MyAccess Clinics recently announced that they were rejoining Project Twenty21, contributing to the creation of the UK’s largest body of clinical evidence regarding the effectiveness of medical cannabis. In taking part in the project, MyAccess Clinics will also be offering a shared care pathway, enabling trained GPs to issue prescriptions for medical cannabis products, like medical cannabis for neuropathic pain, at a more affordable cost.

Medical cannabis in the UK

In 2018, medical cannabis was legalised in the United Kingdom, following extensive campaigning and advocacy by medical professionals and stakeholders. 

While cannabis has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years, it has not always been widely accepted by government organisations, particularly in the United Kingdom. In 1928, cannabis was added to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920, and the drug was further criminalised in 1971 when it was added to the Misuse of Drugs Act as a class B substance.

In legalising medical cannabis, the UK followed the lead of a number of other countries, including Canada, Finland, Switzerland, and New Zealand. In the United Kingdom, as is the case with many other countries and territories around the world, there are strict laws that regulate the cultivation and prescription of medical cannabis. 

Only specialist clinicians can prescribe the drug, these clinicians must be listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council. Medical cannabis in the UK is also not to be prescribed as a ‘first-line treatment.’ This means that patients must have tried at least two other medications that have either been not effective or led to significant side effects. 

Medical cannabis is commonly prescribed to help treat chronic pain conditions, including arthritis, chronic pain back, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain. It can also be used to help manage complex psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

What is Project Twenty21?

Project Twenty21 is a clinical project designed to make medical cannabis more affordable and accessible to patients across the United Kingdom. It is Europe’s largest national medical cannabis registry.

Project Twenty21 has two aims; to aid patient access to medical cannabis while also providing valuable information regarding its efficacy. Despite the fact that medical cannabis in the UK is now legal, there are still barriers that exist which prevent patients from accessing medical cannabis products. The data that is tracked through Project Twenty21 will help provide evidence in the journey towards obtaining NHS funding for medical cannabis treatment. 

How does Project Twenty21 work?

As a patient, to be eligible for Project Twenty21, you must be diagnosed with a condition that can be treated with cannabis based medicines. Such conditions typically include anxiety, PTSD, substance use disorder, chronic pain, Tourette’s syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. You will need to have tried at least two other methods of treating your condition without success.

If you meet these eligibility requirements, the next step is to visit the Project Twenty21 website and access their list of private clinics and independent consultants — where you will find MyAccess Clinics listed. When you first speak with your MyAccess Clinics specialist, make sure you tell them that you want to be a part of Project Twenty21. Your specialist will be able to provide more information about the project, the type of data you will be asked to provide, and what you are consenting to.

Your specialist will also conduct a detailed assessment to confirm that you are eligible for medical cannabis and that you would benefit from this type of treatment. It’s important to note that attending an appointment with a specialist is not a guarantee of a prescription. 

If you are issued a prescription for medical cannabis, your specialist will provide you with detailed information about what to expect, possible side-effects, and where you can purchase medical cannabis products using your prescription. 

As part of Project Twenty21, your specialist will check in with you every three months and ask a series of follow-up questions, the responses from which will form part of the data submitted to the registry. The anonymous data gathered as part of Project Twenty21 is published monthly in the Project Twenty21 newsletter and other medical and scientific journals. 

To learn more about Project Twenty21, the services offered by MyAccess Clinics, and whether or not you are eligible for medical cannabis for neuropathic pain, chronic pain, and psychological conditions, contact our friendly team of specialists today.