The Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation recently gifted $4.7 million to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The purpose of the fund is to spur research on cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for autism symptoms.
UCSD called the award the largest private medicinal cannabis research donation in the history of the United States.
The research center will focus on severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They will use advanced mathematics, clinical, scientific, and genetic techniques to see if CBD can relieve the symptoms of ASD. The goal is to determine if CBD is safe to treat ASD and whether it improves brain connectivity.
UCSD will conduct a clinical trial involving 30 participants next year. The participants will be autistic children aged between 8 and 12 years. The researchers will give the children a liquid form of CBD provided by a federally approved laboratory in Arizona.
UCSD is pleased to partner with the foundations to understand the benefits of medical cannabis. They are looking forward to using the positive results of the study to transform the lives of people. Vice chancellor of UCSD Health Sciences, David A. Brenner, believes that partnerships like these “can make the greatest impact on the field, our community, and policy decision makers.”
Similar trials to test CBD to treat autism are slated to take place in New York at Montefiore Medical Center and New York University, and in Israel at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
CBD is the non-psychoactive compound of cannabis. It contains virtually no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for creating the “high” feeling. Biotech companies have extracted a pure form of CBD that pharmaceutical companies can use to develop innovative treatments. In fact, a CBD drug to treat a rare form of epilepsy is already on the verge of getting FDA approval.
Scott Badesch, president of the Autism Society of America, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that there are people who swear that CBD is effective. The only problem is that it needs more scientific research to back it up. Awards like this are the perfect opportunity for research centers to expand on the efficacy of CBD as a medical solution.