LEADING UK MEDICAL CANNABIS & INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE PHYSICIAN

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Meet Dr Dani

Dr Dani Gordon MD ABOIM ABIHM

Dr Gordon is a London based double board certified medical doctor and world leading authority in Integrative and Cannabinoid Medicine.

She is considered the UK’s most experienced cannabis clinician having trained many of the UK’s cannabis doctors and treated 1000s of patients with medical cannabis with over a decade of clinical experience in integrative & cannabinoid medicine for the treatment of chronic illness.

She has spoken at the UN, delivered medical cannabis practice recommendations to Downing Street, is a Founding member and current vice-chair of the UK Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, Policy Advisor for the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group and has been featured in the Sunday Times, The Guardian, BBC News, Channel 4, Vogue and Marie Claire.

Clinic Medical Director

She is the medical director and founder of The London Resilience Clinic, a medical clinic specializing in treating complex chronic conditions with multiple symptoms such as fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, pain & mental health.

The clinic treatment programs combine prescribed drugs, botanical medicines,  supplements and medical cannabis with functional medicine testing, therapeutic diets and mindbody medicine programs.

Author and Writer

Dr. Gordon is an international multi-book author with Hachette UK, US and Harper Collins Canada with her books having been translated into multiple foreign languages.  She has also been featured in Vogue, Marie Claire, The Guardian, Fast Company and many other publications.

Books

The CBD Bible

A comprehensive, easy to read guide to cannabis & CBD that offers up to date evidence and practical tips for its specific uses in anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, burnout, women's health, neurology and many other conditions based on Dr. Gordon’s extensive clinical experience treating patients, along with her personal and patient stories.

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The Resilience Blueprint

You're never too unhealthy, too tired or too late to become the most dynamic, energetic and resilient version of yourself. Often we are resilient in one area, such as never catching colds, but not in another, like constantly feeling overwhelmed, tired or anxious. That's because each of us has a resilience type. Find out if you're a highly strung WOUND-UP WARRIOR, an emotional MOODY WARRIOR, a drained EXHAUSTED WARRIOR, or an easily distracted SCATTERED WARRIOR. Dr. Gordon guides you to identify your personal resilience type, and then offers all the scientifically backed health advice you need to put her transformative 8-week resilience programme for your type into action, based on her clinical work with her patients.

My Story

I believe in the power of integrative & cannabinoid medicine to transform medicine from a broken disease management system into a ‘Resilience Medicine’ system.  My clinical work with patients as well as my teaching, speaking, writing & advocacy work is focused on empowering patients to reclaim their resilience, wellbeing & quality of life no matter what health challenges they are facing.

Medical School

“I went to medical school full of inspiration about all of the amazing health and wellness tools I would one day be able to bring to my patients. I already had an interest in mindbody & nutritional medicine as an competitive athlete (swimming) and gotten into supplements and food to help my own issues (painful periods as a teen and recurrent UTIs and sinus infections).

To my initial surprise, this wasn’t what you learn about in medical school. Instead, I learned the ins and outs of a mostly drugs and surgery based ‘disease management’ system to fight fires once they were well underway. It was highly impersonal and not at all focused on root causes or reversing chronic illness.
The western medical tools I spent so many years learning are indeed lifesaving & helpful for ‘acute medicine’ but my interests lied in creating truly holistic health and empowering people living with chronic illness.

By my final years of medical school, I realized nearly all my mentors who I looked up to in my new profession suffered from stress, fatigue, burnout and chronic health problems themselves.
Most of the patients we saw who suffered from chronic health problems like insomnia, anxiety, IBS, type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and treatment resistant depression didn’t get better with the pills only approach. 

 I saw how much our studies and our practice revolved around adding on more pills for every symptom and then side effects of the first pill and how little doctors actually knew about healthy living, nutrition, how to be happy and reduce brain stress & inflammation. Many patients felt frustrated and not listened to.

I knew that there had to be a better way to do medicine.

 

United Nations
Speaking at the United Nations 2020

Traveling

After Medical School, before starting my first job as a resident doctor in Vancouver, I took a 3 month break and went traveling in Asia, spending most of that time at a holistic yoga retreat.

It was here I met my future husband who had just returned from Afghanistan and moved on from his career as a British Army officer, and where I was exposed to many different ideas about wellness.

From fasting retreats with colonics to ‘ecstatic’ sober dance parties, accessing altered states of consciousness via breathwork way before Wim Hoff was a thing and also about the use of plant medicines there were almost countless holistic modalities, many of which had real scientific merit if not ‘randomized placebo-controlled’ study evidence.

I was so intrigued by some of them, their healing potential and the science behind them, especially those involving plant medicines, foods, supplements & utilizing the mindbody connection.

10 Downing Street
Taking Medical Cannabis Recommendations to 10 Downing Street

Residency, sleep and mindbody medicine

Returning to Vancouver, I did my time as resident or junior doctor, working many 40 hr shifts without sleep. I found this incredibly hard, I am someone who still needs 9 hours sleep to function optimally to this day.

I developed sleep dysfunction from my pager in those years–a hypervigilance where any small sound would wake me from even a deep sleep–due to the fear of missing a page from a sick patient in the middle of the night. It got so bad that even on nights when I wasn’t on call, I would be unable to get a solid sleep and feel exhausted in the morning.

I used clinical hypnotherapy and yoga nidra to help recover my sleep from those years, with my now husband making guided mp3 recordings for me.

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On BBC One 'Inside Out' Show

Integrative Medicine, IBS and Youtube

After finishing my residency, I started out working in a group family medicine practice, excited to offer nutrition and mindbody approaches for conditions where pills were not working. It was impossible to bill for anything more ‘holistic’ when all we had was 5 or 10 minutes with a patient. I just didn’t feel like 5 minute visits and quick drug prescriptions were the way I wanted to practice medicine.

I started with videos about holistic ways to help IBS because I had so many patients as well as some family members suffering with it and the drugs prescribed were not helping them. At the time, any connection to mood symptoms, microbiome health, nutrition, inflammation, the endocannabinoid system and the brain-gut connection were totally ignored by doctors (and largely still are by many!).

I mentored with Dr. Ron Puhkey, one of the first integrative medicine doctors in Canada who at the time, was working with cancer patients in the first integrative oncology medical clinic, as well as running his holistic family practice.

I discovered the ABIHM & embarked on further specialist training & studying in Integrative Medicine. In 2012, I officially became American Board Certified in Integrative & Holistic Medicine, one of the first and youngest doctors in Canada to do so.

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Filming For Business Insider Magazine

The Tissue Box Breathing ‘Secret’ for Anxiety

When I started out in practice I was also confronted with an epidemic of people suffering terribly from anxiety, overwhelm, fatigue and basically ‘tired but wired’ nervous systems that didn’t have a drug answer.

So I started using simple breathing techniques and meditation in my practice to help my patients when western medicine approaches were failing them.

If one of my patients came in to see me anxious and overwhelmed, I would have them lie down on the exam table with a pillow, put a tissue box on their belly, teach them how to belly breathe by moving the box up and down, dimming the lights and letting them breathe into a relaxed, calm state for a few minutes while I saw another patient.

By the time I would come back to them, there was often was a huge change in the way they felt & often the first time a doctor had given them anything but a pill for anxiety.

This technique was one of my ‘secrets’ to making people feel a bit better when they came in feeling distressed so they left feeling more in control of their anxiety. I ended up filming a video about it circa 2012 for my patients on youtube.

I was starting to use more mindbody medicine in my practice, but wanted to have a deeper immersive understanding & experience to share with my patients.

Royal College Of GPs
Speaking at the Royal College Of GPs 2020

India

After being in clinical practice for some time, I decided to take my studies back to Asia next, and this time to India.

I spent 6 months in rural India living at ashrams and with traditional ayurvedic medicine healers studying meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), yoga and ayurvedic medicine. I studied with traditional yogic monks and teachers, some who were completely unknown and through word of mouth and one of whom, now in his 90’s trained the most famous Gurus of the 20th century and whom the Beatles went to study with in the late 1960’s, in his ashram in the jungle surrounding Rishikesh in the lower Himalayas.

It deepend my personal practice and I was able to bring back some of what I learned and teach my patients more simple non-drug ways to help reduce stress and anxiety and also help them live a better quality of life despite having a chronic illness. I also spent time in other places in southeast asia learning about traditional natural medicines, including Bali  .

After returning from India, I also created my first ‘mindbody medicine crash digital course’ for my patients, which was a 30 day programme, teaching them step by step mindbody & nutritional medicine approaches to feel more energized and generally improve their sense of wellbeing despite having a chronic illness. lIt was a success, patients loved it and felt it ‘demystified’ meditation and food as medicine approaches for them.

Bali

After adding telemedicine to my medical practice, we realized there was nothing to stop us from following a dream we had of opening a retreat centre in Bali, a mecca for all things holistic wellness, which we had both fallen in love with a few years previous on a trip there.

We started a burnout recovery centre incorporating EEG neurofeedback and worked with burned silicon valley Tech Founders, people with chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety and insomnia, health issues, all using our system to help build brain resilience and help people recover their wellbeing.

As great a tool as it was however, the equipment was expensive and people needed many sessions to get results. But we decided to use what we were learning and create a resilience program that used similar mindbody techniques but without the eeg equipment to make it more accessible to people. That is how our first resilience program started!

Speaking at the 2022 European Integratve Medicine Conference
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Speaking on BBC Radio 5

Cannabis and Psychedelics

At the same time, I was keeping my practice going in Canada including using medical cannabis. Ironically, the part of my life in Bali was still quite disconnected from my one in Canada and I could not talk about any of my work with cannabis in Bali at all, since in Indonesia any cannabis use was illegal and medical cannabis was not permitted. So most of the people I met and knew from my Bali wellness world had no idea that part of my medicine toolkit for my Canadian patients involved cannabis. It was quite ironic considering that Bali attracts many people who are highly experienced with plant medicines including ayahuasca for therapeutic use and were aware of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids too.

We decided to relocate full time to London at the end of 2018 to be closer to family. I could finally speak more openly about my cannabis work without worrying about being stopped at the border every time I flew back to Bali!

In reality, even many years before I wrote my first medical cannabis prescription many of my patients were using it medicinally and I had helped them under the guise of ‘harm reduction’ to help them make it more effective and reduce side effects by getting the THC and CBD content tested and finding ‘strains’ that seemed to work best for them based on my botanical medicine background.

My patients would come to me and tell me about their experiments.  I learned so much from them over the years especially in those early days before prescribing medical cannabis was common. I knew a few traditional herbalists who were not medical doctors and grew cannabis for medical use and then made their own topical and ingestible products for patients. They were kind enough to share with me  and I in turn, would explain some of the science behind what they did.  They loved that science was validating their experiences and wisdom they had learned through practice over the years.


Many patients also told me about their healing and often transformative experiences with other plant medicines of the psychedelic variety and of going to South America and other places with traditional use of plant medicine such as Ayahuasca was both legal and part of a long tradition and how it had helped them to heal from chronic conditions when other more ‘mainstream’ methods had failed them.  This became the beginning of my clinical interest in therapeutic psychedelics and now I assess patients for ketamine-based treatments & clinical trials going on here in the UK to gain access to these in a medical setting.

How I became a chronic pain patient and cannabis helped me

While I was over in Bali, I got hit by a motorbike while jogging to the beach one morning, flew through the air and thankfully, into a dirt side of the road on my outstretched left hand.  With no other injuries or knock to the head, I was extremely lucky overall.  

However, I blew the ligament that holds together two of the hand bones and also fractured the scaphoid.  After two painful partially successful surgeries involving pins and screws and many months in a special brace, I still had nerve pain over the area which was keeping me up at night. I saw top hand surgeons on two continents who told me that I would inevitably develop painful early arthritis and that my days of downward dogging, riding my motorbike and road bike were over.  I had one surgeon suggest I would need strong pain pills for the rest of my life and that eventually I may need to have the hand bones fused together to control the pain.   

I used every once of my mindbody medicine skills including doing neuro-mirroring exercises, visualisation and brain biofeedback and the final piece was adding topical cannabis.  At my annual integrative medicine conference in San Diego, a trusted colleague suggested I try some of the cannabis based topical products from the conference vendors’ tents, since this was California!   I used it religiously multiple times a day and in a few days my night pain was nearly gone.  It felt like a small miracle.  It was this personal experience that got me over my initial hesitation about starting to officially prescribe medical cannabis to my patients, even though most of my colleagues even in Canada still viewed it quite negatively.

It has become one of my most powerful tools, having now used it with thousands of patients in Canada and more recently here in the UK in our clinic.

 

Channel 4 News
Speaking on Channel 5 News

My Work in Women’s Health & My Experience as a Mum

Many of my womyn patients tell me they feel they are often not taken seriously or dismissed, especially with symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain and fatigue or pelvic pain that are often thought of as being simply ‘women’s issues.’  Or that their painful nightmare periods took years to actually investigate.  Or they have been judged for their health care choices or interest in more natural therapies or not wanting to go on the Pill as the only option.  

It’s still common for women to be presented with very few options for peri-menopausal symptoms if they are even asked about all.  This is despite there being so many great options to help!  It is a fact that there is a lack of research into women’s health issues and it lags behind in a huge way to mens health.    

On the positive side, the cannabis and cbd health movement has largely been women and grass roots driven by women, despite the stigma that remains espeically around mums using medical cannabis.  It has also brought attention to the lack of research in many areas of women’s health.  

I have found cannabis based medicines to work well for many peri-menopausal symptoms, PMDD and the pain of endometriosis especially when combined with other integrative approaches.

When I became a mum, I noticed that mums are often not listened to or told to squash their intuition about their own wellbeing or that of their babies and often feel quite marginalised by their health care experiences through pregnancy, birth and in the very sensitive postpartum period.  Although I had excellent medical care in my birth experience, I also encountered experiences of judgment, especially around holistic practices and when River had a bad tongue tie and couldn’t breastfeed I was told incorrectly just to ‘push through it.’    

Many new mums started to reach out to me for support and advice because they felt like I would understand having gone through it myself too.  Looking after yourself as a mum can be so challenging, especially with the sleep deprivation of early parenthood and having less ‘me’ time.  My entire wellness routine had to change after I had my son.

Women and men often need different things, different dietary approaches, different medications, different cannabinoids and these things also change depending on what stage of life we are in.   

We are all unique, although western medicine rarely recognises this individuality.  The bottom line is that if you have a chronic health issue or you just want to prevent illness or burnout in the first place, standard medicine simply isn’t good enough.  The solution is making holistic, integrative & cannabinoid medicine the new normal, since this is truly Resilience Medicine.