Australian bio-pharmaceutical company Zelda Therapeutics (ASX: ZLD) has continued advancing its observational study which is revealing data around the use of medicinal cannabis for improved behaviour in autistic children.
Being conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the observational study uses parent-reported data to identify doses and formulations of cannabis that improve behaviour, anxiety, sleep, irritability and hyperactivity.
“Results show that treatments with a range of cannabis medicines were associated with improvements in several key behavioural markers that are prominent in children diagnosed with autism,” said Zelda Managing Director, Dr Richard Hopkins.
The study now has 103 children enrolled, at an average age of 10-years-old, with 76 different medicinal cannabis products being used in a variety of combinations with Zelda anticipating a final target of 150 participants by early 2020.
Medicinal cannabis is now legal in more than 34 countries with more on the way. The market for medicinal cannabis is forecast to grow to $40-55 billion by 2028 with autism potentially one of the key medical conditions driving uptake.
Whilst the data being collected from the current observational study is highly valuable, Hopkins sees even further advancements for Zelda in the near future for their range of cannabinoid-based formulations.
“This situation highlights the need for well-designed clinical trials to underpin and inform treatment options.
“Zelda is seeking to address this by using the outcomes from this study to inform the design of a randomised blinded clinical trial for autistic children, which is being planned for later this year.
Beyond the current medicinal cannabis study with autistic children, Zelda has launched medicinal cannabis clinical trials addressing insomnia and opioid reduction.