualties, and got them back to the hospital. I also spent six months in Canada as a medic. 

My worst casualty was a triple amputee who stepped on an explosive device. I was 10 feet away and managed to patch him up. He’s alive, back in the UK, and he’s a rock climber now raising money for charity.

How did your pain and PTSD conditions arise? 

In 2011, I came back from my tour in Afghanistan and was in a car crash, where a car impacted me at 90 mph and damaged my shoulder joint. This led to a rare condition which meant my shoulder continually dislocates.

I had to have nerves removed to stop it popping out of the joint. I also developed PTSD at the same time, which arose from a combination of things. I felt vulnerable when I came back to the UK. I lost my career due to the accident which led to things spiralling. 

I was medically discharged from the army and put on long-term sick leave for 13 months whilst awaiting medical discharge. I then registered on a pilot scheme with the Veterans First organisation in Colchester, an initiative in Essex, and have been seeing them for two years. 

Where and when did you first hear of medical cannabis as a treatment? 

I researched online and I saw a neurologist in London. He recommended I look into medical cannabis. He said the cannabis would help me to cut back on the amount of  controlled drugs I was taking. Otherwise, I would have to have my shoulder reset every four weeks. 

I was on morphine, fentanyl patches, oxycodone, diazepam, muscle relaxants, and other damaging medications usually prescribed for seizures but, to be honest, they just didn’t work. 

Over time I developed allergies to the multiple drugs I was on and reacted badly to them. I didn’t want them but the doctors just prescribed more and more – they made me feel sick and worst of all, they didn’t take away the pain.

Which doctor are you currently seeing?

I am seeing Dr Sunny Nayee at The Medical Cannabis Clinics (TMCC) which I access through Project Twenty21. I have been on the programme since it first started in 2020. I was on the waiting list and received the first batch of medication that came through.

Dr Sunny prescribed the CBD oil which came quickly whereas the flower took a little longer to arrive. I find the flower works a lot better for me. Dr Sunny started me on one type and we tried another type the next time. I’m now on a blended strain. After talking things through with him, I finished the oil and am now just on the flower. 

What is the impact that medical cannabis has made upon your condition and the quality of your life? 

It has genuinely made a major difference to my life and has hit the mark where other medications simply didn’t. I can now concentrate, I can function, and I’m no longer slurring my words. 

Now I hardly require any hospitalisation whereas before I tried the treatment, I used to go to hospital every three weeks. Now I go every three to five months.

My friends and family have noticed a real difference. I was previously feeling like a burden on them. My kids have also noticed a difference, because the drowsy side effects of the painkillers I was on are gone.

Do your friends or family know about your treatment and what do they think? 

My family is very supportive. The response from other healthcare professionals has also been really positive, mostly because I’m not on so many painkillers. When I tell other doctors, they are a little surprised as they didn’t know that medical cannabis was an option. One doctor was a bit disapproving but I think most see it now just like any other medication. To be honest, I’ve found that most people are open-minded about it now. 

How has the treatment affected your mental state of mind and PTSD?

It mellows me out and I don’t get as stressed as much. On medical cannabis I can think more clearly and I can process things better. I never used it recreationally before; in fact, I have always been very anti-drugs and, there was always a zero-tolerance attitude in military.

When I first heard about medical cannabis I thought ‘you have to be kidding me!’, but I’ve since discovered that there are so many benefits to it. 

I think it works well and my family have noticed the difference. I seem such a different person now – in a good way. For the last ten years, I was constantly up and down, happy then sad, and I was very reactionary to events, I’m pleased to say that’s changed.

I don’t openly disclose that I use medical cannabis, but it has been a lifesaver for me. I genuinely feel like I have my life back.

With a complex mix of symptoms, it can be really difficult to identify the causes of conditions impacting veterans, which can lead to their needs being ignored or unmet by traditional medication.

Look out for the next instalment of our veterans spotlight coming in the next couple of weeks.

Can medical cannabis help with chronic pain? #PainAwarenessMonth

Cannabis has long been used as a form of pain relief. As part of #PainAwarenessMonth, we’re taking a look at some of the available research out there to see how medical cannabis can help in the treatment, and reduction of symptoms associated with pain – today we’re looking at chronic pain conditions.

What is chronic pain

Chronic pain, or persistent pain as it’s also known, is the term for pain or pain symptoms that endure for longer than 3 months. It affects one in four adults in the UK in some shape or form and can have far-reaching effects on both physical and mental health.

Can medical cannabis help the symptoms of chronic pain

In a 2018 American study titled ‘Chronic Pain Patients’ Perspectives of Medical Cannabis’ researchers looked into the effects of medical cannabis use among patients who were diagnosed with pain and chronic pain conditions.

Two thirds of those involved with the study had been diagnosed by a specialist with chronic pain, with a mixture of neck/back pain, neuropathic pain, post surgical pain being the most prevalent. Patients diagnosed with other forms of pain including migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer and IBS among others were also included in the study.

“Overall, respondents described in great depth how medical cannabis improved their treatment of chronic pain and enhanced their quality of life.”

75% of those that took part in the study reported that medical cannabis was effective in treating their conditions. We know from our own patient survey that 94% of patients surveyed found medical cannabis was effective in treating their conditions.

The majority of respondents in this study cited pain relief when answering the question ‘What do you like most about medical cannabis?’ Answers to this question included:

  • “It stops the pain,”
  • “Changes perception and experience of my chronic pain”
  • “It will break the cycle of chronic pain”
  • “It’s been life changing for my pain”

Some pain responses went into a little more detail:

  • “While it doesn’t take away the pain completely, it seems to numb some of it”
  • “I can tolerate the chronic pain a little better”
  • “I feel no pain…anyone who hasn’t had chronic pain would not even understand how good it feels to even have it gone for a few hours”

Overall, respondents described in great depth how medical cannabis improved their treatment of chronic-pain and enhanced their quality of life.

Medical cannabis could be an alternative form of treatment that offers much-needed relief. Alleviating symptoms of pain and discomfort can help patients enjoy a better quality of life, regaining independence and strength once more.

You can find more information on the types of chronic pain, symptoms and alternative treatment methods on our chronic pain page on our website.