A young cannabis plant under the reddish glow of an indoor LED grow light.

Sarah Climaco

Zelda Therapeutics-led Observational Study Finds Hope for MMJ as Autism Therapy

In an observational study by Australia’s Zelda Therapeutics Ltd., 21 autism patients demonstrated significant symptom improvements when treated with medical cannabis extracts over a 12-week period. The study found that 71.4 percent of patients treated with the extracts instead of traditional medications, such as atypical antipsychotics, showed improvement in at least one core symptom, including social interaction, language or repetitive behaviors, and 66.7 percent of patients showed “significant general overall improvement.”

The study involved patients with a median age of 9 years, 10 months who had not responded to conventional treatments. The trial eas led by Dr. Gisela Kuester, a neurologist and clinical research director for Fundación Daya, a Chilean non-profit advocacy group and medical cannabis firm.

Harry Karelis, executive chairman for Zelda, called the study results “exciting” and supportive of “the anecdotal evidence…showing the positive effect medicinal cannabis has on treating autism symptoms.”

“Zelda will use this baseline data to design its clinical trials and generate rigorous scientific data that validates the clinical benefit of medical cannabis,” he said in a press release. “We hope that in the near future [Zelda] can provide an alternative treatment for sufferers of this condition which is of major global significance.”

Zelda expects a six- to nine-month clinical trial to begin within three months after receiving regulatory approvals.

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