Nonprofit doing autism research says it can do marijuana clinical trials

Published: Thursday, March 31, 2022 - 5:05pm
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Autism was among the conditions highlighted by state health officials in a recent callout to those interested in applying for competitive grants to fund marijuana clinical trials.

“We felt it was worthwhile to say, ‘Yes we would.’ Because we think it’s important that these types of trials be done. Not only in autism, but in these other disorders as well,” said Christopher Smith, chief science officer for the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.

Extreme irritability can keep autistic people from developing skills needed to function. Approved medicines for reducing irritation can also make them lethargic and cause overeating.

“I think there is an opportunity here with marijuana to reduce irritability and aggression and anxiety without these accompanying side effects,” said Smith.

The grants would potentially be worth $25 million over five years.

Money for human trials would come from the state’s Medical Marijuana Fund, which had a balance approaching $52 million at the end of February.

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