Israeli researchers have declared that cannabis can relieve the symptoms of autism after treating 188 patients in a pilot scheme.

Scientists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center monitored the 18-year-old patients between 2015 and 2017. They have since been analyzing their findings and they have now reported that cannabis provides a safe and effective means of relieving seizures, tics, depression, restlessness, and rage attacks.

“Overall, more than 80% of the parents reported significant or moderate improvement in their child,” said Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.

The patients were given medical cannabis with 30% CBD and 1.5% THC and symptoms and side effects were monitored. After six months of treatment, 30% of patients reported a significant improvement, 53.7% said there was a moderate improvement, and 15% said slight or no change.

CBD oil was said to improve sleep and concentration, while patients’ ability to dress and shower independently progressed. The patients’ mood was reported as being generally positive for 42% of them before the study began, and had risen to 63.5% after six months of the treatment.

The researchers said further placebo-controlled trials will make the findings even more robust, but they said they are encouraged by the findings.

Israel is advanced in cannabis research and development and it has a thriving domestic medical marijuana industry. It is now poised to become a major global player after the government approved exports earlier this year.

That has sent stocks soaring in listed cannabis companies in Tel Aviv, which are now poised to rival Canada and The Netherlands in export markets. One such firm is Seedo (OTC: SEDO), which has seen its Nasdaq share price rise from $1.75 to $2.20 since the start of the year.

Its price has been volatile since its merger into a stock exchange shell was completed six weeks ago, but it is bullish after beginning to supply $5.5 million in advance orders from many different countries.

Seedo has developed a proprietary system for controlled cannabis growing at home, allowing marijuana retailers to produce their own-label weed to sell. The box costs $2,400, and parts must be replaced at a cost of $1,080 per year, but every seedling produces 100 grams of dried flowers per 90 days. “You can make at least $10 a gram in the U.S.,” said chief executive Zohar Levy. The firm is planning to begin mass production this year.

InterCure (INCR: IT), the Israeli cannabis firm that has former Prime Minister Ehud Barak as its chairman, is planning to begin exports to 10 different countries this year. It is opening a new farm in southern Israel to meet demand and it aims to produce 100,000 kilos by mid-2020. Barak noted that Germany will be a major market for InterCure.

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