Special Report: Austism treatment specialist Neurotech International says unique strains of cannabis it has obtained may hold the key to treating neurological conditions including attention deficit disorder, autism, and epilepsy.

Autism treatment company Neurotech International (ASX:NTI) is moving forward on tests of up to 10 cannabis strains it says contain a cannabinoid that may be even better than CBD in treating various neurological disorders.

The Perth and Malta-based company in July licensed the rights to 80 different “very unique” cannabis strains from an Australian hemp grower who’d been cultivating them 20 years after importing them from China.

The grower had “dedicated his life to cannabis plants,” creating unique hemp strains from hybrid cross pollination.

Melbourne-based ACS Laboratories finished testing the strains last week and found they contained up to 12 per cent of the cannabinoid CBDA, as well as the novel phytocannabinoids CBDP and CBDB – substances only discovered by an Italian team of scientists early this year.


Possible autism treatment

“The background here is the belief that cannabinoids can assist with the treatment of autism – and we’re not the only ones who thinks this, there’s a growing list of guys who are thinking the same thing,” says Neurotech chairman Mark Davies.

CBD has a clear neuromodulatory effect, he says.

The strains Neurotech are dealing with are hemp, not marijuana – they don’t contain THC, the cannabinoid that gets smokers high.

ACS labs (based in Melbourne) analysed these strains using  latest technology – and  time-of-flight mass spectrometry sensor, capable of detecting and analysing parts per billion quantities.

The company now has selected the top 10 for further in vitro (test tube) testing using human cell lines that will commence this month.


A science-based approach

Based on the results of this work, the company plans to begin clinical trials, and has lined up a very well-known paediatric neurologist to conduct them, says Mark Davies.

The trial could be small scale, involving perhaps five or six children, with the goal of making a tincture, spray or oil extract available via Australia’s Special Access Scheme.

If successful it would offer parents of children with ADHD an alternative to drugs such as Ritalin, Mark Davies says.

“Most of the drugs just knock you out,” Davies says, and some kids, and their parents, don’t like the side effects of such treatments.

Relying on clinical data sets Neurotech apart from some other cannabis companies that have not bothered to gather such evidence.

“We’re taking a very strong pharmaceutical approach and I believe that is the way to get a product registered for an indication. It’s not going to happen without a clinical trial indication.” Davies says.

In the longer term the company would like to partner with some of the bigger players in the industry for growing the hemp in their Office of Drug Control-licensed facility. Discussions with the big players are already underway.

“A lot of people are going for things based on CBD and THC, but we are the first to have mapped out the cannabinoids to see what they do,” Davies says.

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.