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The University of Washington is conducting a clinical trial on the efficacy of CBD for Fragile X syndrome, a type of autism believed to be linked to deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system, according to university newspaper Daily UW. The study is sponsored by Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, a company that produces a CBD gel.

The double-blind study will be aimed at children 3 to 17-years old who are diagnosed with Fragile X. The participants’ parents will rub the gel onto their child’s arm twice daily. Dr. Raphe Bernier, the study’s lead researcher and University of Washington professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who also serves as the executive director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center, said topicals “help make things easier for children with developmental disabilities.”

“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.” – Bernier to Daily UW

Bernier said that the researchers “wouldn’t anticipate” that CBD would have any impact on other autism spectrum disorders, “because the underlying cause doesn’t have anything to do with the endocannabinoid system.”

Micah Pepper, the trial coordinator and manager of program operations at the UW clinical site, indicated they are hoping for at least 10 participants and estimate the study will last about 14 weeks.

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