Getting to Know - Mike Barnes

A highly experienced consultant neurologist, over the last 30 years, Professor Barnes has been dedicated to the development of neurological rehabilitation throughout the UK and internationally. He wrote "The Barnes Report" - The up to date and authoritative paper on the efficacy of cannabis as medicine.  

Besides being a Trustee of United Patients Alliance, Professor Mike Barnes is chief medical officer at Scythian Biosciences, a Canadian company promoting cannabis research and an ambassador for cannabis lobbying organisation, End our Pain.


We have asked our Trustees and Patrons some "Quick-Fire" Questions so you can get to know a little more about their involvement with United Patients Alliance and capture their thoughts on how medical cannabis policy is progressing the UK.

Hello, Professor Mike Barnes:

Why do you support patients accessing cannabis as medicine? 

Simply because cannabis is a very good medicine with minimal side effects and that needs to be recognised so that tens of thousands of people need not be criminalised.

How did you first get involved with cannabis as medicine law change/campaigning?

Straight after writing the Medical Cannabis - The Evidence report for the APPG for Drug Policy Reform in summer 2016. When I met the UPA too.

Why did you choose to get involved with United Patients Alliance?

The best such organisation in the UK!

What is your personal background and why is this relevant to cannabis as medicine?

I’m a neurologist which is clearly relevant to so many people with epilepsy, pain and many other Neurological conditions.

What are the most compelling arguments for legal access to cannabis as medicine?

It works! Cannabis is a good, safe medicine and certainly with less side effects than many of the existing alternatives.

What are the biggest hurdles in the UK to achieving legal access to cannabis as medicine?

Frankly, it’s ignorance and the reluctance of doctors and not actually the government at this point.

What existing systems/policies for accessing cannabis as medicine would you support and why? 

The current Expert Panel is a start but this is not the final answer by any means. I would recommend leaving the prescription to trained doctors working in partnership with the patient and family. I think it is unlikely that GYO (Grow Your Own/Home Growing) will be achievable in the immediate future.

What are your biggest concerns right now for future medical cannabis legislation in the UK?

I am concerned that legislation will be too restrictive with limited conditions allowed and limited products available. We want #nopatientleftbehind

Do you have personal experience consuming cannabis?

Very limited I’m afraid!

Why is the 2018 UPA Medical Cannabis Patient Survey so important?

More evidence of the usefulness of cannabis in many forms and for many conditions and to build on and validate the findings of the last survey. I urge everyone in the UK who finds cannabis to be beneficial for their health to complete the survey now.

Thank you Mike! 

You can take the 2018 #UPASurvey for Medical Cannabis Patients right here!

Mike in the Media

Read more background from Mike here: Spotlight on Professor Mike Barnes

Medical Cannabis

Check out his latest article written for the British Medical Journal - The Case for Medical Cannabis