Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug to utilize the marijuana plant-derived ingredient cannabidiol (CBD). This medicine has been approved to treat seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy in patients aged two or older.
However, it cannot be sold in the U.S. – yet.
The medication, Epidiolex, developed by British company, GW Pharmaceuticals, can’t be sold until the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) changes how it classifies CBD. Nonetheless, this approval from the FDA is a major milestone in bringing safe, effective cannabinoid-based medications to patients. And it offers new hope, especially to parents of children suffering from certain devastating neurological disorders.
GW Pharmaceuticals, has been working for decades to get this medication approved in the U.S. This approval comes after a four-year series of trials showing the benefits of CBD in relieving seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet epilepsy. As an oral medication, Epidiolex is expected to be safer and more reliable than CBD products currently available through marijuana dispensaries or the Internet.
CBD is a compound typically found in very small quantities of marijuana. It has been of interest to scientists and the public for several years, due to its anti-seizure properties and other possible therapeutic benefits.