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A Discussion of Cannabis Medicines and CBD for Fibromyalgia and Arthritis

Webinar: originally broadcast 2 November & 9 November 2021

UK Fibromyalgia, Integro Clinics, Primary Care Cannabis Network, CPASS and PLEA are proud to present this collaborative two-part webinar discussing fibromyalgia, arthritis and cannabis medicines.

There are an estimated 1.5-2 million people living with fibromyalgia and 10 million with arthritis in the UK. The management of the symptoms of these conditions can take a long time diagnose correctly and can take even longer before they are effectively brought under control. This collaborative two-part event will focus on both educating attendees on the complex experience of those living with fibromyalgia and arthritis, and to highlight some of the benefits that both patients and clinicians have found when including cannabis medicines and CBD in their care regime.

Aimed at patients and carers of those living with fibromyalgia and arthritis, and healthcare professionals with a particular interest in these conditions, this event hopes to shed light on the lived experience of these patient groups and how newly available prescribed cannabis medicines have the potential to revolutionise the management of this conditions.

Part 1: 2nd November 2021

Participants: Ethan Russo & Anthony Ordman

Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and Founder/CEO of CReDO Science. Previously he was Director of Research and Development for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, 2017-19, Medical Director of PHYTECS, 2015-2017, and from 2003-2014, Senior Medical Advisor, medical monitor/study physician to GW Pharmaceuticals for numerous Phase I-III clinical trials of Sativex® and Epidiolex®.

He was a clinical neurologist in Missoula, Montana for 20 years.

He has held faculty appointments in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Montana, and in Medicine at the University of Washington.

He is author/editor of seven books and has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles.

Dr Anthony Ordman Lead Clinician at Integro Clinics – Founder of the highly respected Chronic Pain Clinic at London’s Royal Free Hospital, Dr Anthony Ordman is one of the UK’s most experienced specialists in the treatment of pain. For his contributions to Pain Medicine Dr Ordman was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 2005, and he is Immediate past President of the Pain Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

His expertise touches upon every area of pain; from spinal, musculoskeletal and nerve pain to post-surgical and trauma pain, and many areas of cancer related pain. Dr Ordman is also involved in pain management for rehabilitation and functional restoration after injury or serious illness. His belief in a patient-centred approach, sensitive to the individual needs of each person has had a strong influence on the Integro patient experience.

Part 2: 9th November 2021

Participants: Dr Leon Barron, Steven Spencer, Mary Biles & Maz Mills

Dr Leon Barron – NHS GP works in a variety of clinical settings. He firmly believes in a holistic approach to medicine, focusing on the person as a whole rather than just the symptoms and disease in question. He has a keen interest in mental health and enjoys the challenge of combining the psychological and social aspects of care with the physical health of patients. He has a strong interest in medical cannabis as an alternative therapy for patients and is the founder of The Primary Care Cannabis Network- a medical cannabis educational platform specifically for GPs. He also enjoys teaching and is a visiting tutor at University College London Medical School.

Steven Spencer – Steven first developed FSH Muscular Dystrophy in 2014, and was diagnosed in 2016 after an incorrect diagnosis of Brachial Neuritis. Then in 2015, he developed fibromyalgia, diagnosed 2016, which restricted him to a wheelchair when outside his home. He also lives with dyspraxia (diagnosed in 2001), ADHD (diagnosed 2016) and dyslexia (diagnosed 2021). He has also been diagnosed with PTSD (diagnosed 2020 not a full diagnosis because the current medication is treating some of the symptoms) and IBS (2020) but had symptoms of both of these since 2015.

When he developed FSH Muscular Dystrophy this caused nerve damage. His arm dropped and moved forwards at the shoulder, this caused a lot of pain discomfort and disabled his primary shoulder. He was prescribed Naproxen, Cocodamol/Paracetamol, Amitriptyline, Pregabalin, Tramadol and Baclofen. All had limited effects on the symptoms and none were tolerated well. He was taken off of them due to the side effects, leaving him with very little to treat the symptoms of Fibromyalgia that he developed a year later. Only physio and apps were offered. He had six weeks of physio which was unsuccessful because he was in too much pain. He was not referred to any further physician again though he continued to request help. He was never referred for any psychological support which should have been offered as per NICE treatment guidelines. So he turned to cannabis and received his first legal prescription in June/July of 2019.

Steven says that so many aspects of his life have been improved. They have given him back his life, it has given back hopes, dreams and it has shown him that “Yes you can cope” when others doubt and warn. It has given him back the ability to be a Father, a disabled Father who honestly feels his children are not missing out because of his illnesses. It has given him mental and physical strengths he never knew he had. Steven says he has defeated lifelong anxieties around learning and will now be going to university at the age of 45, disabled in a wheelchair with three learning difficulties and fibromyalgia, but he says as long as he has his prescription he knows he can do it. Cannabis medicine has given him back the person who was stolen by illness and trauma. Trauma from a past relationship that is still going on and this prescription is protecting him from it by allowing him to regulate and manage his illnesses. “I control my illnesses, they don’t control me anymore.”
The best groups I have come across for support and reliable information on Medical Cannabis are Medical Cannabis Forum, CPASS, PLEA United Patients Alliance, The Medical Cannabis Access Group and Drug Science. I have found that groups that are specific to illness are not particularly welcoming to conversations around legal medical cannabis.

Mary Biles – Mary Biles is the author of ‘The CBD Book: The Essential Guide to CBD Oil’, regular contributing writer for Californian educational non-profit Project CBD and host of the podcast Cannabis Voices. Mary is respected within the industry for her ability to create engaging content that explains in digestible terms the science behind cannabis and CBD in a way that patients and consumers understand and can relate to. As Chief Editor of CPASS, Mary is committed to furthering the education of nurses interested in medical cannabis through the organisation’s Nurse’s Arm as well as supporting patients on their cannabis journey.

Maz Mills– My name is Marie Mills, also affectionately known as ‘Maz’. I have been a sufferer of Fibromyalgia Syndrome for over 18 years, despite only being formally diagnosed in the summer of 2020 by a Rheumatologist. Finally getting diagnosed removed an enormous weight off my shoulders having felt like a hypochondriac for so long as fibromyalgia Syndrome has up to 200 symptoms.

After having suffered from severe anxiety & depression from the prolonged undiagnosed, I had to decide to give my life a complete wellness overhaul or spend forever mourning the fabulous and active life this condition attempted to steal from me along with all my dreams such as becoming a barrister of law. After covid, I embraced myself, my life, and my condition and took action to still make the very best of life with an overall sense of holistic health and wellbeing. Medicinal Cannabis helps me to manage my own challenges with my constant battle between ambition and chronic illness, each area being of which I consider myself at ‘Jedi’ level in terms of life experience! Medicinal Cannabis has replaced Pregabalin, Sertraline, Amitriptyline, & Propranolol.

Ann-Marie Bard – I am a wife of over 24 years and a mother of 2 beautifully different adult daughters.
Up until 7 months ago I was a full time practicing dental surgeon. I qualified 25 years ago and for the last 20 of them had built up a loyal list of patients near my home in Worcestershire. I thrives on the rewards that I earned from their trust and appreciation on return for the time and care that I gave them. I was. Practice owner, a CEO, head of HR & Health & Safety and every single day made important decisions and fought of stress and fatigue.

Then Fibromyalgia happened. I didn’t know that my lady day of dentistry was my last day of dentistry. Without warning or notice a very big part of my life came to an abrupt end.
But, I am still a wife and mother- I have dogs, chickens and a demanding garden and , whilst my husband might disagree – still a CEO!

Medical Cannabis has given me hope that I can have a new “normal” without the “zombie” like state induced from traditional opiate and other medication used to control fibromyalgia.

Integro Medical Clinics Ltd always recommends remaining under the care and treatment of your GP and specialist for your condition, while using cannabis-based medicines, and the Integro clinical team would always prefer to work in collaboration with them”. – Dr Anthony Ordman, Senior Medical Consultant and Lead Clinician – Integro Medical Clinics Ltd

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