University of California San Diego has received what is considered to be the largest private donation for medical cannabis research in the United States. The university’s Center for Medical Cannabis Research got a $4.7-million donation from the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation.
The award was given to UC San Diego in partnership with another foundation, the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation.
The money will fund the center’s research on the potential of the cannabis compound CBD or cannabidiol as treatment for severe autism. Researchers will be using advanced mathematics as well as scientific, genetic, and clinical techniques in order to determine whether CBD can ease the symptoms of autism.
CBD is known to treat a wide range of medical conditions without creating a high. These conditions include cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorders, and epilepsy, among many others.
The call for more extensive studies
Many people are torn between the therapeutic promise of CBD and the lack of scientific evidence or clinical trials to support the use of CBD in the treatment of specific diseases among humans and, for some states, the legalization of medical cannabis.
Parents of children with autism are also pressuring scientists to expand their study into autism spectrum disorder, which is a developmental brain disorder afflicting more than three million Americans. Some of these parents, especially those in cannabis-friendly California, have given their autistic children CBD.
As a response to calls for more scientific studies on cannabis, the center asked the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation to fund a study on whether CBD can help alleviate severe autism symptoms, including multiple seizures, crippling anxiety, and self-injuring behavior. The foundation, which is based in Lindon, Utah, agreed to provide funding.
The foundation is also urging the federal government to drop cannabis from its list of highly illegal or Schedule I drugs to pave the way for more extensive studies on cannabis.
Schedule I substances are considered to have no accepted medicinal use and with a high potential for abuse. Because of this classification, marijuana research does not get the needed funding from the government.
How the study will be conducted
The center will conduct a clinical trial that involves 30 children aged 8 to 12 years old with severe autism symptoms. These children will be sought out from throughout the region.
CBD in liquid form will be administered on the children by a federally approved lab in Arizona. During the study, the children will also be undergoing a series of tests: MRI scans, electroencephalograms, and behavioral testing.
Dr. Igor Grant will be leading the research team.
The university says that the overall project is going to determine whether CBD is safe and tolerable. It is also going to see whether CBD can alleviate adverse symptoms of autism and whether and how CBD can alter neurotransmitter or brain network connectivity and alter brain activity. Furthermore, the study is going to determine whether neuro-inflammation or biomarkers are altered by CBD.”
The study will begin next year.
About the Noorda Foundation
The $4.7-million donation that the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation is donating for the CMCR study represents the group’s latest effort to promote and advance public health and welfare. The foundation has been donating money for all sorts of causes – from youth services, to higher education, to hospitals.
The Noorda Foundation is run by Andy Noorda and Pelin Thorogood. Thorogood said that CBD has its controversies because there are cannabis companies that have made and continue to make unproven health claims about it, and these companies may even offer products that do not contain the cannabinoids and the concentrations that they advertise.
He added that that the goal of their foundation is to change the paradigm with scientific and research-driven data, at the same time support the establishment of standardized regulation and testing to ensure that the available cannabis products are truly what they are claiming to be.