UCSD To Conduct Study Effects Of Cannabis On Movement Disorder

By Benjie Cooper

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Researchers at the University of California School of Medicine in San Diego have announced plans to begin a clinical trial to determine whether cannabis can be used as a safe and effective treatment for individuals with essential tremor (ET), a neurological disorder that can affect the movement and control of the hands, arms, fingers, vocal cords, and other body parts.

ET is an action tremor which is sometimes misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, which is a resting tremor, though some individuals have both. The disorder can disrupt and complicate everyday tasks such as eating, drinking, and tying shoelaces.

The cause of the disorder, which affects an estimated 10 million American adults, is currently unknown, and conventional treatments consist of repurposed high blood pressure and seizure medications.

“This study will provide key insights,” said UC San Diego Health neurologist and associate professor of neurosciences Fatta Nahab MD in an online press release. “If found to be safe and effective, cannabis would not only serve as an exciting new addition to the limited treatment options currently available for patients with ET, but it might also provide scientists with new insights on essential tremor.”

The phase I/II trial is scheduled to begin in early 2019 and will evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a 20:1 ratio oral formulation of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which will be provided by the Canadian-based company Tilray.

The sixteen adult participants in the study who have been officially diagnosed with ET will be given the CBD/THC formulation for two weeks before entering tapering off and washout periods and moving to the alternate study arm.

According to Nahab, the trial will be completed in approximately one year.

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