Montefiore Medical Center in New York is conducting a clinical trial which will examine the effects of cannabidivarin (CBDV) on the level of irritation and repetitive behaviors in autistic children. Cannabidivarin is a compound of marijuana that is nonpsychoactive and does not induce highness upon consumption.
GW Pharmaceuticals grows the cannabis to be used during the research. The company occupies 47-plus acres in the English countryside and is the first drug company to develop cannabis-related medicine which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Two rare types of epilepsy are treated using the drug.
Dr Sanjay Gupta, who is a CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, got exclusive access to the clinical trials In Montefiore Medical Center and GW Pharmaceuticals company.
While reporting for Weed 5 on the cannabinoid craze, Gupta had an exclusive look at GW cannabis greenhouses. The greenhouses occupy the 47 acres allowing for consistent breeding of different strains of the marijuana crop for medicine. According to David Cooper, head of manufacturing in the company, the process of developing and mastering different strains of the cannabis plant is challenging. During the tour, David showed Gupta the process of turning different strains of the plant into medicine for the large pool of patients.
Gupta also found that GW Pharmaceuticals has been in operation for the last 20 years. Moreover, towards the end of 2018, the company launched Epidiolex.
Epidiolex is the first cannabis-related oral medication to be approved by the FDA. It is used for treating two rare epilepsy disorders. During the clinical trials, Epidiolex reduced the severity of seizure in patients with Dravet Syndrome by an average of 45%-50%. Epidiolex is made of cannadidiol, which is an extracted compound of the cannabis plant.
Epidiolex’s success in treating epilepsy motivated GW Pharmaceutical to manufacture another cannabis-based drug for treating people with a neurological disorder known as autism. Epilepsy and autism have similar symptoms such as loss of cognitive function, poor language skills, and poor socialization skills.
The Director of the AOCD (Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum, Anxiety and Depression) Program at Montefiore Hospital, Dr Eric Hollander, gets CBDV (cannabidivarin) from GW Pharmaceuticals in UK for the clinical trials. Based on the success of CBDV to reduce seizures, he believes that the hope for treating autism symptoms is in the extract.
Hollander further says that CBDV could help in reducing aggression, self-injury or temper tantrums in autist patients. The clinical trials are headed by Hollander who has 30 years’ experience researching autism. According to Hollander, autism and epilepsy have simiar symptoms.
Autism has no cure. Therefore, Hollander’s focus is on treating the underlying causes of autism, and use of CBDV could help remedy the symptoms.
When CBDV was administered in animals having similar symptoms to autism, the researchers saw that it had significant effect on social functioning, increased cognitive function, less seizures and a reduction in compulsive and repetitive behaviors, thus their application of CBDV on autistic patients.
The clinica trials involve 100 participtants, who are aged between 5-18 years. The treatment takes 12 weeks and will be finalized in September 2021.
It is widely expected that marijuana industry players like IONIC Brands Corp. (CSE: IONC) (OTC: IONKF) and Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQB: PLPRF) will be eager to learn the outcomes of this autism research.
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