FDA approves first ever drug derived from marijuana

Epidiolex a medicine made from the marijuana plant but without THC

Marijuana now has an accepted medical use. Any drug containing cannabis from here on out will still need to clear plenty of hurdles before getting approval.

Across the board, the drug was shown to be effective in cutting the frequency of seizures.

Shinnar said he will welcome approval of a medicine that had undergone stringent FDA review for safety and effectiveness.

With the global cannabis industry climbing, the CBD industry alone could top $1 billion. The drug contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive element THC and does not induce euphoria. "In the artisanal products there's often a huge variation in doses from bottle to bottle, depending on where you get it".

Several years ago, Allison Hendershot considered relocating her family to Colorado, one of the first states to legalize marijuana and home to a large network of CBD producers and providers. At just 4 months old, he started having violent seizures. But then Hendershot learned about a trial of Epidiolex at New York University. Those taking 20 mg of Epidiolex a day had 42 percent fewer seizures, on average, compared with 37 percent fewer seizures in the group taking 10 mg of the drug, and a 17 percent reduction in the placebo group.

Carson says he will likely prescribe Epidiolex going forward.

Figi is now executive director of Coalition for Access Now, a political nonprofit trying to make CBD as legal as a dietary supplement. The decision caps decades of work by the company to gain approval in the US for a medicine derived from the cannabis plant.

The immediate impact of Monday's approval on these products is unclear. Once the FDA approves Epidiolex, the DEA will be compelled to deschedule it from a Schedule I drug on the Controlled Substances Act (defined as "no recognized medical use") to either a Schedule II or III drug. The FDA has previously sent warning letters to companies that hyped their products as cancer or Alzheimer's fighters.

The FDA is not required to follow the advisory panel's advice but usually does.

A company representative said the list price for the medication had not been set yet. "I really don't think it's going to affect us much". "And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D, said.

Indeed, Epidiolex is expected to revolutionize the US market, according to a Business Insider report. The company has not yet set a price for the drug and said it would work with insurance providers to ensure the medicine would be covered under health plans. Both cause uncontrolled daily seizures and put patients at high risk for other physical and intellectual disabilities, injury and early death.

Treatments available for both disorders are far from flawless and some patients resort to buying "self-prescribed" CBD online or from unregulated vendor sites, Dr. Pavel Klein, founder of the Mid-Atlantic Epilepsy and Sleep Center, said.

The medicinal acknowledgment of CBD should come as good news to marijuana startups eyeing the compound for consumer and medical consumption. This status has stifled rigorous research, because the federal government will not pay for it. Experts expect to see an uptick in cannabidiol-related products out of Canada, particularly with this week's nationwide legalization of marijuana.

GW Pharma won't be able to launch the drug right away, however, because its active ingredient, CBD, needs to be rescheduled by the DEA.

The FDA's decision is historic but it is not unexpected.



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