Announcing Project TWENTY21: providing medical cannabis to patients in the UK

Drug Science, an independent, science-led drugs charity, is launching Project TWENTY21, a national medical cannabis pilot, with the aim of soon providing medical cannabis to patients in the UK.
© iStock/Zbynek Pospisil

Drug Science, an independent, science-led drugs charity, is launching Project TWENTY21, a national medical cannabis pilot, with the aim of soon providing medical cannabis to patients in the UK.

Monday 24 June 2019: Drug Science is implementing Project TWENTY21 with the goal of providing medical cannabis to patients in the UK who may benefit from it. In the first instance, the Pilot will be targeting the following patients and situations, specifically focusing on times in which alternative treatment has failed:

  • Chronic pain;
  • PTSD, with a focus on the veteran community;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Tourette’s syndrome;
  • Prison populations as a harm reduction strategy; and
  • Cannabis use disorder and substance use disorder as a harm reduction strategy.

Learn about Project TWENTY21

To achieve this goal, Project TWENTY21 will develop a body of evidence using a real-world data registry which documents the efficacy, safety, QALY and patient reported outcomes in those prescribed medical cannabis.

This data will then be used to support applications to health authorities in the expectation that there will soon be a new regulatory system for medical cannabis in the UK.

Drug Science is in the final stages of appointing a clinician and management team for Project TWENTY21, led by current CEO David Badcock.

Drug Science Chair Prof David Nutt FMedSci said: “Cannabis was a medicine in the UK for over a century until 1971 when it was banned for political reasons. Since then hundreds of thousands of patients have been forced to break the law to get a treatment that most find preferable to their previous prescription medicines.

“Despite the UK making cannabis a medicine in November 2018 there have as yet been only a handful of prescriptions on the NHS. To rectify this impasse Drug Science has joined forces with the United Patients Alliance, leading academics and several medical cannabis producers to open up a treatment network for up to 20,000 patients.

“This will allow patients to get vital therapy without breaking the law. It will also provide a solid clinical database from which experience of and confidence in, medical cannabis prescribing will develop, providing a foundation for other medical prescribers to build on.”

The goal of providing medical cannabis to patients

United Patient Alliance Director and Founder, Clarke French said: “The United Patients Alliance is delighted to partner with Drug Science on project Twenty21. We believe it is a vital initiative.

“Patients in the United Kingdom deserve evidence-based policy and access to cannabis medicines on the NHS. Project Twenty21 will provide a growing body of evidence, to enable cannabis medicines to be accessed by the patients who desperately need it.”

Althea Chief Medical Officer Dr Robert Pawinski said: “Althea is proud to be able to provide the product as part of the national pilot, and resources to ensure patient access. We believe the pilot program will yield valuable data that can then be used to further bolster the case for medical cannabis use and inform public health and stakeholder decisions.”

Alta-Flora CEO Gavin Sathianathan said: “Alta Flora is proud and delighted to support Drug Science and the United Patients Alliance in this vital new initiative to harness the real-world experience of thousands of patients in order to improve the system for prescribing medical cannabis in the UK.”

Rob Jones, CEO from Cannuba said: “Cannuba are very excited to be part of this policy changing project.”

About Drug Science

Founded in 2010 by Professor David Nutt, Drug Science is the only completely independent, science-led drugs charity, uniquely bringing together leading drugs experts from a wide range of specialisms to carry out ground-breaking original research into drug harms and effects.

Its highly cited papers on all aspects of drug effects and harms attract global coverage and considerable public interest. Drug Science reduces the harms of drugs to the public through providing objective information on drug effects, harms and potential medical uses to the public, professionals and decision makers.

41 COMMENTS

  1. Cannabis is Teratogenic, Carcinogenic and can cause Epigenetic changes in sperm. All discoverable using Google Scholar.

    It may well turn out to be the next calamity like Thalidomide.

    Birth defects in Colorado are four times birth defects across the US, and increasing.

    That does not mean Cannabis or Cannabis based meds do not have a place, Thalidomide is still in use for example.

    It does though, surely warrant a degree of care and less enthusiasm than Professor Nutt seems to have.

    He is also wrong on the history, Cannabis was illegal before 1971. The earlier legislation was the Dangerous Drugs Act 1965.

    • “He is also wrong on the history, Cannabis was illegal before 1971. The earlier legislation was the Dangerous Drugs Act 1965.”

      So how do you explain all of this? http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap4/Tincture.htm It has been ‘illegal’ for seventy years, since the beginning of the ‘War on Drugs’ began and it has been in use prior to that for millenia. Selfish commercialism made it illegal.

  2. Well obviously you don’t live with any of the treatable illnesses. The government is quite happy to hand out chemical heroin such as oxycodone without warning which gives false pain side effects and is responsible for millions of deaths.
    A simple plant can help those who have not got no choice.
    I am sick and tired of hearing it does this and does that which are all just scare mongering.
    Me personally would say ban alcohol, additives, pollution these are the things that are killing everyone.
    Open your eyes and stop being frightens of something that saves lives.
    I personally will continue you use and grow and as for this rediculas law, it will be ignored untill the law is changed and the government let’s sick people make their own mind up

  3. I am one such patient who needs cannabis be it medical or illicit… My pain does not care if it’s illicit..

    I do not want to be labelled a Criminal just so I can afford to live a semi normal life but yet that is what the politicians have forced me to be… I didn’t choose this life but you sure as hell made me choose it….

    Until the point where we are better than Canada, America and Amsterdam we have not gone far enough…. It’s a plant

  4. Agree I have tourrets, It helps me to calm and focus on what i do. Tho living in the uk i constantly struggle with breaking the law behind my closed doors, Is that just me?,😣.

  5. I was arrested for cultivating for just few plants, I use cannabis too treat severe ptsd from all the violence of alcohol mixed with drug’s, when ppl mix alcohol an crack they become something else, I also got addicted too oxycodone with out knowing how bad the withdrawal is, cannabis oils have made me reduce those nasty chemicals an I still cannot get prescription for cannabis after trying a number of times, legalise cannabis an crime will fall, drug addiction will drop beyond belief just look what’s happening in Canada as far as OPIATE addiction 30 % drop in less than a year, thanks too cannabis so all the ppl still stuck in refeer madness era just shows how pathetic that is, just do the UK public that favour an allow the public to use cannabis how they feel, wake up UK, loosing billions of pounds apart from GW pharma that is, because of reefer madness, how Mr an Mrs May sleeps at night shows how nasty ass ppl they are, makes me sick what Tories are doing with cannabis laws, making money over pols health issues, Tories needs be gone, it’s not right, they can change the cannabis law’s tomorrow if they was half decent at least give it a try, like I said profits over publics health that’s what it’s about, vote Tories out an cannabis laws will change ppl
    ….

    • Feel for you – I too am being criminalised for growing and using cannabis over opoid painkillers and other serious medical chemicals. It’s a travesty of justice that GW Pharm are making huge profits whilst we are being persecuted.

  6. I have used cannabis for 50 years, on and off. I suffer from depression and have done so since childhood. There is one immediate and sustained way of relief for this and it is cannabis.
    In recent years, when cannabis has not been available, I have suffered from physical symptoms involving extreme physical stress, twitching muscles and neck pain that is unbearable. This may have been brought on by a severe car crash around five years ago. Currently I am taking codeine and naproxen, which worries me greatly. This medical combination is not one tenth as effective as cannabis oil.
    It is madness, to those of us who understand the effectiveness of the drug, madness that is driven by ignorance.

    • Codeine and Naproxen are gut strippers. GPs merely dish one drug out to counter the effects of the former drug.

      Cannabis will always be ignored by GPs and Pain Management Consultants as, in many cases, it cures and works.

      GW hold so many patents it’s obscene. The Tories have a vested interest in producing it. Theresa May, her husband (care of the Capital Group) Victoria Atkins and her husband. Now we have James Cleverly’s brother with a UK grow licence ready to supply more for GW via Sierra Leone!

      Meanwhile I’m sat here in agony with service related injuries!

  7. Hi please could I be considered to trial this medical cannabis please, I have multiple sclerosis and suffer with chronic pain and other symptoms that I think would really help with this cannabis. Thank you

  8. David Raynes – Alcohol is categorised as a class 1 carcinogen by World Health Organisation, the same as asbestos, causing at least 10 forms of cancer. Is that carcinogenic enough for you ? Of course that is freely available and more so than ever. Cannabis is far less harmful and actually has medical benefits. You do realise that many current medications are carcinogenic, many new pharmaceutical immunological drugs used to treat arthritis and psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions have been shown to increase the risk of cancer, and have killed some patients, that’s why they have black box warnings in the US. They are still used though in the US, UK and EU as the benefit outlays the risks apparently. Cannabis is now where near as dangerous as those sorts of medications. Try googling that ..

    • I thought when the results came out on a 30 year study into the carcinogenic effects of cannabis, they found, to everyones surprise that smoking cannabis was actually very slightly less likely to give you cancer than being a non-smoker. (forgive me if i have miss remembered). as i recall it, it was how it effected the cells when studied OUTSIDE of the human body, that showed it was likely to be highly carcinogenic, but when studied WITHIN the body, it was not. (i’m not certain if that was an animal study or a human study).

  9. I’d like my husband to get the chance to participate in this. He’s a war pensioner with PTSD and Parkinson’s Disease – he’s also in relentless, appalling pain. All the NHS will do is repeatedly increase the morphine, which will kill him.

  10. David Raynes you should read and be thankful you don’t suffer like me and people who have left comments, if your whole against cannabis is because it could possibly cause cancer, if you vape the flower at 180’C through a vaporizer(like a volcano) the cancer causing chemicals are not released because the heat is below the source of ignition thus not releasing those nasty chemicals. I’ve got goggle as well. Attitudes like that are not helpful, surely people deserve the best medicine for there condition.

  11. Hopefully this will mean an end to my “ranting” about the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and that these important Scientific influential people can get the U. K. to change the current National Curriculum to include it in every school to Medical school. The public could then understand how these cannabinoids can help their failing ECS to allow the body to heal itself by reinstating natural homeostasis.
    I am a frail, little, OAP and ex-Science teacher having written to the old H.S. to be told “he couldn’t respond as I don’t live in his constituency so my MP wrote on my behalf and got a response from Nick Hurd ,Police Chief! Wrote to Damian Hines who passed me to an underling who directed me to National Curriculum! The CCG obviously don’t know about the ECS but neither do the MP’s, GP’s or members of NICE!
    The public have the right to know what all stoners know about this system and the corruption within the U.K. Government/GWP drug cartel so that they can make informed choices about their future health care choices without the use of dangerous pharma medicines. It may help remove the stigma of cannabis that has been here from the US for 70 years. Decriminalize cannabis now and expunge any criminal records for growing cannabis which is our basic human right for our own health and well being.
    I used cannabis to help me through the grief of loosing my son after a tragic accident nearly three years ago as I will not use the local GP surgery after the letter his GP sent me when I asked for his medical records was disgusting. Finding your son dead in bed can lead to PTSD so I use cannabis without the help of pharma drugs. I will live with his loss for the rest of my life so I rant about the ECS wherever I can and the Facebook pages support that I need as well as my two trustee friends as I continue in memory of him. I hope that before I die cannabis is recognised by these uneducated politicians and do what is right, We have to start educating NOW!
    This is the best thing I have seen for years get started quickly as people need you now.

  12. How can a leading member of one of Britain’s biggest Anti Drug administration comment on giving medical cannabis. Of course he’s going to have all the outdated views, bit sneaky not saying who he really is. A normal citizen, no I don’t think so.

  13. Will side effects be studied? i have crps, one of the worst pain conditions known to medicine. and ptsd (due to assault and coersive control and violent and threatening abuse). I tried cbd oil, with a good level of sucess (re pain) but i simultaneously developed infections in the affected limb. I have read that canabinoids can advance any conditions where the immune system is compromised. I have ME, which is a condition where the immune system is severely affected. so i stopped using the cbd, but its a shame as it was helping the pain a great deal, with no other side effects. (i dont know for sure if the infections were caused by the cbd or were a coincidence)?

    • I should have said, I am completely bedbound by the CRPS, and have been almost entirely abandoned by the NHS, more treatment options are desperately needed. (opiates are often prescribed for crps but they activate the glial cells, which actually makes the condition worse! this is not scientific)

  14. So been suffering PTSD 40 odd years had a disc into nerve Channel for 25 years and others degenerated , only thing that helps is canibis I’m now 52 years old, so carry on taking Di hydrocodene and oral morphine, this is low they legilised it how long ago now, every day I think of ending mine and every one around me suffering, I buy an oz and its crap either food in it or its been harvested when it’s not ready its money I could spend on other things, let’s see if I see out the year, thanks for nothing

  15. Hi I suffer from chronic back pains as well as IBS. I would like to be put forward as an applicant. Could you send me details on what to. Thanks

  16. Where do I sign, I live with chronic pain I have had 3 disc replaced and the rest have crumbled and cannot have anything done. I have a spinal cord stimulator in which has had to be turned off as it was causing my problems and now left me with twitching all over my body. I also have arthritis of the facet joints + many more problems. I have 180mg a day me Oxycontin 40mg Oxynorm up to 4 times a day and 100mg Amitriptyline. I wasn’t told what high amounts of Oxycontin and Oxynorm could do and I now have chronic kidney Disease with no cure, plus I B S, blackouts + more problems. I am also now on Keppra for tremors inside and outside of my body. I am in a wheelchair most of the time. My husband had to leave a well paid job to become my full time carer and he gets £63 a week for that. We have no life and I spend most of my time in bed as I am in to much pain to get up. My husband asked me to promise not to do anything meaning take my own life as I feel I am a waste of air. The same Dr that put me on this high amount is now telling me I have to cut down to 60mg a day, I really don’t know how I will be able to live. Please please think of me for this trail I will sign anywhere.

  17. Where do I sign, I live with chronic pain I have had 3 disc replaced and the rest have crumbled and cannot have anything done. I have a spinal cord stimulator in which has had to be turned off as it was causing more problems and now left me with twitching all over my body. I also have arthritis of the facet joints + many more problems. I have 180mg a day of Oxycontin 40mg Oxynorm up to 4 times a day and 100mg Amitriptyline. I wasn’t told what high amounts of Oxycontin and Oxynorm could do and I now have chronic kidney Disease with no cure, plus I B S, blackouts + more problems. I am also now on Keppra for tremors inside and outside of my body. I am in a wheelchair most of the time. My husband had to leave a well paid job to become my full time carer and he gets £63 a week for that. We have no life and I spend most of my time in bed as I am in to much pain to get up. My husband asked me to promise not to do anything meaning take my own life as I feel I am a waste of air. The same Dr that put me on this high amount is now telling me I have to cut down to 60mg a day, I really don’t know how I will be able to live. Please please think of me for this trail I will sign anywhere.

  18. Where can I sign up for this trial? I have suffered from chronic pain since a surgical accident in 2007. My daily prescription just to name a few is 100ug Fentynal Patch, 1000mg Pregabalin, Oramorph (usually take 80ml a time as I am opioid-tolerant). Add to that, other medication such as Diazepam, Fluoxetine etc, that are all addictive.

    If there was an option to get off these harmful drugs, let’s face it, the volume of drugs I am taking must be harmful to the body?

  19. I’ve been in pain for 5 years with no pain relief because of other ailments. I do use a cbd balm and drops. Would love to be part of this research.

  20. I have cronic neuropathic pain following a fractured spine 18 years ago. If medical cannabis had been available I may have been able to have a proper life since then. I would love to sign up to a medical cannibise trial, getting medical proper evidence is the only way I can see the UK ever legalising it.

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