“In a breakthrough for medical marijuana use, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the US’ first drug made from cannabis oil, designed to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
The drug, Epidiolex, is made from cannabidol, or CBD, a component of marijuana known for its muscle-relaxing and pain-relieving properties. Administered as a thick oil, CBD was found in clinical trials to drastically reduce seizures in patients suffering from Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.
Unlike THC, cannabis’ other active component, CBD does not induce a high. Before Epidiolex can be brought to the market, however, the FDA will have to reclassify CBD, which is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug alongside cocaine, heroin and LSD.
While Epidiolex will only be available to people suffering from two rare conditions, the approval represents a step forward for medical marijuana research, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. The FDA has previously approved synthetic versions of THC to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients, but has never approved any medication directly extracted from the cannabis plant.”
This is both good news – and bad news.
People with seizure disorders have been using “illegal” cannabis oil for years to successfully control their conditions – far more effectively than toxic mainstream anti-seizure medications. That the government has finally acknowledged this benefit is a step forward; however, creating an expensive “patented” drug is completely unnecessary, as the natural form works just as well – or better. And no doubt only patients with expensive health insurance will be able to afford this new drug.