T21 was conceived long before the term “Covid-19” was even coined. Launched by DrugScience, an organization working towards drug policy reform in the United Kingdom, they aim to enroll at least 20,000 patients by 2022.
However, by the time the groundbreaking project became officially operative in August 2020, the world had already been plunged into the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data collection, previously expected to occur through face-to-face visits and follow-up interviews conducted by patients and their doctors at brick-and-mortar clinics, was suddenly forced entirely online via an app.
At one point during the coronavirus pandemic, we wondered if we’d have to put our entire project on hold.
“Covid has had an interesting effect on us; we’ve been subject to lockdowns, so we’ve had to redesign our internal processes.”
Since the first participants were enrolled, there are currently almost 2,000 people participating in the study. It’s not quite as ambitious as the 20,000 targets set by Drug Science, but it’s still significant in terms of the number of people who are participating in its study.
“20,000 patients was always a stretch target,” says David.
“We’ve come closer to reaching 10% than we’d hoped, but let’s not forget that 2000 patients are by far and beyond an order of magnitude larger than most studies and certainly considerably larger than any other study that has ever been done in cannabis.”
Dramatic first findings
The results of an observational study conducted earlier this year indicate that medical marijuana has been having a dramatic improvement in the quality of life of patients who use it.
David Horn, ProjectTwenty21 development lead.
By 13 March 2021 (the end date for our study), 75 people had completed both an initial assessment and a three-month follow-up appointment. The results showed a 51% increase in patients’ self-reported health and an improvement in their ability to lead a normal life. They also reported significant improvements in managing debilitating conditions such as anxiety, sleep disorders and depression.
More than half (63%) of patients who used medical marijuana before turning to illegal sources for treatment were able to avoid criminal activity because they obtained prescriptions from doctors.
We’ve found that our first publication shows very strongly that patients consider marijuana to be very effective at treating their symptoms, based on the reported levels of symptom relief as measured by validated data scales.
It suffices to say that as the number of patients grows and the results come back, we’re increasingly able to publish studies around what works for which diagnoses and to what extent.