Here are the biggest stories from this week:
Researchers from the University of Washington are preparing to conduct a clinical trial on the effects of CBD for Fragile X syndrome.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Fragile X syndrome is a form of autism that is caused by a gene mutation in the fragile x mental retardation 1 gene. As a result of the mutation, this gene cannot produce a necessary protein.
The syndrome is characterized by developmental delays, learning and intellectual disabilities, and social and behavioral problems.
People with Fragile X Syndrome typically have large ears and foreheads.
Research has also linked Fragile X to deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system, which has led scientists to believe that CBD may help treat the condition.
The double-blind will use a CBD gel to treat children aged 3 to 17 with Fragile X.
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals provides the gel.
Parents will rub the gel on the arm of their child twice daily for about 14 weeks.
The topical administration will make the therapy easy to use for both parents and children, according to the lead researcher Raphe Bernier.
“There is no need to swallow a pill, which can be a challenge, or apply a patch that can be removed because it’s uncomfortable. It also bypasses the [gastrointestinal] system and many children with Fragile X syndrome have GI disturbances, and [there is] no need to introduce anything else into the system,” said Bernier to Daily UW, a university newspaper.
Researchers are hoping to have at least 10 participants.
A new market report by Reports and Data projects the global CBD industry will reach $16.32 billion by 2026.
Reports and Data reports that the industry reached $1.04 billion in 2018 and will experience a compound annual growth rate of 27.7 percent throughout the next eight years.
According to the report, the growth is driven by CBD’s use in medical applications, supplements, beverages, and skin care.
“As a wide-spectrum pharmaceutical therapy, the cannabidiol market place is likely to witness significant R&D investments in the pharmaceutical industry,” states the report.
The report cites Epidiolex as a significant breakthrough for the industry.
“Approval of EPIDIOLEX cannabidiol has become a landmark announcement as it is the very first FDA approval of cannabis sativa plant-derived drug and also validated some of cannabidiol’s therapeutic benefits,” the report said.
Reports and Data segmented CBD products into two categories: therapeutic grade and food grade.
According to the report, therapeutic CBD products are dominating the market and will continue to do so in the coming years.
The report lists the following companies as the “key players” in the CBD industry:
Other reports on the industry have varying projections for the overall market.
For instance, Brightfield Group, a cannabis market analysis firm, projects the US CBD industry alone will hit $22 billion by 2022.
In a separate report, Reports and Data projected that the global hemp industry would reach $13.03 billion by 2026.
The House Appropriations Committee called for further research on CBD as a painkiller alternative to opioids amidst expressing concerns on scheduling status of marijuana.
In a report on a spending bill recently passed by the committee, the panel expresses concern about how the restrictions associated with Schedule I drugs limits potential research, especially with marijuana.
“At a time when we need as much information as possible about these drugs to find antidotes for their harmful effects, we should be lowering regulatory and other barriers to conducting this research,” the committee wrote.
The committee also directed the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to report on the limits to research associated with Schedule I substances.
According to the head of the NIDA, the scheduling status for marijuana does prohibit marijuana research.
Regarding CBD, the committee notes that little research has been done on natural treatment methods for pain, specifically kratom and CBD.
Kratom comes from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. It has mind-altering compounds and effects similar to opioids.
“Given the wide availability and increased use of these substances, it is imperative to know more about potential risks or benefits, and whether or not they can have a role in finding new and effective non-opioid methods to treat pain,” wrote the committee.
The committee suggested providing an additional $3 million in appropriations to conduct the research.
This is not the first time the federal government has expressed interest in funding research on cannabis.
Earlier this year, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) announced it would provide $1.5 million in research grants to four recipients who would conduct research on minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
The primary goal of the research is to increase the scientific understanding of how these compounds work in the human body.
Suggested topics for study by the NCCIH included the “potential analgesic properties” of cannabinoids.