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How cannabis gave me the tools to manage fibromyalgia



Gillian says there's still a huge amount of stigma around mums who consume cannabis medicinally

Mum-of-six, Gillian Flood reveals how cannabis made her a better mother after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and can completely destroy a patient’s quality of life. 

Mum-of-six children, Gillian Flood, found that cannabis medicines allowed her to turn her life around and cope with the responsibility of running her family and looking after her children. 

With five of Gillian’s children autistic, it was vital that she was able to remain focused, calm and clear headed at all times. 

“The drugs that I was being given to help with my chronic pain; gabapentin and pregabalin, turned me into a zombie,” she said.

“Honestly, it was embarrassing. I would turn up to collect the kids from school and I was so out of it, that I’m sure people must have thought I had been drinking.”

Gillian continues: “Medical cannabis, which I now vape a small amount of around every hour and a half, allows me to function with a clear head in a totally normal fashion. It’s such a relief to have found an answer to my pain that doesn’t have side effects.”

medical cannabis patient Gillian Flood

Medical cannabis patient, Gillian Flood

Cannabis medicines are increasingly being turned to for the treatment of fibromyalgia when traditional medicines are no longer offering any relief.  

Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although it affects around seven times as many women as men. It typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50 but can actually occur at any point in your life and can also affect children. 

It is estimated that one in 20 of the population may be affected by fibromyalgia to some degree. However, it is difficult to give an exact number as the condition is tricky to diagnose because there is no specific test, and the symptoms can be similar to many other conditions. 

The potentially debilitating effects can include headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), brain fog, muscle stiffness, extreme fatigue, increased and acute sensitivity to pain and difficulty sleeping amongst many others. 

Dr Anthony Ordman, senior clinical adviser and hon. medical director Integro Clinics explained: “This can be a very troublesome condition and we frequently see it presented in rheumatology clinics, because is produces disabling tight muscle spasms, which patients feel must be coming from their joints or bones.

“There is no conventional medicine to treat fibromyalgia. Nerve pain medicines and anti-depressant medicines are often tried.  These sometimes do help, but often can add their own side effects to the patient’s difficulties. Cannabis medicines can offer a potentially effective treatment as they re-balance and regulate the human body’s natural endocannabidiod system (ECS).

“This system can become disturbed by long term stress, and sleep deprivation, and individual genes may make some people more prone to fibromyalgia than others.”

Dr Ordman continued: “I am very interested in the relationship between impaired sleep and fibromyalgia, stress and psychological trauma can lead to highly disturbed sleep patterns. Stress can prevent patients failing to reach Stages 3 and 4 of deep sleep during which the body normally repairs itself. Over time this can lead to physical and mental fatigue resulting in fibromyalgia symptoms.” 

Traditional methods of treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), antidepressants and painkillers may all be helpful. But an individually tailored cannabis treatment plan from a doctor specialising in cannabis medicines can result in a significant reduction of pain and an improvement in quality of life.  Other medicines can be carefully reduced or stopped.

Gillian was first struck down with unbearable pain when she was 32-years-old.

Looking back, she believes the trigger was her emergency, traumatic caesarean section, when she went into labour a day early with her twins in breech position. 

She had a painful wound that took three months to get better and during this period she developed back, shoulder and neck pain. 

The situation reached a crisis point in 2016, when the right side of her body became numb, and she suffered facial paralysis. She was rushed in for an MRI scan with her doctor suspecting multiple sclerosis only to discover it was actually fibromyalgia. 

The only solution that was offered to her were traditional pain medicines that had such terrible side effects that it was preferable to her to live with the pain.

It was then a friend told her about an article she had read on a fibromyalgia support facebook page, and she heard about medical cannabis for the first time. 

Gillian sought out a prescription and initially started on oils before moving on to vaping flower, which she now uses throughout the day to successfully control her pain.

“Cannabis medicines have been a complete life saver for me,” said Gillian.

“It is only recently that I have felt brave enough and empowered enough to talk about using them publicly. 

“There is still a huge stigma and shame around them for mums who use it, because people assume you have a drug problem or are an unfit mother. 

“This of course is total rubbish; they help you to be a good mother.”

Gillian added: “There is such misunderstanding, even my GP was so ignorant and dismissive of the fact that I take them – she suggested I swap them for paracetamol. To even make this comment shows her total lack of understanding. Nor did she want to learn about them – she just shut down the conversation.

“This is so sad because she might have had other patients, who it could really help if only, she would be open to learning more about them.” 

If Gillian’s story has interested you, please join us on Tuesday 3 August for an expert webinar with Integro Clinics, PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access), Medcan Support, CPASS and Cannabis Health.


Featuring a panel of clinical experts including Integro’s female health consultant, Dr Sally Ghazaleh, Sarah Higgins CNS, Gillian herself and award-winning campaigner, Hannah Deacon, who fought to get the UK’s first legal cannabis prescription for her son Alfie. We will look at the shame and stigma surrounding Mothers and children who take CMBP’s and the prejudice and misunderstand that still exists within society. 

The event is free, register here


Integro Medical  Clinics Limited 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.

If you would like further information or to speak to Dr Anthony Ordman about your fibromyalgia symptoms, please contact  Integro Clinics:  :


Twitter: @clinicsintegro

For support visit:

Fibromyalgia Action UK

UK Fibromyalgia 

National Fibromyalgia Association 

National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association


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