Medical cannabis patients in Europe are on the cusp of receiving prescriptions

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Back in November, the first medical cannabis patient registry in Europe was launched. Drug Science – a leading independent scientific body on drugs in the United Kingdom – initiated Project Twenty21, which will be fronted by Professor David Nutt. The experienced drug specialist and campaigner intends on assisting some 20,000 European medicinal cannabis patients.

Once approved post-trials, the drug will be suitable for individuals with a broad scope of conditions and ailments. If all goes as planned, Project Twenty21 will be Europe’s primary and largest source of evidence pertaining to the therapeutic qualities of medical cannabis. 

Policy makers in Europe and the United Kingdom are still unsold on the idea of prescribing medical cannabis to patients; further trials and evidence are critical. Drug Science, however, aims to gather sufficient scientific results that will prompt policy makers to relax laws surrounding medical cannabis in Europe. 

“Medical cannabis is still out of reach for far too many. Patients are left untreated, in significant debt from the cost of private prescriptions, or criminalized as they are forced to turn to the black market,” said Professor Nutt, adding that, “they don’t deserve any of this, and the situation with prescribing desperately needs to change.

Project Twenty21 will – hopefully – instil confidence in healthcare professionals for prescribing medical cannabis in a continent that has long been plagued by prohibition.

What chronic conditions will Project Twenty21 target?

Medical cannabis patients in Europe who want to obtain plant-based medicines will be eligible under a broad scope of chronic conditions. Each patient who participates in the program will be administered with medical cannabis; no placebos will be used. Prescribed medicine will come at a cost. However, Nutt says it will be affordable and subsidized by Drug Science and various affiliated companies. 

The main goal of Project Twenty21 is to assist patients who have exhausted previous treatments, including the following conditions:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder 
  • Tourette’s syndrome

Project Twenty21 will be monitored to ensure its efficacy at relieving the symptoms of chronic disease and improving patient quality of life. In order to accomplish this task, the European medical cannabis project will utilize real-world data to assess safety and quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Patients data will be analyzed to determine whether or not medical cannabis treatments produce positive outcomes for the aforementioned chronic conditions. 

Project Twenty21 is backed by numerous acclaimed groups/organizations

The future looks bright for medical cannabis patients in Europe. Project21 boasts backing from numerous acknowledged organizations. One of those notable groups is the Royal College of Psychiatrists — the main professional organization of psychiatrists serving the United Kingdom. The European medical cannabis project also has the support of The British Pain Society — a multidisciplinary community that specializes in education, research/development (R&D) and training in every category of pain. 

Also in approval of the program is the United Patients Alliance — a community established in July 2014 alongside Professor David Nutt and Caroline Lucas MP; acknowledged as one of the most prominent groups pushing for patient access to cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) in the mainstream healthcare sector.

“The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes this project which it hopes will make an important contribution towards addressing the paucity of evidence for the use of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) in all health settings, including mental health. We hope that this project, along with other research such as more much-needed randomised control trials, will continue to build the evidence on CBMPs (cannabis-based medicinal products),” said President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Wendy Burn.

Anyone interested in participating in Drug Science’s trial – or individuals who know somebody who’s been diagnosed with one of the aforementioned ailments/conditions – can submit their details here