A new project recently launched in the U.K. seeks to convince policymakers throughout Europe that they should be supporting making medical cannabis widely available for those who need it.
An organization known as Drug Science is partnering with the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) to launch Project Twenty21, which seeks to provide medical cannabis to up to 20,000 patients by the end of the year 2021.
The project backers hope to “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.”
“Cannabis was a medicine in the UK for over a century until 1971 when it was banned for political reasons,” said Professor David Nutt from Drug Science. “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.”
One of the major roadblocks when it comes to doctors in the U.K. prescribing medical cannabis is that they don’t know enough about its effectiveness. Those behind Project Twenty21 hope to be able to provide feedback from thousands of patients, helping to open up access for those in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.
“The RCP hopes this project will address the paucity of evidence for the use of cannabis-based medicinal products in all health settings, including mental health,” said Professor Wendy Burn, the President of the RCP.
While laboratory research on animals like mice and anecdotal evidence from humans can all be helpful when it comes to showing what medical cannabis is capable of, many believe there is so much more that can be done with this plant. A large scale study such as this could go a long way in pinpointing just how effective medical marijuana is for ailments we know it helps and in discovering new ailments that it could be helpful for as well.
More knowledge of cannabis and the ways it can be used to help humans and animals will always be a good thing; a worthy goal for those who really want to make a difference.