Decades after the United States outlawed cannabis and carried out a drug war that had devastating effects on Black and Brown communities, the controversial plant is gaining popularity as an alternative medicine. Although prohibition has significantly hindered cannabis research, studies show that cannabis can be effective against some medical conditions including chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
An early-stage biotech startup called Cannaformatics has recently published research in the “Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research” journal, showing how cannabis can interact with pathways in the brain to reduce autism in kids. Titled “The Potential of Salivary Lipid-Based Cannabis-Responsive Biomarkers to Evaluate Medical Cannabis Treatment in Children with ASD,” the research paper outlines possible pathways for treating juvenile autism.
Specifically, the paper points out 22 new lipid-based biomarkers that can be used to facilitate cannabis treatment in kids with autism spectrum disorder. This includes lipids in the central nervous system that would theoretically allow cannabis to have an effect on the neuron function of children diagnosed with ASD.
Cannaformatics is hoping the discovery of these biomarkers will bring it one step closer to developing personalized services to patients and healthcare providers who would like to use cannabinoid-derived treatments. The company first published a paper from its Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) pilot in December 2021. The pilot ASD study is sponsored by Whole Plant Access for Autism and Canniatric.
The first paper provided evidence of cannabis-responsive biomarkers and established them as a standard tool for determining the effect of medical marijuana. In conjunction, the two research papers illustrate how cannabis-responsive biomarkers could potentially be used to create marijuana treatments for patients and develop next-gen applications and medicines based on cannabinoids.
Cannaformatics CEO and cofounder Itzhak Kurek says that unmasking marijuana’s working mechanisms has allowed the company to show that cannabis-responsive biomarkers can grant clinicians and life-science companies new tools to help them understand how cannabis can help maintain central nervous system homeostasis in kids with ASD.
Research published in the latest paper also opens up new avenues for studying cannabis’ ability to alleviate neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. Cannaformatics is ready to put together the capital it needs to launch its ASD service platform and begin research on cannabis’ impact on neurodegenerative diseases.
According to chief commercial officer Kenneth Epstein, publishing the second paper was an important moment for Cannaformatics as it proves that the company’s technology is valid and places them at the forefront of biotechnology in the medical marijuana treatment segment.
As more research comes out about the potential therapeutic applications of cannabis, the public will keep evolving in its perception of the various marijuana products sold companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) in the different markets in which they operate.
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