Autism treatment specialist Neurotech International says unique strains of cannabis may hold the key to treating neurological conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and epilepsy.

The Perth and Malta-based company has commenced in vitro cell studies to assess the neuro-protective, anti-inflammatory and neuro-modulatory activities of these recently discovered strains.

Neurotech licensed the rights to 80 different ‘unique’ cannabis strains in July this year. 

The source of these promising strains is an Australian hemp grower who has been hybrid cross-pollinating a group of plants imported from China 20 years ago. 

Melbourne-based ACS Laboratories tested the strains and found they contained up to 12 per cent of the cannabinoid CBDA, as well as the novel phytocannabinoids CBDP and CBDB – substances only discovered by an Italian team of scientists early this year.

Neurotech chairman Mark Davies told Stockhead: “The background here is the belief that cannabinoids can assist with the treatment of autism – and we’re not the only ones who think this, there’s a growing list of guys who are thinking the same thing.”

CBD has a clear neuromodulatory effect, he added.

ACS Laboratories analysed these strains using the latest technology – and time-of-flight mass spectrometry sensor, capable of detecting and analysing parts per billion quantities.

The company has now selected the top 10 for further in vitro (test tube) testing using human cell lines that will commence this month.

Based on the results of this work, the company plans to begin clinical trials, and has lined up a paediatric neurologist to conduct them, said Davies.

The trial could be small scale, involving perhaps five or six children, with the goal of making a tincture, spray or oil extract available via Australia’s Special Access Scheme.

If successful it would offer parents of children with ADHD an alternative to drugs such as Ritalin.

“Most of the drugs just knock you out and some kids, and their parents, don’t like the side effects of such treatments,” added Davies. 

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