Synthetic cannabis gel could help fight anxiety in some kids
A synthetic gel that contains a form of cannabis is being used to help relieve anxiety in children with an inherited learning disability.
Four centres across Australia are recruiting young patients for the global trial.
Tom Mikkelsen received the gel in an earlier pilot study and since then his concentration and anxiety levels improved, according to his mum Mel Mikkelsen.
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The 19-year-old was diagnosed with fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder, when he was three.
"He was late to speak, late to walk, late to crawl," his mum said.
Early therapy can help children develop these important skills but behavioural issues such as anxiety can be difficult to manage.
"To date we don't actually have anything that has been able to address the core difficulties of fragile X," Queensland Children's Hospital associate professor Honey Heussler said.
The synthetic gel contains a synthetic form of cannabis called CBD (cannabidiol), which doesn't produce the euphoric effects of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
"This cannabidiol medication is really promising for us in paediatrics," Heussler said.
"The really exciting thing about this is it's actually a synthetic product and it has no THC, which is the psychoactive component."
"The treatment is being tested to target the behavioural symptoms, particularly anxiety, the social anxiety and the irritability aspects can be dampened down a little."
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About 90,000 Australians have the condition or are carriers of fragile X.
Results of the trial, which compares the gel to a placebo, will be important for not only regulatory approval but it could provide a promising avenue for other disorders.
Visit the trial website for more information about the study.
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