The UK’s first large-scale cannabis study and biggest marijuana health investigation in European history has been announced, raising hopes that many of the country’s health professionals will finally be swayed on the efficacy of the drug for use in treating seven different health conditions.
Substance reform organization Drug Science is administering the investigation, which is called Project TWENTY21. Neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt, previously of the University of Bristol, will be in charge of the study, which will examine cannabis’ effects on chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety disorder, and substance abuse.
Earlier this year, media reports found that many UK hospitals were refusing to recommend medical cannabis based on “the risk of serious side effects.” Pain management clinic staff members were quoted saying, “We would welcome high-quality studies into the use of cannabis-based medicinal products for pain treatment.”
All the more reason to be excited about the Project TWENTY21 study, which will fund medical cannabis treatment for 20,000 patients by the end of 2021. The project has previously announced that it will be doing work in the fields of prison population harm reduction and the use of cannabis as a counterweight to drug addiction.
“I believe cannabis is going to be the most important innovation in medicine for the rest of my life,” commented Nutt. “There are children who have died in this country in the last couple of years because they haven’t had access to cannabis. It’s outrageous, it’s unnecessary and we want to rectify it.”
Although Health England has been extremely slow to endorse cannabis as medication, Project TWENTY21 has the co-sign of the British Pain Society, United Patients Alliance, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
“The College welcomes this pilot project which it hopes will make an important contribution towards addressing the paucity of evidence for the use of cannabis-based medicinal products,” commented the institution’s president Wendy Burn.
“We hope that this project, along with other research such as more much-needed [randomized] control trials, will continue to build the evidence on [cannabis-based medicinal products],” she continued.
Cannabis in the UK
It’s not the only cannabis study being conducted in the UK. University of Westminster researchers recently released the results of an investigation that concluded CBD could be a useful tool in the fight against antibiotics resistance, which currently costs the lives of some 5,000 people in England every year, according to the country’s public health agency.
Medical cannabis has been legal in the UK since October 2018. But the issue of medical marijuana has been of much debate in the country, its urgency exacerbated by the mounting problem of opioid addiction.
A prime motivator in the case of Great Britain has been the drug’s efficacy when it comes to sick kids. Young people like eight-year-old epilepsy patient Alfie Dingley and five-year-old Indie-Rose Montgomery, whose cannabis oil to treat her seizures was confiscated at London Stansted Airport in July, have shown the public how the issue is affecting fellow Brits.