Professor Mike Barnes

Professor Mike Barnes is one of the most famous consultant neurologists in England today. He is best known for his extensive research on the uses of cannabis for the treatment of several neurological conditions. With his expertise in neurological rehabilitation, he advocates for the use of cannabis in several conditions where, as per evidence, CBD products have a great potential in promoting good functional recovery.

Besides actively raising medical cannabis awareness, he regularly contributes to education and clinical research in the field of Neurology. He is the author of the famous book ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Medical Cannabis’, which was published in the year 2019. 


Professor Mike Barnes attained his early medical education in Bristol and Bath. He later moved to Liverpool to specialize in neurology under the guidance of Lord Walton of Detchant. Training under one of the most prominent neurologists of the 20th century made him an expert in the field. Within four years, he completed his MD after being part of detailed research on the effects of hyperbaric oxygen on multiple sclerosis. 

After completing his MD, his interest in neurological rehabilitation grew. However, as the field was highly underexplored around that time, he had to move on to the pharmaceutical sector and got involved in clinical research on antidepressant and antiepileptic drugs. Later, in 1988, when the first training post in neurological rehabilitation was started, he got a chance to join the famous neurologist, Dr Lindsay McLellan, in Southampton. 

Professor Mike Barnes did not miss the opportunity, and within a few years, he became an expert in neurological rehabilitation. Later, he started teaching at Newcastle University, and in 1994 became the first-ever Chair of Neurological Rehabilitation in the UK. This was the beginning of an illustrious career, during which he held several key posts related to neurorehabilitation. 

Research on Cannabis

As stated before, in his long, illustrious career, Professor Mike Barnes donned several hats. In the early 2000s, he also became a part of GW Pharma. He was involved in the launch of the world’s first plant-derived CBD drug- Sativex. His report, which was sent to the MHRA, has so far been used to legalize Sativex in more than 30 countries. Thus, it was during the days at GW Pharma that his research and interest in medical Cannabis increased manifold. 

Professor Mike Barnes’ research on medical cannabis is said to be a catalyst for the progression of legalization of cannabis in the UK. In fact, in 2016, Professor Mike Barnes was approached by a parliamentary committee on Drug Policy Reform to prepare a report on the effects of cannabis that could be tabled for discussion in the parliament. 

Along with Dr Jennifer Barnes, he published a research paper titled Cannabis – The evidence for Medical Use. The paper was instrumental in changing the stance of governments in the UK concerning Cannabis usage. His help was also sought by MPs in Ireland to start discussions and lectures in the Parliament on the medical use of Cannabis. 

Role In Creating Awareness For Cannabis Medicine

After a long-fought battle, in November 2018, the UK government finally gave permission for the prescription of Cannabis as a drug for medical use. However, when Professor Mike Barnes saw that only a few doctors across the country were prescribing cannabis, and that many were still apprehensive about cannabis as a treatment option for neurological conditions, he started doing awareness campaigns. 

He held seminars on a personal level to make practitioners aware of the evidence that exists in favour of Cannabis as a medical intervention in neurological rehabilitation. He has given hundreds of lectures ever since in some of the most reputed conferences to raise awareness about medical cannabis. 

The Beginner’s Guide To Medical Cannabis

Professor Mike Barnes’ book titled The Beginner’s Guide To Medical Cannabis is considered one of the best resources for anyone willing to know more about medical cannabis. The book states all the relevant facts about the usage of cannabis in the treatment of neurological conditions. Moreover, it is an evidence-based book that in no manner justifies the negative impacts of Cannabis. 

The book starts by telling the readers about the composition of the regular cannabis oils or THC substances that are very popular these days. Besides the evidence, Professor Barnes also tells the readers about the safety of aspects of consuming cannabis-based products in different medical conditions. 

Moreover, he lucidly explains how to use cannabis as a drug so that one does not fall prey to the addictive nature of the drug. The instructions are important to ensure that patients do not end up harming themselves if they are going for self-administration. 

Professor Barnes also speaks about one of his patients who has benefitted from cannabis use, suggesting that Cannabis is nothing short of a miracle for patients like him. The patient, Alfie Dingley, is a six-year old boy who suffers from epilepsy. Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizure attacks and can also be associated with neurological deficits. As per Professor Barnes, prescribing Cannabis to Alfie turned out to be a great move because it reduced his seizure episodes from 300 to just 1 per month. 

He also gives a brief history of Cannabis use for treatment and claims that Cannabis was used as medicine even 6000 years ago. It was only in the 1960s that governments around the world started declaring it illegal, citing its negative impacts on society at large. Though B also acknowledges these effects of cannabis legalization, he believes that a blanket ban cannot be the solution to this problem. 


Professor Mike Barnes is a stalwart when it comes to cannabis medicine and even the past governments have regarded him as an authority in this matter. His research papers, publications, and public lectures are always insightful for budding neurologists as well as patients suffering from neurological impairments, anxiety, uncontrolled pain, etc. His treatment methods that incorporate the usage of cannabis are followed in other countries too.

Along with several other influential people, he is still campaigning for a more liberal approach to cannabis legalization by the government. He has become the face of campaigns like End our Pain and is a ray of hope for many patients who are willing to try cannabis as a cure for their ailments.