The Medical Cannabis Working Group is a cross-sector collaboration, which includes scientific experts, academics, policy makers and leaders of patient advocacy groups alongside industry partners

Aim

The group’s aim is to improve and accelerate access of medical cannabis in the UK for all patients. 

The Medical Cannabis Working Group is a collaboration that continues to prioritise an approach which includes (i) medical education, (ii) reasonable access to patients in need and patients seeking medical cannabis, along with (iii) the collection of robust real world data that may inform effectiveness and safety, along with QALY and patient reported outcomes. These approaches are key in the implementation of an effective access programme in the UK that is most likely to have the best public health outcome.

It is clear that whilst there is great progress in access to medical cannabis being made worldwide, patients in the UK are being prevented from accessing potentially beneficial treatment, despite cannabis having been legally classified as a medicine since November 2018. Since then, only a handful of patients have received a prescription on the NHS, despite lobby and patient groups suggesting the number of patients currently using illicit cannabis for therapeutic purposes in the UK to be in the region of 1.4 million people.

Drug Science believes that a balance must be struck between the access demands of patients based on unmet need, the risk of a burgeoning illicit market in the context of restricted access, and the collection of data to monitor safety. Medical cannabis is already being made available in significant numbers in Europe and in other countries, whilst patients in the UK are being driven to the illicit cannabis market characterised by irregular product high in THC, or the CBD market currently governed as a novel food by the Food Standards Agency.

Objectives

Project Twenty 21

Project Twenty21 is Europe’s largest real-world data registry to document efficacy, safety, quality-adjusted life year, and patient reported outcomes in prescribed medical cannabis in the UK. 

Through Project Twenty21, eligible patients can access affordable medical cannabis treatment, monitored by Drug Science. The project aims to enrol 20,000 patients by 2021, creating the largest body of evidence for the effectiveness and tolerability of medical cannabis. The findings of Project Twenty21 will provide evidence for NHS funding if the benefits of treatment with medicinal cannabis is proven to outweigh the potential risks.

Scientific Committee

Prof David Nutt

Professor of Neuro-psychopharmacology

Prof Val Curran

Professor of Psychopharmacology

Prof Adam Winstock

Honorary Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist

Prof Larry Phillips

Emeritus Professor

Prof Michael Lynskey

Professor of Addictions

Prof Eileen Joyce

Professor of Neuropsychiatry

Dr Tim Williams

Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist

Dr Alan Fayaz

Director, CPASS

Dr Liz Iveson

Consultant Stroke Physician

Dr Rebecca Moore

Consultant Psychiatrist

Policy Specialists

Baroness Molly Meacher

Chair, APPG for Drug Policy Reform

Prof Ann Keen

Visiting Professor, LSBU

Basia Zieniewicz

Director, CPASS

Dr Dani Gordon

Medical Cannabis Advisor

Kate Thorpe

Manager, MCCS

Dr Leon Barron

General Practitioner, PCCN

Amber Moore

Senior Research and Policy Officer, CDPRG

Patient Advocates

Hannah Deacon

Director, MCCS

Abby Hughes

Outreach Lead, PLEA

Lucy Stafford

Advocacy Lead, PLEA

Partners

The Medical Cannabis Working Group is supported by unrestricted educational grants from the following partners: