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Professor Mike Barnes joins Project Twenty21



Professor Barnes has been an advocate for medical cannabis access for over a decade

The drug advisory committee, Drug Science, has appointed Professor Mike Barnes as clinical lead for its flagship medical cannabis programme, Project Twenty21.

The project aims to widen access to medical cannabis by providing eligible participants with subsidised medical cannabis prescriptions.

Drug Science announced earlier this week that Prof Barnes would be joining the Drug Science team to direct the clinical aspects of the project and expand the network of prescribers available to patients.

The neurologist and medical cannabis expert has been an advocate for the medicinal use of cannabis and CBD for over a decade.

He is best-known in the medical cannabis space for issuing the very first medical cannabis prescription in the UK to Alfie Dingley in 2018.

Prof Barnes is chair of The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society and provides consultancy services for various organisations in the cannabis and CBD wellness sectors.

“I’m delighted to be part of the Twenty21 programme,” Prof Barnes told Cannabis Health.

“The programme makes such a difference for so many people who can now afford the cannabis medicine.”

In addition to providing subsidised prescriptions, the project also aims to develop the UK’s largest body of evidence for efficacy and tolerability of the drug.

Drug Science hopes that the findings from the programme will encourage more funding into medical cannabis from the NHS and demonstrate that the benefits of the treatment outweigh the potential risks.

Prof Barnes added: “I hope that the ongoing audit will finally persuade doctors and government that this medicine makes a real difference to people’s lives.”

In February 2021, Project Twenty21 welcomed 131 new patients to the programme, bringing the total number of patients to 611.

The majority of new patients are being prescribed cannabis for pain (57 percent). Others are being offered treatment for anxiety (27 percent), PTSD (six percent) and Multiple Sclerosis (four percent).

Drug Science also announced in March that it will now be accepting patients with adult epilepsy.


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