U.S. Foundation Gifts $4.7M to Research Medical Cannabis as Treatment For Autism

The research will focus on children with severe autism. (File image via Reuters)
The research will focus on children with severe autism. (File image via Reuters)

A Utah-based foundation has gifted the Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the University of California, San Diego, $4.7 million to research medical marijuana as a potential treatment for autism.

The University of California said Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation’s donation is so far the largest private gift to date for medicinal cannabis research in the United States.

The university said it will be researching how the use of marijuana’s non-psychoactive compound known as CBD could treat autism.

In its research, the university plans to focus on severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which the CMCR said affects about one in every 68 children, especially boys. Symptoms also include seizures and crippling anxiety.

The study will start in 2019. So far, there are 30 children in the clinical trial, all between 8-12 years old, who are undergoing a diagnosis to find out if they have moderate or severe autism.

First Research on Autism

In mid-February, the Puff Puff Post reported that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will conduct a pioneering study, considered to be the first in the United States to examine the benefits of medical marijuana in children with ASD.

The study will be funded privately by the Australian biopharmaceutical company called Zelda Therapeutics.  

Meanwhile, mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA), a parent advocacy group with chapters in seven U.S. states, provides on its website provides testimonials from 10 families who claim marijuana has greatly helped their child’s symptoms.

Some of the families describe themselves “medical refugees” moving across state lines so their children will be eligible for the use of medical marijuana for seizures and other qualifying conditions.

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