What is CBD oil, and how does it help the body?

Written by: Dr Anthony Ordman
Edited by: Conor Lynch

In this interview, highly experienced pain management specialist, Dr Anthony Ordman, talks to us about the main benefits of CBD oil, and reveals what conditions the oil can help with.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil contains cannabidiol, one of the many chemicals that are found in the cannabis plant. Many governments, including the UK government, has legalised the selling and purchasing of this substance, mainly because it has very few negative effects on the mind and brain.


It is now as effective as the other substances found in cannabis. Many people with long-term problems such as chronic pain and/or anxiety may not find that CBD oil has any effect on them.


How does CBD oil interact with the nervous system to help alleviate pain?

Cannabis medicines interact with specific receptors that are found in the brain and other parts of the central nervous system that process pain. Nature has already put receptors there for cannabinoids because our body produces cannabinoids.


It is thought that in people who have long-term pain or anxiety, their cannabinoid production may be insufficient. We can use exogenous substances from plants to then rebalance people’s nervous systems so they can feel less pain, anxiety, and depression, and more importantly, to help people sleep better.


How can CBD oil be taken or applied?

For most of our patient who haven’t used cannabis before, we can prescribe cannabis oils, which are put under the tongue and are absorbed by the lining of the mouth. They can be taken three or four times a day and provide relief/benefit for up to between eight to 12 hours.


For those who have taken cannabis before, they may need a more powerful dose. We tend to provide these stronger doses through inhalation, so we use vaporisers to vaporise cannabis oil or the cannabis plant to give a more powerful dose that’s absorbed through the lungs.


How long does CBD oil typically take to work?

If you take cannabis oil, the benefit comes on gradually over the course of three-quarters of an hour or so. If you take three doses a day, they overlap each other, and so you get a continuous benefit throughout the day.


If you take the medicine by inhalation, the effect will kick in within 15 minutes. This is particularly helpful when it comes to wanting to get a good night’s sleep.


What are the biggest benefits of CBD oil compared to traditional pain relief medication?

Cannabis medicines are much more natural, and very rarely cause memory loss or sleepiness. Moreover, cannabis medicines do not seem to cause dependency.


To schedule in an appointment with Dr Anthony Ordman, you can do so via his Top Doctors profile today.

By Dr Anthony Ordman
Pain medicine

Dr Anthony Ordman is a senior, full-time specialist in pain medicine. He founded the Royal Free’s Pain Management Service in 1997, which included the highly-regarded Chronic Pain Clinic with a specialist multidisciplinary team designed to help patients with pain, and the associated difficulties it can bring. He also set up the Royal Free Hospital’s Acute Pain Service to help those suffering with post-surgical and trauma pain.

Dr Ordman has many years of experience looking after patients with pain across a wide variety conditions, including spinal, musculoskeletal and nerve pain, post-surgical and trauma pain, and some cancer-related pain. He has a special interest in complex regional pain syndrome, post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles), pancreatic pain, and sciatica after spinal surgery.  He is also involved in pain management for rehabilitation and functional restoration after injury or serious illness, and after-CSF leak (spinal fluid leak).

Expert in the use of specialist pain medications, and in carrying out interventional pain relief techniques such as epidurals and nerve blocks, Dr Ordman also carries out coeliac plexus block for severe pancreatic pain, and Racz catheter neurolysis for persistent sciatica after spinal surgery. He firmly believes that an individualised, patient-centred approach is important for each and every person, and understands the low mood and exhaustion that long-term pain can bring about.

Dr Ordman was appointed as Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians for his contribution to pain medicine, and serves as President of the Pain Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. He loves music, and singing, and is delighted, therefore, to have been appointed Medical Advisor and Consultant in Pain Medicine to the Royal Society of Musicians.

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