Neurotech International (ASX:NTI) shares are on the rise today after the company announced that within weeks, it will begin world-first clinical trials evaluating the potential of its special cannabis strains to treat autism.

The phase 1/2 clinical program will be conducted at Monash Children’s Hospital beginning towards the end of this current quarter.

The research follows successful in vitro (test tube) tests conducted at three independent scientific laboratories showing the hemp has 50 per cent more potency in repairing brain cells when compared to CBD alone.

The NTI/Dolce hemp strains, imported from China decades ago by a cannabis enthusiast, contain the newly discovered rarer cannabinoids CBDP and CBDB, which Neurotech says have “powerful, unique properties that extend beyond CBD”.

Neurotech is working with Monash University paediatric neurologist Dr Michael Fahey to design a study that could assess the safety and efficacy of the novel strains in children with autism.

The trial would involve use of the company’s Mente Autism headband to measure any brain changes in the children.

The study will be the first in the world to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CBDP and CBDB to treat neurological disorders. The in vitro tests suggest they have powerful anti-inflammatory effects in the human brain.

“It is exciting to be able to conduct these first-in-human studies at Monash Children’s Hospital to assess the safety and efficacy of our cannabis strains in children with autism,” said Neurotech chairman Brian Leedman.

“Positive results will pave the way for larger studies to address the unmet need for effective treatments in broader neurological conditions.”

The company has said the clinical trials may be small scale, just involving a handful of children, with the initial goal of making a tincture, spray or oil extract available via Australia’s Special Access Scheme.

NTI shares on Monday closed up 8.6 per cent at 6.3c – up from around 4.5c at the start of the year.

This article was developed in collaboration with Neurotech International, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.