An Australian medical research company is teaming up with a University of Sydney research fund to perform clinical trials to investigate if medical cannabis could be a potential treatment for individuals with Tourette syndrome.
Wesley Medical Research in Brisbane will receive cannabis “facilitation” from University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics with Bod Australia, and the trial is being referred to as the “first of its kind.”
Participants in the trial will complete two rounds of treatment with either a placebo or a “medicinal cannabis drug,” and neither researchers nor subjects will be aware of their status until the conclusion of the trial. The study will be led by Dr. Philip Mosley, neuropsychiatrist and Chief Investigator at Wesley.
“Given the public interest in therapeutic use of cannabis, it’s important to conduct rigorous and methodologically-sound research,” Dr. Mosley told the University of Sydney. “The purpose of this clinical trial is to investigate whether medicinal cannabis is a potential therapy for people with Tourette syndrome.”
Researchers hope that cannabis could be an effective alternative with potentially fewer side effects.
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder for which there is no known cure. Individuals with Tourette, which is developed during childhood, experience tics–vocalizations and involuntary movements, which can be painful, disruptive, and socially isolating.
While medications exist to help control symptoms of the syndrome, patients have reported side effects such as insomnia, depression and weight gain during treatment. Researchers hope that cannabis could be an effective alternative with potentially fewer side effects.
“There is already early evidence to support the successful treatment of Tourette syndrome with cannabinoids,” said Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative Dr. Iain McGregor. “This clinical trial could have a major impact and greatly improve the lives of those living with Tourette syndrome.”