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.


  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.

  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?,😣.


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