Adrian Handforth

“People tend to think of medical marijuana as a single substance; a substance that may have beneficial effects but also causes mood- and mind-altering effects,” explains Dr. Adrian Handforth, Assistant Chief of Neurology at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in California, “But that is not the case at all. Actually, marijuana is made up of many related chemicals, called cannabinoids.”

Dr. Handforth is the lead researcher of an upcoming IETF funded study that will explore the effects of a particular cannabinoid known as “CBD” (cannabidiol) on essential tremor. Unlike the well-known cannabinoid “THC” (tetrahydrocannabinol), which has mind- and mood-altering effects, CBD does not alter the mind, the emotions, or one’s judgment. Although its long-term safety remains to be thoroughly studied, CBD has already shown some promising initial results in the treatment of epilepsy, pain, anxiety, and other disorders. Dr. Handforth and his team will try to find out whether CBD can suppress essential tremor in an animal model. And if it does, he will take the next step and try to understand how it works.

This is exactly why the IETF is so pleased to support Dr. Handforth and this cutting-edge research with a nearly $20,000 grant. “The significance of this work is two-fold,” says Dr. Handforth. “First, finding that CBD suppresses tremor in an animal model may provide justification for a clinical trial of CBD for essential tremor in humans. Second and more importantly, if we can understand how CBD stops the tremor, what mechanisms are at work, then an ET-specific medication could be developed that would be better-tolerated and more effective than what it available today.”

An ET-specific medication would impact millions of people around the world who have this life-altering condition but who don’t respond to the medications that are currently available. An ET-specific medication would be a life-changer for millions of men, women and children today and for generations to come.