The big news this month is that our Chronic Pain paper has been published! Using Project Twenty21 data, it looks at the characteristics of people seeking prescribed cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain. Our results demonstrate the complexities of studying chronic pain, and the value of real-world evidence in researching cannabis-based medicines. Huge congratulations to all the team who worked on this paper! It's available to read in full, or you can simply read the summary here.
Last month, we announced that this coming November we will be holding the first ever UK Patient Conference as part of Medical Cannabis Awareness Week. We've been touched by the response so far, with almost 300 people already registered! We can finally reveal that our venue will be the awesome Oval Space in Hackney, and of course we'll be announcing more details in the next couple of months.
Applications for speakers at the conference are open until the end of August, so if you haven't already applied you can do so here.
And final call for prescribing doctors and nurses to respond to our research survey with the University of East London using thisshort anonymous survey. Please share with any medical professionals you know. We hope to share our findings from the research with you at the patient conference in November.
Patient quote of the month
"T21 has given me piece of mind that my medicine is legal, unadulterated, and that I am prescribed appropriate strains.” - Nicole, Fibromyalgia patient, aged 56
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the brain and spinal cord affecting the central nervous system. This lifelong condition can cause serious disability and currently there is no cure. However, there are treatments that aid recovery from attacks by modifying the course of the disease and managing symptoms.
Currently on the NHS there is only one medically approved cannabis-based treatment available for MS – Sativex. This is an oromucosal spray containing 27mg of THC and 25mg of CBD per ml. Sativex is the only drug in the UK with a license to treat muscle stiffness and spasms (spasticity) caused by MS. But it doesn’t work for everyone.
Back in 2014, 1 in 5 people with MS surveyed by the MS Society said they had used cannabis to help with their symptoms, including muscle spasms or stiffness and pain. A 2019 paper showed that cannabis use is more prevalent in people living with MS, again suggesting that cannabis might be beneficial. Although Sativex is the only cannabis-based medicine approved for use on the NHS, patients can access a range of whole plant cannabis flower and oil products through Project Twenty21.
University research into patient experiences
Dr Helen Beckett Wilson is leading on research at the School of Justice Studies at Liverpool John Moores University on the experiences of people prescribed cannabis. The university research team are looking for volunteers to share their experiences, so if you’re interested in taking part then simply email here to setup a confidential video call.
Dr Eileen Feeney joins as a prescriber
We're pleased to welcome Dr Eileen Feeney as one of our newest prescribers on the study. She is the Medical Director at Via Clinics, and has special interests in women’s mental health and eating disorders as well as extensive experience in treating a wide range of psychiatric conditions. Although she is not currently taking on new patients, we are thrilled that her existing patients will now be able to take part in Project Twenty21 and contribute their data towards achieving our mission of NHS-funded prescriptions.
“I joined T21 as I wanted to make medical cannabis available to my patients who were suffering from physical and mental health problems. Often we have tried many other drugs without success or with bad side effects. It is important that this is a treatment option on the NHS. Many of my patients want to get involved in the research and to be able to contribute to science.” - Dr Eileen Feeney
Dr Eileen Feeney, Medical Director of Via Clinics
Patient advocacy in Northern Ireland
One of our T21 patients, Darren, was helping to spread the word about medical cannabis in his local town of Cookstown, Northern Ireland last month. In addition to printing flyers and posters (all available to download and print through our website here) he even had his own t-shirts printed!
Darren told the T21 team: “As a single parent, medical cannabis has given me back a quality of life worth living and having quality time with my son. I had tried all kinds of various treatment over several years for my chronic pain. I had heard of T21 and was at the time using CBD. I had read that a full spectrum oil was better so signed up as a T21 patient. The last 18 months have been great - I can walk and stand for longer and have a better quality of life.”
The importance of real-world evidence
Dr Anne Schlag, our Head of Research, took part in a panel discussion alongside global experts talking about integrating real-world evidence into the development of clinical trials on cannabis products.
Cannabis Europa - 28/29th June
Prof Mike Barnes and Dr Anne Schlag will both be speaking at the cannabis industry expo this year in London. Register here for a ticket.
Medical Cannabis Explained (training for medical professionals) - 7th July
Our next CPD certified training session for medical professionals is a perfect opportunity for doctors to ask questions face-to-face with our Clinical Director, Prof Mike Barnes. Find out more and register.
Medical Cannabis: Everything You Need to Know - 19th July
Part of an educational roadshow hosted by the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, this event takes place in Belfast. It welcomes doctors and healthcare professionals, medical students, scientists, researchers, and patients curious about medical cannabis and the current state of prescribing, evidence and availability in the UK are welcome to join us at this practical introduction to medical cannabis and CBD. Buy your ticket here.
Product Earth - 19th-21st August
This is the 6th show from Product Earth, an annual summer festival taking place in Kennington, near Coventry. Get your tickets here.
Med-Cannabis 2022: Controversies on Cannabis-Based Medicines - 3rd November (Copenhagen)
Dr Anne Schlag will be speaking at this conference in Copenhagen, which will address the many controversies surrounding cannabis-based medicines. Strong public and patient demand has led to the decision to allow cannabis products for medical use in most European countries. Register for your place.
UK Patient Conference, Medical Cannabis Awareness Week - 4th November
This daytime conference will be a chance for the medical cannabis patient and prescriber community to come together and be heard. Register for your free place.
How can you help?
As we analyse the data and receive more and more stories from patients, the importance of Project Twenty21 has never been clearer.
If you’d like to support Project Twenty21, to help us gather evidence for medical cannabis to be covered by the NHS, please consider a donation to Drug Science. Every little bit helps us continue the essential work that we do.